Coming into their 3rd season, Artistic Director Tony Lawry invited me as a few others to be the inaugural ensemble for his company, Theatre Above the Law! I recently had been commissioned by Tony to write a CYRANO adaptation, which was wildly successful at displaying the intent of his theatre, and the movement behind his company. With me and these other fine artists, Theatre Above the Law is looking to really build itself up, and make itself a staple of both the Chicago Theatre scene, and Rogers Park.
With the company, you can see more of my work as an actor, playwright, and maybe even director (cross your fingers)!
See the official release here.
Together, we are finding ways to reach the Rogers Park community with mentorship programs, summer activities and classes, and, of course, the standard season. For more information regarding the company, go to the home website here.
The play that we created is both whimsical and political, vying for equality across both gender and sexuality. Yet, it isn't preachy, as the medium is infused with near constant comedy, and the universe is, save for the presence of the antagonist, merely adjusted and thriving on this equality. In this way, the universe serves to represent a world, much like our own, to show how simple life could be if we merely exercised equality for all (using classic tropes and romanticized clichés).
Now, when we formulated this production schedule, and set our opening date to February 9, 2018, we didn't see any posts about CYRANO being done by other companies. However, about mid 2017, we got wind of Red Theatre doing an adaptation of it (adapted by Aaron Sawyer). In theirs, they incorporated the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and added an element of clowning for the storytelling. Additionally, they utilized monitors and sign language, creating a universe easily accessible to the deaf / hard-of-hearing community, integrating it into the story and the storytelling as crucial element (as part of their Access Initiative). When I went to see it, knowing a couple people involved, I was impressed: they went for it, and it paid off. The ending seemed a little abrupt in style and storytelling, as it forced you to intellectualize what was seen on stage rather than engross in the universe as the rest of the play encouraged. For me, this Brechtian end was unnecessary, but I digress. Overall, it was a fun adaptation that took a lot of risks, which mostly paid off.
After their production closed of RED CYRANO, we then learned that folks had auditioned for yet another CYRANO: BOHO's upcoming CYRANO, adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner. This production launches in March, with their opening weekend coinciding with our closing weekend (March 3). This particular adaptation, though, is arguably a more pure adaptation. Mine and Sawyer's are more "inspired by" works, whereas Hollinger and Posner have sought to stay true to the original poetry, while making it more accessible to a modern audience (in terms of language). The purest in me delights in this, as a pure rendition of the play, when done true to intent, can be captivating. I love a good Romantic play.
At first, I was a little miffed that suddenly two more productions were happening right before and after, potentially taking from the audience we expected to have. However, in reflection, all three productions are yielding something completely different. Each one is a different universe, different take on the original story, far different storytelling... and completely worth seeing CYRANO three times in one year.
I'm so excited to have my play produced between Sawyer's and Hollinger/Posner's (and the humor of all of our names linking together isn't lost on me: Aaron Sawyer wrote the first, Michael Dalberg wrote the second, and Aaron Posner and Michael Hollinger wrote the third; clearly, only Aarons and Michaels get to adapt CYRANO now), and I'm so eager to see all the differences between them.
Last weekend, I went to see AGES OF MAN, "3 one acts by Thornton Wilder chronicling how children relate to their parents while growing into themselves. First, in Infancy, as babies trying to make sense of the normal things in everyday life, then, in Childhood tweens playing a morbid game of "Orphans" to show how underestimating kids might just backfire on adults & lastly, The Rivers Under the Earth shows teens coming of age with their parents in the safety of a family vacation." The show is directed by TAtL Artistic Director Tony Lawry.
This was a great boon for the company's season, garnering a few sold out performances already, and I'm incredibly excited to see what happens when CYRANO opens in just a few short months with them. With any luck, CYRANO will be just as acclaimed (which is more than probable, as Tony is also directing CYRANO).
Congratulations, Tony, and keep that momentum going!
Tickets can be purchased here for TAtL shows!
When in college, if you got a dollar for every time a theatre instructor told you that theatre work is "feast or famine," or "when it rains, it pours," you wouldn't have to worry about your college debt. These two phrases are everywhere you turn, ensuring you that if you weren't picked this time for an opportunity that soon it'd average out... with a bunch of things at once.
I don't post much on this blog, do I?
I really want to be one of those people that journals, or writes down the things that happen to them. I want to be a scribe of some sort, you know? That person who records the cool things going on in their life, to use their personal experiences to connect with others. I also want to be able to write down more here than just theatre stuff, to show a range of personality... but it's hard, you know?
I attended the callbacks with Tony, and am so excited for the show to take off. Everything is still in the beginning stages, as the show doesn't begin rehearsals until next year (January), and doesn't open until February... but it's going to be such a fun time! Each person in the cast is jovial, light-hearted, and I have no doubt it'll be a hell of a show!
Keep your eyes open for future updates!
When I started this website a while back, I told myself I'd post once a week, and share my thoughts on shows I was seeing, auditions I was doing, great food I was wishing I could afford to try... but I think we can all see how that went. (If you can't, just check the timestamp of this blog post compared to the last one/original post.)