Victory Gardens Announces AN ISSUE OF BLOOD Directed by Chay Yew Added To Season: April 3- May 3
Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli announce a change to the 2014-2015 season: The World Premiere of An Issue of Blood by Marcus Gardley, directed by Chay Yew, will replace the previously announced World Premiere of A Wonder In My Soul. An Issue of Blood was penned by Gardley in response to recent events and social injustices. An Issue of Blood runs April 3 – May 3, 2015 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.
Victory Gardens’ Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley (The Gospel of Lovingkindness) takes us to an America before Ferguson, before Barack Obama was elected president, before the Civil Rights Movement—even before slavery. Based on a historical figure, Negro Mary, is one of the wealthiest landowners living in the Shenandoah Valley in 1640. She yearns to quell the rising racial unease in colonial Virginia and plans to marry her son to the daughter of a powerful white planter as a symbol of peace. As the ceremony draws near, secrets and grudges of two families come to light, and history changes its course forever. An Issue of Blood features moving music drawn from a rich legacy of African-American spirituals, field hollers, and musical tradition. Part history, part myth, Gardley looks to our collective past to understand how we arrived in our tumultuous present.
“Last December, Victory Gardens hosted WE MUST BREATHE, a one-night only event in response to the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others. Artists, poets and community members addressed issues of social injustice in the best way they knew how—through their art. This powerful evening played to a packed house and reached over six countries through livestreaming,” comments Victory Gardens’ Artistic Director Chay Yew. “While working on a new draft of A Wonder in My Soul in December, Marcus felt the need to respond to the same events and was urged by many to express the complex feelings of his community. When he reached out to me with this conundrum, I told him to follow his instincts and write a new play addressing his concerns, instead.”
“I became obsessed with the tragic loss of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin. And no matter how I tried to shake it off, it was getting into my writing,” comments Playwright Marcus Gardley. “I could NOT notwrite about what was/is happening in our country. We are living in a time where the hard but vital questions about identity, class and race are finally being discussed. I was spurned to wrestle with them. To this end, I have written a new play called An Issue of Blood. My new play raises powerful questions of who we are and how we see ourselves.”
“As a theatre that creates and produces socially relevant plays, it is important that we respond to the times with our art and support our artists. And I’m glad Marcus is leading us in this vital national conversation,” notesYew.
About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Christopher Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.
Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.
Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.
In 2012, Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.
For more information about Victory Gardens, www.victorygardens.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens and Twitter @VictoryGardens.
Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, Berghoff Catering, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Conant Family Foundation, The Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, Negaunee Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Whole Foods and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.