Goodman Theatre Kicks of 2015/16 With Charise Castro Smith’s “FEATHERS AND TEETH” Sept. 19 – Oct. 18 at the Owen

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unnamed (32)Goodman Theatre kicks off the 2015/2016 Season in its Owen Theatre with Feathers and Teeth, Charise Castro Smith’s bone-chilling dark comedy that brings dysfunctional family drama to scary new heights. Directed by Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez, Feathers and Teeth was developed in the Goodman’s New Stages Festival and features Northwestern University student Olivia Cygan as the distraught 13-year-old Chris. cast also includes Eric Slater as Chris’ father, Arthur, and Ali Burchas Ellie, her deceased mother. Christina Hall portrays Carol, Arthur’s new live-in fiancée, and Jordan Brodess as Hugo, the boy next door. Carolyn Hoerdemann delivers Foley effects—the representation of ambient sound effects—as soundscape for the action. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (Set); Mikhail Fiksel (Sound); Jesse Klug(Lighting); and Christine Pascual (Costumes). Kimberly Osgood is the production stage manager.

Feathers and Teeth runs September 19 – October 18, 2015 in the Owen Theatre (Opening Night is September 28). Tickets ($10 – $40; subject to change) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org/Feathers, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Time Warner Foundation is the Lead Supporter of New Play Development. The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is the Supporter of New Work Development.

“I started watching 1970s horror films, and became interested in how horror can actually be a way to understand the obsessions or fears of a culture. I was intrigued by the idea of revenge plays,” said playwright Charise Castro Smith, who refers to Feathers and Teethas a “thrilledy”—a thriller comedy. “This play is a horror play, yes, but it’s also about a family grieving. Sometimes people ask me what I want the audience to know about the play going into it. My response is ‘not much.’ The fun things about the play are the surprises.”

Smith’s other plays include Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen] (Ars Nova ANT Fest/Yale Cabaret/Upcoming: Halcyon Theatre); Boomcracklefly (Miracle Theater in Portland, OR), and The Hunchback of Seville (Brown Trinity Playwrights Rep/Washington Ensemble Theatre). She is currently working on new work commissions from Trinity Repertory Company and South Coast Repertory. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama and her BA from Brown University.

“It is such a pleasure to be part of the development of a new play—especially one as unusual as Feathers and Teeth,” said director Henry Godinez. “Charise takes realism and infuses it with a combination of 1970s campy television and truly frightening elements of a horror thriller without ever compromising the central story of a teenage girl’s genuine, heartbreaking story of loss and grief. It’s remarkably human.”

Home-sweet-home quickly turns into a haunted house for 13-year-old Chris (Olivia Cygan) when Carol (Christina Hall)—her father’s new fiancée from hell—moves in. Struggling with the recent death of her mother Ellie (Ali Burch), Chris is convinced her father Arthur’s (Eric Slater) live-in fiancée is ill-intentioned, but she can’t persuade Dad to her point-of-view. Enter a mysterious creature—and a little help from a friend (Jordan Brodess as Hugo).

In role of Foley Artist, Chicago actor Carolyn Hoerdemann provides a live soundscape for the show’s surprises. “I think hearing the sound effects live adds another layer to the play that’s so alive, juicy and tangible,” said Hoerdemann. “I play with sound just as the other actors play off each other.”