Other Theatre’s World Premiere of THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO plays through Oct 29 at Chicago Dramatists

 Other Theatre, in association with Chicago Dramatists’ Grafting Project, is pleased to launch its 4th season with the world premiere of Martín Zimmerman’s comedic graphic novel for the stage THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO, directed by Kelly Howe, continues through October 29, 2017 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. in Chicago. Casting will be announced shortly. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at theothertheatrecompany.com

THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO will feature Celeste BurnsAida DelazAdelina Feldman-SchultzRobert N. IsaacChristopher MeisterBecca Sheehan and Hannah Toriumi.

A congressman entices an old friend (and washed-up actor) to portray a superhero in a publicity stunt designed to stop the unjust bulldozing of a public housing complex. They leave the crowd enthralled, but what happens when the character the politician created goes rogue? This graphic novel for the stage employs a seamless blend of live actors and shadow puppets to interrogate the hopes, fears and social forces that push people to yearn for and believe in the possibility of superheroes.

(left to right) Robert N. Isaac, Christopher Meister and Aida Delaz in Other Theatre’s world premiere of Martín Zimmerman’s THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO directed by Kelly Howe. Photo by Carin Silkaitis.

Comments Artistic Director Carin Silkaitis, “Martín’s play touches on some important ideas – particularly what happens when our politicians are too entrenched in the political ecosystem to be able to enact real change, even if their intentions are in the right place? I am so interested in the fact that the congressman must hire an actor to save this housing complex. He knows the right choice is siding with the disenfranchised, the poverty-stricken, but he is too embedded in the political mess to be able to vocally side with the very people he represents. After conversations with the playwright (and because of Donald Trump’s campaign strategy) I am also struck by the way this play grapples with the idea of a person – one who has deep and intense psychological needs for admiration and adoration – hijacking a political movement.”

THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO was developed in part through readings and workshops at Chicago Dramatists.

The production team for THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO includes: Michael Johannsen (scenic design), Olivia Crary (costume design), Will Coeur (lighting design), Colin Trevor (sound design), Nick Thornton (puppet design & puppet choreography) and Kasey Trouba (stage manager).

 

Creative Team Bios

Martín Zimmerman (Playwright) is a multi-ethnic, bilingual playwright and screenwriter whose plays have been produced or developed at The Kennedy Center, Goodman Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Alley Theatre, Roundabout Underground, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, LCT3, New York Theatre Workshop, Victory Gardens Theater, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, The Playwrights’ Center, Alliance Theatre, A.C.T. (Seattle), PlayPenn, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, American Theater Company, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Chicago Dramatists, Primary Stages, Teatro Vista, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Foundation, Cara Mía Theatre Co, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and Borderlands Theater, among others. A recipient of the Terrence McNally New Play Award, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation, Humanitas Prize New Voices Award, Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, McKnight Advancement Grant, Jerome Fellowship, Carl Djerassi Playwriting Fellowship, and the National New Play Network’s Smith Prize, Martín was a Staff Writer on Netflix’s Narcos, is a Story Editor on the upcoming Netflix Series Ozark, has been the Alliance for Latino Theater Artists (ALTA) Artist of the Month, was a member of the 2011-2012 Playwrights’ Unit at Goodman Theatre, is a Playwright in Residence at Teatro Vista, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and is currently under commission at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and Roundabout Theatre Company. MFA in Playwriting: The University of Texas at Austin. BA in Theater Studies, BS in Economics: Duke University.

Kelly Howe (Director) is a theatre faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Resident Dramaturg at TOTC. Recent directing credits include Sarah Myers’ The Realm (TOTC), Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Ellen McLaughlin’s Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Juan Mayorga’s Way to Heaven, Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, George Brant’s Elephant’s Graveyard, Martín Zimmerman’s Phoenix Unforgiven and Sarah Myers’ God of the Gaps. Recent dramaturgy for TOTC includes Twilight: Los Angeles1992Daughters of Ire and Threesome. Kelly is a past president of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) and co-organizer of the collective Theatre of the Oppressed and Activism in Chicago. She co-chaired three of PTO’s international conferences and the 30th anniversary conference of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) in Chicago. As an artist/scholar, Kelly focuses on activist performance, particularly Theatre of the Oppressed and theatre as feminist organizing. She co-edited Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (2015) with Julian Boal and Scot McElvany and is working on The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed with Julian Boal and José Soeiro. Her writing also appears in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Text and Performance Quarterly, Comparative Drama, etc. She is a member of the advisory board of the Jana Sanskriti International Research and Resource Institute, West Bengal, India. MA/PhD UT-Austin; BA Muhlenberg College.

About Other Theatre:

Other Theatre is dedicated to telling the stories of persons or groups who are othered by systems of oppression. Othering individuals or groups sustains power and privilege. Othering inherently implies hierarchy. Othering keeps the power in the hands of those who already have it.  Othering is an “us” vs. “them” mentality often centered around race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, identity, class, religion and ability. Other Theatre is committed to telling these stories in the hope that we can lessen the amount of discrimination and oppression in our world.

We are a collective of artist-activists who believe in the power of theatre to enact social change. We believe in equality for all human beings and we will fight for it. We believe theatre is an excellent conversation starter, and we hope you will come talk with us after the show. We believe radical social change is possible and we will continue to stand up, fight, and resist until it happens.

Other Theatre Artistic Staff: 

Carin Silkaitis, Founder and Artistic Director; Maddie DePorter, Managing Director; Bryan Renaud, Associate Artistic Director; Ashley Pettit, Production Manager; Savanna Rae, Company Manager; Stephen Kossak, Casting Director; Becca Sheehan, Audience Development/Intern Coordinator; Nik Kmiecik, Social Media Coordinator; Kelly Howe, Resident Dramaturg; Tommy Rivera-Vega, Artistic Associate; Hannah Toriumi, Artistic Associate; Gay Glenn, Artistic Associate.

Other Theatre Board of Directors:

Michele Thornton, President; Kelly Soprych, Vice President; Jermaine Hill, Secretary; Stephen Silkaitis, Treasurer; Lisa Wolfe, and Michael Johannsen.

Other Theatre’s 4th Season is presented by generous grants from MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The Saints.

About Chicago Dramatists:

Since 1979, Chicago Dramatists has been dedicated to the development and advancement of playwrights. Chicago Dramatists nurtures extraordinary playwrights with the space, resources and collaborators needed to realize new work and thrive as artists. Workshops, readings, classes and special programs provide opportunities for beginning and established dramatists to develop their work, expand their professional affiliations, showcase their plays and collaborate with actors, directors and audiences during the creative process. The Resident Playwright program is a selective program offered at no cost to playwrights who demonstrate talent and dedication to the craft of playwriting. But we also believe that to discover untapped talent and nurture playwriting as a discipline, we need to embrace playwrights wherever they are on their writing path—which is why we offer our Network Playwright program to playwrights at all levels of ability.

Every year, plays developed at Chicago Dramatists earn hundreds of professional accomplishments, including productions, awards, commissions and readings at theatres in Chicago and worldwide. Distinguished alumni of Chicago Dramatists include Tanya Saracho (El Nogalar, How to Get Away with Murder), Andrew Hinderaker (Colossus, Penny Dreadful), Rick Cleveland (The West WingSix Feet Under, Mad Men), Rebecca Gilman (Pulitzer nominee, Spinning into ButterLuna Gale), Keith Huff (A Steady Rain, House of Cards), and many others.

Featured Image: Robert N. Isaac in Other Theatre’s world premiere of Martín Zimmerman’s THE MAKING OF A MODERN FOLK HERO directed by Kelly Howe. Photo by Carin Silkaitis.