Chicago’s The Gift Theatre explores the challenges of loss, love and letting go in the darkly comic one-act play Vigils, written by Noah Haidle (Stand Up Guys, Mr. Marmalade) and directed by Erica Weiss(A Twist of Water). In a gently whimsical take on a heartbreaking scenario, a young widow keeps her deceased fireman husband’s soul in a box by her bed, but then has to make a tough choice when the possibility for new love comes into her life. Vigils runs February 28-April 21 at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave (at Lawrence) in Chicago.
The Gift’s staging of the dreamy and surreal Vigils emphasizes the hyper-articulate script at the heart of the surreal play.
“Working in an extremely intimate space with very different design capabilities completely transforms how you approach a piece like Vigils, which has so many elements that could be considered magical or otherworldly,” Weiss explains. “We’re guided by the artistic ethos of The Gift ensemble, which is grounded in gritty emotional realism and audience immediacy, so that even though the play consists mainly of memories, our production feels very rooted in the present tense.”
Vigils stars The Gift ensemble members Hillary Clemens (Dirty) as Widow, Jim Farruggio (Suicide, Inc.) as her deceased husband’s Body, Jay Worthington (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) as his imprisoned Soul and Kyle Zornes (Stop/Kiss) as a new (and living) Wooer, with special guest Elodie Tougne as Child.
Detroit-based playwright Noah Haidle (Mr. Marmalade, Rag and Bone) is the screenwriter of the new movieStand Up Guys, starring Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin. Vigils director Erica Weiss staged Route 66 Theatre Company’s 2011 world premiere, Jeff Award-nominated hit A Twist of Water.
Tickets and Performance Schedule
Vigils runs February 28-April 21 at The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave (at Lawrence) in Chicago.
Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, with Sunday matinees at 2:30pm.
Single tickets, $25-$30, are available at 773-283-7071 or online at www.thegifttheatre.org. Three-play 2013 season subscriptions start at $65.
About Vigils’ Creative Team
Detroit-based playwright NOAH HAIDLE’s plays – Vigils; Mr. Marmalade; Rag and Bone; Kitty Kitty Kitty;Persephone; Saturn Returns; Skin Deep Song – have premiered at The Goodman Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, The Roundabout Theatre Company and other theaters across the US, Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand. Haidle is the recipient of three Lincoln Center Le Compte Du Nuoy Awards, the 2005 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, the 2007 Claire Tow Award and an NEA/TCG theater residency grant. He wrote the screenplay for Stand Up Guys, currently in theaters, and is developing his next script, Rodeo Clown, to be his motion picture directorial debut. His new play Smokefall premieres this season at Goodman Theatre.
Director Erica Weiss was the director of the World Premiere production of Route 66’s A Twist of Water in Chicago as well as its New York Premiere. She was the founding Artistic Director of Hypatia Theatre Company, where she directed the critically acclaimed World Premieres of Red Georgia Clay and Florida Styx. Weiss served as Assistant Director on the Chicago premiere of Elizabeth Rex at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. As a director, dramaturg and assistant director, she has worked with The Gift, Northlight, American Theater Company, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, MPAACT and Victory Gardens, where she was the Dramaturg for the workshop and world premiere ofThe Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Jeff Award winner). Weiss is Associate Artistic Director of Route 66 Theatre Company.
About The Gift Theatre
The Gift Theatre is dedicated to telling great stories on stage with honesty and simplicity. Previous productions include: TEN 2013; Natural Gas’ Jugband Christmas; Dirty; Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations); Fact & Fiction; Absolute Hell; TEN; Cloud 9; Northwest Highway; Night and Her Stars; Get Behind Me, Santa!; Lonesome West; Suicide, Inc.; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Almost, Maine; Santa’s Great American Depression Holiday Show! (2009 & 2010); Summer People; The Ruby Sunrise; Talk Radio; Stop/Kiss; Natural Gas; Streamers; Wit ;The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; White People; Three Sisters; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Blithe Spirit; 365 Days/365 Plays; The Halloween Show; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; The Glass Menagerie (Remount: Theatre on the Lake); The Good Thief; The Clearing; Hurlyburly; The Glass Menagerie; The Pavilion; A Young Man In Pieces; Language of Angels; 6; County Fair; The Countess; Alcatraz (Abbie Hoffman Festival); Orestes 2.0; Boys’ Life. The theater also sponsors the giftED Ensemble, a rigorous two-year afterschool course for creative and motivated high school students on Chicago’s Northwest side, and the literary program/Salon Series giftLIT.
The Gift’s 2013 Season opened in January with TEN, its annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by Gift Co-Founder Michael Patrick Thornton. Later this summer, The Gift dramatically shifts tone with the Chicago premiere of dark thriller Mine by Laura Marks, June 13-August 11. The final production of the 2013 Season is the Chicago premiere of Broadsword by Sons of Anarchy staff writer Marco Ramirez, September 26 (first preview)-November 17. Subscriptions for the entire 2013 season, which includes two Chicago premieres, are available for as little as $65. The Gift subscribers (“Gifters”) receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and an invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at http://thegifttheatre.org/ or call 773-283-7071.
The Gift Theatre Company’s 2013 season is made possible, in part, by generous contributions from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre’s productions and programs, visit www.thegifttheatre.org.