Ruckus Theater Announces World Premier of THE DEER

shapeimage_7The Ruckus Theater follows up its Jeff-Recommended productions of Brewed and Facing Angela with the world premiere of The Deer, starting April 11 at Collaboraction (Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee) in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The Deer marks the third partnership between playwright Brooke Allen and director Eric Hoff; the pair collaborated on The Life and Death of Madam Barker, which premiered to great acclaim at Red Tape Theatre in 2013. The cast of six includes Mike Tepeli as The Deer (Great Expectations, Strawdog Theatre; The Burnt Part Boys, Griffin Theatre Company); Bryan Bosque (Harry & the Thief, Pavement Group; The Skriker, Red Tape Theatre); Julie Cowden (Facing Angela, The Ruckus; All Girl Frankenstein, The Mammals); Ruckus Associate Artistic Director Joshua Davis (Heist Play, The Ruckus; Lear, Red Tape Theatre); Matthew Lloyd, (The Lives of Pigeons, the side project); and Cheryl Snodgrass (Hell in a Handbag). 

Performances of The Deer begin April 13, with previews on April 11 and 12, and runs through May 11, 2014 at Collaboraction (Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee); performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2 pm. There will be an industry performance on Mon. April 14 at 8pm. Tickets for preview performances are $13; tickets for all other performances are $20 and go on sale March 10, 2014 at The Ruckus is partially funded by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


Clara got a degree in history, and she works in a bar. Russ is dropping out to get experience, see the world, and tag snowbanks. John hasn’t written the Great American anything. The deer is a deer, and he’s been hit by a car. As the snow falls on the wreckage, all four confront the wild edges of existence, clutching at memory and pawing through ash to arrive in the crisp but painful present.  Brooke Allen’s The Deer is a lyrical exploration of death, love, and obligation that celebrates moments of connection, the natural world, and pie.

The Deer is a gorgeous, haunting little palace of a play, and speaks to us on a guttural level,” says Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker. “Brooke and Eric have a remarkable artistic partnership, and we’re so honored to be working with them on this brave, funny, and ethereal new work.”

The creative and production team includes John Ross Wilson and Nick Shaw (scenic design); Izumi Inaba (costume design); Stephen Ptacek (sound design and composition); Ryan McCain (properties design); Kristin Davis (stage management); and Kate Leslie (assistant direction).

Brooke Allen (Playwright) is a Webster University graduate. Recent credits includeThe Life and Death of Madam Barker (Red Tape Theatre 2013); the It Comes In festival (the side project, 2013); Ruby Wilder (Tympanic Theatre, 2012; New York International Fringe Festival, 2010; Not Waiting Productions, 2008); House Work (Not Waiting Productions, 2007; 2010 Semi-Finalist for the Leah Ryan’s Fund for Emerging Women Writers). Brooke has been an Artist In Residence with The Ruckus since 2012 and was the 2013 Playwright in Residence at Red Tape Theatre. Brooke is also a Chicago Storyteller and has performed with Mortified, Guts and Glory, Solo in the Second City, The Paper Machete and You’re Being Ridiculous.

Eric Hoff (Director) is pleased to work with The Ruckus for the first time. With playwright Brooke Allen: The Life and Death of Madam Barker at Red Tape Theatre, Ruby Wilder at NY Fringe. Chicago: Hit The Wall at Steppenwolf Garage and Theatre on the Lake; The Skriker at Red Tape; What’s the T? with About Face Youth Theatre; The Woyzeck Project with Hypocrites and About Face. In New York: Hit The Wall Off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre;About A Woman Named Sarah at 59E59; When We Met at CAP21. Eric has developed new plays with Goodman, About Face, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Pig Iron, and Illyrian Players. At the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, he producedREVIVAL, a performance art/spectacle/dance party with co-creator Jesse Young. Eric lives in Chicago and Brooklyn.

About The Ruckus Theater

Founded by an industrious group of Michigan ex-pats, The Ruckus is composed of actors, directors, playwrights, and musicians who aim to create a new kind of company—a casteless theater that blends the lines between playwright and actor, audience and company member. The Ruckus Theater is led by Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker, Associate Artistic Director Joshua Davis and a company and ensemble of twenty.

We’re here to create, to examine, to invent, to explode—to create a ruckus. The Ruckus develops new work and the artists who create that work. Our ensemble breaks down the walls of traditional methods to nurture new plays and challenge exceptional artists. We believe in creating our process for every project from the ground up. We commit to the growth of our ensemble, the artists we collaborate with, and the plays we develop. We aim to deepen the cultural bedrock of our community by giving megaphones to new voices. By fostering conversations that rip through the curtain, we aim to lead both artist and audience down an unexpected path with art that doesn’t play by the rules.

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