Drew Martin, artistic director of Chicago's Stage Left Theatre for eight years, resigned July 31 to focus on his family, but remains a part of the ensemble and board of directors as the troupe enters its 2000-2001 season.
Ensemble members Jessi D. Hill and Kevin Heckman are now co-artistic directors of the Off-Loop company that focuses on socially and politically-conscious works. In Martin's time, the company more than doubled its annual budget and earned Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and citations. The theatre achieved a 200 percent increase in grants under his leadership, according to a statement.
The theme of the company's 2000-2001 season is "Communication: Beginning the Conversation." The slate includes:
• David Rush's multimedia play about communication breakdown between the hearing and deaf community, Police Deaf Near Far, a critical hit in its previous Chicago staging. The Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph St. Oct. 5-29. Call (312) 742-8497 for this show only.
• Dimly Perceived Threats to the System, the Chicago premiere of Jon Klein's comedy about a post-modern American family struggling to communicate while battling their perceptions of each other. Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield. Nov. 3-Dec. 16. • The Memorandum, Vera Blackwell's translation of the 1965 play by Vaclav Havel, concerning corporate communication in an absurdist setting. Stage Left Theatre. March-April 2001 dates to be announced.
• A fourth play to be announced.
For subscription information, call (773) 883-8830.
In addition to a subscription series, Stage Left produces Downstage Left, a program for developing new plays in a collaborative environment.
-- By Kenneth Jones