Extraordinary Chicago Women Will Be Explored in Unwilling and Hostile Instruments

By Carey Purcell
03 Sep 2013

Theatre Seven of Chicago has brought together nine playwrights to write a play that combines eight stories about extraordinary women from Chicago's last 100 years.



Performances begin Oct. 1, prior to an official opening Oct. 3. Unwilling and Hostile Instruments will continue through Oct. 27 at the American Theater Company.

The full-length work, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of suffrage in Illinois, explores the stories of Jane Addams, Myra Bradwell, Ann Landers, Mavis Staples, Cora Strayer, Maurine Watkins and Ida B. Wells.

Unwilling and Hostile Instruments is written by Seth Bockley (Maurine Watkins), Brian Golden (various), Ike Holter (Jane Addams, 2013), Elaine Romero (Jane Addams, 1889), Emily Schwartz (Cora Strayer), Carla Stillwell (Ida B. Wells), Nick Ward (Myra Bradwell), Travis Williams (Mavis Staples) and Lauren Yee (Ann Landers).

Directed by Elly Green, the cast includes Echaka Agba, Adithi Chandrashekar, Marsha Harman, Jaclyn Hennell, Tracey Kaplan, Jessica London-Shields, Jake Szczepaniak, Brittney Love Smith and Joe Zarrow.

"In 1913, a vocal opponent of the suffrage movement called women 'nothing more than the unwilling and hostile instruments of creation,'" press notes state. "This project turns that ignorant quote on its head, celebrating the accomplishments of Chicago's greatest historical women and also asking relevant contemporary questions about gender and social equality. After select performances, female bands, visual artists and actors will perform, creating an all-out festival honoring the accomplishments of Chicago women."

"We begin our season with a production that celebrates Illinois' leadership in the suffrage movement by telling dynamic stories about our city's most extraordinary women," artistic director Brian Golden said in statement. "But we're also digging a little deeper. In telling the story of ten Chicago actors trying to put on these new plays, we're using history and theatre to investigate the challenges and realities of race, gender and equality in Chicago today."

The creative team includes Kerith Parashak (scenic design), Brenda Winstead (costume design), Mac Vaughey (lighting design), Joe Court (sound design) and Joshua Hurley (props design).

Tickets and more information are available by visiting theatreseven.org.