Healy's Futuristic What Once We Felt to Premiere at Chicago's About Face

News   Healy's Futuristic What Once We Felt to Premiere at Chicago's About Face
Ann Marie Healy's What Once We Felt will get its world premiere in the 2008-09 About Face Theatre season in Chicago, artistic director Bonnie Metzgar and new managing director Rick Dildine announced.

Focused on works relating to gender and sexual identity, About Face will also offer The Young Ladies of… by performance artist Taylor Mac, Stupid Kids by John C. Russell and a year-long festival of in-process works called the CHICAGO XYZ Series, "showcasing the most imaginative and daring artists engaged with issues of sexuality and gender."

"This season we look forward to surprising Chicago audiences with a variety of young and edgy artists from around the country," Metzgar said in a statement.

The 2008-2009 About Face Theatre season begins Sept. 26 with a limited engagement of The Young Ladies of… by critically acclaimed New York theatre artist Taylor Mac, in his Chicago debut.

"Taylor Mac is an electrifying performer and a deeply compelling playwright," Metzgar observed. "We are honored to host his Chicago debut. His beautifully provocative work truly sets the tone for our season." The Young Ladies of… will run through Oct. 26.

Stupid Kids, by the late John C. Russell, will be reinvented in a multi-media production directed by Metzgar, marking her About Face directorial debut. Previews begin Feb. 4, 2009. Russell was an award-winning playwright and friend of Metzgar. He died of AIDS in 1994. "With the support of Russell's family, Metzgar will add contemporary spin to this classic tale of young desire set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis in Reagan-era America," according to About Face. "In collaboration with Megan Carney, the production will feature adult actors as well as members of the About Face Youth Theatre Program and will include a rhythmic mix of music, video, slam poetry and dance, creating a collision of '80s pop culture with contemporary media. The collaboration with the Youth Theater Program will create a new layer, reflecting what it means to be the 'stupid kids' of today."

Ken Rus Schmoll will direct the world premiere What Once We Felt. It's billed as "a comedic, futuristic thriller" and "a dystopian look at a futuristic society in which men have become extinct and natural selection has been sidelined by DNA 'downloading.'"

Expect a "provocative, terrifying and hilarious romp through the annals of genocide, suicide, infanticide and bad manners."

Healy's plays include The Gentleman Caller, Have You Seen Steve Steven? and Dearest Eugenia Haggis. She is a graduate of the Brown MFA playwriting program.

Previews will begin April 8, 2009, and the show will run through May 17, 2009.

Throughout the season, About Face will also "showcase some of America's most brilliant new artists and ensembles during the Chicago XYZ Series."

The "in process" series is "designed to foster the creation of new work," and "will present material in various stages of development."

Artists featured will include Dan Rothenberg and Dito von Reigersberg, members of Philadelphia's Pig Iron Theatre Company who will begin to rework a classic musical theatre score. Hip hop artist and social activist Rha Goddess will share several projects with About Face audiences, including the "investigation phase of her latest work." The XYZ Series will also feature an ongoing program of new plays by lesbian playwrights, including plays by Pat Kane and Sally Oswald.

The first reading of this program will be in September by About Face artist-in-residence Leigh Fondakowski.

The 2008-09 season will be presented at the Center on Halsted Hoover- Leppen Theater.


About Face Theatre develops new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 30 new plays by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.

For ticket information, visit www.AboutFaceTheatre.com.

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