Ruckus Theater Plans to Make a Big Noise in Chicago; Three Premieres Planned

News   Ruckus Theater Plans to Make a Big Noise in Chicago; Three Premieres Planned
The Ruckus Theater, a Kalamazoo-based company, pulled up stakes in recent months and moved to Chicago, where it will offer a trio of world premieres as new members of the Windy City's non-Equity storefront theatre community in 2009-10.

The Ruckus "is composed of actors, directors, playwrights, musicians, casting directors, publicity managers, grant writers, baristas, grad students, poets, computer fixers, appointment-makers and census-takers who aim to create a new kind of company — a casteless theatre that blends the lines between playwright and actor, audience and company member," according to a July 15 announcement. Their resident Chicago debut will be in August.

The Ruckus Theater is led by artistic director Allison Shoemaker and managing director Ryan Dolley. The company's inaugural Chicago season is produced as part of The Side Project's Visiting Artist Series and will include three world-premiere productions: Heist Play by Mitch Vermeersch; Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It, devised by members of the company and contributing artists; and Linear A by Ryan Dolley.

Also in 2009-10, The Ruckus will present two workshop productions: Joshua's Play by Ryan Dolley in collaboration with Filament Theatre Ensemble and 11-Detroit devised by members of the company.

Further details regarding the 2009-10 season will be released at a later date. Prior to The Ruckus' recent move to Chicago the company was based in Kalamazoo MI, where it produced such popular productions as Apple Frog Baseball, The Retreating World and Fore Play, in addition to a developmental reading of Linear A by Ryan Dolley at Barrow Street Theatre in New York.

The Ruckus "strives to produce world premieres of plays either written by the company's resident playwrights Ryan Dolley and Mitch Vermeersch, devised by the company as a whole or submitted by playwrights from across the country." The troupe's "aim is to break down the old models of new work development in order to nurture new forms, great plays and better and smarter artists."

Here's The Ruckus 2009-10 season at a glance:

Heist Play by Mitch Vermeersch, directed by Allison Shoemaker, Aug. 16-26. "A black comedy that deconstructs the film noir formula and turns archetypes inside out, Heist Play follows three sad and desperate misfits in their attempt to plan the perfect heist, pull the perfect con or find some way to force a plot twist — no matter what it costs."

Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It, Short Plays Inspired by Great Lyrics, November 2009. "Made up of bold new work from writers across the country, Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It is a collection of short plays that find new and unexpected resonance in some of the most familiar and personal words we encounter every day: the lyrics of popular songs. Tell It… features accompanying live performances from local musicians, each providing their own interpretations of the songs examined."

Linear A by Ryan Dolley, directed by Allison Shoemaker, May 2010. "A man walks into a bank with fifty-two sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest, detonates and walks away unscathed with a bag full of cash. Twenty years later, his two sons run from a malevolent force driving a big-rig. Linear A asks what happens when superheroes choose to run, and what comes next when those being chased decide to stop."

Here's The Ruckus workshop season for 2009-10:

Joshua's Play by Ryan Dolley, in collaboration with Filament Theatre Ensemble, March 2010. "Three weeks after his Grandpa died, Joshua ate the moon. From behind her telescope in the observatory, Test watched it happen. Each negotiate the minefields of the commercial, the political, the emotional and the familial in search of something in this galaxy that makes sense."

11-Detroit, A What-If, created by The Ruckus, June 2010. "Wendy lives down the street from an abandoned skyscraper. One day, she goes in…and finds herself in a parallel, and very different, Detroit. Half science-fiction epic, half ode to a dying American city, 11-Detroit is about one little girl in a universe forged of history's missed opportunities."

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