By William Francis Hoffman

Directed by RTE Member Hallie Gordon

A Mid-West Premiere
Featuring RTE Members Ashley Neal, Keith Kupferer & Eric Slater

Cal is a brand-new mom, but instead of joy she feels only isolation. Marooned in a starter home in rural Illinois, she does daily battle with her breast pump and yearns to love her baby despite her seething resentment. Her husband can’t help, and a surprise visit from her brother threatens to make things even worse. Heartbreaking and mysterious, Cal in Camo delves into the nature of family bonds and old wounds that can scar even our capacity for connection.

Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (


Rivendell provides several opportunities throughout our runs to see the performance and also take part in additional access, entertainment, or insight. For CAL IN CAMO these include:


TBD – Planned Parenthood benefit night

See a show and support Planned Parenthood at the same time! $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 




TBD – Ladies Night

Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese and some great conversation!


TBD – Town Hall Discussion

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees, and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

Click here for town hall details. 



TBD – Touch Tour and Captioned Performance

Join Rivendell for a touch tour of the set with the artists at 6:30pm followed by an 8:00pm performance with open captioning. $15 Tickets available with the code “ACCESS”.



TBD – Town Hall Discussion

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees, and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

Click here for town hall details. 


Sunday, February 11th at 3:00pm – Sunday 3pm matinee 

Audiences have been asking for Sunday matinees – get your tickets while you can!

Buy Tickets Now!


Ashley Neal (Cal) is thrilled to be back at Rivendell Ensemble Theatre, where she is an ensemble member and has appeared in many productions including: Alias GraceWRENS, 26 Miles, The Walls, Be Aggressive, and others. Ashley most recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre’s The Nether where she also appeared in A Red Handed Otter. Other shows you may have seen her in include: London Wall, Men Should Weep and Stage Door with Griffin Theatre, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle with Steep Theatre, as well as work with Chicago Dramatists Pine Box, Irish Theatre Company, Step Up, Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, Strawdog, The Greenhouse Theatre, and others. Ashley is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and The School at Steppenwolf.



Eric Slater (Tim) has been a company member at RTE since 2006 and appeared in productions of Alias GraceWinterRasheeda Speaking, Self-DefenseExpecting Isabel and Silence. Other Chicago credits include Hand To God (Victory Gardens), Kill Floor (American Theatre Co.), Diary of Ann Frank (Writers Theatre), Feathers & Teeth and Smokefall (Goodman) among many others. Off & Off-Off Broadway: Juvenal Players (The Kitchen), The Dudley’s: A Family Game! (Theatre for a New City), Our Greatest Year (Kraine & The Brick), Original Cast Gloryana (The Public Theater & The York Theatre Co.), Cyanocitta (The Becket on Theatre Row). Regional credits: Fornicated From the Beatles (American Repertory Theatre), Experiment America (ICA Boston), Hunchback (DIA Detroit), Permanent Collection (Madison Rep), Our Greatest Year (Dobama Theatre). Film/ TV: WidowsComing to You, and Chicago Fire.


Keith Kupferer (Flynt) is a founding member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where he has performed in nine productions since 1996 and was most recently seen in their world premiere production of How the World Began. Steppenwolf credits include The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice & Men, Carter’s Way, Men of Tortuga; Things Being What They Are; Jesus Hopped The A Train and Tavern Story. Other recent theater credits include The Humans at American Theatre Company, God of Carnage, High Holidays, Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play and The Old Neighborhood at the Goodman Theatre; Appropriate at Victory Garden’s Theatre; Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; End Days at Windy City Playhouse; Execution of Justice with About Face Theatre; Cat Feet and The Old Neighborhood at Northlight; Desire Under The Elms, a co-production between Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre and Chicago’s Court Theatre; and the long running hit, Shear Madness.  Film credits include The DilemmaDark Knight; Public Enemies; The Express; Stranger Than Fiction; Road to Perdition; Fred Klaus; The Last Rights of Joe May; The Merry GentlemanFinding Santa; Resurrecting McGinn; Open Tables. TV credits include ABC’s Betrayal; NBC’s Crisis; Chicago Fire; ABC’s Detroit 187; A&E’s The Beast, the Fox series Prison Break; The Jamie Kennedy Experiment on WB and the CBS series Early Edition.

William Francis Hoffman (Playwright)

Hallie Gordon (Director)

Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning to Rivendell. She previously stage managed Alias GraceGrizzly Mama and Winter. Jenniffer has stage managed for SoloChicago, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Commercial Collective, Noble Fool, Nuns for Fun, Emerald City and Light Opera Works. In addition to having stage managed 14 productions at Chicago Dramatists, she also served as props designer, co-designed a set (Aiming for Sainthood at the Pritzker Pavilion) and is an artistic associate there. Jenniffer’s work as a set designer with her partner Robert Groth has been seen at Irish Theatre of Chicago, Mary Arrchie, The Royal George, Metropolis Performing Arts, The Broadway Playhouse, The Apollo Theater, and Emerald City’s Little Theater. Jenniffer is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Joanna Iwanicka (Scenic Design) 

Janice Pytel (Costume Design) has been an ensemble member since 2010 and serves on Rivendell’s Literary Committee. She has a special interest in new play development, and has designed costumes for numerous world premiers by noted playwrights such as Bruce Norris and Moises Kauffman. Recent design credits include: Bootycandy (Windy City Playhouse); Song from the Uproar (Chicago Fringe Opera); Alias GraceGrizzly Mama, Dry Land, Body / Courage, Look, we are breathing, and WOMEN AT WAR (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); The Low Down Dirty Blues (Milwaukee Rep); The Clean House (Remy Bumppo); Queen, Hand to God, CockedHillary and Clinton, and Rest (Victory Gardens Theater); and The Qualms (Steppenwolf). In Chicago, Janice has worked with Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Next Theater, About Face Theater, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, Silk Road Rising, Piven, and others. Her Broadway credits are 33 Variations and I Am My Own Wife. Regionally she has worked with The Alley Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kansas City Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Madison Rep, Alliance Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Centerstage, Arena Stage, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse and others. She has designed costumes for opera, dance, film, and performance art, and her work has been seen in numerous cities across five continents. In addition to her freelance work, Janice is a personal and commercial stylist with her company Wardrobe Solutions, Inc.

Charles Cooper (Lighting Design) 

Victoria Deiorio (Original Composition and Sound Designer) 

Blake Burke (Properties Design)

Catherine Allen (Production Manager) 

Robert Groth (Technical Director) Robert is excited to return to Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where he recently worked on Alias Grace. He has been a freelance technical director, scenic carpenter and designer for over 15 years. Robert has also worked as a scenic designer for several theater companies with his partner Jenniffer Thusing including Mary Arrchie, Pinebox, Emerald City and most recently Chicago Theatre Workshop’s production of Little Miss Sunshine. Their design work was recognized in 2011 with a nomination for an Equity Wing Jeff for Best Scenic Design – Midsized Theater.

Audrey Klein (Assistant Stage Manager) 

Laura Duncan (Assistant Costume Design) is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago. During her time at Loyola, she costumed A Doll’s House (directed by Ann Shanahan) and Baltimore Waltz (directed by Maggie Cramer) under the mentorship of the incomparable Rachel Healy. This is Laura’s first time assisting Janice on a project. Laura is thankful to have this opportunity to work with such an incredible ensemble of artists at Rivendell. 

Tara Mallen (Rivendell Artistic Director / Producer) is the founder and Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.  An actor, director and producer, she was most recently on stage in RTE’s world premiere The Firebirds Take the Field. Prior to that she appeared in Lynn Nottage’s pulitzer-prize winning play Sweat at Arena Stage and Steppenwolf’s How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. Other notable productions at Rivendell include Jeff Nominated, world premiere productions of Look, we are breathingRasheeda SpeakingThe Walls; and Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen. Tara has produced and/or acted in over thirty productions at Rivendell and received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for WRENS as well as being part of that production’s Jeff-winning “Best Ensemble”. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for her work in My Simple City. Tara co-conceived and directed the critically acclaimed World Premiere of WOMEN AT WAR, a theatrical exploration of women in today’s military that played to sold out houses in the fall of 2014 and is now touring throughout the mid-west; she also directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting WordsPsalms of a Questionable Nature; and the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film ContagionBossChicago FireChicago P.D., Sense8, the CBS/Sony pilot Doubt, the FOX pilot Doubt, and the independent feature film Fools.

Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She was thrilled to join the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble as the Managing Director in March 2014. Jackie is also the Membership and Development Associate at Arts Alliance Illinois, and the Co-Producer for Theatricum Botanicum. Previously Jackie was in the Los Angeles area where she worked with Center Theatre Group’s P.L.A.Y., the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Theatricum Botanicum. She has also freelanced regionally where she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, has a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Production and Business Management from Bradley University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Producing from the California Institute of the Arts.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
Office: 5775 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660


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