By Morgan Gould

Directed by Jessica Fisch

A Midwest Premiere

Samantha and Leo are a team—best friends and roommates, fat girl and gay guy against the world—until a new friend upends their cozy co-dependent diet of mutual self-loathing and Grey’s Anatomy marathons. An ode to the complications of friendship in its many fucked-up forms, with a special nod to a kind of love that sometimes looks a lot like rage.

Produced first at D.C.’s Studio Theatre, I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart challenges assumptions around niceness, beauty, and mainstream acceptance as it upends traditional narratives about fat women—Gould herself identifies openly as such—by putting a fat woman at its center. “I’m not chubby or big-boned,” says Gould. “I’m fat. That’s who I am”.

Directed by Jessica Fisch, director of Rivendell’s highly successful world premiere production of The Firebirds Take the Field, Gould’s play is a wild ride with unforgettable characters that asks probing questions about friendships, fatness, bigotry, ambition, and the cost of living in a world that finds you unacceptable in some way.


Dining Partner:

Visit Cellars Bar and Grill on the day you see the performance and get 10% off. Valid until March 23, 2019, cannot be combined with other offers.

Rivendell provides several opportunities throughout our runs to see the performance and also take part in additional access, entertainment, or insight. For I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART these include:

Sunday, February 17th at 3:00pm – Additional Sunday 3pm matinee 

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


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 – Mama’s Night / 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.




TBD – Open Captioned Performance

Join Rivendell for an 8:00pm performance with open captioning. $15 Tickets available with the code “ACCESS”.

TBD following 4:00pm matinee – 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.


TBD – Additional Sunday 3pm matinee 

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



Buy Tickets Now!


Teressa LaGamba (Sam) is a Chicago based actor/musician from Pittsburgh, PA.  She has performed feature roles in productions with Porchlight Music Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Boho Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Kokandy Productions, Emerald City Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Griffin Theatre, Haven Theatre and more.  Teressa received her BA in Acting and American Sign Language from Columbia College Chicago.  In her free time, Teressa writes spoken word poetry, stares at her plants and pretends like she can cook like her mother.  For her family and coven for their unconditional love, Morgan for her courage and Eleanor for her persistence. And for the fat girls. Mostly to the fat girls.  Represented by Paonessa Talent.




Robert Quintanilla (Leo) is thrilled to make his Rivendell debut! He was most recently seen as Thomas Jefferson in Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of 1776 as part of their Revisits series and in Evil Dead with Black Button Eyes. This past season he was seen in The View Upstairs with Circle Theatre, Yank! A WWII Love Story with Pride Films and Plays, and Woman of the Year with Porchlight Music Theatre. Other select credits include On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Porchlight Music Theatre, United Flight 232 with The House Theatre, The Fantasticks with Quest Theatre Ensemble, Jesus Christ Superstar with The Public Theatre San Antonio, The Merry Widow and HMS Pinafore with Music Theatre Works.  Robert sends his love to his family and Shirley Hamilton Talent for all their support! Follow Robert on Instagram @princequesadilla! www.robertquintanilla.com






Jessica Ervin (Chloe) is an ensemble member at Rivendell. She received an equity Jeff nomination for her portrayal of Ester in Dry Land, and has also worked with Rivendell on Scientific Method (understudy), Alias GraceThe Firebirds Take the Field, WOMEN AT WAR, and the staged reading 381 Bleecker. Additionally, Jessica has worked with The Sound, Walkabout Theatre, Route 66, Erasing the Distance, The Public House, and Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble. Most recently, Jessica returned to Ball State University, her alma mater, to devise and perform an adaptation of Frankenstein as part of Indiana Humanities’ One State One Story initiative. She can be seen on film in Princess Cyd and the upcoming projects Teacher, Injustice, and Stalled

Morgan Gould (Playwright)  is a fat-fat, not tv fat New York based writer/ director who is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists and current Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at Juilliard. Morgan’s play I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART, is a Beatrice Terry/ Drama League Award Winner, and had its world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC in February 2017 (with Morgan directing). It was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, and DC Metro Arts said that Morgan’s work “shows every bit as much promise as Edward Albee’s early work, arguably more.” Morgan has directed productions at the Humana Festival, Marin Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, P73, and more. Morgan is also the Artistic Director of Morgan Gould & Friends – her theater company with 9 actors, 3 designers, and a filmmaker (www.morgangouldandfriends.com) and their work has been seen at many NYC venues including HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The Ice Factory and more. Morgan is developing a half hour original series with Amazon Studios and Will Graham/Field Trip Productions.




Jessica Fisch (Director) For Rivendell: The Firebirds Take The Field, Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latinx Celebration) Recent credits: Cry It Out (Northlight Theatre), You Across From Me (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), Late Company (Cor Theatre), Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf), Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival),  The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (The Royal George), Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens), Psychodramatic (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series), Traces (Feast Productions/Jackalope Theatre). Selected New York credits: The Realm (The Wild Project), strive/seek/find (Abingdon Theatre), the 2009 Playwrights Horizons Stories on 5 Stories BenefitPersonal History (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Redheaded Man (Barrow Street Theatre/FringeNYC/FringeEncores), Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group), an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Jessica was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, the Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. MFA: Northwestern University. www.JessicaFisch.com


Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager) 


Regina Garcia (Scenic Design) 


Anthony Churchill (Projections Design) collaborates on media for theatre, events, and installations. Recent projections and media with Q Brothers, Marriott Theatre, The Cher Show, Porchlight Music Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Theatre Wit, Stage Left, Museum of Broadcast Communications, Big Noise Theatre, 16th Street Theatre—Berwyn, and BoHo Theatre—which he is a proud company member of. Tony has been nominated for three Jeff Awards for Projections, winning one in 2017 for Body of An American. When not working on plays, he enjoys sculpting tiny astronauts in peril, and playing projections with his band, Grape Juice Plus. www.artlabchicago.com


Heather Gilbert (Lighting Design) 


Jeffrey Levin (Original Music and Sound Design) 


Alison Siple (Costume Design) 


Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (Properties Design) is a Chicago based designer and artisan. Jonathan has previously worked with companies such as Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Paramount Theater, Hope Summer Repertory Theater, Underscore Theatre, Something Marvelous, and Mudlark Theatre, Favorite design credits include Haymarket, Johnny 10 Beers’ Daughter, Bomber’s Moon, Curious George: The Golden Meatball, Alice in Wonderland, Ghosts, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Endgame, and Prometheus Bound. He holds a BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Boston University. Jonathanbergeinhorn.com


Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to return to Rivendell where she previously production managed The Cake and Cal in Camo. Recent production management credits include Significant Other (About Face Theater), Violet and Ragtime (Griffin Theatre), Invisible Hand, Hookman, and Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened… (Route 66 Theatre Company), and many circuses with Actors Gymnasium where she is the staff Production Manager. She has also worked with Congo Square Theatre, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Haven Theatre, Chimera Ensemble, and Step Up Productions where she was an Artistic Associate. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA in Acting.


Manny Ortiz (Technical Director)


Sophie Goddard (Assistant Stage Manager) 



Tara Mallen (Rivendell Artistic Director/ Producer) is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She is the 2017 3Arts William Franklin Grisham Awardee and the 2014 Volunteers of America Silver Star Awardee. Most recently Mallen was seen onstage in The Cake for which she was won the 2018 Jeff Award for “Actor in a Principal Role”. In 2016, she performed in the world premiere production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat at Arena Stage. Prior to that she was in Rivendell’s world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in the Steppenwolf for Young Audience’s production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. One of Rivendell’s founding members, Tara has now produced and acted in over thirty productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for work in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for her work in My Simple City. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion; Empire (Fox); Boss (Starz); Chicago Fire (NBC); Doubt (CBS/Sony Pictures pilot); Chicago P.D. (NBC); Sense8 (Netflix) and the independent feature FOOLS. Tara co-conceived and directed the world premiere of WOMEN AT WAR, directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (co-production with Stageworks/ Hudson); and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.

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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