Rivendell Theatre Ensemble proudly presents the world premiere
By Lisa Dillman
Directed by Megan Carney
April 17, 2009
Presented as part of the Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative
A scholarly young woman must confront the issue of her mother's untimely death and the possible consequences of her own complicated inheritance in this time-bending play about the elusive nature of madness.
To create this world-premiere, ensemble-based work exploring women and madness and the link to creative genius, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble worked with a variety of individuals and organizations from around the country.
The project was conceived in 2004 when a Rivendell ensemble member found a book called Voices Behind the Walls: Women of the Asylum, a collection of personal stories from women incarcerated in asylums between 1840 and 1940.
Commissioned by RTE in 2005, it had been developed through ongoing workshops and retreats over the past four years.
(1105 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL)
Lacy Campbell as Carrie
Lacy is delighted to make her Rivendell debut. She was most recently seen as Helena in Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she also appeared in Troilus and Cressida. Other credits include The House of Yes (Will Act for Food); several projects with Redmoon Theater including Twilight Orchard and Loves Me…Loves Me Not; The Nose (Greasy Joan & Co.); The Well of the Saints (Irish Repertory of Chicago); and The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet (Crew of Patches Theatre Company). She frequently performs in That's Weird, Grandma with Barrel of Monkeys, where she is a proud company member. Film and television credits include featured roles on E.R. and Stranger Than Fiction.
Meighan Gerachis as Virginia
Meighan Gerachis has been a company member since 1996. She has performed in Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes; WRENS; My Simple City; Mommapalooza!; The Factory Girls; Indulgences in the Louisville Harem; Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue; and RTE’S Jeff-nominated world-premiere production of The Walls. Meighan was also seen at the Chicago Humanities Festival in (fellow ensemble member) Lisa Dillman's Shady Meadows. She filmed What's Wrong with Virginia, written and directed by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black. Meighan is currently performing in the RTE world-premiere of Madeleine George's Precious Little at the Storefront Theatre.
Tara Mallen as Alice
An actor, director and producer, Tara is a founding member and the Artistic Director for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Most recently, she was seen in Rivendell’s Jeff Nominated production of CROOKED in Rivendell's brand new theater in Edgewater.
Tara also performed in the RTE Jeff Nominated productions of THE WALLS and SELF DEFENSE, OR THE DEATH OF SOME SALESMEN (both part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Theater Initiative). The cast of SELF DEFENSE was also honored with a 2005 After Dark award for Best Ensemble. Also for Rivendell, Tara has both produced and acted in TWENTY-SEVEN WAGONS FULL OF COTTON, TEN TINY FINGERS, NINE TINY TOES, WRENS, MY SIMPLE CITY, HOLY DAYS, MOMMAPALOOZA!, THE CLINK, THE FACTORY GIRLS, FAULKNER’S BICYCLE, THE TRESTLE AT POPELICK CREEK, and INDULGENCES IN THE LOUISVILLE HAREM.
Tara received a Joseph Jefferson award for Best Supporting actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as well as for being a part of the Jeff award winning ensemble for that production. She was nominated the following year for Best Actress in a Principal Role for her work in MY SIMPLE CITY. Tara has directed the Jeff Nominated Midwest premieres of 26 MILES by Quiara Alegria Hudes, FIGHTING WORDS by Sunil Kuruvilla, PSALMS OF A QUESTIONABLE NATURE by Marisa Wegerzyn, the co-production of ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE with Stageworks/Hudson (in Hudson, NY) as well as the brief and brilliant SHADY MEADOWS by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival. She appeared in Stephen Soderbergh’s film CONTAGION, the hit STARZ series BOSS featuring Kelsey Grammer, and in the upcoming NBC drama, CHICAGO FIRE.
Tara graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Theatre Arts from Brooklyn College.
Danica Ivancevic as Jane
Danica is delighted and honored to be making her debut with Rivendell with such a talented group of women. She was last seen as Ruth Snyder in Not Enough Air at Timeline Theatre. Additional Chicago credits include; Esther in Dolly West's Kitchen at Timeline; Gina in Theatre Mir’s Prisoner's Dilemma; Uma Productions’ Faith Healer, which earned her a Jeff Citation for her work as Grace; Steppenwolf's production of Butcher of Barboo and Kid Simple at American Theatre Company; and Timeline Line Theatre’s production of Hannah and Martin, which earned her a Jeff Citation for her work as Elfride Heiddeger. She has a BFA in Acting from DePaul University.
Mierka Girten as Lucy
Mark Ulrich as Vance Chudman & Others
Mark Ulrich has been a Rivendell Theatre Ensemble member since 2008. RTE acting credits include Silence; the Ottawa, Illinois, production of These Shining Lives, and the Jeff-nominated The Walls. Mark worked as assistant director on Rivendell's Psalms Of A Questionable Nature, and he directed their Jeff Award- and After Dark Award-winning Mary's Wedding. Mark will soon be appearing in Rivendell's production of Falling: A Wake at their new permanent theatrical home in the Edgewater neighborhood. Mark has appeared locally at The Goodman, Northlight, Writer's Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists, among others. This year Mark directed A.R. Gurney's Sylvia, at Millwaukee's Next Act Theatre. There, he also appeared in their production of Vigil. Mark appeared in Abigail's Party at A Red Orchid Theatre, The Sins Of Sor Juana at The Goodman, Four Places at Next Act Theatre, In The Next Room (The Vibrator Play) at Forward Theatre. Upcoming credits include Mauritius at Artist's Ensemble, and a return to Madison, Wisconsin, for a production of Moonlight And Magnolias.
John Zinn as Plaid Cranston & Others
John was Associate Artistic Director for storefront favorite Uma, and his Uma stage credits include The Violet Hour, The Pool of Bethesda, Why They Invented Dancing (also New York Fringe Festival), and Moment: Three Days of Rain/The Author's Voice. He is also a company member at Collaboraction, where he has acted in Sketchbook three times (including this year). In Chicago, John has acted with Signal (The Weir-Jeff Nomination, Best Ensemble), Timeline, Chicago Dramatists, The Side Project, National Pastime and Victory Gardens, among others, and has done numerous voice-overs. Film credits include Baby on Board, Into It and the acclaimed short The Fifth Horseman. John has an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School/DePaul University and is Marketing Director at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Ashley Neal as Tabitha / Woman in Yellow / Orderly
Ashley has been a member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble for 7 years. During that time she has appeared in Be Aggressive, Expecting Isabel, The Walls, These Shining Lives, and most recently 26 Miles. As a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and having worked with numerous theatre companies throughout Chicago, Ashley is proud to call Chicago her home — and Rivendell her family!
LISA DILLMAN’s produced plays include Detail of a Larger Work (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ground (Humana Festival/Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Walls (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble/Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative); Half of Plenty (American Theatre Company; Summer Play Festival-SPF; Rogue Machine); and Flung (American Theatre Company). Rock Shore was presented in the 2003 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. American Wee-Pie was developed in the Goodman Theatre’s inaugural Playwrights Unit, and workshopped in the 2011 PlayPenn Conference and at the William Inge Center. Dillman has developed her plays at theatres across the U.S., including ACT (A Contemporary Theatre), Victory Gardens, Huntington Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Women’s Project, and many others. She has received commissions from Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, the Chicago Humanities Festival, Imagination Theatre, and Dramatic Publishing Company. She has received two Illinois Arts Council fellowships, the Sprenger-Lang New History Play Prize, the Morton R. Sarett National Playwriting Award, and the Julie Harris–Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Playwright Award. Her plays are published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing and anthologized in collections from Smith & Kraus, Heinemann, Playscripts Inc., and New Issues Press. In addition to being a member of Rivendell’s ensemble, she is also an artistic associate with Route 66 Theatre Company. She was recently selected for the Women Playwrights Festival and granted a Hedgebrook fellowship.
Director — Megan Carney
Megan Carney is a director, writer and educator in Chicago. She has directed several readings and workshops for RTE and directed the production of Lisa Dillman’s The Walls at the Steppenwolf Garage.
Megan is an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre, where she co-founded About Face Youth Theatre and created original plays with LGBTQ youth and their allies. Her work with AFT resulted in nine years of award-winning programming and plays produced at The Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens and the Theatre Building as well as national tours.
Other oral history and interview-based projects include Let Them Eat Cake, debating same sex marriage as a civil right; Pittsburgh Project Remix, exploring the legacy of the steel industry; [classified], illuminating diversity issues at Virginia Tech; and Open Systems, commemorating five years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, commissioned by Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.
Megan’s work has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, a TCG Observership Grant, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant, and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Her writing on community-based art practices and using theatre to combat racism is published online and in print.
Megan is the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at UIC where she provides education and support for and about amazingly fabulous LGBTQ communities. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech.
Assistant Producer — Zena Vaughn
Zena is excited to be working with the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble on this ground-breaking production of The Walls. During the day, Zena is the Managing Director of Raven Theatre, where she is currently preparing for the run of Hedda Gabler. Zena holds a Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi and is completing her Masters in Non Profit Management at DePaul University. Zena would like to thank Tara for the amazing opportunity, David for the professional and moral support, and Chris for the love.
Scenic Designer — Elvia Moreno
Elvia Moreno has done scenic design for Rivendell’s productions of Mary's Wedding, The Walls, Fighting Words, Silence, Indulgences in the Louisville Harem, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, The Factory Girls, Holy Days, Mommapalooza! and WRENS; the Rivendell/Powertap production of Hamlet; Powertap’s Mr. Roberts; Blue, White and Blood Red at Chase Park Theater; and The Lightkeepers for the Bailiwick’s Pride Series. During the day, Elvia is a professional architect.
Lighting Designer — Diane Fairchild
Diane Fairchild is a proud ensemble member of Rivendell, an Artistic Associate of Next Theatre, and adjunct faculty at The School of the Art Institute. Previous designs for Rivendell include 26 Miles, The Walls, These Shining Lives and Psalms of a Questionable Nature. Other design credits in Chicago include shows at Next, TimeLine, Northlight, Pegasus Players, Neo-Futurists (at Northlight), Redmoon, Infamous Commonwealth, Noble Fool, The Side Project, Wheaton College, and Court Theatre. In New York: The Juilliard School, Dixon Place, The Kitchen, Joyce Soho, HERE, New Georges; Regional: INTIMAN Theatre, Trinity Repertory, Syracuse Stage. Ms. Fairchild holds an MFA in theater design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and she earned her BFA in design and technology for the theater from Wright State University in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
Costume Designer — Kathryn Doebler
Kat is thrilled to be working on The Walls as her first production with Rivendell Theatre. Most recently she designed Stupid Kids for About Face Theatre. Other costume design credits include Third (Apple Tree Theater), The Laramie Project (Dominican University), American Girls Holiday Celebration (American Girl Theater Chicago), and Standing in Mattoon (Leaving Iowa, LLC). She is the Costume Shop Manager at Dominican University and can also be found doing hair and make-up at the Lyric Opera of Chicago during their season.
Sound Designer — Christopher Kriz
Chris works in Chicago as a composer, sound designer and audio engineer. Recent theatre credits include Literally Sexy 2 at Victory Gardens, The Shape of a Girl at Pegasus Players, The Rocks at Side Project Theatre, Aura at Redtwist Theatre, Private Lives at City Lit Theatre, Twelfth Night at Piccolo Theatre, The Illusion with Promethean Theatre, Golda’s Balcony at Pegasus Players and Odin’s Horse with Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. Other recent credits include A Taste of Honey with Shattered Globe Theatre, Glengarry Glen Ross at Redtwist Theatre, bobrauschenbergamerica with Chicago Fusion Theatre and Jitney at Pegasus Players. To read more of his work, please visit www.christopherkriz.com.
Puppet Design/Choreography — Joe Mazza
Joe is honored to be working with Rivendell for the first time. His critically acclaimed solo-pieces The Hyperbolist and What Is Love were featured in the Building Stage’s recent festival of puppetry, "Objects in Motion." He’s been caught stealing on Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, patting a spaniel in Mademoiselle Magazine, and pontificating as Napoleon on the Discovery Channel. Some of his other credits include two solo-shows, The Tiny O of Long and Man and Variations, which received extended runs at Tom Robinson Studio/ Gallery; Aufidius in Coriolanus (Red Tape), Claudius in Hamlet (Delvena Theatre, Boston), Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, and T.L. Shannon in The Night of the Iguana (Theatre Coop, Boston), and several productions at The Opera Company of Boston under Sarah Caldwell. As a playwright, his work has been performed at venues from tavern-vaults to nationally syndicated radio and his latest play, Art and Her Ugly Sisters, is a 2008 Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist.
Props Designer — Caleb Charles McAndrew
This is Caleb's first production with Rivendell Theatre and he is excited to be working on such an ambitious project. His previous work includes Technical Director for Pegasus Players' Shape of a Girl, Teatro Vista's La Posada Magic, The Howmet Playhouse Summer Repertory Theatre, and Northwestern Opera's Bartered Bride. He has also worked for Teatro Vista's Our Lady of the Underpass as PM, for Pegasus Players' Still Life as SM, and for Northwestern Opera's Cosi Fan Tutte and Eugene Onegin as SM. Caleb is also a founding member of the Lawrence Youth Ensemble, a community outreach program in Lawrence Kansas bringing underprivileged youth and adult volunteers together to creatively explore their community and themselves.
Dramaturg — Martha Wade Steketee
Martha was a court researcher and child welfare and domestic violence policy analyst in a past professional life. Steketee been a script reader for Washington, D.C., and Chicago-area theatres, and has dramaturged productions and readings at Chicago theatres including Writers Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists. She has published Chicago theatre reviews at Aislesay.com and mentors young writers in drama criticism in the Cindy Bandle Young Critics program co-directed by the Goodman and Association for Women Journalists Chicago. Steketee sees well over 150 Chicago productions a year, in part due to her active membership on the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. She has been a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas since 2004.
Stage Manager — Stephanie Hurovitz
Stephanie Hurovitz has been stage managing in Chicago since 2003 and she is very happy to have found a home with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She has stage-managed Rivendell’s productions of Falling: A Wake; Precious Little; Mary’s Wedding; The Walls; These Shining Lives (all four incarnations); and assistant stage-managed Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue with Teatro Vista at the Steppenwolf garage. Other theatres that have been lucky enough to have her pass through include: SuzBo Productions (a staged reading of One Is One; Two Is Math at Steppenwolf); Route 66 Theatre Company (A Twist of Water); Pegasus Players (Continental Divide); Lifeline Theatre (Lyle, Lyle Crocodile; The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!; Gaudy Night; Giggle, Giggle Quack; A Long Way From Chicago; and Deep In The Jungle); Bailiwick Reparatory (Sunday on the Rocks); and ASM (Naked Boys Singing); Theatre Building Chicago, where she worked with Hancock Productions (The Brother and ‘Night Mother); Walk-About Theatre Company, in conjunction with Lookingglass (The Coast of Chicago); Collaboraction Theatre Company (Casanova); the (since re-named) International Theatre of Chicago (Safe); Brown Couch Theatre Company (Tempting Fate and Defying Gravity); Reverie Theatre Company (All’s Well That Ends Well); and (since-dissolved) Pywackett Theatre Company (Misery).
Assistant Stage Manager — Keri Godsey-Mack
Keri holds dual BAs from The Ohio State University in Theatre and Humanities. She has been a freelance stage manager in Columbus, Ohio, for over a decade and was a resident SM with Actors’ Theatre for Shakespeare in the Park. Keri moved to Chicago last September and is proud to call Rivendell her third Chicago production. She would like to thank her family for all their love and support and a wonderful cast and crew for all their hard work.