Hungry to watch the plays? Rivendell will be hosting a public reading of all of the Solo Voices plays when we’re able to gather in the theater once again. Until then, we appreciate you engaging with the artistic conversations that took place during our digital workshop.
Take a peek!
by Kristin Idaszak Directed by RTE member Kristen Osborn Performed by RTE member Paula Ramirez
A struggling detective novelist recently read a self-help book about how to be happy. Actually, it’s about how to tidy. As she cleans her house, the novelist excavates her own personal history, and the history of the planet. Tidy examines the holes in our lives that we try to fill through consumption, and how we decide what to keep and what to leave behind. Who and what will survive the sixth mass extinction? And will it spark joy?
Kristin Idaszak, a two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, has received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. She was the Shank Playwright in Residence at the Goodman Theatre and a member of the 2017-2018 Goodman Playwrights Unit. Idaszak has received commissions from EST/The Sloan Foundation, Cleveland Play House, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. She was the Kennedy Center Fellow at the Sundance Theatre Lab. Idaszak is the Artistic Director of Cloudgate Theatre and previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Literary Manager of Caffeine Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of Collaboraction. Idaszak is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and teaches at The Theatre School at DePaul University and Northwestern University. MFA: UC San Diego. kristinidaszak.com
Kristen Osborn – Director RTE Ensemble Member and Artistic Associate
Kristen Osborn is a Chicago-based director and theatre maker who is passionate about sparking compassion through storytelling. Currently, Kristen is an ensemble member and artistic associate and outreach coordinator at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, and the literary manager and casting associate at Northlight Theatre. She is the founder and producing artistic director of JoyistLA. Directing credits include Sam Chanse’s the opportunities of extinction, Eugene O’Neill’s Fog, JoyistLA’s First Embrace, and an original adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Lift. Assistant directing credits include Henry IV, (dir. Daniel Sullivan, Shakespeare Center LA,) The Scene (dir. Kimberly Senior, Writers Theatre,) Mother of the Maid (dir. BJ Jones, Northlight Theatre,) The Cake (dir. Lauren Shouse, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble,) Choir Boy (dir. Trip Cullman, Geffen Playhouse), Fighting Shadows (dir. Robert Egan, Inner-City Arts.) She is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. www.kristenosborn.com
Paula Ramirez – Performer RTE Ensemble Member
Paula is thrilled to be working on Tidy: a play about mass extinction as part of the Solo Voices project with Rivendell Theatre, where she is an ensemble member and was last seen in their world premiere productions of The Tasters and Laura and the Sea. Originally from Venezuela, Paula has spent the last two years touring the country performing scripted and improvised material as a Sexual Assault Prevention Educator with Catharsis Productions. Other Chicago stage credits include Second Skin (Wildclaw), Women at War (Rivendell Theatre), Another Word for Beauty (Goodman Theatre; ensemble + u/s), Fefu and her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Theatre as part of the Latino Theatre Festival), Heat Wave (CBD/Steppenwolf Garage), PUTAS!, Crossed, GL2010 and Gen Sex (Teatro Luna). Recent TV/Film credits include Mixtape (Netflix), Chicago Fire (NBC) and Brujos (OTV).
Sarah Slight – Dramaturg
Sarah Slight is the Artistic Programs Manager at Northlight Theatre and a freelance dramaturg. Most recent dramaturgy credits include the world premieres of The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, dir. Jessica Thebus (Northlight Theatre), First Love is the Revolution by Rita Kalnejais, dir. Devon de Mayo (Steep Theatre), The Burn by Philip Dawkins, dir. Devon de Mayo (Steppenwolf Theatre, SYA), and Welcome to Jesus by Janine Nabers, dir. Will Davis (American Theater Company). Alongside Jess McLeod, she is the co-adapator of a condensed version of The Project(s) by PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger, which toured through Chicago Public Schools and three conferences in 2017. For five years, Sarah served as a producer, literary manager and dramaturg at American Theater Company. She has also worked as a literary associate at Williamstown Theatre Festival and literary manager at Red Eye Theatre in Minneapolis. MFA Columbia University, BS University of Evansville.
Yu Shibagaki – Scenic Design Consultant
Yu Shibagaki is a Chicago and NYC based set designer, born and raised in Japan. Recent Chicago credits include School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Goodman Theatre); Her honor Jane Byrne (Lookingglass Theatre Company); The Brother Size (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); X (Sideshow Theatre); How To Defend Yourself, Cambodian Rock Band, Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theatre); Witch, Vietgone (Writers Theatre); Mansfield Park (Northlight Theatre); The Father (Remy Bumppo Theatre) and more. Regional credits include Cambodian Rock Band (Merrimack Repertory Theater, City Theatre Company); Pride and Prejudice (Heritage Theater Festival); and Engaging Shaw, Maids, The Island, The Year of Magical Thinking (American Players Theatre).
In this video excerpt, Tara Mallen, Rivendell’s Artistic Director, and Lisa Dillman, Rivendell’s Literary Director and Solo Voices Festival Dramaturg, discuss Tidy with playwright Kristin Idaszak, director Kristen Osborn, dramaturg Sarah Slight, performer Paula Ramirez, and scenic designer Yu Shibagaki.
Imagining what could be: Scenic Design Discussion
Peruse this gallery of Yu Shibagaki’s research images and initial renderings for Kristin Idaszak’s Tidy, then check out the discussion between Yu and the Tidy creative team!
In this video excerpt, scenic designer Yu Shibagaki discusses Tidy with playwright Kristin Idaszak, director Kristen Osborn, and dramaturg Sarah Slight.
What’s On Our Desk: Tidy Creative Team
Kristin Idaszak – Playwright
I’m so lucky. About a year ago, I was able to design my dream office, and this is it. My typewriter is my wedding gift from my partner. It’s a manifestation of his constant support and faith in me and my writing. Next to that is a postcard of Georgia O’Keefe’s “Sky Above Clouds.” The painting hangs in the art institute, and it’s been my favorite painting for 20 years.
The thank you note is from my students. They transcribed a quote from Sarah Ruhl, writing about her mentor Paula Vogel. “Teaching is unbounded by the classroom. Just as love is unbounded by time.” How beautiful and freeing to be unbounded while I’m unable to leave my house.
The framed image is a card that reads, “It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” It’s a reminder to me that craft is always there for me.
The Himalayan salt lamp and selenite wand provide clarity, as does my journal. And you can see that there’s also a globe nearby. I sit next to a window and love looking out at the sky. My favorite color is green, and the intense green of my walls, notebook, and globe contrast with the sky’s ever-changing moods. It fills me with profound peace and gratitude in these turbulent times.
Kristen Osborn – Director
This desk didn’t always live in my bedroom. It was recently squeezed into the space between my bed and wall because I needed a second workspace in my
apartment so that my partner and I could shelter-in-place together. The desk, like the partner and the sheltering-in-place, is a fairly new addition to my life. It’s an antique (sized for a child,) with a mismatched chair and if you look closely you’ll see it has “Tony” inscribed upon it by some mischievous prior owner.
Who is Tony? I’ll never know. Perhaps you should ask Tara Mallen because she gave the desk to me–or rather, in a classic Tara move, loaded it into my car despite my emphatic objection that I didn’t need a desk and couldn’t actually fit it in my tiny apartment. I have to admit that I am now very grateful to have it.
As for the objects that surround me while I work: a smiley face coffee mug my mom gifted me after a trip. A plant I have miraculously managed to keep alive, interwoven with tiny lights that remind me of fireflies. An imperfectly repaired bowl my sister brought me from Prague that I broke when I moved to Chicago and packed it recklessly in a shipping box. A photo of my grandmother, Vera, a woman so deeply interwoven into the fabric of my being. And of course, the essentials of our Solo Voices Zoom process: an illegibly scribbled upon notepad, my laptop, and Kristin Idaszak’s thrilling and continually-evolving draft of Tidy.
Paula Ramirez – Performer
This is a quick shot of my work space in Chicago that was hastily snapped right before getting in my car with my partner to drive eight hours to my parents’ house.
We wanted to have access to more nature and space during the remainder of the stay at home orders (if you’ve read this play, you’ll know the parallels are…strong).
Here you can see one of the hand bound journals that never leave my side – they store all my personal thoughts as well as notes from any current artistic process,a (dying) hand picked flower in a make-shift vase of a beer bottle brought back from a trip to Costa Rica, my (obsessive) pen collection (many…most… are erasable, the PERFECT way to avoid messy pencil blurs in scripts while still being able to change notes as needed), and my roommate‘s bizarre animatronic dinosaur that lives next to our desk. In a strange turn of events, it happened to be the perfect thing to have next to my desk while working on this play.
Also, if you look closely, you can see the sheen of the just-used-Clorox-wipe remains smiling back at you.
Sarah Slight – Dramaturg
My work area is at one end of my dining room table. It gives me a prime view of most of the main floor of the house, so I can see what my kids are up to while I work. Also pictured are my notebook (I’d get nothing done without it), my favorite water cup (a wide-mouth Lagunitas jar), wrist braces (so much computer time),
and the schedule I make for the kids each day. It carefully plots out when they play, do school, and go outside, all so I can figure out when I work.
Yu Shibagaki – Scenic Design Consultant
Right now, I am temporarily in Dodgeville, Wisconsin while quarantining. My desk is pretty simple. Laptop, mouse, portable printer, journal book, clear tape, wireless earphone, drop candy, scissors (in a glass cup, OLFA knife, exacto knife, plier, ruler, brush and brass rod.
Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
Office: 5775 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660