SPAY

By Madison Fiedler
Directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon
Featuring RTE members Rae Gray, Krystel McNeil and Artistic Director Tara Mallen, with Keith Gallagher

Williamson, West Virginia has been aptly nicknamed “Pilliamson” as long as anyone can remember, certainly since the Attridge family’s been around. The now-grown sisters have taken very different paths in the wake of their mother’s overdose. As Harper raises her sister’s child vowing to tread new ground, Noah opts for the old ways and finds herself in all-too-familiar territory.

In Madison Fiedler’s new drama SPAY, cycles of addiction and all notions of autonomy are catapulted into question when a stranger shows up in town with an answer to their prayers– at a certain cost.  Selected from a field of over 150 new plays, SPAY was one of six new plays featured in the 2019 National New Play Network’s Annual Showcase of New Plays in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

SAVE THE DATE!
SPECIAL VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 2021

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Rae Gray (Noah / RTE Member) has been a Rivendell Ensemble member since 2012, and last appeared in Crooked. Other Chicago credits: graveyard shift, The Little Foxes, A Christmas Carol (Goodman); Slowgirl, The Book Thief, Domesticated, Wedding Band (Steppenwolf); King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare); Circle Mirror Transformation (Victory Gardens); North China Lover (Lookingglass); 
The Real Thing (Writers Theatre); Sunday in the Park with George (Ravinia); Inherit the Wind (Northlight); The Crucible, Cry of Players (TimeLine); Oliver, State Fair (Marriott); Meet Me in St. Louis (Drury Lane). Broadway: The Real Thing (Roundabout Theatre). International: The Beacon 
(Druid Theatre/Gate Theatre, IRL). Regional: Queens (La Jolla Playhouse); Slowgirl (Geffen Playhouse). TV: Fear the Walking Dead, Grace and Frankie, For the People, Sea Oak, Boardwalk Empire, Shameless, The Resident, Bull, Adventure Time, Chicago Fire, PD and Med. Film: Slice, I Do…Until I Don’t, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, The Robbery (Sundance Selection), Dismissed. Rae is a graduate of the University of Chicago.


 

 


Krystel McNeil (Harper / RTE Member)
has previously performed in Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s productions of The Cake, Laura and The Sea, and Women at War. Other credits include Timeline Theatre (In The Next Room/Vibrator Play). Windy City Playhouse (BootyCandy), Steppenwolf SYA (The Compass), and Goodman Theatre (Objects In The Mirror). TV/Film credits include: The Chi, NeXt, Soundtrack, Chicago P. D. Proven Innocent, CHI-RAQ, and Gossamer. Krystel is a Graduate of Columbia College Chicago where she received her BA in Acting and Black World Studies.

 

 

 

 

 

Tara Mallen (Aubrey / RTE Artistic Director) is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She was a 2017 3Arts William Franklin Grisham Awardee and the 2014 Volunteers of America Silver Star Awardee. Most recently Mallen was seen onstage in the title role in the world premiere of Kate Tarker’s Laura and The Sea.  Before that she starred in The Cake for which she won the 2018 Jeff Award for Performer 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 Jeff-nominated world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in Steppenwolf’s How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She was part of the ensemble in Rivendell’s world premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and played Jolene Palmer (inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos) in Rivendell’s award winning production of Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen—both productions part of Steppenwolf’s Visiting Theater Initiative.

For Rivendell, Tara has produced and acted in over twenty-five productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth 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. Her screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion opposite Kate Winslet, the Starz series Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, the NBC pilot of Chicago Fire, the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt, the NBC series Chicago P.D. and the Netflix series Sense8 directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. With Rivendell, Tara 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; the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, NY; and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman, as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.

 

 

Keith D. Gallagher (Jackson)
Theatre credits include Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, McCarter, Northlight, Court, and Victory Gardens among others in Chicago and throughout the United States. Television credits include: Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, and Empire. Keith has also appeared in several independent film projects.

 

 

Madison Fiedler (Playwright)

Madison Fiedler is a New York-based, North Carolina-raised playwright. Her work has been developed with BoHo Theatre, Victory Gardens, IRT Theater, Actor’s Express (2019 National Showcase of New Plays) and, most recently, Hudson Guild Theater (New York Theater Festival) and Florida Repertory Theatre in the 2019 PlayLab Festival. Representation: Helen Schultz, A3 Artists Agency. BA: Northwestern University (2019). www.madisonfiedler.net

 

 

 

Hallie Gordon (Ensemble member and Director) has directed Eat Your Heart Out, Dry Land, and Cal and Camo for Rivendell Theatre. Hallie is currently the Artistic Director Steppenwolf for Young Adults/Artistic Producer at Steppenwolf, along with selecting the young adult season, Hallie has directed the following for Steppenwolf Theatre: HIR, The Rembrandt the world premiere of Animal Farm, The Book Thief, along with To Kill A Mockingbird, the world premiere of The House on Mango Street, and Harriet Jacobs adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A new premier of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond which won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, This production also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. For Writers Theater  Smart People, Eclipsed for Northlight Theatre and has directed staged readings for The Goodman Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. And is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Achievement Award.

 

 

Production Team
Lucia Lombardi (Artistic Producer) has over forty years of experience in both the commercial and not for profit theatre communities. Her national touring credits include The Lion King, Billy Elliot, Love Loss and What I Wore and Scrooge The Musical. Here in Chicago she has worked at the Broadway Playhouse, the Drury Lane Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Briar Street Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Porchlight, the Ivanhoe Theatre, the Body Politic Theatre, the Organic Theatre Company, the Remains Theatre Company and Friends of the Zoo.

Catherine Yu (Dramaturg) 
Catherine Yu is a writer of plays and librettos. She has been a 2016 NYSCA/NYFA fellow, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Soho Rep W/D Lab writer and a New York Theatre Workshop Emerging Artist of Color. Her short plays have been commissioned by 52nd Street Project, Two Headed Rep and Planned Parenthood among others. Her one-act “A Sand Romance” was a 2016 Heidman Award finalist. Her arts writing has been published by Hyperallergic. She has served as a grants panelist for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Brooklyn Arts Council. As an educator, she has been a volunteer GED tutor for prison inmates, an ESL tutor in China and is currently a tutor to elementary school children. In her spare time, she volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and script reads for regional theaters. BA: Stanford University. MFA: New York University.

Miranda Anderson (Production Manager) is excited to be working again with Rivendell! Recent Chicago credits include productions with The House Theatre, The Hypocrites, TimeLine Theatre, First Folio Theatre, Steppenwolf and Lookingglass. Regional credits include touring with The Hypocrites’ Gilbert and Sullivan productions to Olney Theatre Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Skirball Center at NYU, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and American Repertory Theatre. Miranda is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Brit Cooper Robinson (Community Engagement)

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 won the 2018 Jeff Award for Performer 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 Jeff nominated world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in Steppenwolf’s How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She was part of the ensemble in Rivendell’s world premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and played Jolene Palmer (inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos) in Rivendell’s award winning production of Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen—both productions part of Steppenwolf’s Visiting Theater Initiative. For Rivendell, Tara has produced and acted in over twenty-five productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth 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. Her screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion opposite Kate Winslet, the Starz series Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, the NBC pilot of Chicago Fire, the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt, the NBC series Chicago P.D. and the Netflix series Sense8 directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. With Rivendell, Tara 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; the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, NY; and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.

Catherine Painter (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) Catherine Painter, after serving as Rivendell’s grant writer for six years, joined the company as Managing Director in 2020. She is also Executive Director of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and Development Consultant to Praize Productions Inc. She is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois – Chicago Certificate in Non-Profit Management Program where she teaches classes on Individual Giving and Strategic Leadership. Previously, she consulted with the American Indian Association, Trinity Irish Dance Company, and independent artists, and worked with Victory Gardens Theater, Merit School of Music, Northlight Theatre, and Latin School of Chicago. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Northwestern University. 

Spay production photos are courtesy of Nathanael Filbert and feature ensemble members Rae Gray and Krystel McNeil.

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