Upcoming Theatre

AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to launch its 2017-18 season with 1984, a chilling view of a world controlled by a totalitarian government, based on George Orwell’s classic novel, adapted for the stage by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles and directed by Artistic Director Robert Tobin*. 1984 will play September 14 – October 8, 2017 at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129. 
 
1984 features Ray Kasper* as Winston Smith, Sarah Lo as Julia, Amy Kasper* as O’Brien, Alexandra Bennett* as Parsons and Tim Larson* as Syme with Lauren Demerath, Lorraine Freund, Rory Jobst and Nora Lise Ulrey.
 
Based on the novel by George Orwell, 1984 is a terrifying and breathtaking view of a world controlled by a totalitarian government. Orwell asks what is left when freedom of speech, the press, love, and even the past are subject to authoritarian whims? Big Brother is watching. A theatrical event that is both powerful and disturbingly provocative.
 
The production team for 1984 includes: Jeremiah Barr* (scenic design, props design, technical director), Aja Wiltshire* (costume design), Samantha Barr* (lighting design, sound design, production manager), Robert Tobin* (projection/video design), Ian Harris and Sara Pavlak McGuire* (voice overs), Matthew Hahn (dramaturg), Dana Anderson* (asst. director) and Heather Branham Green (stage manager).
 
*Denotes AstonRep Company Members.
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
Title: 1984
Adapted by: Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles
From the novel by: George Orwell
Directed by: Artistic Director Robert Tobin
Cast: Alexandra Bennett* (Parsons), Lauren Demerath (Ensemble), Lorraine Freund (Landlady), Rory Jobst (Martin, Ensemble), Amy Kasper* (O’Brien), Ray Kasper* (Winston Smith), Tim Larson* (Syme), Sarah Lo (Julia) and Nora Lise Ulrey (Ensemble).
 
Location: The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Preview: Thursday, September 14 at 8 pm
Regular run: Saturday, September 16 – Sunday, October 8, 2017
Curtain Times: Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3:30 pm
Tickets: Regular run: $20. Student/seniors $15. Tickets are currently available at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129.

 

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2017-18 Season, kicking off this fall with 1984, a chilling view of a world controlled by a totalitarian government, based on George Orwell’s classic novel, adapted for the stage by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles and directed by Artistic Director Robert Tobin. This winter, the season continues with a FESTIVAL OF ONE ACTS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, celebrating one of the 20th century's greatest writers. AstonRep's season concludes next summer with THE LARAMIE PROJECT, a community's deeply-moving response to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, written by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project and directed by Associate Artistic Director Derek Bertelsen. The 2017-18 season will also include the 9th ANNUAL WRITERS’ SERIES, a daylong festival of workshops from talented local and regional writers. 
 
1984 and THE LARAMIE PROJECT will be staged at AstonRep’s artistic home, The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Venues for the FESTIVAL ONE ACTS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS and WRITER’S SERIES will be announced shortly. Tickets for all productions will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit www.astonrep.com.
 
September 14 – October 8, 2017
1984
Adapted by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall Jr. & William A. Miles Jr. 
From the novel by George Orwell
Directed by Artistic Director Robert Tobin 
at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago
 
Based on the novel by George Orwell, 1984 is a terrifying and breathtaking view of a world controlled by a totalitarian government. Orwell asks what is left when freedom of speech, the press, love, and even the past are subject to authoritarian whims? Big Brother is watching. A theatrical event that is both powerful and disturbingly provocative.
 
Fall 2017
9TH ANNUAL WRITERS’ SERIES
Location to be announced.
 
A festival of talented local and regional writers who have an opportunity to workshop near-finished plays and works in development. Over the course of a day, five to seven new works are read by professional actors followed by focused talkback sessions – a time-honored celebration of artistic collaboration.
 
Winter 2018
FESTIVAL OF ONE ACTS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
Location to be announced.
 
AstonRep presents classic favorites and rarely seen works by one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers.
 
June 7 – July 8, 2018
THE LARAMIE PROJECT
at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago
 
The Laramie Project presents a deeply complex portrait of a community’s response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming. In a series of poignant reflections, the residents of Laramie react to the hate crime and surrounding media storm with anger, bewilderment and sorrow. The play portrays the seismic and deeply personal impact Matthew’s death had on this small town while also demonstrating the power of the human spirit to triumph over bigotry and violence. As we near the twentieth anniversary, Matthew Shepard’s story still reverberates, urging us on with its clarion call to confront the destructive power of bullying and hate, in all forms.
 
About the Directors
 
Robert Tobin (1984) is the Artistic Director of AstonRep Theatre Company and has been involved in some capacity with every one of AstonRep’s 19 productions. Recent directing credits with AstonRep include the Chicago Premieres of The Women of Lockerbie and The Water’s Edge, The Dumbwaiter/In The Moment, The Lover and The Erpingham Camp. In Chicago, Robert has worked as an actor, playwright and/or director with companies including Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, First Folio, Oak Park Festival Theatre and Redtwist, among many others. Regionally, he has worked with the Utah, Colorado and Montana Shakespeare Festivals, Festival 56, The MET Theatre (Los Angeles) and the Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles), among others. As a playwright, he has had several critically acclaimed plays produced in Chicago, Los Angeles and regionally and recently won Best Literary Adaptation as part of the City Lit Theatre’s “Art of Adaptation” Festival.
 
Derek Bertelsen (The Laramie Project) currently serves as Associate Artistic Director for AstonRep Theatre Company. Previous directing credits with AstonRep include Eleemosynary (co-director with Jeremiah Barr), The Black Slot, The Lyons, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Wit, Next Fall and Doubt. Other Chicago directing credits include Prelude To A Kiss, Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love (The Comrades, where is serves as Artistic Director), Design for Living, The Children’s Hour (Pride Films & Plays), God of Carnage, The Dinner Party (BrightSide Theater). Regional credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs (Festival 56), The Wizard of Oz (Shawnee Summer Theater), and five seasons at Timber Lake Playhouse including Rumors, Boeing-Boeing, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. Assistant directing credits include RACE (Goodman), Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Bailiwick Chicago).
 
About AstonRep Theatre Company:
AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 19 full-length productions and sevn annual Writers’ Series. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

AstonRep Theatre Company will conclude its 2016-17 mainstage season with the Tony-nominated drama TIME STANDS STILL by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies, directed by Georgette Verdin, playing May 11 – June 11, 2017 at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 1, 2017 at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129. 

 

TIME STANDS STILL will feature Rob Frankel, Sara Pavlak McGuire, Kirra Silver and Robert Tobin.

 

TIME STANDS STILL focuses on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life. TIME STANDS STILL is a witty, intelligent look at what happens when ordinary life is refracted through the lens of war.

 

The production team for TIME STANDS STILL includes: Jeremiah Barr* (scenic design), Arielle Valene (costume design), Samantha Barr* (lighting design), Ray Kasper* (sound design), Matthew Nerber (asst. director) and Melanie Kulas (stage manager).

 

*Denotes AstonRep Company Members.

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: TIME STANDS STILL

Playwright: Donald Margulies

Director: Georgette Verdin

Cast: Rob Frankel (Richard Ehrlich), Sara Pavlak McGuire (Sarah Goodwin), Kirra Silver (Mandy Bloom) and Robert Tobin (James Dodd).

 

Location: The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, May 11 at 8 pm and Friday, May 12 at 8 pm

Press performance: Saturday, May 13 at 8 pm

Regular run: Sunday, May 14 – Sunday, June 11, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3:30 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular run: $20. Student/seniors $15. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 1, 2017 at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129.

 

About the Artists

 

Donald Margulies' (Playwright) plays include Brooklyn Boy, Dinner with Friends, Sight Unseen, Collected Stories, The Loman Family Picnic, God Of Vengeance, The Model Apartment, What's Wrong with this Picture? and Found a Peanut. He has won a Lucille Lortel Award, an American Theatre Critics Award, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards, two OBIE Awards, two Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Awards, five Drama Desk Award nominations, two Pulitzer Prize nominations and one Pulitzer Prize. His works have been performed on and off Broadway; at major theatres across the U.S. including South Coast Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Long Wharf Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival; and in Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Sydney, Berlin, Vienna and many other cities around the world. Mr. Margulies is an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on the council of The Dramatists Guild of America. He is an adjunct professor of English and Theatre Studies at Yale University.

 

Georgette Verdin (Director) is thrilled to be working with Aston Rep for the first time. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Interrobang Theatre Project, as well as the founding theatre teacher at Polaris Charter Academy, an Expeditionary Learning School in West Humboldt Park. Recent directing credits include: Interrobang's Jeff Recommended Recent Tragic Events and their production of the 2013 Yale Drama Series Winner Still. Georgette holds a Masters in Directing from Roosevelt University and a B.A. in Theatre Performance from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. 

 

About AstonRep Theatre Company:

 

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 18 full-length productions and eight annual Writer’s Series.  AstonRep is an ensemble of artists creating theatre to move and engage our audiences and spark discussion through new works and re-imagined classics in an intimate setting.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 00:00

Review: "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

What a thrill to see a costume piece with moderately contemporary dialog. Charles Hampton's adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" premiered during the height of theatrical decedance in the 1980s. Razor sharp wit borrowed from Laclos' 18th century epistolary novel about sexual conquest among bored aristocrats make this an extremely titillating and provocative piece. Just reading the text is tickling enough. The play garnered critical praise on Broadway, and was followed by an even more successful film starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich.

AshtonRep bites off a bit more than they can chew with their current production at the Raven Theatre in Edgewater. The problem with this production is casting. The role of the conniving Marquise de Merteuil is played with cool dignity by Sarah Pavlak McGuire, her composed cruelty is fascinating to watch. Unbalanced co-star and AshtonRep founder Robert Tobin takes up the role of Valmont. It's imperative that Valmont be a suave casanova, one who ebbs sex appeal. Tobin is neither. He also tends to misplace the dialog. He often delivers his lines with a confusing modern inflection on purposefully crafted antiquated phrasing.

Director Charlie Marie McGrath makes an interesting choice by changing the time period from pre-revolutionary France to pre-revolutionary Russia. Though, for what reason? Hampton's script leaves the audience with a powerful image conjured by projecting the silhouette of a guillotine on the background. It feels like a missed opportunity not to give this play the full depth it needs. The staging is well-conceived, running with the idea of a chamber drama, having the curtains drawn to accent scenes like storybook chapters.

All in all, AshtonRep presents a faithful production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." It's an ambitious play for an emerging theatre company to take on, but there is a great deal of chemistry between the female ensemble here. Hampton's script is sturdy and holds up well in an era in which most people are more familiar with the teenage re-telling "Cruel Intentions."

Through June 21st. The West Stage at Raven Theatre Complex. 6157 N Clark St. 773-828-9129

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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