Chicago (June 26, 2012)-Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar and Executive Director Jason Held are pleased to announce the world premiere of WHAT'S THE T? by Sara Kerastas and the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, directed by Eric Hoff. The press opening is Friday, July 20th at 7:30pm at the Red Tape Theatre (621 West Belmont Ave, 2nd fl).
Internet personality/trans activist/ fierce community leader Ms. Ma uses her YouTube page to create community, live glamour, and spread the good word about queer safe spaces in Chicago. WHAT'S THE T tells the story of Ms. Ma's tangled web of connections, her struggle to stay positive, and what happens to her community when she disappears. Inspired by issues of race, gender, age and class in Boystown, WHAT'S THE T is based on true stories and interviews from LGBTQA youth and adults in and around Chicago.
The production team includes scenic and properties designer Tom Slazinski, costume designer Mieka van der Ploeg, lighting designer Jeff Glass, sound designer Erik Roldan, choreographer Nic K, producer Michael Holtzman and stage manager Ellen Willett.
"There's a whole storyline in the play that takes place on the Internet - with two people documenting their lives through YouTube videos, and ultimately building a relationship in that digital elusive space," says playwright, Sara Kerastas. This play is so right now. The story speaks to how we communicate right now. How we build, how we own, and how we use space right now."
After completing its run at Red Tape Theatre, the About Face Youth Ensemble will perform WHAT'S THE T? at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen for three performances on Friday, Aug 3 and Saturday Aug 4. By facilitating the engagement of Chicago's youth communities, About Face seeks to spark dialogue, forge connections and fulfill its social justice approach to theater-making.
The About Face Youth Theatre (AFYT) was created in 1998 as a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and allied young people to become activists and theatre-makers. Youth participants engage in a two-year process of sharing stories, conducting interviews, writing a script, and developing performances to create a full-length production that is produced in About Face Theatre's mainstage season. WHAT'S THE T began with the theme of trans identity, but after year-one, the youth ensemble chose to take it a step further by using this theme to address the significant tensions arising in the queer community. As such, the play looks at issues of race, gender, class and age in the queer community, with trans characters at the heart of the story. For 13 years, the Youth Theatre has sought changes within the larger community through innovative thought, dialogue, and performance. AFYT hopes to move their ensemble from positions of marginalization into positions of inclusion and power.
WHAT'S THE T? runs from July 13 through 29 at Red Tape Theatre, located at 621 W. Belmont Ave. Shows are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Additional performances are at the National Museum of Mexican Art on Friday, Aug 3 at 7pm and Saturday, Aug 4 at 3pm & 7pm. For tickets, visit aboutfacetheatre.com or call (866) 811-4111.
Sara Kerastas (Playwright) is the Education Programs director for About Face Theatre, where she manages the Education Outreach program and the Queer Youth Theatre. She is also an Artistic Associate with AFT. Across Canada, she has directed with Pi Theatre, The Havana, Le Cagibi, F4L Productions and ThÃ©Ãƒï¿½tre Ste. Catherine. In 2010 she received a Windy City Times 30-Under-30 Award for her leadership within and contributions to Chicago's LGBT community. Sara is a regular storyteller and former Associate Artistic Director of 2nd Story, and will be published in their new anthology with Elephant Rock Books. She received her B.A. in English-Drama & Theatre and Women's Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
Eric Hoff (Director) is a proud Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre. He is thrilled to join AFYT in askingWhat's the T?. For About Face, Eric co-produced 2011's city-wide The Woyzeck Project in partnership with the Hypocrites, for which he directed Woyzeck of Sarajevo (The Inconvenience) and assistant directed Pony. At the Steppenwolf Garage Rep, he directed Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience) which will have an additional run this summer at Theatre on the Lake. His upcoming work includes The Skriker at Red Tape Theatre and The American Mythology Project: Genesis with The Accidentals, an experimental troupe he co-founded in New York City.
About Face Theatre is one of Chicago's most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding in 1995, the company has premiered more than 30 new plays by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.
Landmark world premieres include Doug Wright's Pulitzer and Tony-winning I Am My Own Wife; our current production Immediate Family by Paul Oakley Stovall (directed by Phylicia Rashad); The Homosexuals by Philip Dawkins (directed by Bonnie Metzgar); The Kid Thing by Sarah Gubbins (co-production with Chicago Dramatists); MoisÃ©s Kaufman's production of Tennessee Williams' One Arm; Mary Zimmerman's M. Proust,
In addition to its award-winning mainstage performances, About Face is known nationally for its groundbreaking Youth Theatre (AFYT), which creates critically acclaimed new work by and about LGBTQ youth and their allies. Through its workshops, interaction residencies and outreach tour, About Face Youth Theatre changes the lives of thousands of young people each year.
About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.
About Face Theatre presents
WHAT'S THE T?
By Sara Kerastas and the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Directed by Eric Hoff
July 13-29, 2012
Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 3pm
Red Tape Theatre
621 W. Belmont Ave, 2nd floor
Special Southside shows:
Aug 3 at 7pm, Aug 4 at 3pm and 7pm
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th Street
$25 Youth Supporter/ $15 adult/ $5 Students
Visit aboutfacetheatre.com or call 866-811-4111 for tickets