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Promethean's 14th season to explore status of women, societies past, imagined
2019-07-17

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The rights and roles of women in society will be examined in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 2019-20 season via three plays all penned or adapted by women. The first two will revisit the early years of women's suffrage in late 19thCentury Great Britain, while the season closer will imagine a totally new society set some time and place in the future.

The company will open its new season with the Chicago premiere of BLUE STOCKINGS — a drama of the first females admitted to Cambridge University in 1896 and the obstacles they faced as students. BLUE STOCKINGS was the first play written by Jessica Swale, author of NELL GWYNN, which was seen in 2018 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Charles Spencer of London's THE GUARDIAN, in reviewing the world premiere of BLUE STOCKINGS at London's Globe Theatre, said "Jessica Swale tells the story with both wit and a hint of righteous indignation.

"BLUE STOCKINGS will be directed for Promethean by Spenser Davis, a 2017 Jeff Award winner for his direction of AT THE TABLE by Broken Nose Theatre, where he is Director of Programming. BLUE STOCKINGS will be performed at The Den Theatre from September 13 — October 13, 2019.

George Bernard Shaw's satirical take on the limited opportunities for women in late 19th Century British society - MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION — will be performed in a brand-new world premiere adaptation by Melanie Spewock. One of Shaw's earliest plays, it is representative of Shaw's gift for delivering biting social criticism with humor. Michael D. Graham, the former Artistic Director of Piccolo Theatre who will helm the Chicago premiere of CASA VALENTINA at Pride Films and Plays in August, will direct. MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION will be performed at Otherworld Theatre from Feb 28-Mar 29, 2020.

The season will close with the world premiere of A TOWN CALLED PROGRESS by Chicago playwright Trina Kakacek ( pictured below left ). The town of the title is an imagined female Utopia situated on a dusty road between the towns of Backwards and Conspiratorial sometime in the future. It imagines what might happen when two male interlopers happen upon the town. Anna C. Bahow ( pictured below right ), an Artistic Associate with Silk Road Rising and an ensemble member with Promethean, will direct. A TOWN CALLED PROGRESS is set to play at Strawdog Theatre from June 13 — July 18, 2020.

The company will celebrate the upcoming fourteenth season with a season kickoff party on Sunday, August 11 from 7 — 11 pm at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. The fundraising event will include food, music, games, raffles, a sneak peek at the shows of the upcoming season. Tickets and further information for the kickoff party are available at www.prometheantheatre.org

THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Jessica Swale ( Playwright, BLUE STOCKINGS ) is an Olivier award winning playwright, screenwriter and director. As playwright, Jessica's first play BLUE STOCKINGS ( Shakespeare's Globe ) won her an Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright nomination. NELL GWYNN ( Shakespeare's Globe ) transferred to the West End starring Gemma Arterton and won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Jessica is adapting NELL GWYNN as a feature film with Working Title, alongside original films for Studio Canal and Fox Searchlight, and has written the HORRIBLE HISTORIES movie for Altitude. She's currently in post-production for her first feature, Summerland, which she has written and directed, also starring Arterton. Her other plays includes ALL'S WILL THAT ENDS WILL ( Bremen Shakespeare Company ), THOMAS TALLIS ( Wanamaker Playhouse ), adaptations of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD ( Watermill ), THE SECRET GARDEN, STIG OF THE DUMP ( Grosvenor Park, Chester ),THE JUNGLE BOOK ( UK Tour ) and her new play THE MISSION, about secret adoptions in the 1920s. Jessica is an Associate Artist with NGO Youth Bridge Global, author of a best-selling series of drama games books and she is also involved in Times Up UK, actively campaigning for greater equality and diversity across theatre and film.

George Bernard Shaw ( Playwright, MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION ) was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays, including ( in addition to MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION ) MAN AND SUPERMAN, SAINT JOAN, MAJOR BARBARA, HEARTBREAK HOUSE, CANDIDA, and PYGMALION. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but each also includes a vein of comedy that makes their stark themes more palatable. In these works, Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege. It is a combination of the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective that gives Shaw's comedies their special flavor.

Melanie Spewock ( Adapter, MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION ) worked in arts education for 37 years to support her dramaturgy habit. Her favorite thing is bringing classic plays to modern audiences, and she is thrilled to be working with Promethean Theatre for the first time. She is grateful for the public domain, which allows her to collaborate with fabulous playwrights. Melanie lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three cats, and a large box of blue pencils.

Trina Kakacek ( Playwright, A TOWN CALLED PROGRESS ) is the Winner of the John Gassner New Play Competition ( SOMETHING ABOUT A BIRD, NY ), Dionysius Cup ( ATTACHMENT DISORDER, Chicago ), and a two-time Heidemann award semi-finalist. Her plays have been featured at Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, Lincoln Square Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Infusion Theatre Company, Women's Theatre Alliance, Dream Theatre, Chicago Fringe Festival, Atlanta Fringe Festival and at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. She is co-producer, director, script writer and sound designer for Small Fish Radio Theatre and Thespinarium, which to date has featured the work of over 60 emerging artists. Most recently, in a partnership with Victory Gardens Theater's Access Project and the Kennedy Center LEAD Conference, Small Fish Radio performed and recorded her full-length play MERCURY CONSIDERS THE LAST LAYER live on the Victory Gardens Main Stage. Trina teaches playwriting to Chicago high school seniors as part of Pegasus Theatre's Young Playwright's Competition.

THE DIRECTORS

Spenser Davis ( Director, BLUE STOCKINGS ) is a director, playwright, and filmmaker currently based in Chicago, where he serves as Director of Programming for Broken Nose Theatre and an ensemble member of The Factory Theater. Previous directing credits include AT THE TABLE ( Jeff Awards for Best Director, Production, and Ensemble ), PLAINCLOTHES ( Jeff Award for Best Ensemble ), A PHASE, and FROM WHITE PLAINS ( Broken Nose Theatre ); MAY THE ROAD RISE UP and ADVENTURES OF SPIRIT FORCE FIVE ( The Factory ); EVERY OTHER TUESDAY ( Steppenwolf 1700 ); BACHELORETTE ( Level 11 ); EXTRAORDINARY ( Otherworld ); numerous editions of the One Minute Play Festival; as well as readings, workshops, and festivals with American Blues Theatre, ATC, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, First Floor Theater and Pride Films and Plays, to name a few. Assistant directing credits include PILGRIM'S PROGRESS and 3C ( A Red Orchid Theatre ), as well as THE DIVINE SISTER ( Hell in a Handbag ), all with Shade Murray. As a playwright, his second play PLAINCLOTHES had its critically acclaimed World Premiere at Broken Nose Theatre, received the 2019 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, and was named a finalist for the 2019 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. He is currently adapting his first play MERGE as a pilot for television. He is a series writer-director on SQUID, a short-form comedy series on Amazon Prime. He is grateful to be represented by the good folks over at William Morris Endeavor.

Michael D. Graham ( Director, MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION ) for two years was Artistic Director at Piccolo Theatre, where he directed THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP; THE MISANTHROPE; SMASH! ( adapted from Shaw's THE UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST ); PRIVATE EYES; PARALLEL LIVES; and THE MEMORY OF WATER. Other favorite directing credits include HOLDING THE MAN; TEN DOLLAR HOUSE; and the upcoming CASA VALENTINA for Pride Films and Plays; BUTLEY ( Hubris Productions ); SPREADING THE NEWS ( Halcyon Theatre ); EXPATRIATES ( the side project ); METROPOLITAN OPERAS ( ActOne Studios ); THE YEARS ( Appetite Theatre ); and, THE LEARNED LADIES OF PARK AVENUE. In addition to directing, Michael has worked on over 100 productions since 2001 as either actor, producer, playwright, dramaturg, dialect coach, sound designer, props designer, or stage manager.

Anna C. Bahow ( Director, A TOWN CALLED PROGRESS ) is committed to the development of new work and a diversity of voices. She is an Artistic Associate with Silk Road Rising, an Associate Artist with The International Voices Project and Chicago Dramatists where she has directed and done extensive new play dramaturgy. She is also a new member of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Her productions have received Jeff Awards for New Work and Use of Multi-Media. She was honored to have served as the 2011-2012 Michael Maggio Fellow, was a recipient of a 2017 3ARTS WAVE Grant and 2018 City of Chicago Individual Artist Grant. More about her work at AnnaBahow.com .

—From a press release


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