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Rivendell Theatre Ensemble announces World Premiere of Laura and the Sea

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Chicago, IL—Rivendell Theatre Ensemble ( RTE ), Chicago's only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core, presents the world premiere of Laura and the Sea by Kate Tarker, directed by Devon de Mayo. Laura and the Sea, an unhappy comedy, runs October 25 — December 8, 2019 at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago. The press opening is Monday, November 4, at 7:00pm

It's company outing day, and Laura, one of the top travel agents of her generation, is having the best/worst day of her life. So much so that she decides to end it all. Afterward, her colleagues try to piece things together on a memorial blog, but how do you mourn someone you didn't know that well? A comedy about depression, or: a treatise on travel agents who don't travel.

"Laura and the Sea is truly one of the funniest and yet quietly devastating plays I have ever read. I fell in love with the flawed and totally relatable characters that Kate has drawn, and so enjoy how the play delves into our rarely-examined relationships at our jobs—the people we work with every day, spend so much of our time with—yet sometimes don't really know at all. Collaborating with Kate on this quirky and structurally innovative world premiere with Devon de Mayo ( director of RTE's Scientific Method and VG's If I Forget ) at the helm, presents an exciting challenge and we cannot wait to begin the process," comments Artistic Director Tara Mallen.

The cast includes RTE members Tara Mallen ( Laura ), Mark Ulrich ( Jack ), and Paula Ramirez ( Mary ), with Jordan Arredondo ( Joe ), Adithi Chandrashekar ( Annie ), and Alex Gillmor ( Stan ).

The creative team includes Devon de Mayo ( director and movement director ) Heather Sparling ( lighting design ), Tony Churchill ( projections ), Courtney O'Neill ( scenic ), Hannah Foersch ( sound design ), kClare McKellaston ( costume design ), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn ( assistant scenic and properties design ), Gaby Sant'Anna ( dramaturg and assistant director ) and Catherine Allen ( production manager ).

Rivendell's Town Hall Series:

During the run of each production, Rivendell hosts Town Hall Discussions after select Saturday matinees. These are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.


Kate Tarker's ( Playwright ) plays include THUNDERBODIES ( Soho Rep, NY Times Unforgettable Theater Moments of 2018 ), Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man ( The Wilma ), and Laura and the Sea ( 2016 Kilroys list; finalist: 2016 L. Arnold Weissberger Award, Princess Grace Award, and Relentless Award ). Her works have been developed at The Lark, The Vineyard, Rattlestick, The Wilma, Ars Nova, NYTW, Magic Theatre, Cutting Ball, the Playwrights' Center, Theatre503, and The O'Neill, among others. She is the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship, The Vineyard's Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the National Science Playwriting Award, Theater Masters' Visionary Playwright Award, a PWCenter/NET Ensemble Collaboration Grant, and she has been featured twice on the Kilroys List. Residencies: Tofte Lake Center, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow. Alum of Ars Nova Play Group, New Georges Jam, and Playwrights' Center Core Writer. Tarker has also collaborated with Pig Iron and SITI Company Conservatory, and currently holds commissions from Theater Masters, Soho Rep, and Playwrights Horizons. MFA Yale. She teaches at Wesleyan, University of the Arts, PlayPenn, and Playwrights' Center. She holds an MFA from Yale. Kate lives in Brooklyn.

Devon de Mayo ( Director, Movement Director ) directed the world premiere of Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Other Directing credits include: If I Forget ( Victory Gardens Theatre ); First Love is the Revolution ( Steep Theatre ); Women Laughing Alone With Salad ( Theatre Wit ); The Burn ( Steppenwolf Theatre ), Harvey ( Court Theatre ), Sycamore ( Raven Theatre ), You on the Moors Now ( The Hypocrites ), Animals Out of Paper ( Shattered Globe Theatre ), You Can't Take it With You, and Lost in Yonkers ( Northlight Theatre ), Jet Black Chevrolet ( side project ); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated ( Next ); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, and Clouds ( Dog & Pony ). Directing and devising credits: Don't Look Back/Must Look Back ( Pivot Arts ); Guerra: A Clown Play ( La Piara, Mexico ); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say ( Dog & Pony ). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali, Indonesia.

Featuring: RTE members Tara Mallen ( Laura ), Mark Ulrich ( Jack ), and Paula Ramirez ( Mary ), with Jordan Arredondo ( Joe ), Adithi Chandrashekar ( Annie ), and Alex Gillmor ( Stan )

Creative Team: Devon de Mayo ( director and movement director ), Courtney O'Neill ( scenic design ), Heather Sparling ( lighting design ), kClare McKellaston ( costume design ), Hannah Foersch ( sound design ), Tony Churchill ( projections ), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn ( assistant scenic and properties design ), Gaby Sant'Anna ( dramaturg and assistant director ) and Catherine Allen ( production manager )

Previews: October 25-November 2, 2019

Friday, October 25 at 8PM; Saturday, October 26 at 8PM; Sunday, October 27 at 3PM; Thursday, October 31 at 8PM; Friday, November 1 at 8PM; Saturday, November 2 at 8PM

Gala Opening: Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 6PM

Press Opening: Monday, November 4, 2019 at 7PM

Regular Run: November 7 - December 8, 2019

Schedule: Thursdays - Saturdays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pmTown Hall Discussions will follow select Saturday 4:00pm matinees; There will be no performance on Thursday, November 28 ( Thanksgiving )

Additional performances on Sunday, November 24 at 3:00pm ( pre-show brunch ), Tuesday, November 26 at 8:00pm ( Industry Night ), and Sunday, December 8 at 3:00pm ( final performance ).

Special performances are as follows:

Saturday, November 2: Industry Night

Join us for a pre-performance conversation with Kate Tarker and Devon de Mayo at 6:30pm

Friday, November 8: Performance to Benefit Planned Parenthood

$10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Saturday, November 9: Mama's Night

Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese, and great conversation!

Friday, November 15: Open Captioned Performance; $15 tickets with the code ACCESS

Tuesday, November 26 at 8pm: Industry Night ( $15 Industry tickets and pre-show conversation )

Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago

Tickets: General Admission: Previews: $28; Regular Run: $38

Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran: Preview: $18; Regular Run: $28

Pay What You Can: Five seats ( 10% of the house ) are available for each performance. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis.

Three-show pass: $59-$80 for 3-plays

Box Office: ( 773 ) 334-7728 or .

Parking and Transportation: Free parking is available in the Senn High School parking lot ( located a block and a half from the theatre behind the school off Thorndale Avenue ). There is limited paid and free street parking in the area. The theatre is easily accessible via the Clark ( #22 ) or Broadway ( #36 ) bus, and is a short walk from the Bryn Mawr Red Line el station.

About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Founded in 1994, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble advances the lives of women through theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians—by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in an intimate salon environment.

Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. After years of being an itinerant company, Rivendell moved into its own theater space in 2011 in Edgewater. The company is focused on becoming an integral community partner and serving as a catalyst to engage audiences in a discussion of local social issues.

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, visit . Follow Rivendell on Facebook at, on Twitter @RivendellThtr, and on Instagram at rivendelltheatre.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from: The Alphawood Foundation; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation;

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Luria Family Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; The Alfred Pick Jr. Fund; Shubert Foundation; SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

—From a press release

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