Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Oil dependency and tragedy
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2015-10-21

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Out playwright and director Leigh Fondakowski was initially resistant to creating Spill, a theatrical docudrama looking at the 2010 explosion of the BP-owned oil rig Deepwater Horizon and the aftermath of it spewing oil for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico. But since Spill will be making its Midwest debut this week courtesy of TimeLine Theatre, it's clear that Fondakowski became convinced to change her mind.

"I became pretty determined not to do any more big epic, tragic, interview-based projects," Fondakowski said. "I've spent a great chunk of my artistic life doing that kind of work. I love it, but it is very time-consuming as a multi-year process involving a large amount of travel and interviewing."

Indeed, Fondakowski is famed and respected for her documentary-style theatrical works. As a member of the Tectonic Theatre Project, Fondakowski was a crucial part to the creation of The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, a much-produced drama and its sequel questioning homophobia following the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.

And because of the major impact of The Laramie Project, Fondakowski also was also approached to apply the same theatrical storytelling methods to The People's Temple, a thorough examination of the San Francisco-based church that horrifically ended in what is known as the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in Guyana. American Theater Company staged the Chicago premiere of the work in 2008.

The seeds of Spill developed when Fondakowski received an invitation from Wesleyan University to teach a class in collaboration with scientists inspired by her fact-finding interviewing techniques. And since the BP oil spill had happened, that's where Wesleyan steered Fondakowski to go.

"I actually went down there for the first time with students to teach them to do interviews and make art from it. I really went in the role as a teacher and not as an artist myself," Fondakowski said. "When the university proposed maybe that they could commission me to write about a play about this crisis, I said, 'No.'"

But once Fondakowski arrived on the Gulf Coast and met with people directly affected by the spill ( including some relatives of the 11 men killed in the blast ), she became really intrigued by the relationship between oil and nature and the people who rely on the industry.

"It really felt like a much bigger, iconic story to be told about that place and I kind of got hooked in really quickly to write a play about it," said Fondakowski, adding that once she finished her teaching commitments she herself returned many time to work on what would become Spill.

Kelli Simpkins, a member of Chicago's About Face Theatre and a company member of the Tectonic Theatre Project, also became involved in the creation of Spill as a dramaturg and as a member of the original ensemble when the play premiered in March 2014 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For Simpkins, it was great to once work again with Fondakowski since they also collaborated on the two Laramie Project plays and the 2007 interview-based lesbian work I Think I Like Girls. Simpkins is also appearing the acting company of Spill for TimeLine.

"It's my fifth project with her," Simpkins said. "We've had a friendship that is really longstanding which is a rarity in this business."

As a performer and collaborator, Simpkins loves doing interview-based pieces for numerous reasons. She feels a deep responsibility for portraying real people that she has met and might have interviewed as part of the artistic process.

Simpkins also revealed that Fondakowski is thoroughly revising Spill since many more people came forward to be interviewed after its world premiere. Many people had pre-judged the piece only as a liberal condemnation of the oil industry.

"For me, this really is about a community speaking to another community. We're representing characters who are really infrequently seen on the stage," Simpkins said. "After the cameras shut off and get their soundbites, and this happened in Laramie and this happened with The People's Temple, people forgot about the story and didn't go further into the story. And that's part of the product of this kind of work is that we have what is a lost art of listening to other people and listening to these stories."

TimeLine Theatre's Midwest premiere of Spill plays from Saturday, Oct. 24, through Saturday, Dec. 19, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Previews run through Thursday, Oct. 29, with an official press opening at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. Preview tickets are $22 and regular-run tickets are $38-$51 with a $10 student discount available; call 773-327-5252 or visit www.timelinetheatre.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Herland 2019-03-23 - Playwright: Grace McCloud At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: Redtwist.org 773-728-7529; $35-$40. Runs through: April 14 "When people ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Hands on a Hardbody 2019-03-20 - Playwright: Doug Wright ( book ), Amanda Green ( lyrics ), Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green ( music ) At: Refuge Theatre Project ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW How to Live on Earth 2019-03-15 - Playwright: MJ Kaufman At: Chimera Ensemble at the Flatiron, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: ChimeraEnsemble.com; $23. Runs through: March 24 Those ...


Gay News

eta seeking executive director 2019-03-14 - The board of directors for the eta Creative Arts Foundation is seeking an experienced executive director with a strong background in African-American arts ...


Gay News

Ravinia Festival Experience Center, immersive-experience theater, to open 2019-03-14 - HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Ravinia Festival will open a major addition to the park, the RaviniaMusicBox Experience Center, later this summer. The new ...


Gay News

Women In Comedy to host "A Love Letter to Myself, A Chicago Variety Show" 2019-03-13 - Chicago, Illinois — On Monday March 25, Women in Comedy hosts "A Love Letter to Myself" from 6 to 9 p.m. at Revolution ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Remember the Alamo 2019-03-13 - Playwright: Nick Hart At: The Neo-Futurist Theatre, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: neofuturists.org; $25 ( pay-what-you can Thursday nights ). Runs through: April ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Bridges of Madison County 2019-03-13 - Authors: Marsha Norman and Jason Robert Brown At: Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard St., Evanston. Tickets: www.theo-u.com or 773-347-1109; $39-69. Runs through: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Southern Comfort 2019-03-13 - Authors: Dan Collins ( book/lyrics ) and Julianne Wick Davis ( music ) At: Pride Films & Plays, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: 866-811-4111; ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Man Who Was Thursday 2019-03-12 - Playwright: adapted by Bilal Dardai from the story by G.K. Chesterton. At: Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Tickets: LifelineTheatre.com and 773-761-4477; ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.