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 2018-02-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Prison take
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2017-10-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay playwright Michael Allen Harris' world-premiere drama Punk is set in a prison's separate unit for gay, bisexual and transgender inmates. Harris got the idea after a fellow playwright friend forwarded him a short-film documentary exploring the topic.

"Queer people in prison are often forgotten about, or they're never considered. There are people who live their life within the prison system—good, bad or indifferent—what they did or who people think they are, they're still human beings," Harris said. "I would like for questions to be raised on how we can reform prison system policies and the prison system as a whole."

Punk started out just as a 10-minute three-character drama. But after a relatively quick development period through an associate company of The New Colony, Punk was expanded into a full-length play for the theater company's mainstage season.

"I wasn't really interested in telling a story about the suffrages of queer people in prison or a play about the prison system. What I was curious about was that these individuals had made a life and were able to navigate the system that is super hyper-masculine and in an environment where they are preyed upon," Harris said. "The biggest thing that I would like the audience to walk away with is broadening their sense of empathy… ( It ) is very important especially in these polarizing times because of our political climate."

Harris sets Punk in a GBTQ unit at an American maximum security prison. Yet tensions rise when Travis, a young inmate serving a life sentence for the murder of a gay man, asks to be transferred to this special prison unit.

Like many productions developed by The New Colony, Punk featured improvisation exercises for the actors and director to build up their roles.

Actor Daniel Shtivelberg portrays Travis in Punk, and he really appreciated the many developmental workshops and rehearsals to help craft his complicated character.

"[Travis] is obviously very troubled and excitable. He gets really angry and can spark really quickly," Shtivelberg said. "As an actor, I don't try to judge him. Travis is not the best of people, but what has been fun through the process is trying to find the lighter moments and the times that Travis really cares about others. He cares deeply about his daughter, his girlfriend, Emily, and then finds a lot of care through the prison unit he is in as well."

Also in the cast of Punk is transgender actress Evie Riojas, who portrays the transgender inmate Sonya.

"It's really important that when writing a trans character to have trans input involved through as much of the process as possible," Riojas said. "We don't get many parts, so having those opportunities taken from us before we're even given the chances can be disheartening."

Riojas joined the cast after the initial developmental Punk workshops, but was still able to generate her input to the character.

"The New Colony is really cool and I actually feel a little spoiled with this project with them being my first go at theater," Riojas said. "Their process is really in-depth and a team effort. It's cool not only to watch my character grow and change into a full-fleshed out person, but everyone else."

Riojas was also able to correct a few instances of Harris' dialogue in Punk that didn't feel authentic to her.

"Little things involving the character where I was able to feel comfortable with the group and say, 'Hey, this might not necessarily be something that I would want other trans people to come and see and experience,'" Riojas said. "Tiny little nuances within the script and stuff like that. We were able to build the best possible character of a trans woman in a men's prison."

Both Riojas and Shtivelberg had praise for Punk's dramaturg Ryan Oliviera. He was on hand to provide articles and other information for the cast and crew, including helping to set up interview for the ensemble with a trans woman who spent 25 years in various Illinois prisons.

"Working with The New Colony has been a blessing. I love that they cater to new work and that they're looking to tell stories that largely aren't being told," Harris said. "I always felt supported by the company with my ideas and I felt like I could always be brave in the rehearsal space—I also felt like I was in a safe space as well."

The New Colony's world premiere of Punk continues through Sunday, Nov. 5, at The Den Theatre's Upstairs Main Stage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Previews ( $15 ) run through Sunday, Oct. 8. Regular-run performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays with 3 p.m. matinees on Sundays. Regular-run tickets are $20; visit TheNewColony.org .


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 Southern Gothic 2018-02-23 - Playwright: Leslie Liautaud At: Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. Tickets: $65-$85. Runs through: March 18 ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT The Burn 2018-02-21 - Philip Dawkins exploded onto the scene with 2015's Charm, inspired by the life of Chicago's Gloria Allen, a trans etiquette teacher. If you ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Breach: a manifesto on race in America... 2018-02-21 - Playwright: Antoinette Nwandu At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: $15-$56. Runs through: March 11 An ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Moon for the Misbegotten 2018-02-21 - Written by: Eugene O'Neill At: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe. Tickets: $35-80. Runs through: March 18 Writers Theatre's A Moon for ...


Gay News

CRITICS' PICKS Theater 2018-02-21 - Skeleton Crew, Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, through March 3. The experience of four blue-collar ...


Gay News

OPERA REVIEW Love Never Dies 2018-02-21 - Playwright: Andrew Lloyd Webber, music by Glenn Slater/Charles Hart, lyrics by Ben Elton, At: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Tickets: 800-775-2000; ...


Gay News

Lyric's 'Jesus Christ' talent announced 2018-02-21 - Artists from the bands Postmodern Jukebox, tUnE-yArDs and Diane Coffee join Broadway and West End talent for Lyric Opera's North American premiere of ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Fear and Misery in the Third Reich 2018-02-16 - Playwright: Bertolt Brecht At: Haven Theatre at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $18. Runs through: March 11 ...


Gay News

Lesbian teens will attend prom together, Lambda Legal encouraged by response 2018-02-15 - ( Anniston, AL, February 14, 2018 ) —Lambda Legal received a response from east Alabama's Calhoun County School District today that an Alexandria ...


Gay News

The Condition of Femme at Pride Arts Center in March 2018-02-14 - Circle Theatre's World Premiere The Condition of Femme will explore the many facets of rape culture March 2 to April 1. Lauren Marie ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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 produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.