Circle Theatre's World Premiere The Condition of Femme will explore the many facets of rape culture March 2 to April 1.
Lauren Marie Powell's drama is based on nearly 100 interviews with survivors of sexual assault.
Circle Theatre's 2017-18 season will begin with the world premiere of The Condition of Femme, an exploration of rape culture based on actual events in the lives of sexual assault survivors interviewed by playwright Lauren Marie Powell. The drama includes monologues delivered by 11 characters created from Powell's interviewees, as well as a central character called Reagan, who is a counselor for a sexual assault hotline. Powell says, "Every character in the show is a fictionalized person based on those many testimonies, with verbatim quotes included throughout the piece. Most of the characters are an amalgamation of multiple testimonies around recurrent themes in their interviews. Reagan, based on a social worker and a rape-crisis hotline worker I interviewed, meets the 11 survivors through her work and ties their stories together."
The characters have faced different forms of sexual abuse some obvious and well recognized forms of abuse like violent assaults or threats from strangers, or date rape - or more subtle abuse like marital rape whose abusers and victims alike often justify based on religious beliefs that subjugate women. Circle Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Reinhart says, "the breadth of Lauren's examination of sexual assault was one of the things that motivated us to produce her script. We believe this play will not only be powerful theatre, but will also deepen our audience's understanding of this societal problem that has only recently come to light in a big way."
Amanda Jane Long, an actress who has played the title role in Sarah Ruhl's EURYDICE for BoHo Theatre, with whom she also has had roles in AMADEUS and VERONICA'S ROOM, is directing. Her cast will be led by author Lauren Powell as Reagan. Also in the 12-woman cast are Michelle Bester, Betsy Bowman, Marisa Eason, Rachel Livingston, Amy Powell, Tyler Reaser, Miriam Reuter, Jessica Rzucidlo, Zoey Sadowski, Ashley Stein and Nikkia Tyler. Understudies are Deja Anderson-Ross and Chloe Dzielak.
Previews will be Friday, March 2 Saturday, March 3 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, March 4 at 2:30 pm. Press opening is Wednesday, March 7th at 8:00 pm. The production will run through April 1 with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm and industry performances every Monday during the regular run at 8:00 pm. All performances will be in The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. Tickets are $28 and are on sale now at www.circletheatrechicago.org .
LAUREN MARIE POWELL ( playwright )
Lauren is making her Chicago debut as a playwright. While working as an on-camera actor, writing became a natural form of character discovery. She is a graduate of the theatre school at NIU & Actor's Movement Studio NY.
AMANDA JANE LONG ( director )
Amanda Jane Long is Founder and Creative Director of Along the Way Productions, where she produces, directs, manages, and consults for Chicago arts companies, non-profits, and performing artists. Also an actor, Amanda has been seen onstage with BoHo Theater, Lifeline Theater, and Organic Theater Company. She is the Executive Director of VAMP Chicago. Education: MFA Acting ( Northern Illinois University ); BFA Acting ( Southern Oregon University ); and abroad at the Moscow Art Theatre School.
The Condition of Femme by Lauren Marie Powell follows the learning curve of Reagan, a compassionate young woman working for a sexual assault hotline. Over the course of a year, callers and confidantes share their stories some heartfelt, some humorous, some very painful. Leaving her well-meaning naivete behind, Reagan becomes a gentle guide to female-identified persons coping with violence. When a line blurs between advocacy and intimacy, Reagan risks losing herself to the injustice of it all. Based on true stories, this production is a highly relevant new play, engaging broad audiences with realities of rape culture in America.
About Circle Theatre
For more than 30 years, Circle Theatre Chicago has engaged the artistic vision of interdisciplinary artists to craft unique, challenging storytelling experiences spanning all creative mediums. The proud recipient of more than 40 Jeff Awards, it has presented countless world, regional, and Chicago premieres including works by Rebecca Gilman, Charles Mee, Jon Steinhagen, and Harry Connick, Jr. In recent seasons, Circle Theatre has put its stamp on contemporary work in intimate and lauded productions of such works as TRIASSIC PARQ, 35MM: A MUSICAL EXHIBITION, FIRST LADY SUITE, and VENUS IN FUR. Having appeared on every major paper's top ten lists numerous times, Circle is the recipient of the 2010 Jeff Award for special recognition of its 25th Anniversary.