Our 2018/2019 Season: IDENTITY
Piven Theatre Workshop proudly announces its 2018-2019 season on IDENTITY – a full year’s meditation on themes encompassing the struggle, challenges, and successes in defining oneself as in individual and as part of a community.
“For the past four years, Piven has created a thematic framework to guide and connect the wings of our institution,” said Piven’s Artistic Director Jennifer Green.
“By framing the organization as an artistic ecosystem, our training center and off-site theatre residencies, performance lab and main stage productions, community partnerships and audience development initiatives have all participated in exploring the overarching season theme,” Green continued, “and in doing so, Piven has found new ways that theatre can act as a hub for relevant, multigenerational, community-wide art making and conversation.”
From its micro-productions in the Lab at Piven, to its U.S. premiere of award-winning artist Kate Tempest’s Hopelessly Devoted, Piven Theatre Workshop’s IDENTITY Season kicks off in October and runs through summer of 2019.
PIVEN’S 2018/2019 SEASON
The Telling Project, October 5-14, 2018. With much the same courage demonstrated during their service to our country, local military personnel and family members share their authentic experiences with the goal to strengthen a sense of community and facilitating meaningful contact between civilians and those who have served. The Telling Project is a collaborative effort between The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, The Telling Project based out of Austin, Texas, and Piven Theatre Workshop.
Big Entrance – A Forte Chicago Show, November 2-4, 2018. Forte, Chicago’s leading company which intersects improvisation, opera, and sketch comedy is back on stage at Piven, and will feature Forte’s signature operatic comedic sketch work, composition and arrangements by Heidi Joosten, design by Sarah Bendix, and direction by Susan Payne O’Brien.
Santuario|Sanctuary, November 16-18, 2018. Proyecto Migración is a documentary theatre project exploring the parallel and divergent migrations of monarch butterflies and youth across the USA-Mexico border. Based on over 30 recent interviews with (im)migrants, nuns, volunteers, scientists, and law enforcement in the USA and Mexico, Proyecto Migración aims to highlight the multifaceted complexity of the border, where international law protects small insects yet abandon human beings to their deaths. Developed by Teresa Veramendi.
Piven Theatre Workshop’s Young People’s Company, December 12- 16, 2018. Piven’s renowned advanced youth ensemble comprises sophomore, junior, and senior-aged students who have studied at Piven Theatre Workshop and have advanced to the highest level within the youth programs. Performers work together as an ensemble to adapt new and historic literary works in the tradition of story theatre.
Lived Through This, January 14-15, 2019. Lived Through This, adapted from Anne K. Ream’s memoir of a multi-country journey spent listening to the stories of sexual violence survivors, is a play about hope. Part narrative about the lives lived after #MeToo, and part exploration of the ways survivors learn from one another and rebuild their lives in the wake of violence, Lived Through This is a celebration of a simple belief: that those who have survived rape or abuse are greater than what has been done to them. Developed by Marilyn Campbell-Lowe and Maya Friedler of the Women’s Media Group Chicago and Anne K. Ream of the Voices and Faces Project
The Adoption Project, January 28-29, 2019. Seeking to break the traditional understanding of what a family looks like and to explore the realities of a chosen family, The Adoption Project asks questions such as what makes something home, and how does one define family? Through story, interview, and narrative, a deeper understanding of the roles of biological parents in open adoptions, the search of biological families by adopted individuals, sibling relationships in blended households, the decision to place, and the decision to adopt will all be explored in this production devised and developed by Kira Silverstein, Heather Bodie, and Tony Santiago.
Piven Theatre Workshop’s Performance Project, February 11, 12 & 14-16, 2019. Piven’s advanced 7th-9th grade students comprise the ensemble of Performance Project. Working with fairy tales and myth, students work for months to adapt stories for the stage. This year’s stories will focus on the theme of Identity, through tales of gender, coming of age, and family.
ABCD/Mad Like Us, March 11-12, 2019. Two nights of two productions – ABCD directed by Iris Sowlat, and Mad Like Us written and directed by Gillian Hemme.
ABCD, an acronym for “American-Born Confused Desi”, is playwright/performer Rukmini Girish’s exploration of her identity as an Indian immigrant to the United States, the effect this has had on her perception of herself, her queer identity, her professional life, relationships with family, and her place within the Chicago arts community.
Mad Like Us tells the true story, through solo performance, of Hemme’s journey to find her long-lost sisters. Playing the roles of herself, her sisters, her mother, and all the women she imagined her sisters could be, Mad Like Us will meditate on how identity is formed by family, including family she has yet to meet.
Piven Theatre Workshop’s Capstone Production
The season will culminate with The Workshop’s capstone performance of the premiere of Kate Tempest’s Hopelessly Devoted, April 6-May 5, with preview performances on April 4 & 5, and directed by Abby Pierce.
Hopelessly Devoted tells the powerful story of Chess, a woman in prison facing a lengthy sentence, the pain of separation from her daughter, the loss of her cell mate, Serena, when she is given parole, and the feeling of total isolation. When prison authorities suggest she work with Silver, a music producer, Chess begins to find her voice, her strength, and her ability to face the most difficult thing of all – her past. Featuring award-winning poet and musician Kate Tempest’s trademark lyrical fireworks and live music, Hopelessly Devoted is a story of love and redemption.
Throughout the run of Hopelessly Devoted, Piven will offer talk backs and community conversations related to thematic elements of the production.
“In keeping with our continued commitment to community engagement,” said Jennifer Green, “Piven will connect with local nonprofits, small business sectors, and individuals as community partners to elevate the conversation to the wider community.”
“Last season,” she continued, “our partnerships with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and its Artistic Director Tim Rhoze, Dear Evanston and its founder Nina Kavin, along with several community organizations such as Open Communities and Family Promise, led to record-breaking attendance at our capstone production, and outstanding conversations throughout the year. We look forward to another such exceptional season starting in the fall.”