Here’s the press release from Ruckus Theater:
“DO YOU THINK YOUR WU-TANG SWORD CAN DEFEAT ME?”
THE RUCKUS THEATER—FORMERLY OF KALAMAZOO MICHIGAN—JOINS THE RANKS OF CHICAGO’S STOREFRONT THEATER COMMUNITY
***THE RUCKUS ANNOUNCES 2009-10 SEASON OF WORLD PREMIERES
PRESENTED AT THE SIDE PROJECT THEATRE***
(Chicago, IL) Chicago is officially one theater company richer after The Ruckus Theater recently karate-chopped and high-fived its way into the Central Time Zone. Made up of an industrious group of Michigan ex-pats, The Ruckus is composed of actors, directors, playwrights, musicians, casting directors, publicity managers, grant writers, baristas, grad students, poets, computer fixers, appointment-makers and census-takers who aim to create a new kind of company—a casteless theater that blends the lines between playwright and actor, audience and company member. The Ruckus Theater is led by Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker and Managing Director Ryan Dolley. The company’s inaugural Chicago season is produced as part of the side project’s Visiting Artist Series and is comprised of three world-premiere productions: Heist Play by Mitch Vermeersch, Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It devised by members of the company and contributing artists, and Linear A by Ryan Dolley. In addition, The Ruckus presents two workshop productions: Joshua’s Play by Ryan Dolley in collaboration with Filament Theatre Ensemble and 11-Detroit devised by members of the company. Further details regarding the 2009-10 season will be released at a later date. Prior to The Ruckus’ recent move to Chicago the company was based in Kalamazoo MI, where it produced such popularly acclaimed productions as Apple Frog Baseball, The Retreating World and Fore Play, in addition to a developmental reading of Linear A by Ryan Dolley at Barrow Street Theatre in New York.
As a company dedicated to the collaboration between and development of the playwright, director and actor, The Ruckus strives to produce world premieres of plays either written by the company’s resident playwrights Ryan Dolley and Mitch Vermeersch, devised by the company as a whole or submitted by playwrights from across the country. As an established company that is new to Chicago, The Ruckus also launches a new artist outreach initiative called The Dramaturg Army. When a new play is submitted to the company, a playwright has the option to be paired with an experienced member of The Ruckus Literary Team for one year to assist in the development of their work in whatever form they prefer—research, schedule development, feedback, organization of an informal reading, etc. For more information about The Dramaturg Army, please visit ruckustheater.org/home/Dramaturg_Army.html.
“Chicago is home to a great many talented artists and companies—but more unusually, it is also home to a community of artists who challenge each other, better each other and are devoted to working together to make theater, and all art, a vital and vibrant aspect of this city,” said Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker. “We of The Ruckus are thrilled to be joining this community, and look forward to collaborating with the remarkable artists who embody it.”
We’re here to create, to examine, to invent, to explode—to create a ruckus. Our aim is to break down the old models of new work development in order to nurture new forms, great plays and better and smarter artists. We will work together to create vibrant and unexpected new work, spin terrific yarns and build a world in which two things are sacred: the rehearsal room and the audience member. We will be messy; we will be brave; we demand that our theater become both aspect and integral to our community. We will bring the ruckus.
2009-10 SEASON @ the side project theatre
HEIST PLAY by Mitch Vermeersch | Directed by Allison Shoemaker
August 16 – 26, 2009
A black comedy that deconstructs the film noir formula and turns archetypes inside out, Heist Play follows three sad and desperate misfits in their attempt to plan the perfect heist, pull the perfect con or find some way to force a plot twist—no matter what it costs.
TELL IT & SPEAK IT & THINK IT & BREATHE IT | Short Plays Inspired by Great Lyrics
Made up of bold new work from writers across the country, Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It is a collection of short plays that find new and unexpected resonance in some of the most familiar and personal words we encounter every day: the lyrics of popular songs. Tell It… features accompanying live performances from local musicians, each providing their own interpretations of the songs examined.
LINEAR A by Ryan Dolley | Directed by Allison Shoemaker
A man walks into a bank with fifty-two sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest, detonates and walks away unscathed with a bag full of cash. Twenty years later, his two sons run from a malevolent force driving a big-rig. Linear A asks what happens when superheroes choose to run, and what comes next when those being chased decide to stop.
JOSHUA’S PLAY by Ryan Dolley | In Collaboration with Filament Theatre Ensemble
Three weeks after his Grandpa died, Joshua ate the moon. From behind her telescope in the observatory, Test watched it happen. Each negotiate the minefields of the commercial, the political, the emotional and the familial in search of something in this galaxy that makes sense.
11-DETROIT | A What-If, Created by The Ruckus
Wendy lives down the street from an abandoned skyscraper. One day, she goes in…and finds herself in a parallel, and very different, Detroit. Half science-fiction epic, half ode to a dying American city,
11-Detroit is about one little girl in a universe forged of history’s missed opportunities.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Allison Shoemaker is the Artistic Director and a Co-Founder of The Ruckus Theater. Directing credits for The Ruckus include Apple Frog Baseball, I Do Not Speak the Language, Three Lennon Fugue, The Retreating World, Fore Play and the forthcoming Heist Play. Other directing credits include Private Eyes, Arbor Day and Am I Blue (York Arena Theatre). Allison also served as Producer for 365 Days/Plays at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. When not fighting for truth, justice and the right of the playwright to revise in the rehearsal room, Allison writes things that sometimes get published. Recent credits include admit2, The Pedestal and Chicago’s own Contrary Magazine. She is overly fond of semicolons, 35mm film, science jokes, Walt Whitman and really excellent drummers.
Managing Director and Co-Founder Ryan Dolley was born and raised in Metro Detroit, to his everlasting pride and shame. Playwriting credits for The Ruckus include Joshua’s Play, Phantom Limbo and Linear A, which was presented at the Barrow Street Theatre’s Fortnight2 Festival in Manhattan. He served as Assistant Literary Manager for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2007 summer conferences and is currently Literary Manager of the Element New Play Festival. When he isn’t attempting to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics, Ryan can be found feverishly perusing the shelves of your local library or comic shop in search of enlightenment.
Director of Development Joshua Davis is fairly new to the city having recently received his MFA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University. Some of his recent theater credits include: Miles Standish in Vivian Matalone’s The Pilgrim Papers (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Duke of Buckingham in The Three Musketeers (Double Edge Theatre Company), Macheath in The Threepenny Opera (Brandeis Theatre Company), and Yoko Ono in Three Lennon Fugue (The Ruckus Theater). During the 9 to 5 hours of the day Joshua is the Arts-in Education Program Assistant for The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. From 5pm to 9am Joshua is an actor, designer and Director of Development for The Ruckus Theater.
Director of Communications Jeffrey Fauver received his BFA in Music Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. Professionally he has performed leading roles in The King and I, Anything Goes, Incredible Sex, Cabaret and The Mouse Trap. In Chicago, his credits include Caves! at Gorilla Tango and La Commedia E Finita and Pushing Daisies at Sandhill Theatre Company. As a communications professional he has led publicity campaigns for Goodman Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, including the world-premiere production of 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage, Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s Rouw Siert Electra directed by Ivo van Hove, the world premiere of Magnolia by Regina Taylor, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, Passion starring Ana Gasteyer, directed by Gary Griffin and the world premiere of Turn of the Century starring Jeff Daniels, directed by Tommy Tune. He collects hobbies like reading, sarcasm, cooking and Star Trek-ing.
Casting Director Melissa Pryor is currently a casting associate with TP&R Casting running sessions for commercials, film, television and print and doles out 30-60 high fives daily. She last performed with New Leaf Theatre in the Jeff-nominated production of The Dining Room. She has served as a Vanguard member for The House Theatre of Chicago and teaches audition and monologue classes at Piven Theatre Workshop. She’s also totally into figure drawing right now and refers to Saturdays as Naked Lady Drawing Day.
Literary Manager and Co-Founder Mitch Vermeersch hails originally from Clinton Township MI. He has a BA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and sometimes a beard. His plays have been produced at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, The Black Hills Theater in Grand Rapids MI and The Hygienic Art Park in New London CT. In 2007 he was a member of the National Theater Institute’s Theatermakers Program at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford CT. He is a founding member of The Ruckus Theater and currently lives in Chicago where he performs music and roots against Chicago sports teams with a fervent passion.
Artistic Associate and Co-Founder Ghafir Akbar (Sarasota FL) is a third year MFA candidate at the Asolo Conservatory and an associate member of the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida. At Asolo he has appeared in Equus, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Three Postcards, Blur and Wilder! Wilder! Wilder! A graduate of Western Michigan University he appeared in The Pillowman, The Lion in Winter, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Slaughterhouse-Five and Hip Hop Creation with Will Power. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Ghafir is an established actor and was a member of The Instant Café Theatre Company performing in their repertoire of comedy revues and biting satirical work. Other notable credits there include roles in The Baltimore Waltz and Gross Indecency. One of his first paid acting jobs was as a Spice Girls impersonator. He was Scary Spice.
Artistic Associate Katie Dickinson (New York NY) is based out of New York. She is also a member of The Lighthouse Theatre Company. Her most recent work has been Chorus in Antigone at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre and Ensemble in Chamber Theatre Productions Encore! Tour. She also wears many hats as playwright, director, producer and actor. She owns many hats and wears them all.
Artistic Associate Joel Gelman (Los Angeles CA) hails from the Metro Detroit area of Michigan where he invented and perfected the method of making imaginary ice cream out of an upside down pound puppy big wheel. Some regional credits include Les Misérables at the Hollywood Bowl; Tobacco Road at La Jolla Playhouse; Loves and Hours at Pennsylvania Centre Stage; and several shows including State Fair at Timberlake Playhouse. Joel’s Chicago credits include 20%’s Snapshots festival and Artificial at Gorilla Tango. Joel is also the co-creator and performer of The Heliotropic Man, a one-man show conceived with Tom Dugdale. Joel recently received his MFA in Acting from UC San Diego and holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University.
Artistic Associate and Co-Founder Seth Miller (Brooklyn NY) is an actor, director, playwright, musician and visual artist. Credits with The Ruckus include the world premiere of Apple Frog Baseball and Linear A, which was presented at the Barrow Street Theatre’s Fortnight2 Festival in Manhattan. Other New York credits include Homesick (The Ohio Theatre), The Barbarians (Schapiro Theatre), Leon Ingulsrud’s The Great White Hunter (The International Underground) and Macbeth and No City with The Other Madison Square Garden, where he also serves as producer. Seth also appears in the outrageous theatrical extravaganzas created by his band, Not Blood, Paint. You can, and should, find them on iTunes. Seth’s work can be seen this season in Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It, and his tattoo can be seen in the logo.