Polarity Ensemble Theatre to Release Two New Novels and Produce Two World Premieres This Season
For its eleventh season Polarity Ensemble Theatre offers a unique blend of new work by Chicago area authors on both the page and the stage. Polarity Ensemble Theatre Books will release two new novels this season while the Ensemble produces two world premiere plays and its annual DIONYSOS CUP FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS. The two novels will be linked with the second play of the season and presented as the AFTERLIFE TRILOGY. All performances will be presented at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614.
First up will be MIRACLES IN THE FALL by Chicago-area playwright, Chuck O'Connor, playing September 4 through October 5, 2014. "Chuck's play operates like a work by Eugene O'Neill," Artistic Director Richard Engling said. "The deep betrayals of the past twist the lives of the Connelly family, nearly destroying the next generation. It's a fascinating play." MIRACLES IN THE FALL was developed in the 2013 DIONYSOS CUP FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS. It will be directed by Richard Shavzin, director of Polarity's award-winning 2013 production of Bill Jepsen's comedy, NEVER THE BRIDESMAID.
On October 7, 2014 Polarity Ensemble Theatre Books will release the two novels of the AFTERLIFE TRIOLOGY: VISIONS OF ANNA by Polarity's Artistic Director Richard Engling and SHE PLAYS IN DARKNESS by Fern Chertkow. The TRIOLOGY will culminate with the world premiere of Richard Engling's drama, ANNA IN THE AFTERLIFE April 23 to May 24, 2015, directed by Susan Padveen, director of Polarity's celebrated productions of LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT and Darren Callahan's THE WHITE AIRPLANE.
In ANNA IN THE AFTERLIFE, novelist Matthew Harken finds himself in an afterlife world where he's not quite alive and not quite dead. While his body is being worked on by surgeons, Matthew must decide whether or not to return to the living. He discovers his dear friend and fellow-novelist Anna Toyesky has split into three separate beings. Is that a result of her suicide?
The AFTERLIFE TRILOGY offers three separate views of Anna. The character of Anna in ANNA IN THE AFTERLIFE and VISIONS OF ANNA are both based on the late novelist Fern Chertkow. The protagonist of Fern's novel, SHE PLAYS IN DARKNESS, also exhibits a lot of Fern's personality, including a potentially fatal self-destructiveness that seems disturbingly prophetic of Fern's own eventual suicide. The total effect of reading both novels and seeing the play will create an experience larger than the sum of its parts, for each of these works illuminates the others. No other theater company in America is offering an intertwining of fiction and drama like this.
In addition to a book release event on October 7, 2014, Polarity will present a number of readings throughout October and November at bookstores, libraries and at book groups.
The season ends with the 2015 DIONYSOS CUP FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS in July. The annual festival features one of the most intensive new play development processes in the nation. Once accepted, a play goes through a six month development process that includes detailed critiques, an early public staged reading plus two later public workshop performances. Each is followed by audience/actor/director/playwright discussions. After the final workshop performance, playwrights are given a two month period for further revisions before submitting the final scripts back to Polarity for consideration for a full production.
About Polarity Ensemble Theatre: Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a professionally diverse group of artists who strive to advance the state of Chicago theater for both local and international audiences by developing new works and bringing new life to the classics through live performance, workshops, and publishing.