ANIMAL FARM & THIS IS MODERN ART Set for Steppenwolf for Young Adults' 2014-15 Season
Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) has announced its 2014/15 season: George Orwell's Animal Farm, adapted for the stage by Althos Low, directed by SYA Artistic and Educational Director Hallie Gordon; and the world premiere of This Is Modern Art by Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, directed by Lisa Portes.
"Join us this year as we investigate what makes us create movements and start revolutions. Today, in our technology-driven landscape, anyone can generate ideas that travel quickly around the world: any individual, any politician, any community organizer, any tech innovator, any artist," notes SYA Artistic and Educational Director Hallie Gordon. "But what does it take to create a movement? A desire for change is required for something to become more than an idea. So how does that happen? What is the art of a revolution?"
Steppenwolf for Young Adults' 2014/15 Season
Create a Movement: The Art of a Revolution
George Orwell's revolutionary masterpiece comes to the stage with Steppenwolf for Young Adults' world premiere adaptation of Animal Farm. After revolting against the reign of their negligent human master, the animals of Mr. Jones's farm create their own ideal society in which all animals are equal and rules are set by democratic vote. It's all working pretty well until the allure of power leads the animals to a chilling fate. Animal Farm illustrates how new tyranny replaces old and power corrupts even the noblest of causes.
Althos Low (Playwright, Animal Farm) is the pen name for Shanghai Low Theatricals (SLT), a non-profit development group based in Chicago, IL. For the Animal Farm collaboration, co-founder Steve Pickering serves as Adaptor, playwright Alice Austen as co-Adaptor, and SLT House Artists Fred Baxter and Tom Kyzivat provide pre-production conceptual art and visual dramaturgy. Formed in 2001 as a collective adapting literary works for the stage, in 2009 the company expanded into the creation of production-related graphics and visual development. 2013 projects include Alastair Reynolds' science fiction novella Diamond Dogs for the stage, and Lion Miller's 1953 story The Available Data on the Worp Reaction as a picture book.
Hallie Gordon (Director, Animal Farm) serves as Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults. Along with selecting the young adult productions each season, she has created the Young Adult Council, a group of high school students who collectively help to create innovative programming for their peers. As Educational Director, Hallie has worked closely with the Chicago Public Schools to create an environment in which all students and teachers have access to the theater. As a theater artist, Hallie has directed Eclipsed at Northlight Theatre. For Steppenwolf, Hallie has directed Leveling Up, The Book Thief, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird, the world premiere of a new adaptation by Tanya Saracho of The House on Mango Street and Harriet Jacobs, adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A new premiere of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond, won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. She has directed staged readings for Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Hallie is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Time Meier Achievement Award.
This Is Modern Art
(based on true events)
By Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval
Directed by Lisa Portes
February 25 - March 14, 2015 in the Downstairs Theatre
The crew of Made U Look (MUL) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? Written by acclaimed playwright Idris Goodwin and Louder Than A Bomb founder Kevin Coval, This Is Modern Art provides a glimpse into the anonymous lives of graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art.
This play was first presented as a rehearsed reading in May 2014, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as a part of New Visions/New Voices 2014.
Idris Goodwin (playwright, This Is Modern Art) is a playwright, spoken word performer and essayist recognized across mediums by The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Ford and Mellon Foundations. His play How We Got On, developed at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, premiered at The 2012 Humana Festival of New Plays. How We Got On (Playscripts, 2013) is being remounted in theaters across the country and was nominated for an ATCA Steinberg New Play award. His play Blackademics, also nominated for a Steinberg award, was named best play of 2012 by the Chicago Tribune. He is currently developing new stage works with Denver Center Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, StageOne and Actors Theater of Louisville. He has enjoyed writing residencies with Berkeley Rep Theatre and New Harmony Project. Idris is a Core Writer with The Playwrights' Center. These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011), his debut collection of essays and poetry, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed on HBO, The Discovery Channel, Sesame Street and National Public Radio. He teaches performance writing and hip hop aesthetics at Colorado College.
Kevin Coval (playwright, This Is Modern Art) is a writer, performance artist and educator. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and chapbooks, including the American Library Association Book-of-the-Year finalist Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica and L-vis Lives! Racemusic Poems, described as a "stunning, and very personal, piece of literary work that should be required reading in every high school in America" by Impose magazine.
In his early twenties, Coval founded "Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival," now one of the largest youth gatherings on the planet, recently the subject of an award-winning documentary of the same name. Coval currently serves as Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, the non-profit home of Louder Than A Bomb, and numerous other youth writing and hip hop programs. He is a native of Chicago and teaches at the School of the Art Institute and is a frequent contributor to WBEZ: Chicago Public Radio.
His latest critically acclaimed collection is Schtick: Jewish Assimilation and Its Discontents.
Lisa Portes (director, This Is Modern Art) is a Chicago-based director and educator. Past projects for Steppenwolf include: Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin and Spare Change by Mia McCullough (First Look, Steppenwolf Theatre), and Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue by Quiara Alegría Hudes (Teatro Vista and Rivendell at Steppenwolf Garage). Other projects include: Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West (Timeline Theatre) Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre) and After a Hundred Years (Guthrie Theatre) all by Naomi Iizuka, Highway 47 by KJ Sanchez (Yo Solo Festival, H.E.R.E.), Night Over Erzinga by Adriana Sevahn-Nichols (Silk Road Rising), Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons (Northlight Theatre), Undone by Andrea Thome and Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (Ignition, Victory Gardens), The Piano Teacher by Julia Cho, In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks and Far Away by Caryl Churchill (Next Theatre), and Wilder by Erin Cressida Wilson and The Red Clay Ramblers (Playwrights Horizons). TYA credits include Barrio Grrrl by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Pinkalicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kahn, The Highest Heaven by Jose Cruz González and Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans by Karen Zacarías and Debbie Wicks la Puma (Chicago Playworks)
Primarily a director of new American plays and musicals, she has developed new work at Goodman's Latino Theatre Festival and First Stages, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theatre, Soho Rep, South Coast Repertory Theatre's Hispanic Playwrights Project, McCarter Theatre Lab, the Sundance Theatre Lab and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference.
Ms. Portes serves as Head of the MFA Directing Program at the Theatre School at DePaul University and Artistic Director for Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences.
Tickets to Animal Farm for student groups and public performances are on sale now. School group tickets are available by contacting Education and Community Programs Coordinator Lauren Sivak at 312-654-5643. Public performance tickets ($20) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), at 312-335-1650 or at steppenwolf.org. Performances Tuesday - Friday at 10am are reserved for school groups only. Tickets to This Is Modern Art will go on sale at a later date.
Major foundation support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation and Alphawood Foundation. Steppenwolf for Young Adults is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Sage Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, ITW Foundation, CNA Financial Corporation, Siragusa Foundation, Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc. and Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; as well as Steppenwolf's Auxiliary Council, a community of dynamic young professionals.
Steppenwolf for Young Adults is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.