Playground Theater to Premiere PERIOD PIECE, Begin. 2/21
The Playground Theater and home-grown comedic talents Lisa Linke (Second City, iO) and Jenni Lamb (Northwestern University MFA: Writing for the Screen and Stage) are pleased to announce PERIOD PIECE, a dark musical-comedy that explores the historical shame of menstruation. PERIOD PIECE will run at The Playground Theater (3209 N Halsted St, Chicago) for six consecutive Fridays starting Feb 21 at 8pm. General admission is $10. Tickets may be purchased at the door or, to purchase tickets in advance, visit The Playground Theater's Brown Paper Tickets page at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/557954. The Playground Theater is BYOB and open to all ages.
With original music by Amanda Murphy (Second City, Comedy Sportz, Annoyance Theatre), PERIOD PIECE is co-written by Jenni Lamb & Lisa Linke. Though rooted in a comedic perspective, Lamb & Linke hope PERIOD PIECE brings to light the idea that the shame, stereotypes and misinformation surrounding menstruation has contributed to sexism throughout history. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
"What was really appealing to Jenni and I about writing a musical-comedy with menstruation as the main topic is that there is so much about women's bodies that we as a society are still uncomfortable discussing. For the most part, the shaming that happens around menstruation and having to keep it discreet and hidden away has always been quite peculiar to us," states Linke.
PERIOD PIECE focuses on its main character Tammy DuPont, a tightly wound career woman who hates her body, and features a cast of seven women playing over thirty characters. When Tammy's Aunt Flo gives her a magical sanitary napkin belt, Tammy is able to experience how menstruation has been perceived throughout history while spending time with her mother who died of toxic-shock syndrome and, finally, traveling to her own future.
Tammy and the audience will travel through time, learning about and enjoying the technological and scientific advancements - or lack thereof - as they relate to the menstrual cycle. "In this day and age, we should stop shying away from the topic of women's bodies, especially as we see some of our more conservative lawmakers deplete resources for and propagate myths about women's health and hormones," says Lamb.
"Menstruation is responsible for keeping the human species in existence, but women are told: please don't let your maxi pad give you panty lines!" chimes in Linke.
The PERIOD PIECE cast features Erin Austin, Ashley England, Julie Marchiano, Heather Markey, Andi Sharavsky, Tiffani Swalley and Lindy Voeltner. The production team is Andy Eninger (director), Erica Reid (choreographer), Keith "Keebler" Horvath (assistant director), Sarah Gilmore (stage director), Darcy Hofer (costumer) and Matt Barbera (producer).
"This show has been a joy to work on and is truly a celebration of women's bodies," says Lamb. "We look forward to sharing it with Chicagoland."
JENNI LAMB (co-writer/co-producer) is a Chicago-based playwright and former actress and improviser. As an improviser, she performed on many Chicago stages as well as national comedy festivals in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. As a playwright, Lamb's play Memento Polonia was "Highly Recommended" by the Chicago Reader, and other plays have had readings at The Gift Theatre, Wordsmyth Theatre (Houston), Northwestern University, and Chicago Dramatists. She was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O'Neill Playwrights Conference and has received grants for her writing from the Illinois Arts Council. In addition to PERIOD PIECE, she is collaborating on a site-specific adaptation of Henry V, and will be part of Leap Fest with Stage Left in June 2014. She is also proud member of Living Room Playmakers, a playwright collective focused on creating theatre in unusual spaces. Lamb holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University.
LISA LINKE (co-writer/co-producer) is a veteran comedic improviser, actor and writer. She co-created/wrote/starred in the web series Rick & Len Fix Sh!t In Your House, which recently won "Best Web Series" at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and was a finalist in the The Chicago Comedy TV Pilot Competition. Before relocating to Los Angeles last year, Linke wrote, performed, produced and directed shows all over Chicago. Her favorites included improvising with the critically acclaimed Close Quarters at iO and Out Of Character at The Playground, and in A Woman's Path at The Annoyance as Sylvia, the drunk mother of too-many children.
AMANDA MURPHY (composer/musical director) has studied and worked in comedy and musical theater throughout Toronto, Chicago, and New York. She is a composer and lyricist for several groups, including the award winning musical four play which she also co-wrote. Murphy music directs at iO, ComedySportz, the Second City Training Center, and The Annoyance. She is also a performer, playing in both MIHE and SongCo, and in BattleProv at CSz.
Andy Eninger (director) serves as the Head of the Writing Program for Second City's Training Center in Chicago, where he also teaches. He has instructed thousands of corporate clients to communicate through workshops with Second City Communications. Andy is the After-Dark Award winning composer for "Bandgeeks: A Halftime Musical," which he also directed. Other directing credits include "A Woman's Path" for the Annoyance Theater and "3" for Vampeero Productions. Andy's solo improv show "Sybil" has been seen across the country, and in Europe, and was featured in the book "Shortcuts to Longform Improvisation." He has learned a lot about periods during this process.
Erica Reid (choreographer) is a choreographer, comedian, director and producer in Chicago. Choreography credits include: Elmhurst Children's Theatre, Sweetie Maude, Gorilla Tango Burlesque, Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Belmont Burlesque Revue, Stir Friday Night, Kerpatty, Blewt! Productions, Sports Action Team and many more. She is the Supervising Producer and performer for Blewt! LLC, including the shows Steve Gadlin's Star Makers, Impress These Apes! and Don't Spit the Water! She is the director of the Noah Ginex Puppet Company's monthly production of SNORF! and is the cohost the web series Drunk Monkeys. She has also made appearances at The Kates, The Blackout Diaries, Just the FAQs, Talk Hard, and the show Plucky and Friends.
MATT BARBERA (producer) has been President of The Playground Theater since 2004. He was the Programming Coordinator for the TBS Just For Laughs festival in Chicago, where he created and produced ALONE, a solo sketch show, for the festival. He has performed at The Playground with member team Mustang Repair since 2002. Barbera is the creator of Grafitti sketch comedy, Happy Hour Solo Sketch Comedy, The Give Me 5 and The Sketch Lab. He has created and produced numerous improv shows including: OUT OF CHARACTER, ICON, The Tweetlife, The Blog Report and co-created Movieokie. Barbera is also a partner in Picaro Media, creating original and branded entertainment.
THE PLAYGROUND THEATER is the nation's only non-for-profit improvisational comedy theater. Over 200 artists and 13 ensembles work together on a volunteer basis to operate the theater and perform live improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy 7 nights a week. More information about the theater can be found at the Playground's website: http://www.the-playground.com.