A Red Orchid Theatre Opens 2009-10 Season With MISTAKES WERE MADE With Michael Shannon 9/8

A Red Orchid Theatre proudly opens its 2009-10 Season with the World Premiere of Mistakes Were Made by the Emmy-nominated writer of Six Feet Under Craig Wright and directed by Dexter Bullard. The production will run September 8 - October 18, 2009 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 North Wells St. The Press Opening is September 10, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

Legendary producer Felix Artifex gets in way over his fast-talking head when he takes on Mistakes Were Made, the first World Premiere of his long and chequered career. Felix's project is a gargantuan epic of the French Revolution, which he thinks is going to be his ticket to professional and personal redemption. Mistakes Were Made is a compact gem of philosophy and funny-business from Craig Wright, the Emmy-nominated writer of Six Feet Under and the award-winning playwright of Lady, Grace, and The Pavilion.

"It's about finding a balance between freedom and responsibility - in revolutionary France, in a post-Bush America, and in ourselves as individual human beings; and, given the fact that the production team includes Dexter Bullard, Michael Shannon, Mierka Girten and A Red Orchid Theatre, it's also about as cool a world premiere as a playwright could ever hope for," comments Craig Wright.

Director Dexter Bullard adds, "When I read Mistakes Were Made, I laughed so hard my sides hurt. The play is touching and hits right on the head of this idea we all face: the cruelty of how the world just can't seem to ever give us what we want. With the history and admiration I share with my collaborators and A Red Orchid, this play is a labor of love."

"How is this actually all happening? It has been two years since we first fell on the floor with laughter reading Mistakes Were Made. Last February, after Craig, Michael and Dexter attended a performance of The Unseen at A Red Orchid, they said to me ‘let's do it.' As we focus this year on the people and the process that make us A Red Orchid, we are honored to have both Craig and Dexter returning to play in our house and thrilled to open our season with this world premiere," says Artistic Director, Kirsten Fitzgerald.

Mistakes Were Made features founding Ensemble Member and 2009 Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Michael Shannon with Ensemble Member Mierka Girten.

The designer team includes Tom Burch (scenic), Joseph Fosco (sound), Matt Gawryk (lights), Tiffany Bullard (costumes), Nan Zebriski (make-up), Sam Deutsch (puppets). The stage manager is Tiff Wilson and the assistant director is Duncan Riddell.

Craig Wright (Director) Craig Wright's plays include Lady, Grace, The Pavilion, Melissa Arctic, Orange Flower Water, Recent Tragic Events and The Unseen (produced last season at Red Orchid). He has received several awards for his writing, including the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for Best New Play (for Melissa Arctic) and has been the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For his work on Six Feet Under, he received an Emmy nomination and a Writer's Guild of America award for his work on Lost. He created Dirty Sexy Money for ABC. He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary and is currently creating a show about a minister for Showtime called Revelation.

Dexter Bullard is an award-winning director dedicated to directing new plays and creating original theater for Chicago and beyond. He previously worked with Craig Wright on Lady at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre Off-Broadway and Grace at Northlight. Recent directing credits include Reverie with Second City at The Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, and Brett Neveu's Gas for Less at the Goodman Theatre. Previous A Red Orchid credits include Koltes' In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, Bob Adams' Place of Angels, Tracy Letts' Bug, and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. In 2004, Dexter was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction Off-Broadway for Bug at The Barrow Street Theater, as well as a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Director. In 1995 Dexter co-founded Plasticene Physical Theater, whose critically-acclaimed experimental works have been featured at The Steppenwolf Studio, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Storefront Theatre, Performing Arts Chicago, and in New York City. With Plasticene, he has directed and collaboratively created twelve original works including The Palmer Raids (2003) and One Fal$e Note (2006). Since 1996, Dexter has directed with The Second City, developing revues at E.T.C. and Detroit. For three years, he led a Second City National Touring Company to many destinations including Vienna and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston. Back in 1990, Dexter founded The Next Lab at The Next Theatre where he directed Bouncers, for which he received a Jefferson Citation and an After Dark Award for his direction. As Associate Artistic Director at Next Theatre, he directed and/or created eight shows for the mainstage and Lab. He has also directed projects for Famous Door, American Theatre Company, and Hartford Stage Company. He teaches acting, improvisation and physical theater nationally and is Head of Graduate Acting Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Michael Shannon (Felix Artifex) has been a part of A Red Orchid since The Connection in 1993, for which he designed the poster and wrote the director's note in the program. He has appeared in "oodles" of Red Orchid productions, most recently playing Eddie in Gagarin Way and Ralf in Mr. Kolpert. Michael originated the role of Peter in Tracy Letts' Bug, which premiered at A Red Orchid before playing off-Broadway and being adapted into a major motion picture. Michael has numerous Chicago credits at Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Northlight and Famous Door, and he has also been seen in New York City, London, Louisville, and Pittsburgh. Michael received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Revolutionary Road. Other film credits include World Trade Center, Bug (adapted from the play by Tracy Letts), Jesus' Son, Tigerland, Cecil B. Demented, Pearl Harbor, High Crimes, Chicago Cab (or Hellcab: The Movie), The Ride, Vanilla Sky, Kangaroo Jack, Grand Theft Parsons, 8 Mile, Bad Boys II, The Woodsman, Dead Birds, and Criminal, the forthcoming Werner Herzog film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done. He just wrapped shooting of The Runaways, a coming-of-age biopic about '70s teenage band The Runaways and the HBO pilot Boardwalk Empire directed by Martin Scorsese.

Mierka Girten (Esther) has appeared in numerous productions with A Red Orchid Theatre, Live Bait Theater, Mary-Arrchie, The Hypocrites, The Baum House, Cobalt Ensemble Theater, Illinois Theater Center, Roadworks, and Porchlight Theatre Company. She has appeared in the national tour of The Secret Garden and has worked with both the Pamiro Opera and Cincinnati Opera Companies. Along with theater productions, Mierka has appeared on-camera and behind the microphone doing voice-overs and singing for national television and radio commercials. With or Without Wings, Mierka's original one-woman show that chronicles her life with Multiple Sclerosis, opened A Red Orchids 08-09 season and has been performed at Victory Gardens Theatre and Chicago's Gallery 37 as well as at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Ticket Information
Previews are September 8 and 9, 2009. The opening press performance is on Thursday, September 10, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. The production runs through October 18, 2009. Curtain times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Single tickets are $30 for all shows. Student tickets are $20 (with valid I.D.) on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Group rates are available by calling the box office.

Tickets and 2009-2010 Season subscriptions are available through the Box Office, 1531 North Wells St.; (312) 943-8722; www.aredorchidtheatre.org.

Photo credit Walter McBride

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