Broken Nose Theatre Announces Seventh Season

Broken Nose Theatre Announces Seventh SeasonBroken Nose Theatre is pleased to announce it Seventh Season, featuring a world premiere and two Midwest premieres to presented at its resident home, The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

The 2018-19 season kicks off this fall with the world premiere dark comedy PLAINCLOTHES, written by company member Spenser Davis* and co-directed by Kanomé Jones and Davis. After a violent incident with a shoplifter places them on the chopping block, the loss prevention team of a downtown Chicago retail store decides to fight back against the corporate powers-that-be.

Next winter, the season continues with the Midwest premiere of Stephen Spotswood's drama GIRL IN THE RED CORNER, directed by Elizabeth Laidlaw. Ridiculed at work, unsupported at home and catcalled as she's merely walking down the street, Halo turns to the one place she feels in control: the octagon of the local women's MMA fighting circuit.

In spring 2019, BNT presents the Midwest premiere of Yussef El-Guindi's dark comedy LANGUAGE ROOMS, directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed. When a rumor spreads through the office that he may not be as loyal to America as he lets on, Ahmed works double-time to prove that he's the most dedicated employee at this particular Homeland Security detainment facility.

The season concludes next summer with BECHDEL FEST 7, BNT's annual feminist festival, featuring a full slate of new short plays with all female-identifying casts. Playwrights, directors and casting will be announced in 2019.

During its seventh season, BNT will also provide institutional support to two outside playwrights through The Paper Trail - its new play development program. This season's plays include:

MAVERICKS by Ryan Oliveira. In this new techno-noir thriller when a trans-femme video game designer in dystopian Brazil crafts an unauthorized Mega Man X game, juggernaut studio Capcom sends a Japanese intellectual property rights lawyer in to stop her... by any means necessary.

NINETY-NINE by Beth Hyland. How do you create a revolution? Who do you pick to lead it? And if you're making up the rules as you go along, how do you even know what losing looks like? Beth Hyland's newest play NINETY-NINE explores the intersection of the personal and the political through the lens of a controversial movement from the not-so-distant past: Occupy Wall Street.

Comments Artistic Director Elise Marie Davis, "I'm so unbelievably proud to present Broken Nose's seventh season, my first as Artistic Director. This year, through both our mainstage productions and our new-play development series, we're presenting five stories of women and people of color who find themselves caught at the center of systems designed to undervalue their voices. Who breaks free? Who folds under pressure? Who makes it their mission to burn it all to the ground? How each character responds is the lifeblood of this incredible season. And the fact that we're able to present all of these stories through our Pay-What-You-Can ticketing model, allowing audience members to set their own ticket prices, makes it that much more thrilling. We can't wait to see you at the theater!"

Tickets for all Broken Nose Theatre productions are available on a "pay-what-you-can" basis, allowing patrons to set their own price and ensuring theatre remains economically accessible for all audiences. Tickets for all productions will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit

Broken Nose Theatre's Full Seventh Season includes:

November 9 - December 15, 2018

PLAINCLOTHES - World Premiere!

By company member Spenser Davis*

Co-Directed by Kanomé Jones and company members Spenser Davis*

When a violent encounter with a shoplifter leaves half of their team fired or in the hospital, the security guards of a downtown Chicago retail store find themselves under corporate investigation. Short-staffed, ill prepared and faced with accusations of racial profiling that threaten to dismantle the crew, they're forced to decide: do we admit to something we're not guilty of to save our jobs, or do we give the higher-ups a taste of what it's like in the trenches? In the style of their breakout hit At The Table, Broken Nose Theatre and playwright Spenser Davis have assembled an all-star cast to develop this world premiere.

February 1 - March 2, 2019

GIRL IN THE RED CORNER - Midwest Premiere!

By Stephen Spotswood

Directed by Elizabeth Laidlaw

Unemployed and fresh from an abusive marriage, Halo steps into a gym one day and signs up for mixed martial arts lessons. Her family thinks it's ridiculous. Her trainer thinks she's soft. But none of them know the anger that fuels her ambition. When it's rage that brought you into the cage, are you really ready to see what winning looks like? GIRL IN THE RED CORNER is a visceral, fast-moving tale of self-discovery, one that allows women to take centerstage in a world so often dominated by men.

April 19 - May 18, 2019
LANGUAGE ROOMS - Midwest Premiere!

By Yussef El-Guindi

Directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed

Ahmed loves America, and he's proud to prove his patriotism whenever possible. He pays his taxes, he dresses for success at the office, and he's made a point to be the best translator at this particular Homeland Security detainment facility. So when a rumor swirls around the water cooler calling his loyalty into question, he works to do whatever's necessary to maintain his reputation as one of "the good ones." But when you're an immigrant, can you ever truly be at home in a country always ready to view you as an enemy? An episode of The Office that slowly morphs into 1984, LANGUAGE ROOMS examines the paranoia polluting our political climate.

Summer 2019


BNT's perennial favorite feminist festival returns! As with the last six iterations, BECHDEL FEST 7 will feature an all female-identifying cast performing new short plays written and directed by some of Broken Nose's favorite artists - and all passing the famous Bechdel-Wallace Test. Created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the Bechdel Test asks whether a work of entertainment features at least two women in conversation about something other than a man. Playwrights, directors and casting to be announced in 2019.

About the Artists

Spenser Davis (Playwright, Co-Director - Plainclothes) is a longtime company member of Broken Nose Theatre, where he most recently directed Michael Perlman's At The Table, named "One of the Best Shows of 2017" by Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, Newcity and teen critic Ada Grey; it also received four Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Director/Play and Best Production/Play. Also at BNT, he has directed Perlman's From White Plains, Elise Spoerlein's A Phase, and several editions of Bechdel Fest. Outside of BNT, his directing credits include The Adventures of Spirit Force Five (The Factory Theater), Bachelorette (Level 11), numerous editions of the One Minute Play Festival, as well as work with A Red Orchid Theatre, American Theater Company, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, Hell in a Handbag, Oracle Productions, First Floor, Pride Films and Plays, Stage Left, Promethean Theatre and Arc Theatre. As a filmmaker, he's the co-founder of Spilled Inc., a microbudget Production Company, and is the series director for SQUID, a short-form comedy series heading to Amazon Prime this Summer. As a playwright, he's a past winner of Scotland's Solas Festival, a finalist for the Actor Theater of Louisville's Heideman Award, and his first full-length play Merge, about the rise and fall of the video game company Atari, closed The New Colony's eighth season. His plays have been produced across the country and in Canada and have been published by Smith & Kraus New York. He's also an ensemble member of The Factory Theater. Plainclothes is the first play in his trilogy The Mag Mile, which focuses on working class Chicagoans who are rarely seen onstage but are nevertheless the lifeblood that keeps the heart of the beautiful, brash, jagged edged city beating.

Kanomé Jones (Co-Director - Plainclothes) is excited to be joining the Plainclothes Team. Most recently with Broken Nose, Kanomé directed the world premiere of Kingdom by Michael Allen Harris. She served as the Assistant Director for Radio Golf (Court Theatre) and for Insurrection: Holding History (Stage Left Theatre). Other past directing projects include Well Intentioned White People (SLT Residency), An Awaited Return (arciTEXT) and EL Stories: Riding the Line (Waltzing Mechanics). Past acting credits include Building the Wall and The Firestorm (Stage Left), The Book Club Play (16th Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (Midsommer Flight) and Titus Andronicus (Babes with Blades). She is the Casting Director for Strawdog Theatre Company and the Associate Producer for Midsommer Flight. Kanomé is also a proud alum of The Actors Theatre of Louisville Apprenticeship and a BFA graduate of Missouri State University.

Stephen Spotswood (Playwright, Girl in the Red Corner) is a DC-based playwright, educator and journalist, who received his MFA in playwriting from the Catholic University of America in 2009. At the 2017 Helen Hayes Awards, he received the Charles MacArthur Award For Outstanding New Play for Girl In The Red Corner. Produced works include: Doublewide (NNPN Rolling World Premiere); Girl In The Red Corner (The Welders); The Last Burlesque (Pinky Swear Productions); Walking The City Of Silence And Stone (Forum Theatre); In The Forest, She Grew Fangs (defunkt Theatre, Washington Rogues); We Tiresias (Best Drama, Capital Fringe Festival 2012); When the Stars Go Out (Bright Alchemy Theatre); Sisters of Ellery Hollow; The Resurrectionist King (Active Cultures Theatre); Off A Broken Road (Imagination Stage); and A Cre@tion Story for Naomi (Bright Alchemy). He is a current member of The Welders playwrights collective and a member of Forum Theatre's artist ensemble.

Elizabeth Laidlaw (Director, Girl in the Red Corner) has worked in Chicago and regional theatre professionally for 25 years. She is the founder and artistic director of Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, begun in 2003. At LST, she has directed Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, and co-directed A Midsummer Night's Dream (with Jeff Christian) and most recently Henry VIII, (with Christy Arington). She is also the co-producer (with Mia McCullough) of The Haven web series, co-directing episode 2. She assisted director Terry Kinney with East of Eden at Steppenwolf Theatre. This past season, she served as the intimacy consultant on The Doppelgänger, also at Steppenwolf, and as the violence and intimacy designer for A Moon for the Misbegotten at Writers Theatre. As an actor, Elizabeth has appeared onstage at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, The Goodman and many, many others. Film credits include the features, Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, Into the Wake, Eastern College, Dimension and Three Days. Television includes Chicago PD and Crisis (NBC), Betrayal (ABC) and Boss (Starz), The Chicago Code (FOX). Ms. Laidlaw will spend the autumn of 2018 filming The Red Line, a new drama series for Warner Bros and CBS television, written and produced by fellow Chicagoans Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, Her voice can be heard narrating Hard Earned, a documentary produced by Kartemquin Films for Al-Jazeera America, and in numerous television commercials, audiobooks and video games. She received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and completed post-graduate Shakespeare studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art of London, UK.

Yussef El-Guindi's (Playwright, Language Rooms) productions include The Talented Ones at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland; Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat at Golden Thread Productions; An Evening with Activists at Cutting Ball Theater; Collaborator at Macha Monkey Productions; Threesome at Portland Center Stage, ACT and at 59E59 (winner of a Portland Drammy for Best Original Script); Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World (winner of the Steinberg/ American Theater Critics Association's New Play Award in 2012; and the 2011 Gregory Award) also at ACT and at Center Repertory Company (Walnut Creek, CA) 2013; and Language Rooms (Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), co-produced by Golden Thread Productions and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco; at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (premiere), and at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat was also produced by Silk Road Theater Project and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn award. His plays Back of the Throat, Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, Such a Beautiful Voice is Sayeda's and Karima's City have been published by Dramatists Play Service. His play Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith is included in Salaam/Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Playwrights, published by TCG, 2009. Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat is included in the anthology Four Arab American Plays published by McFarland Books. And Threesome is published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. Yussef is the recipient of the 2010 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award, and Seattle's 2015 Stranger's Genius Award.

Kaiser Zaki Ahmed (Director, Language Rooms) is a Chicago-based theatre director, actor and teacher. An alum of Columbia College Chicago's Theatre Directing program, Kaiser specializes in actor-driven new American plays. Most recently, he assistant directed Guards at the Taj (Steppenwolf) and Hand to God (Victory Gardens). Kaiser was the Founding Artistic Director of Jackalope, from its inception in May of 2008 through the end of 2011, and continues to serve as the Associate Artistic Director. At Jackalope, Kaiser has directed the Jeff-Nominated 1980 (or Why I'm Voting for John Anderson), The Raid, The Killing of Michael X, Long Way Go Down, Slaughter City, The Last Exodus of American Men, and countless readings and short plays. Kaiser is also an Artistic Associate at The Artistic Home Theatre Company. A member there since 2005, he directed the Jeff-Nominated Midwest Premiere of The Late Henry Moss, House of Yes and assistant directed several others. Kaiser also directed Vanya (or That's Life!) and Washer/Dryer at Rasaka Theatre. Kaiser is a 2015-16 Eugene O'Neill National Directors Fellowship Finalist, a 2016-17 Victory Gardens Directors Inclusion Initiative recipient and an Associate Member of SDC. Favorite acting work includes Ideation and Lunacy! (Jackalope Theatre), A Nice Indian Boy (Rasaka Theatre) and The Seagull (Artistic Home Theatre), The Awake (First Floor Theatre) and several film and commercial spots. He is represented by Gray Talent.

About Broken Nose Theatre:

Broken Nose Theatre is a Pay-What-You-Can theatre company. Founded in 2012, BNT was this year's recipient of the Emerging Theater Award, presented by the League of Chicago Theatres and Broadway in Chicago. The company has produced and developed 11 full-length plays (including 8 Chicago or World Premieres) and over 40 new womencentric short plays through their annual Bechdel Fest. We strive to spark conversation, cultivate empathy, and amplify underrepresented voices, and are committed to making new, exciting and relevant theatre that is economically accessible to all audiences. For more information, please visit

PHOTOS: Broken Nose Theatres 2018-19 Season directors include (left to right) Kanomé Jones, Spenser Davis, Elizabeth Laidlaw and Kaiser Zaki Ahmed.

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram