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First Floor Theater to Remount THE AWAKE at Theater on the Lake


First Floor Theater (FFT) is thrilled to remount THE AWAKE, Ken Urban's lyrical and highly theatrical exploration of interrogation, government control, and the compulsive power of dreams, directed by Josh Altman, as part of the Chicago Park District's Theater on the Lake 2016 Festival Season at the Berger Park Cultural Center.

The original run was highly recommended by New City Stage and the Chicago Reader, named as one of fifteen shows to see in February by Time Out Chicago, and was hailed as an "unusual, electrifying drama" by Chicago Theatre Review.

THE AWAKE plays July 20 - July 31 at The Berger Park Coach House. Tickets for THE AWAKE are available at The press opening is Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm.

THE AWAKE features FFT Managing Director Amanda Fink, with Kaiser Ahmed, Scottie Caldwell, Daniel Desmarais, Barbara Figgins, Ada Grey and Bradley Grant Smith.

Malcolm, a devoted son, floats on a bed with his mother on an endless sea, as Gabrielle, an Eastern European actress, awakes to a new life in America. Meanwhile, Nate is on the run from a faceless interrogator. These three strangers discover that a mysterious corporation bonds them together. Moving between dreams and waking life, Ken Urban's award-winning play explores the unspoken culture of fear that is the new normal of American life. Josh Altman, the dramaturg for Ike Holter's nationally acclaimed Exit Strategy and Sender, returns to FFT to direct this surreal and moving theatrical journey. THE AWAKE premiered at 59E59 in New York in 2013 and was named a Critic's Pick by the New York Times, and was celebrated by critics and audiences alike in its Chicago premiere, presented by First Floor Theater in February 2016.

FFT Artistic Director Hutch Pimentel says, "Even since its first run, the urgency behind this play seems to grow, with the rising of tide of Islamophobia in America and overseas, questions about the accountability and transparency of those who govern us, and our desire to simply escape. Ken's play is truly remarkable in its simultaneous intricacy and heft, and we're proud to present this important, beautiful, and highly theatrical play once again in collaboration with the Chicago Park District."

The production team for THE AWAKE includes: Lauren Nigri (scenic design), Heather Sparling (lighting design), Kelsey Ettman (costume design), Caitlin McLeod (associate costume design), Robert Hornbostel (co-sound design), LJ Luthringer (co-Sound Designer), Julie Leghorn (stage manager), Cole von Glahn (associate production manager) and FFT Artistic Producer Will Bishop (production manager).

About the Playwright

Ken Urban's plays have been produced and developed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Summer Play Festival @ The Public, Donmar Warehouse (London), The Flea, Studio 42, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Irish Rep, Primary Stages, The Huntington, Moving Arts, Theatre of NOTE, and Soho Rep. His plays include The Correspondent, I (HEART) KANT, Nibbler, Sense of an Ending, The Happy Sad, The Awake, The Absence of Weather and The Private Lives of Eskimos. In 2013-14, The Awake opened at 59E59 Theatres, starring Maulik Pancholy from Weeds and 30 Rock. The New York Times named the show a Critics' Pick and it played for a sold out run. The Correspondent ran in Winter 2014 at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, featuring Thomas Jay Ryan (The Temperamentals, Hal Hartley's Henry Fool trilogy), directed by Stephen Brackett (Buyer and Cellar). The show received four stars from Adam Feldman's Time Out and was notorious for including "the season's most graphic sex scene" (The Advocate). Awards include the Weissberger Playwriting Award, Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, Djerassi Artist Residency, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowships, and SPF/Donmar Warehouse Residency. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, at Indie Theatre Now, in the anthologies Plays and Playwrights 2002 and New York Theater Review, and in numerous monologue collections.

About the Director

Josh Altman is thrilled to return to First Floor Theater and The Awake. He was most recently the dramaturg for the world premiere of Ike Holter's Sender (A Red Orchid Theatre). Previous directing credits include the world premiere of The Beecher Sisters (Awkward Pause Theatre), the world premiere of The Beautiful Dark, as well as The Glass Menagerie (Redtwist Theatre) and Pains of Youth (Odradek/Oracle). Josh previously assisted Joe Mantello on the world premiere of Airline Highway and Pam Mackinnon on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He has also assisted David Cromer on A Streetcar Named Desire (Writers Theater) and Cherrywood (Mary Arrchie). Additional dramaturgy credits include the world premiere of Ike Holter's Exit Strategy (Jackalope Theatre); My Name is Asher Lev and Blood and Gifts (TimeLine Theatre Company). He was also the Creative Producer for The Inconvenience's Citizens Anthology. Josh holds a B.A. in Drama from Tufts University and will begin pursuing his M.F.A in Dramaturgy from Columbia University this fall.

About First Floor Theater

First Floor Theater stages stories of individuals facing moments of radical change. By combining visceral acting, immersive design, and collaborative dramaturgy, FFT expands these stories to ask urgent social questions. FFT was named the "Best New Theater Company" in the Chicago Reader's Best of 2013 Reader's Pick edition.

For more information on First Floor Theater, visit

Photo Credit: Sam Doyle

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