Halena Kays Teams Up With Neo-Futurist Ida Cuttler To Premiere The Multi-Story, One-Woman Filibuster, COMFORTABLE SHOES
Neo-Futurist Ida Cuttler teams up with veteran Chicago director and Neo-Futurist Artistic Associate Halena Kays to present the company's next world premiere: An evening's amusement for yourself and friends, consisting of one thousand and one locutions by a young virtuous maiden whose penchant for potboilers and mastery of chicaneries shall teach us all a lesson in the never-ending wiles of women and the astonishing virtue of the gregarious!!!!!! OR: COMFORTABLE SHOES. Cuttler's premiere Prime Time show was part of the Neo-Lab developmental program during the 18/19 season and will see the full production open at The Neo-Futurist Theater on October 7th, 2019.
"This show examines the ways in which women find themselves in threatening situations and the measures they take in order to survive," says Cuttler. Featuring original work by violinist Katie Klocke, COMFORTABLE SHOES is a rigorous storytelling event of epic and exhausting proportions that borrows the narrative structure of One Thousand and One Nights, where the character Scheherazade told 1001 stories to her husband who threatened to execute her. "The development process for this production has been one of the great joys of my career," says Director Halena Kays. "Working with Katie and Ida over the past year has created a script so profound and absurd it takes my breath away" She continues, "Audiences don't know it yet, but, at this particular moment in this particular country- this just might be the show they were hoping someone would make."
Ida Cuttler has been an ensemble member with The Neo-Futurists since 2015. In addition to performing and touring The Neo-Futurists flagship show, The Infinite Wrench (replacing Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind), Cuttler has been a part of Future Crash (a collaboration with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival), Tangles & Plaques, The Arrow Lays an Egg, and Remember The Alamo (Neo-Lab). Cuttler is also an ensemble member and teacher with Barrel of Monkeys and performs in their ongoing show, That's Weird Grandma.
Halena Kays has previously directed Neo-Futurists productions including Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, and has co-created and directed Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet, and Fake Lake. Other Chicago directing credits include Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Hypocrites), The Magic Play (Goodman Theatre), Lord of the Flies (Steppenwolf), On Clover Road (American Blues Theater). Regional credits include The Olney Theater Center, The Actor's Theater of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, The Nashville Story Garden, and Nashville Rep.
Katie Klocke is an orchestra and chamber musician, educator, and translator. A recipient of an Adlerbert Foundation grant, Klocke completed her Master's Degree at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden where she focused her studies on both orchestral playing and improvisation. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in music and English literature from the University of Iowa and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She has played in masterclasses for James Ehnes, Mi-Kyung Lee, Oliver Wille, Barbara Doll, Eszter Haffner, and Daniel Avshalomov and has had the opportunity to share the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Jaap van Zweden, Truls Mørk, Christian Zacharias, Deltron 3030, and many more. Currently, she teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music and concertizes throughout Chicago and beyond.
Creative team for COMFORTABLE SHOES includes Mitchell Chapman (Light Designer), Dominique Zaragoza (Set Designer), Andrew Tham (Sound Designer), Kate Hardiman (Props Designer), Parker Langvardt (Projection Designer), and Katie Klocke (Performer/Composer).
Cuttler, Klocke, and Kays join a wide breadth of experimental programming as a part of the 2019/2020 season at The Neo-Futurists, including the return of Ensemble Member Nick Hart's 60 Songs in 60 Minutes, to be performed monthly starting in the late Spring. Complimenting 60 Songs will be a 'recital' of curated dance and movement pieces by veteran ensemble member Leah Urzendowski, and the fifth installment of Neo-Lab will incubate the long-anticipated 45 Plays For America's First Ladies, created by Neo-Futurist Alums Andy Bayiates, Bilal Dardai, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Sharon Greene and Chloe Johnston. With the new season, The Neo-Futurist Ensemble continue to create and perform the ongoing, everchanging flagship show, The Infinite Wrench. The Infinite Wrench is the Neo-Futurist Ensemble's ongoing and ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays and a wrench in merely 60 minutes, 50 weeks of the year with shows at 11:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays at 7:00 PM.
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, The Neo-Futurist Theater is a collective of writer-director-performers who create theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry and living newspaper. The company has created more than 10,700 plays to date within its flagship late-night event called The Infinite Wrench, and more than 65 full-length mainstage productions incorporating its signature non-illusory, interactive style of performance. From humble beginnings launching the first late-night theater production in Chicago, The Neo-Futurist Theater created what became the city's longest-running show and has grown to become one of the most highly regarded experimental theater companies in the United States, with sister companies in San Francisco and New York. For more information, visit www.neofuturists.org.
The Neo-Futurist Theater is partially supported by grants from Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Arts Work Fund, The Chicago Community Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts.