Invictus Theatre Company Announces Full Casting for WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

The production is set to run from May 12th through June 12th.

By: Apr. 08, 2022
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Invictus Theatre Company Announces Full Casting for WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

Invictus Theatre Founding Artistic Director Charles Askenaizer today announced full casting for the company's season closing production of Edward Albee's WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf?. In this four-character drama that is often as wickedly funny as it is heartbreaking, two married couples battle with their spouses and each other over an alcohol-fueled night in a small, overstuffed living room. The tension the characters feel in these close quarters will be conveyed to the audience in Askenaizer's storefront production in the 40-seat Reginald Vaughn Theatre at 1106 W. Thorndale, Chicago.

Leading Askenaizer's cast as George and Martha are James Turano and Andrea Uppling. Turano is a Chicago radio personality (WGN Radio) who has appeared on Chicago area stages in such roles as Richard Roma in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, Marc in ART, Michael in GOD OF CARNAGE, and Pozzo in WAITING FOR GODOT. Uppling most recently appeared with Invictus as Guildenstern in the company's acclaimed production of HAMLET. Keenan Odenkirk, also of that HAMLET cast, will be Nick. Rachel Livingston, whose credits range from musical theater (Louise in GYPSY) to television drama (CHICAGO PD) will be Honey. Understudies are Robin Treviño (George), Lisa Stran (Martha), Maria Clara Ospina (Honey) and an actor to be named to understudy Nick.

The production team is Kevin Rolfs (Set and Props Designer), Marquecia Jordan (Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor), Warren Levon (Sound Designer), Levi Wilkins (Lighting Designer), Jay Donley (Fight/Intimacy Designer), Todd Henry Faulstich (Production Manager), Lewis Jones (Assistant Director), and a Stage Manager to be named.

While Invictus has been successful in bringing a large-scale play like its highly praised HAMLET to its 40-seat theater, a character-driven psychological drama like WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf? is an especially good fit for Invictus and its venue. This four-character drama, in which the characters take turns exposing the secrets and weaknesses of each other, will benefit from a degree of intimacy usually only achieved in cinema or TV, but combined with the electricity of live performance.

Askenaizer elaborates, WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf? is a relationship play, and in a way, a biting tragi-comedy love story between two complex and wounded characters. We are excited about the way the intimacy of our space will place the audience so close to the action that they may feel as if they are among the late-night party guests in the pressure cooker of George and Martha's living room, and experience the visceral, sharp humor of Albee's language up close."

Invictus Theatre Company has, over its five-year history, built a reputation for intimate and honest interpretations of classics with fidelity to the original texts and close attention to character development. NEW CITY called the company's RUINED "a treasure to hold on to," as the CHICAGO READER's Amanda Finn said, "If you're going to see a play right now, make it this one." The Reader's Albert Williams said the company's HAMLET was "stellar...storefront Shakespeare at its best."

Tickets for Edward Albee'S WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf? are $25 for previews, $30 for the regular run, and are on sale now at www.invictustheatreco.com.

COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS AND POLICIES

All actors have been vaccinated. All audience members are required to show proof of vaccination at the door and to wear masks throughout the performance.


George, a professor at a small college, and his wife, Martha, have just returned home, drunk from a Saturday night party when Martha announces that she has invited a young couple to stop by for a nightcap. The drinks flow and suddenly inhibitions melt. It becomes clear that Martha is determined to seduce the young professor, and George couldn't care less. But underneath the edgy banter, which is cross fired between both couples, lurks an undercurrent of tragedy and despair.

BIOS

Charles Askenaizer (Artistic Director, Director) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Theatre and communications. He has worked professionally in Chicago as an actor, director, and teacher for over 10 years. Recent directing credits include HAMLET (Invictus Theatre), one act play readings with Chicago Dramatists, 'NIGHT, MOTHER (Associate Director-Invictus Theatre), THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Invictus Theatre), OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE (Invictus Theatre), TITUS ANDRONICUS (Bare Knuckles Theater), JULIUS CAESAR (Associate Director- Brown Paper Box) , TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Reutan Collective), and THE DIFFERENCE (Reading-Piccolo Theatre). Additionally, Charles has worked as an artist with Citadel Theatre, Teatro Vista, the Artistic Home, City Lit, Raven, Brown Paper Box, Chicago Dramatists, the Side Project and many more.

Edward Albee (Playwright) Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee is considered one of the greatest American Playwrights of his generation. His early popular one-act plays, including THE ZOO STORY (1959), established him as a critic of American values. He was best known for his first full-length play WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf? (1962), a Tony Award-winning production which also became a 1966 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Albee received Pulitzer Prizes for A DELICATE BALANCE (1966), SEASCAPE and THREE TALL WOMEN (1994), among a host of other accolades. Other plays include THE LADY FROM DUBUQUE (1980) and THE MAN WHO HAD THREE ARMS (1983), THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? (2002) OCCUPANT (2001), and ME, MYSELF, & I (2007).

Over five decades, Albee crafted more than two dozen plays, including adaptations of other authors' work including THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE (1963), based on a Carson McCullers' novella: MALCOLM (1965), based on a James Purdy novel; and LOLITA (1981), based on the Vladimir Nabokov classic. He died in 2016 at the age of 88.

ABOUT INVICTUS THEATRE COMPANY

At Invictus Theatre Company our mission is to create theater that promotes a better understanding of language: its poetry, its rhythm, its resonance; through diverse works by diverse artists. We respect the power of heightened language: spoken, written, sung; to express the breadth of the human condition. We work to harness the power of language: to promote diversity, to engender respect, to foster collaboration; and to empower our communities to share their voices.

Invictus Theatre Company incorporated in January 2017 and received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in February 2017. A diverse group of Chicago actors and directors founded Invictus with the vision to empower their communities through theatrical productions of heightened language. We are committed to the idea that our productions should reflect the communities we represent, and, to that end, we are committed to non-discriminatory hiring practices. In working with local artists, designers, and production teams, Invictus Theatre Company does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, nationality, citizenship, religion, or any other protected status by law.

Pictured: Top row left - right: James Turano, Andrea Uppling, Keenan Odenkirk, Rachel Livingston. Lower row left - right: Lisa Stran, Robin Treviño, Maria Clara Ospina.



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