MR. AND MRS. PENNYWORTH to Premiere at Lookingglass Theatre This Winter
"Ensemble Member Doug Hara's Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth has all the elements that Lookingglass audiences love," notes Artistic Director Heidi Stillman. "It's highly visual, extremely imaginative, and relies on the incredible skill and virtuosity of the performers."
The cast of Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth includes Artistic Associate Lindsey Noel-Whiting and Samuel Taylor.
The creative team for Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth includes Ensemble Member John Musial (scenic design), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costume design), Sarah Hughey (lighting design), Artistic Associate Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman (sound design and composition), Mike Tutaj (projection design), Amanda Herrmann (properties design), Blair Thomas (puppet design) and Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller for Manual Cinema Studios (shadow animations). The Production Stage Manager is Jeri Frederickson.
Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spell-binding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. Fairytales disappear from the pages, characters are utterly forgotten, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever.
Written and directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara, this world premiere weaves an exceptional story of adventure, love, and unexpected endings. Influenced by Neil Gaiman and other fantasy writers, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is brought to life through the wondrous puppetry of Blair Thomas and reveals the transformational power of storytelling.
REFLECT is a curated series of post-show discussions featuring panelists with a range of viewpoints and expertise on the content and context of the play. Discussions take place directly following the 2 p.m. matinee on select Sundays at Lookingglass Theatre. The discussions are free and open to the public.
In the Beginning Was The Word: Stories, Myths, and (Re-)Creating the World
Sunday, January 8
"One tale tumbles into the next, and before you know it, you know so many things. Whole worlds, lifetimes between "Once upon a time" and "The End". - Mrs. Pennyworth
From the dawn of human history, people have used stories-from creation myths to fairy tales-to try to understand the world. What have been some universal elements of storytelling throughout time and across continents? How do these common elements get shared between cultures?
Behind the Storytelling: Puppets, Film, and Plain Old Words
Sunday, January 15
"People know the story. They don't need a book to tell it." - Mr. Pennyworth
Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth contains many different stories, all told in different ways. How did the creative team determine which techniques would best suit each different tale? Take a peek behind the scenes as we hear from some of the brilliants storytellers and craftspeople involved in the play.
Monsters, Villains, and The Big Bad Wolf: Why We Need Them In Our Stories
Sunday, January 22
"Dennis, my dear. The wolf is in your story. He's always been there - that's where he belongs. Had you forgotten?" - Mrs. Pennyworth
Fantasy, sci-fi and graphic novels often rely on anti-heroes and villains. What does the "Big Bad Wolf" look like in contemporary storytelling? How does he reflect the things we fear today?
The Craft: Storytellers in Action
Sunday, January 29
"My work is a balancing act between following a story and guiding a story. Stories have their own shapes and contours, and a good storyteller finds them and follows them." - Mr. Pennyworth
Hear some of Chicago's finest storytellers share what drew them to their trade, how they are passing on the torch, and some of their favorite tales.
Is Storytelling Dying or Evolving?: The Blog vs. The Moth
Sunday, February 5
"A good storyteller knows all the stories are good...it's all in how you tell it." - Mrs. Pennyworth
From Facebook Live and Snapchat to blogs and podcasts, new technologies are changing the way we receive and share stories. But there has also been a revival of live storytelling events-witness The Moth, Paper Machete and 2nd Story, just to name a few. Does technology help or hurt the craft of modern storytelling?
What's In A Name?: Storytelling Defining (and Defying) Genres
Sunday, February 12
"Farren, the world of stories is vast and constantly moving. If we're going to do this properly, we may have to travel to places and encounter things we know nothing about." - Mr. Pennyworth
Mr. & Mrs. Pennyworth borrows storytelling elements from a wide range of traditions-from ancient fairy tales to contemporary graphic novels. What does the recent surge of interest in superhero fantasies, ComicCon and Cosplay tell us? As genres old and new bend and blend, are our storytelling categories dissolving and/or new ones being formed?
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Doug Hara (WRITER/DIRECTOR/LOOKINGGLASS ENSEMBLE MEMBER) began at Lookingglass in 1991, acting in Steven Berkoff's West, directed by David Catlin. For over 25 years he has worked in theatres across the country as an actor, musician, composer, and recently as a director. Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth marks Doug's first time as a playwright, and first time directing for Lookingglass. Select Lookingglass credits: Eastland, The Brothers Karamazov, Metamorphoses, Lookingglass Alice, Eurydice, Arabian Nights, Up Against It, Master and Margarita and Lookingglass Hamlet. Broadway: Metamorphoses and The Boys of Winter. Off Broadway: The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Metamorphoses and Lookingglass Alice. Regional: Goodman Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Two River Theater, About Face Theatre, Jellyeye Drum Opera, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Syracuse Stage, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The Joyce Theater, and Second Stage Theatre. Film Credits: Mad Dog and Glory. Doug lives in New Jersey and frequently works in the Philadelphia theatre scene.
Samuel Taylor (MR. PENNYWORTH) returns to Lookingglass, where he last appeared in Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure and previously appeared in Lookingglass Alice. He is a Stakeholding Partner in the Back Room Shakespeare Project. Chicago credits include: The Feast: An Intimate Tempest and Hunchback (Redmoon Theater); Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); and several productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Regional credits include: Doctor's Dilemma (American Players Theatre); Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Boys Next Door (Syracuse Stage), and Henry V on tour with The Acting Company. TV Credits include appearances on Boardwalk Empire, Chicago PD, Mob Doctor and Crisis.
Lindsey Noel Whiting (Mrs. Pennyworth/Lookingglass Artistic Associate) returns to the Lookingglass stage with Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth. Previous Lookingglass credits include Lookingglass Alice, Cascabel, The Great Fire, and Icarus. Regionally, Lindsey has performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, ALLIANCE THEATRE, and Syracuse Stage. Chicago credits include: The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens Theater); Once Upon A Time (or The Secret Language of Birds), The Golden Truffle, The Cabinet, and Sink, Sank, Sunk (Redmoon Theater), as well as a number of circuses at The Actors Gymnasium, where she is an Associate Artist. Lindsey has also performed with Mucca Pazza, a circus punk marching band.
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 29th season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company has staged 65 world premieres, received 116 Joseph Jefferson awards and nominations, and work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis. Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States. In February of 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003. In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.
Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Connectivity and Engagement Director Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 24-member artistic ensemble, 15 artistic associates, 11 production affiliates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman John McGowan of CTC| myCFO (a part of BMO Financial Group) and President Nancy Timmers, civic leader and philanthropist. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.