Photo Flash: HOG'SBELLY: A Fable Noir Grips Gorilla Tango

By: Jul. 17, 2017
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

A Dead Whale Productions continues their inaugural season with the world premiere production of Artistic Associate Tyler Garamella's Hog'sBelly: A Fable Noir, directed by Founding Artistic Director Dane Eissler. A Dead Whale is proud to continue their commitment to challenge theatrical convention by creating edgy and original theatrical events by all means necessary. Hog'sBelly opens Thursday, July 20th; and closes on Saturday, July 29th at Gorilla Tango Theatre in Bucktown, Chicago.

A playfully dark mix of film noir and fable, Hog'sBelly dissects the destructive power of fear and hate through the eyes of the disgruntled rats and roaches of a dingy sewer underneath the recently closed chain restaurant, Hog'sBelly. Garamella's play follows a naive but determined rat-detective, Danny, as they scour the shadowy sewers to solve the death of their mentor, the fatherly Ezzy. The sewer has never been in such disarray as the regular waves of food-scraps from Hog'sBelly have stopped flowing into the sewer, leaving the now-civilized rat-citizens hungry and desperate for direction before they return to their more primal, animalistic ways. With no other options, the rats turn to the mysterious and powerful Senka for help. It becomes a race against the clock for Danny to save his sewer from its own gnarly animal instincts.

Tyler Garamella, originally from Lindenwold, NJ, is thrilled to see his play making its long-awaited debut after its original conception as an undergrad passion project at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Founding Artistic Director Dane Eissler, who accompanied Garamella at Rowan University, has known about the play for years now:

"Ever since I read the first draft of the script back in college, I've wanted to direct it," says Eissler. "It's not your typical living room drama... it's really not your typical anything! There's an entire sewer system that needs to be created, not to mention a broad spectrum of outrageous non-human characters! It's exactly the kind of theatrical challenge I love to tackle. It's weird, it's dark, and it's dangerous. The perfect show for A Dead Whale!"

Featuring a cast of six, Hog'sBelly features Natalia Via as Danny, the hard-boiled rat-detective. She is joined by an incredible ensemble of performers including Brandon Nelson, Elizabeth Quilter, Olivia Frisch, Joshua Bomba, and Hannah Simpson, who are tasked with playing the other twenty-some characters.

Garamella's fantastical script, directed by Dane Eissler, will be brought to life through the work of an incredible design team. Meghan Erxleben's light design will pay tribute to the classic shadowy film noir aesthetic using mostly actor-operated flashlights, while Krystal Dawson's sound design will create the wet and dreary ambiance of a deteriorating sewer. Sara Mitchell, also the production's assistant director, will be creating the added layer of shadow puppetry, while director Dane Eissler will take on double duty in building the other puppet characters.

Hog'sBelly: A Fable Noir runs July 20-22 and 27-29 at 7:30pm at Gorilla Tango Theatre [Bucktown] at 1919 N. Milwaukee, just off the Western Blue Line. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased through Gorilla Tango's Box Office in person, by phone: 773.598.4549, or online at

About the Playwright

Tyler Garamella is a theatre and film performer originally from the Greater Philadelphia area. Tyler studied Theatre and Music Composition at Rowan University, where he founded Awkward Improv. In Philadelphia, he performed on the Philly Improv Theatre Harold team Outside Voices, as well as appearing in The Philadelphia Plays & Players' inaugural children's show for their 'P.L.A.Y.' series. Tyler has also toured NY, Vermont, and Pennsylvania with Pantea Productions in their original circus/puppetry-production of Beyond the Light. His recent film work includes Geronimo, Love and Other Mental Illnesses, Flesh Wizard, Come to Life, and Natural Selection with Anthony Michael Hall. Tyler is now a proud resident of Chicago, where he has worked with The Annoyance Theatre, Second City, Huggable Riot, and Batsu!, as well as Associate Artist of A Dead Whale Productions.

About the Director

Dane Eissler is a multidisciplinary image-driven artist based in Chicago whose work has been described as "visceral, vulgar, and delicious" (Paule "Duchess" Turner). After earning his degree in Theatre from Rowan University, he quickly began working in Philadelphia, "pushing [theatre] forward into beautifully fun and freaky territory" (Obie-winner John Clancy). In Philly, he worked with Azuka Theatre, B.R.A.T. Productions, and EgoPo Classic Theater, where he co-directed the acclaimed Philadelphia premiere of Tennessee Williams' Stairs to the Roof and adapted/directed Nikolai Gogol's The Nose. Eissler will return to EgoPo this winter to Associate Direct the world premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright John Guare's magnum opus The Lydie Breeze Trilogy. In Chicago, he has worked with Theatre-Hikes, Lumas Theatre, and Living Room Vantgardia, as well as self-producing his original theatre-fable, Forever Fetal, at Gorilla Tango. Dane currently serves as Founding Artistic Director for A Dead Whale Productions.

About A Dead Whale

Blending virtuosic physicality and striking poetic imagery, A Dead Whale Productions challenges and diversifies traditional theatrical convention by all means necessary. A Dead Whale strives to create edgy and innovative theatrical events through rigorous collaborative ingenuity. We aim to create a theatre that is sustainable within both our community and environment. Our productions are built from repurposed and found materials, and we aim to build our audiences and artistic ensemble by fostering a safe and inclusive environment. A Dead Whale proudly abides by the Code of Conduct set forth by the #NotInOurHouse Chicago Theatre Community movement. We actively strive to create an environment that is safe, nurturing, and productive; free of sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, intimidation, and bullying. A Dead Whale is proud to conceive its inaugural year thanks to our Artistic Residency through Gorilla Tango Theatre [Bucktown]. To learn more, visit or follow us on facebook or instagram @adeadwhale

Photo Flash: HOG'SBELLY: A Fable Noir Grips Gorilla Tango
l-r, Hannah Simpson, Brandon Nelson, Olivia Frisch

Photo Flash: HOG'SBELLY: A Fable Noir Grips Gorilla Tango
l-r, Olivia Frisch, Brandon Nelson, Hannah Simpson

Photo Flash: HOG'SBELLY: A Fable Noir Grips Gorilla Tango
l-r, Brandon Nelson, Olivia Frisch, Hannah Simpson

Photo Flash: HOG'SBELLY: A Fable Noir Grips Gorilla Tango
Hog'sBelly Poster: photo by Mark Williams, poster design by Sam Price


To post a comment, you must register and login.