THE HAIRY APE and More Set for Oracle's Sixth Season of Public Access Theatre

THE HAIRY APE and More Set for Oracle's Sixth Season of Public Access Theatre

The Board of Directors, Staff and Company Members of Oracle Productions are proud to announce the lineup of plays and events for 2016 - Season 6 of Public Access Theatre.

Of primary focus is making Public Access Theatre even more accessible and inclusive to accommodate their expanding community. Oracle audience members are from all walks of life, so the company is committed to creating free art that speaks to the diverse experiences of their patrons as well as provide services that make Oracle's programs accessible and supportive for people of all types and abilities. This growing community of patrons and artists are strengthening Oracle's mission by ensuring that everyone, everywhere has access to the arts.

Season 6 of Public Access Theatre is supported by The Forty 4, a growing population of individuals and local businesses committed to making free art for all. Major donors include: The Reva and David Logan Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Alphawood Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Broadway In Chicago, The Saints, Ronald A. Greene Memorial Fund, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The MacArthur Foundation.

Season 6 of Public Access Theatre
Season 6 of Public Access Theatre aspires to be the most accessible season to date, offering thought-provoking entertainment to everyone who attends Oracle's free performances and events. As audiences continue to grow, Oracle is implementing more accessibility services to connect artists and audiences: certain performances will feature participatory talk backs, captioning, ASL interpretation, and audio described performances with touch tours. Oracle will host several visiting companies to co-produce more free work from a wider array of artists. They are also planning an array film screenings to coincide with the themes of their mainstage work. All of these programs give audiences the opportunity to connect with artists and share their opinions and experiences. To ensure the company integrates accessibility and inclusion into its core values, Company Member Havalah Grace has been appointed Director of Accessibility. She will work with every department at Oracle to deepen their commitment to Public Access Theatre and support their ability to include more voices at the table. They are grateful for the support of the Chicago Community Trust as well as inspiration and mentorship from the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium, The Chicago Inclusion Project, and ADA 25 Chicago

Admission is free to all performances and events.

Oracle's 2016 mainstage season features two revisionist takes on classic plays and an original musical, each of which will expand Oracle's challenging discourse on the key issues of race, gender equality, and class. THE HAIRY APE, THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA and THE KINDLING each examine the powder keg of a community under pressure. Under the Artistic Direction of Max Truax, Season 6 of Public Acess Theatre features the classic works of Eugene O'Neill, Federico García Lorca, and a new play by emerging Chicago playwright Nigel O'Hearn, along with new music by Jeff Award winning composer Nicholas Tonozzi (THE MOTHER, THE JUNGLE). Season 6 also presents the directorial voices of two emerging Chicago directors, Monty Cole and Oracle Company Member laura k smith, in Oracle's studio theatre.

Regular performance schedule for mainstage plays is as follows:
Friday, Saturday and Monday nights at 8PM
Sundays at 7PM

by Eugene O'Neill
directed by Monty Cole
January 23 - March 12, 2016

Director Monty Cole makes his Chicago debut with THE HAIRY APE, directing an ensemble of six African-American men in the portrayal of the many characters in O'Neill's harrowing, expressionistic critique of class stratification. Yank is the master of his world, shoveling coal on an ocean liner. But when a wealthy woman descends to see life on the lower decks, their encounter propels Yank from the close confines of the engine room and onto the streets of New York City, where he seeks validation, belonging and revenge. Cole's charged staging will capture the caged mind of a young, black man yearning to belong.

The ensemble features Oracle Company Member Tony Santiago. He is joined by Julian Parker, Bradford Stevens, Rashaad Hall, Michael Turrentine, and Breon Arzell. Rasell Holt is understudy.

by Federico García Lorca
adapted by Emily Mann
directed by laura k smith
June 4 - July 23, 2016

Company Member and director laura k smith makes her mainstage debut with Lorca's THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA, adapted by Emily Mann. Oracle's production highlights the trap of social pressures faced by women in modern society. In smith's staging, Bernarda Alba's efforts to protect her daughters from society's critique are a terrifying manifestation of the very thing she hopes to escape. Likewise, Poncia's intention of empowering and liberating the daughters from their emotional prison exacerbates their oppression by introducing destructive pressures from the forbidden outside world. As each of the daughters navigates these opposing forces, the youngest, Adela, is thrust into conflict with her sisters and her mother, setting in motion a series of events with a tragic outcome. smith's immersive staging will remind audiences that Lorca's haunting allegory is a living commentary on a world that exists around and within us all.

THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA is produced in special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

an original musical
written by Nigel O'Hearn
music by Nicholas Tonozzi
directed by Max Truax
October 15 - December 3, 2016

Artistic Director Max Truax closes Season 6 with THE KINDLING, an original musical written by playwright Nigel O'Hearn and Jeff Award-winning composer Nicholas Tonozzi (THE MOTHER, THE JUNGLE). Three women from different backgrounds work side by side in a sweatshop garment factory and strive, against all odds, to make a better life for themselves. When tragedy befalls a fellow weaver, the women come into conflict with the factory owner, the men's union, management, and each other as they try to determine a path toward equality in the workplace. Truax's staging will place the audience amidst the cramped conditions of the garment factory and its boarding house, revealing the mounting pressures within as the women attempt to break free from years of exploitation.

Truax works with Oracle Producer and Company Member Tony Santiago to create more opportunities for artists to present their work to audiences for free in Public Access Theater. Currently, Red Theater Chicago is partnering with Oracle to present the critically-acclaimed premiere of R+J: THE VINEYARD. In 2016, Truax and Santiago are lining up some exciting groups to present full, mainstage runs of new work. More details will be released soon, but the 2016 lineup of co-productions will include premieres of new work from local artists.

Truax works with Oracle Producer and Company Member Rory Jobst to host screenings of critically acclaimed films that expand the dialogue created by the mainstage plays and co-productions. The first event, scheduled for March 17-20, 2016, will feature a collection of short films by the Academy Award-nominated team behind the groundbreaking 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams. Among the films to be screened in March is Journeymen directed by Leo Gilbert and starring Arthur Agee (the central subject of Hoop Dreams) as well as Joe Swanberg (Writer/Director of Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas). These shorts will cover a diverse array of topics from social issues to basketball, showcasing a very local perspective of the great city of Chicago. Other film events will be announced at a later date.

Oracle is Chicago's Award-Winning Free Theatre
Oracle's mission is to provide everyone everywhere access to the arts. This year, Oracle's premiere of THE JUNGLE received 2 Jeff Awards for Best Adaptation (Matt Foss) and Best Original Music in a Play (Nicholas Tonozzi and Sam Allyn). In 2014, Oracle received 5 Jeff Awards for THE MOTHER, including Best Ensemble and Best Production. In addition, members of the League of Chicago Theatres awarded Oracle with the 2014 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award. This advocacy makes a bold statement about Chicago's theatre community: they, too, believe everyone everywhere should have access to the arts.

Since Public Access Theatre launched in 2010, Oracle has provided free performances to over 24,000 people locally and internationally, worked with over 500 artists, and collaborated with over 60 different organizations. Oracle has seen exponential growth through Public Access Theatre.

In 2015, Oracle partnered with organizations such as the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Black Cinema House to bring important cultural events to new audiences around Chicago for free. They wish to extend a grateful "Thank You!" to all of these organizations that have helped them connect with new communities and expand their mission.

Don't miss any of the exciting programs and performances in 2016!

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