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The Gift Theatre Announces 2020 Season


The Gift Theatre Announces 2020 Season

During this year's Season Release Bash at Park & Field, Artistic Director and Co-Founder Michael Patrick Thornton and Associate Artistic Director Emjoy Gavino announced The Gift Theatre's 2020 Season will include: a revival of Martin McDonagh's masterpiece THE PILLOWMAN; the Chicago premiere of Naomi Iizuka's drama AT THE VANISHING POINT, directed by Lavina Jadhwani; and the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger's drama THE LOCUSTS, commissioned and developed by The Gift.

As always, The Gift's season begins in January with TEN (January 9 - 19, 2020), the theater's annual roundup of world premiere ten-minute pieces by The Gift and guests, curated by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton and Associate Artistic Directors Paul D'Addario and Emjoy Gavino.

Comment The Gift Theatre Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton and Associate Artistic Directors Paul D'Addario and Emjoy Gavino, "Whether to turn pain into power or honor our loved ones, the stories we tell can be our prison as well as our refuge. Story attempts to put a frame around the un-frameable and remind us who we are. It is an arguably impossible task, which makes its undertaking noble and full of grace. From a thriller in a police state to a sublime ghost story in Butchertown, Louisville to a murderous mystery in Vero Beach, Florida, The Gift's 2020 Season exalts the role of the Storyteller in our society and their power to maybe just save us all."

All three productions will be presented at The Gift's home at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood. Season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 283-7071. Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn and invitations to special subscriber-only special events.

The Gift Theatre's 2020 Season

February 27 - April 5, 2020


By Martin McDonagh

THE PILLOWMAN is a dark, twisty and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland's most treasured writers. In an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian dictatorship, Katurian Katurian, a writer, is being interrogated by two detectives. The detectives want to know why Katurian's stories feature gruesome plots about child murder and torture, and in particular, why they seem to mirror a string of recent child murders in the area.

June 11 - July 19, 2020

AT THE VANISHING POINT - Chicago Premiere!

By Naomi Iizuka

Directed by Lavina Jadhwani

How do we remember a part of our history at the moment that it's slipping away? How do we give voice to the ghosts that haunt us as individuals and as a community? This stunning portrait of a community weaves together historical fact, myth and memory to give voice to people who would otherwise exist only as faded images in an old photo album.

October 8 - November 15, 2020

THE LOCUSTS - World Premiere!

By Jennifer Rumberger

When a serial killer goes on a gruesome rampage in Ella's small hometown of Vero Beach, Florida, she's called up from her busy career in the Miami police force to help apprehend him. At home, she's confronted with the life she left behind: her pregnant and struggling sister, her scared young niece, who like Ella, is desperate to find a life somewhere else, and the dark events of her childhood that she's tried to forget. As the murders grow more horrific and the small community is frozen by fear, Ella realizes she has to confront the events of her dark past in order to stop him.

Artist Biographies

Martin McDonagh (Playwright, The Pillowman) is am British/Irish playwright, screenwriter and film director, who has achieved critical acclaim. He is the winner of four Tony awards, including Best Play in 998. McDonagh's repertoire is expansive. The Leenane Trilogy is as follows: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996), A Skull in Connemara (1997) and The Lonesome West (1997). The Aran Islands plays: The Cripple of Inishmaan (1996) and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001). Lastly, The Pillowman (2003) was produced by the Royal National Theatre and A Behanding in Spokane (2010) was produced by Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. Films include: Short film Six Shooter (2005, Oscar Winning). Feature films include: In Bruges (2008) (Academy Award/BAFTAs), Seven Psychopaths (2012) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017, Oscar and Golden Globe Winning).

Naomi Iizuka (Playwright, At the Vanishing Point) is a nationally recognized contemporary playwright whose plays include The Last Firefly, 36 Views, 17 Reasons (Why), Polaroid Stories, Language of Angels, Anon(ymous), Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Tattoo Girl, Skin, Ghostwritten, After a Hundred Years, Strike-Slip, At the Vanishing Point, Hamlet: Blood on the Brain (a collaboration with CalShakes and Campo Santo at Intersection for the Arts) and War of the Worlds (written in collaboration with Anne Bogart and Siti Company). Her plays have been produced around the United States and internationally, including at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Campo Santo at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, Dallas Theater Center and Undermain Theatre in Dallas, FronteraFest at Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, Texas, Printer's Devil Theater and Annex Theatre in Seattle, The Public Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Soho Rep and Tectonic Theater Project in New York, Sledgehammer Theatre in San Diego, Edmonton's Northern Light Theatre and Montreal's Alternate Theatre in Canada, and the Edinburgh Festival. Her plays have been published by Overlook Press, Playscripts, Smith and Kraus, Dramatic Publishing, Sun and Moon Press and Theatre Communications Group. lizuka is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Joyce Foundation Award, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Stavis Award from The National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship, and a Jerome Fellowship. She currently heads the MFA Playwriting program at the University of California, San Diego.

Lavina Jadhwani (Director, At the Vanishing Point) is a Chicago-based director, adaptor and activist. As a second-generation immigrant, Lavina constantly investigates the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" and through her work, she strives to expand the definition of that word to include more minority voices. Favorite directing credits include As You Like It (Guthrie Theater), Roe (Asolo Repertory Theatre), Gloria (Mixed Blood Theatre), Great Expectations (Silk Road Rising/Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Gruesome Playground Injuries, Much Ado About Nothing, Yoni Ki Baat (Rasaka Theatre Company), Cherry Smoke (the side project) and Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista - BroadwayWorld nomination, Best Production for Young Audiences). Her adaptations include The Sitayana (a solo performance piece based on the Hindu epic, The Ramayana), Vanya (adapted from Chekhov) and Shakuntala: An East-Meets-West Love Story (an a cappella musical, adapted from Kalidasa). Proud graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University (M.F.A., Directing), Carnegie Mellon University (B.F.A., Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

Jennifer Rumberger (Playwright, The Locusts) is a Chicago playwright and essayist. Recent productions include Night in Alachua County with Wildclaw Theatre, Open Blue Sky at Stella Adler/Tisch School of the Arts and The Bride with the Living Room Playmakers and Chicago Fringe Festival. Her play, A Little Ghost Story, was a second time selection for the 2019 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; her play Night in Alachua County was also developed there in 2014. Night in Alachua County was recommended for consideration for the 2018 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. Jennifer was a nominee for the PoNY Fellowship and a semi-finalist for the P73 Fellowship. Jennifer's work has also been developed or presented in New York, Houston, Chicago and Florida by The Lark Playwrights Center, id Theatre Company, The Gift Theatre Company, Black Box Acting Studio, The Living Room Playmakers, Commission Theatre Company, Wordsmyth Theatre Company, Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company, White Rose Miami and Northwestern University. She performs at live storytelling events in Chicago with You're Being Ridiculous and GiftLit. She is a founding member and associate playwright with the Living Room Playmakers. MFA: Northwestern.

PHOTO CREDIT: Playwrights/directors featured in The Gift Theatre's 2020 season include (top, l to r) Martin McDonagh and Jennifer Rumberger (bottom, l to r) Naomi Iizuka and Lavina Jadhwani.

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