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The Prop Thtr Announces 2018-19 Season

The Prop Thtr Announces 2018-19 Season

The Prop Thtr is pleased to announce its 2018-19 Season, kicking off this fall with NEVERLAND, a new devised adaptation of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, written and directed by the Prop's new Artistic Director Olivia Lilley. This young adult take on the classic centers on the war for control of Neverland raging between Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook.

The season continues next winter with the 30th annual RHINOFEST, a curated experimental theatre festival, co-produced with Curious Branch Theatre. The Prop launches into spring 2019 with BEHOLD, A PALE HORSE, a joyous, tragic, raucous celebration of queer loneliness inspired by Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. Gina Marie Hayes directs this new immersive experience devised with the ensemble.

Prop Thtr's 37th Season concludes with 2 UNFORTUNATE 2 TRAVEL, a cabaret-style evening of multi-disciplinary live performances and a biting look at privilege and the things we take for granted. This new devised adaptation of Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller is written and directed by Zach Weinberg.


Prop Thtr is located at 3502 N. Elston Ave. (near Kedzie & Addison) in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood. Season Subscriptions are currently available at


Comments Prop Thtr Artistic Director Olivia Lilley, "I'm excited to present my first season as Artistic Director of Prop Thtr. It thrills me, that for the first time in the theatre's history, each production is a commissioned, devised work that originated in the mind of a director. I am also ecstatic that each of these directors is committed to creating intersectional spaces in our rehearsal rooms. Our Season theme is "Confronting Corruption." Whether it's the Lost realizing their fearless leader is human, a pale horse handling the consequences of a spell gone horribly wrong, or a cis white man, who through having others' reenact his life, sees himself for the fool that he is, this season, our characters choose to deal with the hard truths of their lives. Through these stories, our characters destroy their faulty foundations, work to heal and decide where to go from here. I look forward to sharing these stories of annihilation and rebirth as we forge a new path for The Prop Thtr."


October 25 - November 25, 2018


Written and directed by Artistic Director Olivia Lilley

Adapted from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan

Devised by The Ensemble

Press opening: Monday, October 29t 2018


NEVERLAND chronicles the final days of Peter Pan's utopia. When Wendy, an Avondale teenager, becomes the newest addition to the Lost, Peter's band of runaway teens from different decades, her spirit and her sense infuse Neverland with a new energy and a way of thinking they've never encountered. Disrupting Peter Pan and Captain Hook's never-ending rivalry, Wendy forces Neverland's figures to confront the reality of what they've become. The journey from childhood to adulthood has never been so treacherous than in this "Peter Pan" in the era of Trump's America.


January 12 -February 23, 2019

The 30th annual RHINOFEST

Co-Produced with Curious Theatre Branch


Curious Theater Branch and Prop Thtr collaborate - as they have for much of the past 29 RhinoFests - to curate and produce the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, which provides production and exhibition opportunities to hundreds of artists, drawing thousands in attendance each year. The longest-running new works storefront festival in Chicago, RhinoFest features experimental work in theater and performance from Chicago companies and national artists alike.

First organized in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, the Rhinofest is unique among national fringe festivals in that artists are never charged a fee to participate, audiences are always on a "pay what you can" basis and each year our programs are individually curated rather than selected by lottery.


March 8 - April 7, 2019


Inspired by Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn

Directed by Gina Marie Hayes

Devised by The Ensemble

Press opening: Monday, March 11, 2019


When you're lost in the woods, who helps you find your way? When you change forms, who will recognize you?


BEHOLD, A PALE HORSE is an immersive experience taking audiences along on the final journey of the last Unicorn in the world. Mistaken for a white mare, transformed into a human by a bumbling magician, she wanders the woods searching for someone who will recognize her for what she really is.


Featuring live covers of Johnny Cash, Smashing Pumpkins and Kenny Loggins (among others), BEHOLD, A PALE HORSE is a joyful, tragic, raucous celebration of queer loneliness.


March 15 - April 6, 2019


Directed and freely adapted by Zach Weinberg

Adapted from Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller

Devised by The Ensemble

Press opening: Monday, March 18, 2019


Jack Wilton, forgotten hero from the late 16th century, has a bold idea. He has transformed his life story into a variety show depicting his adventures in a range of spectacular and crowd-pleasing styles, with everything from shadow puppetry to a live game show. Armed with free beer for his fans, he's ready to sit back and watch as a fresh audience learns to love him. However, as a diverse ensemble brings Jack's story to life, his role in events - and Jack himself - don't look the same from the outside.


2 UNFORTUNATE 2 TRAVEL is a play in the form of a late-night show, a cabaret-style evening of multi-disciplinary live performances, and a biting look at privilege and the things we take for granted.


About The Directors:


Olivia Lilley is an Iranian-Irish Chicago playwright, director and producer. Her work runs the gamut from irreverent takes on classic texts (Faust: Save me or I'll die, The Portrait of Dorian Gray) to dance theatre biographies (In Sarah's Shadow, I Saw The Best Minds of My Generation) to new plays that tackle contemporary intersectional issues (Mary Shelley Sees The Future, Expectations for little mixed girls, #dadawillsaveus). Olivia is the founding Artistic Director of The Runaways Lab Theatre (Voted Best New Theatre Company in the Chicago Reader's "Best Of 2014"). Olivia is the head of Pop Magic Productions, and the incoming Artistic Director of The Prop Thtr. Olivia received her BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.


Gina Marie Hayes has worked previously as a director, performance artist, choreographer and playwright. The founding artistic director of Red Egg Theater in Santa Cruz, CA, they also served for five years as Assistant to the Artistic Director and Intern Coordinator at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and directed Machiavelli's The Mandrake there in 2012. They are currently an MFA in Directing Candidate at Northwestern University. Selected theater and dance work at: San Jose Repertory Theater's Emerging Artist Lab (A Country Doctor, adapted from Kafka), City Lights Theatre Company (Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party), UC Santa Cruz (Prometheus and I Dream of Chang and Eng). At Northwestern: 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, Hit The Wall by Ike Holter, Big Love by Charles Mee, and Go Dog Go based on the book by P.D. Eastman. Areas of interest include experimental, immersive, movement-based and/or dance theatre, and theatre which examines LGBTQIA issues.


Zach Weinberg is a Chicago-based theater director, adaptor and administrator. He is interested in the creation of new, non-traditional works and finding the perfect medium for the message. Zach is a company member and grant writer at Red Tape Theatre, and a graduate of Oberlin College. Selected theatrical work includes serving as a Directing Apprentice with the late Redmoon Theatre, participating in the 2016 Director's Haven at Haven Theatre and premiering two original adaptations at Curious Theatre Branch's Rhinofest: Love in a Maze ('17) and May Day ('18).


About The Prop Thtr

Since beginning in 1981, Prop Thtr has aimed to create, inspire and assist in the creation of new plays and other time-based works of art. Working closely with established artists as well as emerging, Prop has played a vital role in Chicago's cultural scene. We incubate, develop and produce new work and emerging artists for the Performing Arts. Prop Thtr is a founding Core member of the National New Play Network.


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