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Victory Gardens Presents 2010 Ignition Festival, 8/18-22

Victory Gardens Theater Artistic Director Dennis Zacek, Executive Director Jan Kallish, and Associate Artistic Director and producer of IGNITION Sandy Shinner proudly announce the six new plays selected for the company's 2010 IGNITION Festival. The selected plays are: The Subject by Chisa Hutchinson; Aurora by Leonard Madrid; Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat; Mala Hierba by Tanya Saracho; We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies; and Undone by Andrea Thome.

INGITION's six new plays will be presented in a festival of readings scheduled for the week of August 15th 2010, and will be directed by leading artists from Chicago and around the country. Following the readings, two of the plays will be selected for intensive workshops during Victory Gardens 2010/11 season, and Victory Gardens will produce one of these final scripts in an upcoming season.

The second annual IGNITION Festival received over 150 scripts. Seven additional plays were selected as finalists: one week in spring by Kristiana Colon; Beautiful Province (Belle Province) by Clarence Coo; blu by Virginia Grise; microcrisis by Michael Lew; Yasmina's Necklace by Rohina Malik; Lost Accents by Qui Nguyen; Icarus Burns by Christopher Pena.

IGNITION 2010 Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, August 18 at 7:30pm

IGNITION Scene Sampler offers sneak peek at all 6 plays with a playwright Q&A, followed by a reception.

Thursday, August 19 at 7:30pm

Special keynote addresses with last year's inaugural IGNITION playwrights Kristoffer Diaz (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity) and Michael Golamco (Year Zero).

Thursday, August 19 at 8pm

A Reading of Mala Hierba by Tanya Saracho

The trophy wife of a border magnate wavers between her wifely duty and the love of her life as she navigates the dangerous waters between desire and obligation.

Friday, August 20 at 7:30pm

A Reading of Undone by Andrea Thome

Followed by Sparkplug: a post-reading party

Loosely inspired by the Greek tragedy of Oedipus, Undone takes place in a city neighborhood troubled by fear and violence, where the unresolved history between a mother and daughter affects the whole community around them.

Saturday, August 21 at 3pm

A Reading of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies

When a group of actors gather together to give a presentation on a distant genocide, they realize that summaries are not enough. In their attempt to delve into history they struggle with stereotype, fear, and their own personal histories -- uncovering the potential for brutality in all of us.

Saturday, August 21 at 7:30pm

A Reading of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat

Three kids are all but abandoned on a farm in remotest Middle America. But when Edith shoots something she really shouldn't shoot, the formerly indifferent outside world comes barging in - whether they want it to or not.

Sunday, August 22 at 1pm

A Reading of The Subject by Chisa Hutchinson

Having built his success on the gang-related death of one of his subjects, documentarian Philip Waterhouse is having a crisis of conscience. Of course, it doesn't help that he's being stalked by the mother of the victim.

Sunday, August 22 at 4pm

A Reading of Aurora by Leonard Madrid

Aurora Reyes, her husband Adelino, and her nephew Sol are forced to test their love for each other when the Lady Death visits the streets of Mora, New Mexico.


IGNITION tickets are $5 per reading. A special, $25 Festival Pass offers access to all public events. Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000 (tty: 773.871.0682), email, or visit

IGNITION, one of Victory Gardens most daring new play development projects, was conceived to support the theater's mission of new play development and diversity. In the spring of 2008, 120 writers of color under 40 years of age from around the United States submitted new scripts for the first phase of IGNITION. The top six plays were then selected, workshopped and presented as staged readings in a successful weeklong festival later that same summer. In its inaugural outing last season, IGNITION developed, premiered and launched both Year Zero and Kristoffer Diaz' The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity onto the American theater scene; both productions have subsequently been remounted at Second Stage in New York City.

"In terms of spurring second productions, we're absolutely thrilled to say our first IGNITION festival batted a thousand," said Sandy Shinner, associate artistic director, Victory Gardens Theater. IGNITION is already on the national theatrical map as an important initiative that takes new plays from readings and workshops to mainstage productions, supported by all the resources Victory Gardens has to offer.

Kristoffer Diaz's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and Michael Golamco's Year Zero were both born of IGNITION. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity opened at Victory Gardens on October 5, 2009 on the

Zacek McVay Mainstage Theater to unanimous critical acclaim. Diaz's bold exploration of race and politics through the unlikely lens of professional wrestling was named "Best Play of 2009" by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Time Out Chicago, and was named a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Golamco's Year Zero, a moving comedic drama about a young generation of Cambodian Americans paving a new future by remembering its past, opened concurrently in Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater to critical raves. Both plays were supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.

IGNITION Festival 2010 is supported by lead corporate sponsor, Allstate Insurance Company, and Bill and Orli Staley. For more information call IGNITION Festival Producer Sandy Shinner or Literary Manager Aaron Carter at 773.549.5788.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Za?ek and Executive Director Jan Kallish, Victory Gardens Theater is home to the bold voices of world premiere theater. The company features the work of its own 14-member Playwrights Ensemble, as well as that of exciting playwrights who are changing theater in the U.S. and abroad. Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. The company's dedication to developing, supporting and producing new work makes Victory Gardens an American Center for New Plays.

In 2006, Victory Gardens completed an $11.8 million renovation of Chicago's famed Biograph Theater, one of the city's most celebrated historic landmarks. Renamed Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, this beautiful new space is home to two theaters which expand the company's artistic flexibility, and provides very different audience experiences. The Za?ek McVay Theater is a state-of-the-art 299 seat space. The new Richard Christiansen Theater is an intimate 109 seat space, named in honor of the Chicago Tribune chief critic emeritus and longtime champion of Chicago's live theater scene. This theater was dedicated with a moving tribute in March 2010 which included the launch of Victory Gardens $1 Million Campaign for Growth. Visit for more information.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Allstate Insurance Company, Motorola Foundation, REAM Foundation, and Crown Family Philanthropies. Additional funding is provided by: National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council (IAC), a State Agency, CityArts Program 4 Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, and by 3Arts, Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund, Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Elizabeth Cheney Foundation, John R. Halligan Fund, Illinois Tool Works (ITW), James S. Kemper Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation and Wrightwood Neighbors Association.

For complete information, visit

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