Lauren Yee's IN A WORD Gets SoCal Premiere at Chance Theater

Chance Theater, Anaheim's official resident theater company, is pleased to announce the sixth show of our 2017 season... in a word. Written by former Chance Theater Resident Playwright Lauren Yee, in a word has received numerous awards and was recently named a New York Times Critic's Pick. Directed by Jocelyn A. Brown, in a word will preview from September 8 through September 15; regular performances will begin September 16 and continue through October 8 at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Fyda-Mar Stage.

Today is the two-year anniversary of Fiona's son's disappearance, and she still can't come to terms with reality. The case is cold as ice, and the once hopeful Fiona now grapples with sadness, grief, and -- worst of all - bad puns. Her blase husband has moved on, the inept detective has given up, and the neighborhood kidnapper keeps introducing himself at the supermarket. In this emotional and comedic look at how tragedy can distort our speech and reality, ordinary words and turns of phrase take on new meanings as Fiona relives one fateful day. Surreal, funny, and potent, in a word explores the complexity of language and how it can impact the ways we see and feel about the world around us.

This unique and innovative new play has been tantalizing audiences across the country. While speaking with Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco, playwright Lauren Yee said, "I'm really interested in narrative, and control of the narrative, and how different word choice dictates how you might feel about a certain topic. Throughout the play, you have Fiona desperately trying to use the correct words to describe what's going on in her life in a way that she thinks an audience will find palatable. And it's only when she is able to do that in more truthful, honest, [and] a little bit uglier words that she's able to exorcise some of those demons."

Lauren Yee (Playwright) was born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. She received her bachelor's degree from Yale University, and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD, where she studied under Naomi Iizuka. Lauren Yee's play King of the Yees is enjoying its premiere this season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada's National Arts Centre. Other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore, Company One), in a word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), Samsara (Victory Gardens, O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu). She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women's Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre, a Playwrights' Center Core Writer, and the Page One resident playwright at Playwrights Realm. She has been a finalist for the Jerome Fellowship, the PONY Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Sundance Theatre Lab, and the Wasserstein Prize. Her play Samsara has been a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and her play in a word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award. Her play The Hatmaker's Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Her work has been published by Samuel French. Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab. She is currently under commission from the Denver Center, the Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Trinity Rep.

Jocelyn A. Brown (Director) has been a resident artist since 2001 and has been serving as the Associate Artistic Director since 2011. Chance highlights include directing The Big Meal, spearheading and directing various new works through Chance's On The Radar series for four years, writing and performing in A Celtic Holiday with Craic in the Stone (Best Special Event, Best of OC Theater 2014 by Examiner.com), portraying Reggie Fluty and Dave O'Malley in The Laramie Project and Ten Years Later (Ovation Recommended), directing Evita (Chancie Award for Best Production), portraying Blitzen in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, the Witch in Into the Woods (Back Stage Critic's Pick, Chancie Award for Best Actress), Cathy in The Last 5 Years (Back Stage Honorable Mention for Actor), directing Never In My Lifetime (Back Stage Critic's Pick), portraying Nancy in Closer Than Ever (L.A. Times Critic's Choice), Ann in Goodnight Children Everywhere (OC Weekly Award for Best Acting), directing The Cherry Orchard (OC Weekly nomination for Best Direction), and receiving the Outstanding Individual Artist nomination in 2003 by Arts Orange County. Outside of the Chance, Jocelyn teaches at Laguna Hills High School where she was an honoree for the California League of High Schools "Teacher of the Year" in 2012 for Orange County and served as the band leader and lead singer for Celtic folk band Craic in the Stone. Jocelyn double majored in Theatre and Biology at the University of California San Diego, studied theater abroad at the University of East Anglia in England, and earned a Masters in Education from Vanguard University.

In addition to Brown, the production team for in a word includes scenic designer Christopher Scott Murillo (Dogfight), costume designer Bruce Goodrich (Seminar), lighting and projection designer Lily Bartenstein (Chance debut), sound designer Darryl B. Hovis (The Little Prince), and dramaturg Jocelyn L. Buckner (OTR New Play Series).

in a word will feature Chance Theater Resident Artist James McHale (Middletown), as well as returning artist Chance Dean (Jesus Hates Me), and Amanda Zarr in her Chance Theater debut.

Rachelle Menaker and Eddie Schuller are Executive Producers, Steve Brown is an Associate Producer, and Bette & Wylie Aitken are the Season Producers for the entire 2017 production schedule.

Proud to be one of the leading ensemble-driven theatre companies in Southern California, CHANCE THEATER recently received a National Theatre Company grant from American Theatre Wing. The Chance has won six Ovation Awards, including two for Best Production of a Musical - Intimate Theater for its West Coast premiere of Triassic Parq - The Musical and Southern California premiere of Jerry Springer - The Opera, as well as four LADCC Awards, including the Polly Warfield Award for Outstanding Season. The Anaheim City Council named Chance Theater "the official resident theater company of Anaheim", and Arts Orange County has twice named the Chance as "Outstanding Arts Organization". Known for using bold and personal storytelling to promote dialogue and connection within the Southern California theatrical landscape, the Chance is committed to contributing to a more compassionate, connected and creative community. As a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the LA Stage Alliance, Chance Theater continues to bring national attention to the Southern California and Orange County theater scenes.


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