With its annual Garage Rep series, now entering its fifth season, Steppenwolf Theatre plays godmother to three of this city’s smaller, inventive storefront companies. The series helps bring these operations to the attention of a far larger audience than usual by helping them produce their work in the high-profile, ever-morphable Garage space at 1624 N. Halsted.
Chosen for the 2014 season are three troupes: The New Colony, Prologue Theatre Company and Walkabout Theater, whose productions will run in rotating repertory for a 10-week period between February and April. Tickets will go on sale at a later date.
Here is a closer look at what each company has planned:
± The New Colony in “reWILDing Genius,” a work by Andrew Hobgood and Meg Johns, directed by Hobgood. It concerns a group of friends at one of the nation’s top universities who set out to change the world. Self-identified geniuses, cyber-vigilantes, hacktivists and even anarchists, the friends cast off the laws of the land as they attempt to alter humanity’s fate. But as they plot against enemies and build complex data schemes, the questin is: Will their friendships survive? “reWILDing Genius” asks how far is too far in our quest to save us from ourselves. The New Colony, where Hobgood and Evan Linder are co-artistic directors and Stephanie Shum is managing director, was the 2011 recipient of the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award. Visit www.thenewcolony.org.
± Prologue Theatre Company in “Saturday Night/Sunday Morning,” a play by Katori Hall (“The Mountaintop”), directed by TaRon Patton. The setting is Memphis, 1945. Miss Mary’s beauty parlor and boarding house is alive and hopping—full of young African American women primping their hair and telling stories of their soldiers overseas. But as the final days of World War II approach, the women wrestle with the uncertainty of what the future will hold when—and if—their men return. Currently in its fifth season of producing, Prologue (with Angela Alise as artistic director and Amanda Renee King as managing director) produces “untold historical stories from underrepresented voices.” Visit www.prologuetheatreco.org.
± Walkabout Theater Company in the world premiere of “The Wild,” created by Nigel Brown, Mac Dowd-Whipple, Al Evangelista, Cooper Forsman, Dana Murphy and Paul Scudder and directed by Thom Pasculli, with dramaturgy by Kendra Miller. Rising tides, erotic dances and seductive demi-gods encroach on an isolated tropical paradise. Inspired by the work of playwright Charles Mee and Walkabout’s physical training practices, “The Wild” is a devised laboratory theater performance that “confronts distant realities and their infringement on our daily lives.” Since 1999, Walkabout Theater (Kendra Miller, artistic director, Thom Pasculli, associate artistic director and Lauren Sivak managing director) has performed and produced new site-specific and experimental work in Chicago, “challenging traditional theatrical models of production, performance, narrative and story.” Visit www.walkabouttheater.org.
For additional information visit www.steppenwolf.org.