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John Green
John S. Green
Still Point
Ron Hirsen
Ron Hirsen
Land Where My Fathers Died
Josh Nordmark
Josh Nordmark
Liars of Us All
Gwendolyn Rice
Gwendolyn Rice
Sign of the Times

The 2012 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays

The Dionysos Cup.

All performances were held at our space in the Josephinum Academy, 1500 N. Bell, Chicago.

Congratulations to Ron Hirsen, winner of the 2012 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays for Land Where My Fathers Died!

The festival featured workshop presentations of four new plays by local playwrights. The plays were Still Point by John Green, directed by Laura Sturm. Susan Padveen, dramaturg. Land Where My Fathers Died by Ron Hirsen, directed by Charlie McGrath. Aoife Carolan, dramaturg. Liars of Us All by Josh Nordmark, directed by Jen Poulin. Brittany Westfall, dramaturg. Sign of the Times by Gwendolyn Rice, directed by Chris Conley. Eric Damon Smith, dramaturg. Stage Manager: Fredo Aguilar. Festival Manager: Eric Damon Smith. Box Office Manager: Beth Klaisner. Artistic Director: Richard Engling.

The Schedule:
Thursday, May 10th @ 7:30pm: Still Point
Friday, May 11th @ 7:30pm: Land Where My Fathers Died
Saturday, May 12th @ 7:30pm: Liars of Us All
Sunday, May 13th @ 2:00pm: Sign of the Times

Thursday, May 17th @ 7:30pm: Liars of Us All
Friday, May 18th @ 7:30pm: Sign of the Times
Saturday, May 19th @ 7:30pm: Still Point
Sunday, May 20th @ 2:00pm: Land Where My Fathers Died

The four scripts were performed twice over two weekends. These were polished workshop performances to bring out the best qualities of the scripts.

The selected playwrights received two initial critiques in early February followed by time and support in revising their scripts before rehearsals began for the workshop readings. The performances were followed by open discussions to provide the playwrights with feedback from the cast, crew and a live audience. Past participating playwrights have hailed the Dionysos Cup as one of the most valuable script development processes of its kind.
Come, drink to new theatre!
The Award

We model the festival after the City Dionysia, the ancient Greek festival that honored the god Dionysos with new drama. Like the original, this festival will be a competition, with the audience deciding who will receive the Dionysos Cup. Accompanied by a bottle of wine, the Dionysos Cup itself is a one-of-a-kind blown glass artwork created for the occasion by local artist and Polarity patron, James Hobart.

Polarity regularly takes Dionysos Cup scripts to full production, including the world premiere of David Alex's Adrift, an award-winning script that was featured and developed in our 2008 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. Adrift will be produced at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, July 26th through August 26th, 2012. We have also producedThe White Airplane by Darren Callahan in 2009, The Good Harvest by Lisa Rosenthal in 2010, Ephemera by Bryce Wissel, March 22 – May 1, 2011, and Kabulitis by Keith Anwar, September 20 – October 30, 2011.

Voting took place after the final performance on Sunday, May 20th. Audience members were entitled to one vote if they attended two performances, two votes if they attended three performances, and three votes for all four performances.

About the Plays

Land Where My Fathers Died by Ron Hirsen Festival Winner
Jane returns from work to find a traditional Native American tepee on the front lawn of her Rogers Park home. Grander, a quirky old man from the Potawatomi reservation in Wisconsin, emerges and informs her that he has come to spend his final days on the land promised by the ancestors. Whose land is it?  Will Grander die there on the lawn? Will anyone want to taste his squirrel jerky?
Cast: GRANDER – Marc Rita, JANE – Lynda Shadrake, WARREN – Jonathan Helvey, LAURA – Leslie Ruettiger.

Still Point by John S. Green
When Stephan, a brilliant young astronomer, turns down a highly coveted science award that would cement his future, his wife convinces him to enter therapy. During highly unorthodox "reframing" sessions with his psychologist/shaman, he confronts the effects of his father's alcoholism and his grandfather's cruelty.
Cast: STEPHAN – J.P. Pierson, ROBERTA – Kristi Webb, JUNE/CHORUS – Hilary Holbrook, PAMINOS/CHORUS – Tim Curtis, NICHOLAS/CHORUS – Kevin Grubb, EVGANIA/CHORUS – Ashley Moret, OLYMPIA/CHORUS – Liz Davis, DRUMMER/CHORUS – Dan Krall, STAGE DIRECTIONS – Zach Overstreet and Christina Ashby.

Liars of Us All by Josh Nordmark
A couple, Henry and Verse, living on a secluded jungle island in the late 18th century experience a lost utopia when Fauntleroy, Verse's former lover and Henry's art world rival, shows up.  Fauntleroy and Henry compete for Verse's love while deceptions and manipulations grow and eventually engulf the entire island.  Liars of Us All explores obsessive love, rivalry, guilt, and imprisonment on a cultural scale.
Cast: VERSE – Ellen Kirk, HENRY – Corey Noble, FAUNTLEROY – Gavin Robinson, LOVEJOY – Eric Paskey, VICEROY – Mike Ooi, HDYD – Steve Stinson.  

Sign of the Times by Gwendolyn Rice
In the 1960s, Jack and his best friend Lou haunt coffeehouses in New York – discussing politics and waiting for their big break into the folk music scene. When Nina, a beautiful young singer joins the group, their records go up the charts. But tensions between the three musicians boil over, just as the country is rocked by assassinations, the civil rights movement, and the war in Vietnam. When Nina and Jack meet again, decades later, they are faced with the question: Did their music really change the world?
Cast: JACK KAUFMAN (present) – Jack McCabe, NINA BUKOWSKI (present) – Devorah E. Richards, LOU – Pete Navis, JACK KAUFMAN (1960's) – Matthew Pierce, NINA BUKOWSKI (1960's) – Danielle LaVoy, WALTER – Andy Luther, OFFICER/MARION – Whitney LaMora. Special thanks to Ethan Deppe for the snazzy tambourine.  

The Dionysos Cup is in keeping with our mission to develop new work. The 'Polarity' in our name refers to the poles of the classic and the brand new. We will always be in the business of developing new homegrown scripts and bringing them to the stage. Another Polarity is in bringing works to both the stage and the page. Polarity has published two volumes of plays to date.

Special thanks to The Saints for a grant benefitting The Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays.

Arts & Business Council of Chicago

Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres.
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