2015: The Ella Plays
Indie Boots Theatre Festival
Monday, April 27 - Wednesday, April 29, 2015. 7:30PM
The Side Project Theatre. 1439 W. Jarvis Ave, Chicago, IL
2015 Audience Award Winner:
Ella's Sixth Sense
2015 Audience Award Honorable Mentions:
The True Story of CinderELLA
Indie Boots Theatre Festival celebrates new short plays with different perspectives on whose stories are worth telling, what's funny, and how the world works. This year's writing prompt, to use "Ella" in the title of a short script, resulted in hundreds of diverse submissions, each competing to be a finalist performed on Monday, April 27 - Wednesday, April 29 at 7:30pm at The Side Project Theatre (an accessible theater at 1439 W Jarvis Ave, just a block from the Red Line). Audiences are treated to nine short plays, fully staged by Chicago directors and actors. This year's plays, most of them seriocomedies penned by women, touch on feminism, sexuality, the American workplace, growing up, intersectionality, disconnection, friendship, and, well, zombies. Tickets are $15 for this fast-paced 100 minute show, with low income discounts available. At the end of the festival, an Audience Award is presented to the writer, director and cast of the winning collaboration. Attendees from all three nights are invited to join the cast and crew at the Official After Party on Wednesday night at Poitin Stil, kitty-corner from the theatre.
The Ella Plays!
All nine plays will be performed each night. Listing does not reflect running order.
Running time is approximately 100 minutes.
2015 Theatre Festival Stage Manager: Megan Chaney
For more info about the actors, directors, and writers, hover over the photos.
Ella Finds Amelia
Written by Amanda Petefish-Schrag . Directed by Crystal Hartford
Featuring: Kimberly Banks, Kristi Parker Barnhart, Genevieve Lally, Julie Mitre, Cyra K. Polizzi
When Ella throws logic to the wind and gathers her friends to create an unlikely national holiday, relationships are tested and feminist organizing is turned on it's head.
|Kimberly Banks (Actor) was born and raised in Avalon and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago-Kent College of Law. Kimberly studies at the Annoyance and the Second City Conservatory. She is a produced playwright, singer/songwriter and graduate of the Second City Music Conservatory. Kimberly loves all kinds of creativity and is inspired by artists who are fearless, passionate and full of heart!!||Kristi Parker Barnhart (Actor) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and did a few years of touring theatre before moving to Chicago. Recent credits include: Martha in Always Alreadyâ€™s Whoâ€™s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Hattie in Open Door Repâ€™s Go Dog Go and a bunch of silly stuff with Hobo Junction, where she is a company member.||Genevieve Lally (Actor) is an actor, aerialist, and adventurer. Recent credits include The Penelopiad (The Lost Geneva Project) and The Tempest (What a Do Theatre, Wilde Award: Choreography). She has worked with The Actor?s Gymnasium, State Theatre, Strangeloop Theatre and Chicago dell?Arte. Favorite adventures include whitewater kayaking and bicycling during rush hour.||Julie Mitre (Actor) is thrilled to be performing with Mudgeonsoul Productions. Recent theatre performances include, "The Clean House" (Crabapple Productions), "Kokkola" (Akvavit Theatre), "Resurrected" (Theatre-Hikes), "The Ruling Class" (Goat Song Theatre), "Squabbles" (Theatre in the Woods) and "The Oldest Profession" (Open Door Repertory). Julie has been in several independent films and commercials.||Cyra K. Polizzi (Actor) graduated from UW-Madison in Theatre Acting, Gender Studies, and Environmental Studies. Cyra works in theatre and film, focusing on stage acting while also engaging in directing, writing, and exhibition. Cyra is particularly interested in pieces incorporating humor and queer alternatives to compulsory behavior. cyrakpolizzi.com||Crystal Hartford (Director) studied Theatre and History at Avila University. Some of her favorite roles include "Brooke" in Noises off, "Helena" in The Rover, and "Cinderella" in Into The Woods. She is a Mudgeonsoul Productions ensemble member, and the play she directed for Indie Boots 2013 won the Audience Award! Also, she plays in the bands Dust Bunnies and Hartford/Focht.||Amanda Petefish-Schrag's (Playwright) professional credits include work as a director, playwright, puppeteer, and mom to Celia and Eli. She is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Iowa State University where she teaches courses in acting and theatre history. Amanda is a member of the Dramatists Guild.|
|Kimberly Banks||Kristi Parker Barnhart||Genevieve Lally||Julie Mitre||Cyra K. Polizzi||Crystal Hartford||Amanda Petefish-Schrag|
Written by Wi-Moto Nyoka . Directed by Richard Paro
Featuring: Libby Conkle, Cat Davidson, Katurah Nelson
What starts as just another day on the job at a daycare center, turns into an unexpected zomedy about "women's work" and mobility.
|Libby Conkle (Actor) trained in New York and Chicago and has played roles that span the history of the art form, from Shakespeare and Moliere to world-premiere scripts. Libby holds an M.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University and a B.F.A. from New York Universityâ€™s Tisch School of the Arts.||Cat Davidson (Actor) is so excited to be working with Mudgeonsoul Productions. She is a theater and film actor and writer. Recent theater credits include ?A Streetcar named Desire? (Pulse Theatre Company Chicago) and ?Gee?s Bend? (Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre). Cat has a degree in Theater Arts from Muhlenberg College. She can also be seen on two web series ?Decrypted? and ?The Scarlet Line?. www.catdavidson.com||Katurah Nelson (Actor) is excited to participate in the Indie Boots Theatre Festival. Recently, she has worked with Fury Theatre, Stockyards Theatre Project, and the Women's Theatre Alliance.||Richard Paro (Director) is an award-winning director based in Chicago, where he's also found acting and writing. He's the artistic director of Mudgeonsoul Productions and has worked with various companies including Full Voice, Hobo Junction, Stockyards, Tympanic, Prologue, Fury, and Theatre-Hikes. In addition, his films screen at festivals around the world.||Wi-Moto Nyoka (Playwright) is a new playwright. Her credits include: Tanzhaus NRW Interdisciplinary Works, Puffin Foundation grant recipient and selected librettist of The Brick's Comic Book Theater Festival 2014 for her project Hero How To. This is her first play and she would like to thank Indie Boots, the cast and crew for their support. www.duskydiana.com|
|Libby Conkle||Cat Davidson||Katurah Nelson||Richard Paro||Wi-Moto Nyoka|
Ella's Sixth Sense
Written by Sara Israel . Directed by Ashely Bagot
Featuring: Don Baiocchi, Amy Geist
A musician, an optimist, a park bench, a psychic, a groupon... destiny, or maybe not.
|Don Baiocchi (Actor) is thrilled to be working again with Mudgeonsoul Productions, after appearing in their short film "What Happened to the Quiet Kids" and the Indie Boots Theatre Festival 2013 (Audience Award winner!). He has worked with Rasaka Theatre, The Paradeigma Collective, Pride Films and Plays and Three Cats Productions, among others.||Amy Geist (Actor) is a graduate Black Box Acting's The Academy, and has her BFA in Acting from Wright State University. She has collaborated with companies such as: Strawdog Theatre Company (Sweeter Option), Deluge Theatre Collective (RAW), StepUp Productions (The Benchmark). She's so thankful and excited to be part of this festival!||Ashely Bagot (Director) is a director, actor, and costume designer. In addition to her work with mudgeonsoul productions, she has frequently worked with Hobo Junction, Full Voice, and Stockyards Theatre Project. The plays she has directed at Indie Boots have placed 2nd two years in a row!||Sara Israel (Playwright) has been engaged by words-in-space ever since she was cast in the title role of a kindergarten play, The Magic Letter E (cap to cape; mad to made). She?s now an award-winning writer and director for stage and camera, and her work has been seen throughout the country. www.SaraIsrael.com.|
|Don Baiocchi||Amy Geist||Ashely Bagot||Sara Israel|
Ella's Special Delivery
Written by Allyson Morgan . Directed by Gaby Labotka
Featuring: Ray Rehberg, Danielle Rennalls
After a lousy birthday in a crowed city, Ella escapes to the rooftop where she sits, disconnected and alone, until a delivery person arrives bearing pizza she can't afford.
|Ray Rehberg (Actor) is excited to be working with mudgeonsoul for the first time! Raised in Swarthmore, PA, he then graduated from Northwestern University and has since moved "down the shore" to Chicago, where he works as an actor, cinematographer, sound designer, and jack-of-all-trades. Credits include Romeo & Juliet (Tybalt), 4.48 Psychosis (The Vulture), Redmoon Ensemble Member.||Danielle Rennalls (Actor) wears many hats and loves storytelling. UNC School of the Arts Directing 2011. Credits: Lyric Opera, Redmoon Theater, Rising Phoenix Rep, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the Edinburgh Fringe.||Gaby Labotka (Director) had her debut with The Living Canvas: Rain. Since then, she has AD'd for The House and Mary-Arrchie, and directed in Abbie Fests XXIV-XXVI (The Living Canvas), Hobo Robo V, and Fight Nights 2012 and 2014 (Mary-Arrchie and Wayward Productions). She is also an actor, playwright, and choreographer. For more information, please check out her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/GabyLabotka.Theatre||Allyson Morgan (Playwright) professional credits include work as a director, playwright, puppeteer, and mom to Celia and Eli. She is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Iowa State University where she teaches courses in acting and theatre history. Amanda is a member of the Dramatists Guild.|
|Ray Rehberg||Danielle Rennalls||Gaby Labotka||Allyson Morgan|
OF COURSE it's F@#king Ella!
Written by Anne Towns . Directed by Brittany Westfall
Featuring: Jessica Childs, Walls Trimble
Sunandah and her Dream Monitoring Specialist form an unlikely bond over Sunandah's surprising results.
|Jessica Jane Childs (Actor) spent the last eight years as the co-producer/co-performer for the "Letters/X" cabaret, as well work with other theatres in Chicago. She also croons around town as vocalist/washboard-er with local bluegrass outfit, Moonshine & Honeysuckle.||Walls Trimble (Actor) was last seen in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Strawdog Theatre. Credits include Imogen in Cymbeline and Isabella in Measure for Measure (Waking Theatre), Antigone (Cold Basement Dramatics), and Passion Play (Anaemic Theatre). She is a graduate of the iO Theatre and Northwestern University. Find her at www.wallstrimble.com.||Brittany Westfall (Director) has had the time of her life enjoying the Chicago theatre scene for the last 6 years both as a participant and spectator (or rather, theatre junkie/nerd). Brittany has been involved in endeavors at Commedia Beauregard, Remy Bumppo, and other Chicago theatres. Brittany holds a BA in Communications-Theatre from Malone University in Ohio.||Anne Towns (Playwright) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Young Harris College in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. She is also a commons producer for Howlround.com documenting Pearl Cleage's residency at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Anne has an MFA in directing from Florida State University. Visit her at www.onthetowns.com.|
|Jessica Jane Childs||Walls Trimble||Brittany Westfall||Anne Towns|
The Thing About Ella
Written by Chris Shaw Swanson . Directed by Richard Paro
Featuring: Laura Elleseg, Mackenzie Wiglesworth, Christopher Waldron
A heartbreaking and relatable story about a very close relationship between two lively teenage girls.
|Laura Elleseg (Actor) is a Milwaukee-born, Chicago-based theater maker. She has worked with companies including Redmoon, mudgeounsoul, Full Voice, Spartan Theatre, Suffigance Shakespeare, First Stage, & Abraham Werewolf. When not making theater she brews beer and dotes on her puppy. LauraEllesegActor.com||Mackenzie Wiglesworth (Actor) received her degree in theatre from the University of Kansas. Mackenzie has worked on stage and in three feature films with Esemplastic LLC. Mother's Milk won numerous awards in festivals and her second film, Residuum will have its Chicago premiere this summer. For more information check out ResiduumTheFilm.com.||Christopher Waldron (Actor) attended Florida State University where he studied Criminology, Psychology, and Theatre. Christopher has pursued theatre and film projects that moved him to New Orleans, England, and Ireland. Now living in Chicago, Christopher has taken classes through Improv Olympics and Acting Studio Chicago. He is a company member of Hobo Junction and the Director of Visual Media with Tympanic Theatre Co.||Richard Paro (Director) is an award-winning director based in Chicago, where he's also found acting and writing. He's the artistic director of Mudgeonsoul Productions and has worked with various companies including Full Voice, Hobo Junction, Stockyards, Tympanic, Prologue, Fury, and Theatre-Hikes. In addition, his films screen at festivals around the world.||Chris Shaw Swanson's (Playwright) plays have been produced in the US, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, England, and India. Her publishers include Smith & Kraus, Meriwether, and the ICWP. A member of the Dramatist Guild, Chris won the 2014 Goshen Peace Play Prize and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.|
|Laura Elleseg||Mackenzie Wiglesworth||Christopher Waldron||Richard Paro||Chris Shaw Swanson|
The True Story of CinderELLA
Written by Francesca Peppiatt . Directed by Spenser Davis
Featuring: Danielle Lorae Byas, Tina Muñoz Pandya, Mickey O'Sullivan, Christopher Waldron
A storyteller attempts to tell The Fairy Tale of CinderELLA, but CinderELLA (who goes by the name Ella Fitzgerald) and her fellow characters, have doubts about the moral of the story.
|Danielle Lorae Byas (Actor) has performed with various theater groups throughout Chicago and is very excited to be a part of Indie Boots Theatre Festival.||Tina Muñoz Pandya (Actor) recently moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Michigan with a BA in Drama. She has also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, as well as the School at Steppenwolf in 2013. Chicago credits include HoliDaze with Step Up Productions, Lear with Cave Painting Theatre, and We're Fine as a part of the Shattered Globe Theatre's Protege Program.||Mickey O'Sullivan (Actor) - Chicago: The Royale, The Humans, Mercy Strain, Hair (American Theatre Co.), 3 Soldiers for Sisters (Red Theatre), Henry Moore is Melting (Cold Basement), New York: The Crucible (Sink or Swim), Waiting for Lefty (Working Theatre & Portmanteau), Suicide in B-Flat (Michael Chekhov Theatre), Regional: Two Noble Kinsman & King John (Taffety Punk - Folger Shakespeare), Film/TV: Chicago PD (NBC), Ritual (Martin Revelation Films) www.mickeyosullivan.com||Christopher Waldron (Actor) attended Florida State University where he studied Criminology, Psychology, and Theatre. Christopher has pursued theatre and film projects that moved him to New Orleans, England, and Ireland. Now living in Chicago, Christopher has taken classes through Improv Olympics and Acting Studio Chicago. He is a company member of Hobo Junction and the Director of Visual Media with Tympanic Theatre Co.||Spenser Davis (Director) recently directed "All in the Timing" (Stage 773), "Today We Escape" (Tympanic), the Midwest Premiere of "From White Plains" (Broken Nose Theatre), and "Bechdel Fest 2," a festival he co-created. He is literary manager with Broken Nose and Artistic Director of Hobo Junction, a collective dedicated to new comedies. He also works as a playwright and actor.||Francesca Peppiatt (Playwright) is a writer, performer and producer. She is a major fan of all things Indie Boots and everyone connected. As Producing Artistic Director of Stockyards Theatre Project she created Play for Keeps, Stockyards? signature workshop. Francesca has a column at Examiner.com and is writing a musical adaptation of Treasure Island.|
|Danielle Lorae Byas||Tina Muñoz Pandya||Mickey O'Sullivan||Christopher Waldron||Spenser Davis||Francesca Peppiatt|
Ella at the Office (Out of Competition)
Written by Kristin P. . Directed by Cyra K. Polizzi
Featuring: Kimberly Banks, Crystal Hartford, Richard Paro, Cyra K. Polizzi, Becca Savoy
Gendered expectations abound as Ella and her co-workers attempt to navigate their relationships and how they spend their time.
|Kimberly Banks (Actor) was born and raised in Avalon and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago-Kent College of Law. Kimberly studies at the Annoyance and the Second City Conservatory. She is a produced playwright, singer/songwriter and graduate of the Second City Music Conservatory. Kimberly loves all kinds of creativity and is inspired by artists who are fearless, passionate and full of heart!!||Crystal Hartford (Actor) studied Theatre and History at Avila University. Some of her favorite roles include "Brooke" in Noises off, "Helena" in The Rover, and "Cinderella" in Into The Woods. She is a Mudgeonsoul Productions ensemble member, and the play she directed for Indie Boots 2013 won the Audience Award! Also, she plays in the bands Dust Bunnies and Hartford/Focht.||Richard Paro (Actor) is an award-winning director based in Chicago, where he's also found acting and writing. He's the artistic director of Mudgeonsoul Productions and has worked with various companies including Full Voice, Hobo Junction, Stockyards, Tympanic, Prologue, Fury, and Theatre-Hikes. In addition, his films screen at festivals around the world.||Becca Savoy (Actor)||Cyra K. Polizzi (Actor/Director) graduated from UW-Madison in Theatre, Gender, and Environmental Studies. Cyra works full-time in theatre/film, focusing on stage acting while also engaging in directing, writing, and exhibition. Roles in established works range from "Wendla" Spring Awakening to "Corie" Barefoot in the Park to "Frank" Rocky Horror Show. cyrakpolizzi.com||Kristin P. (Playwright) is credited with short and full length, feminist and queer theatre pieces, many of them workshopped in Chicago with Stockyards Theatre Project and further developed by Full Voice.|
|Kimberly Banks||Crystal Hartford||Richard Paro||Becca Savoy||Cyra K. Polizzi||Kristin P.|
Tales of Miscellany (Out of Competition)
Written, Directed, and Performed by Elana Elyce
Seamlessly mixing comedy and drama, this powerful one-person play introduces us to a spirited kid growing up in a whirlwind of messages about her place in the world.
|Elana Elyce (Actor/Writer/Director) is an actor who also writes, directs and coaches. Recent projects include "Mud, River, Stone" with Eclipse Theatre; "Principal Principle", a co-production with Stage Left and Theatre Seven; "Gees Bend" and "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf," with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre; and her first one-woman show: "Acceptable Plagiarism" with MPAACT's Solo Jams series. www.elanaelyce.net|
Indie Boots Theatre Festival 2015 Selected Plays
Congratulations to all the Semi-Finalists, which were selected from hundreds of submissions!
* Ella Finds Amelia by Amanda Petefish-Schrag, directed by Crystal Hartford (Finalist)
* Ella's Children by Wi-Moto Nyoka, directed by Richard Paro (Finalist)
* Ella's Sixth Sense by Sara Israel, directed by Ashely Bagot (Finalist)
* Ella's Special Delivery by Allyson Morgan, directed by Gaby Labotka (Finalist)
* OF COURSE it's F@#king Ella! by Anne Towns, director Brittany Westfall (Finalist)
* The Thing About Ella by Chris Shaw Swanson, directed by Chika Ika (Finalist)
* The True Story of CinderELLA by Francesca Peppiatt, director Spenser Davis (Finalist)
* Ella at the Office by Kristin P., directed by Cyra K. Polizzi (Out of Competition)
* Tales of Miscellany written and directed by Elana Elyce (Out of Competition)
And If You Act Now, Ella... by Bill Daniel (Semi-Finalist)
Beth & Ella by Jason Rainey (Semi-Finalist)
Benched by Ella by Len Cuthbert (Semi-Finalist)
Ella and her Best Friend by Katherine H. Burkman (Semi-Finalist)
Ella Gets a Promotion? by Mike Pusateri (Semi-Finalist)
Ella Lived by Ava Molnar (Semi-Finalist)
Ella the Little Puppy by Dan Jackson (Semi-Finalist)
Ella Trip by Susan Soon He Stanton (Semi-Finalist)
Ella's Embrace by Donna Hoke (Semi-Finalist)
Ella's Madrigal by Julie English-Dixon (Semi-Finalist)
Ella's Weighty Matter by Naomi Finkelstein (Semi-Finalist)
* Selected for Performance