Theater Wit: smart art

2017-18: "Who are we?"

In November 2017, I pulled our planned 2017/18 season and reexamined it. This a year of tsunami-sized cultural change. In an era where so many American ideals—media independence, social services, feminism, LGBTQ rights, anti-racism—seem under assault, we wanted to ask the questions, "Are we still who we thought we were?" and "How much do we still value the culture we embraced a year ago?"

But we have to stay true to ourselves, and that means comedies of reason and compassion. Plays that can surprise us into looking from new perspectives rather than agitprop to reinforce our mental biases. Our 2017/18 season offers three such vantages: the personal story of how a city became a sanctuary, a comedy of ponies and normalization, and a whirling examination of media culture and sexual politics.

It's a set of three plays that you won't soon forget, comic works by contemporary artists timed to the exigencies of this moment. Who are we? We are the people who can hear and feel these stories.

- Jeremy Wechsler, Artistic Director

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November 24-December 30, 2017

This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles)

written and performed by Mitchell J. Fain

directed by Jeremy Wechsler

After completing an amazing workshop last year, Chicago's favorite holiday performer returns for a mainstage tour-de-force of his unique blend of storytelling, improvisation and cabaret.

It's Mitchell's very own Very Special Xmas Special(tm) as he pulls together a host of holiday stories from the audience, his own life and autobiographical war stories about how family, drunks, jewelry, funerals, 250 performances and the holiday spirits collide. Mitchell is joined by cabaret powerhouse Meghan Murphy and madcap pianist Julie B. Nichols in a sweet, sentimental evening of hard truths that change night to night.

"Highly recommended. A brand new, indispensable tradition, at once hilarious, tragic, moving and profane." — Chicago Theater Review

"★★★★ One of the most open and honest theatrical events I've ever attended" — Around the Town

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January 5-February 24, 2018

The Antelope Party

by Eric John Meyer, directed by Jeremy Wechsler

World premiere!

It's sometime in the 2010s. The Rust Belt Ponies Meet Up Group for Adult Fans of My Little Pony has gathered in Ben's Philadelphia apartment, but two of their company have not yet arrived. A new recruit seems unusually shy and curiously paranoid about a local neighborhood watch group. What happened to their Pegasister, Maggie? Why is Brony Doug so paranoid? What does it all have to do with the 9/11 Truthers and an emerging group of "concerned citizens?"

And that's just the first ten minutes.

Eric Meyer's amazing and timely new comedy explores the rise of a new social order and how the currents of history, normalization and fear can sweep up even the most Generous ponies of Celestia?!?

In the midst of increasing violence and authoritarianism, how can our heroes see the Magic in Everypony? And, even worse, what if they do?

March 9-April 29, 2018

Women Laughing Alone with Salad

by Sheila Callaghan, directed by Devon de Mayo

Chicago premiere!

Dangerous, fierce and funny, Women Laughing Alone with Salad bursts out of the bounds of internet meme-dom and onto the stage in a four person comic tour-de-force about friendship, salad, sex, bodies, yoga, salad, men, envy, women, pharmaceuticals, diets, salad and uppers and salad.

A satire about how we live with ourselves. Or, possibly, how we can't.

"This fresh, funny play is the poster child for what feminist theatre should be: a great night out on the town watching a slambam comedy which is also a serious conversation about the society we oh-so-currently live in" — Jill Kyle-Keith, DC Theatre Scene