Buried in Bughouse Square: A Studs Terkel Circus is a new work produced by Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago that brings Halena Kays (Director) and Jay Torrence (Playwright) together with a student ensemble to explore the life and work of Chicago artist and icon Studs Terkel through expressions of circus, clown, and physical theater. With high energy performances, Buried in Bughouse Square: A Studs Terkel Circus is suitable for ages 7-97 involving us all in the quest for story.
by Jay Torrence
directed by Halena Kays
Chris Deakin (Narrator) is a third-year in the College studying Theater and Performance. He has written, directed and performed for University Theater and Dean's Men productions, including Springwood Central Honors Society (writer/director), Hedda Gabler (Eilert Lovborg), The House of Yes (Marty), The Merchant of Venice (Salario), The Glass Menagerie (Tom), The Lion in Winter (John), Twelfth Night (Sebastian), and The Violet Hour (Denny).
Anton Osten (Studs Clown "The Leader") is a third-year student majoring in Linguistics. He spends his free time writing fiction, drama, and code in Python.
Martin So (Studs Clown "The Helper") is a fourth-year economics and TAPS major. Previous credits include: Volpone (TAPS/Department of English), University of Laughs (UT Workshop), reWILDing Genius (TAPS/The New Colony workshop premiere), and Oz (Le Vorris & Vox). He directed Trying to Find Chinatown by David Henry Hwang, and is currently the dramaturgy intern for Court Theatre’s production of M. Butterfly. Outside of theatre, he is a member of Chicago Men’s A Cappella. Buried in Bughouse is his final UT performance before he graduates. Thank you to my family and friends!
Sayri Suarez (Studs Clown "The Innocent") is a second-year Computer Science major. She has previously acted in a Weekend of Workshops (Winter '13) and Godspell (Winter '14).
Lizzy Lewis (Ida Clown) is a fourth-year Comparative Literature major. She has acted in numerous UT/TAPS productions. Recent shows include The House of Yes (Jackie-O), Fool for Love (May), and Hedda Gabler (Thea). She costume designed The Lion in Winter and assistant costume designed The Violet Hour.
Adam Kratoska (Robert Rasmus), a third-year Linguistics major in the College, has been involved with the circus since orientation week their first year. Specialising in staff manipulation and tumbling, Adam has performed in and choreographed for numerous Le Vorris & Vox shows, and currently serves as president of the circus board. On the theatre side of things Adam recently served as Lighting Designer for The Clean House last UT season, and currently works in the Logan Performance Hall. Finally, Adam would like to remind everyone in the audience not to try any of the tricks in this show at home; run away and join the circus instead!
Nora Bingham (Dolores Dante) is a fourth-year in the College studying Spanish and TAPS. Her past performance experience includes Into the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, Reefer Madness, Le Vorris & Vox: Tarot, River Jordan: A Circus Tale, Principia Circusatica, Le Vorris & Vox presents: Halloween, Grey Gardens and 8 New Work Week productions including her own recently completed project. Her design credits include The Violet Hour, The Lion in Winter, and Le Vorris & Vox: Oz.
Jay Feldman (Ed Paulson) is a third-year Physics and Chemistry major, who has been involved in Le Vorris & Vox Circus since his first year. He has also been the sound designer for The Clean House, and acted in Theater.
Alexandra Levitas (Mary Owsley) is a third-year Anthropology and TAPS major at the College. She had been involved in five Le Vorris & Vox circus shows primarily as a trapeze artist and acrobat. She has also worked on multiple UT productions including, most recently acting in The Hamletmachine (Karl Marx) and designing for Godspell (Props Master/Set Assistant). She also designed the set for the CES production of croMangum. This quarter she has also taken on her first directing role by directing the New Work Week production of The Back Nine.
Rachel Markley (The Socialite), a graduating third-year, started doing circus at the start of her first year a UChicago with Le Vorris & Vox. Having fallen in love with trapeze and partner acrobatics, she feels most at home when her feet aren't touching the ground. Though she has performed with LV&V multiple times, this is her first performance as an "actor".
Halena Kays (Director) is the artistic director of The Hypocrites where she both performs and directs. She is the co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys where she created and directed the majority of their public performances. She is a founding member of the newly formed artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, and directed their recent hit production of Burning Bluebeard. She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, Co-artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake and a teacher at The University of Chicago.
Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists were she directed 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, co-created and directed Daredevils and Daredevils Hamlet and the site-specific extravaganza, Fake Lake.
Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity, and received a signed letter from Mr. Rogers saying she was “special” in 1978. She also recently made an awesome kid named Ripley Rose who can spin and fall down.
Jay Torrence (Playwright) is a founding member of the artistic collective The Ruffians. He wrote and performed in the plays Burning Bluebeard, Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck! and Ivywild. Torrence has also performed locally and toured nationally with 500 Clown, Redmoon Theater and The Neo-Futurists.
Nathan R. Rohrer (Costume Designer), with over 100 productions to his name, has been a successful theatrical costume designer in Chicago since 2007, where his costume designs have been seen in theatre and dance productions citywide. He has worked with numerous Chicago dance companies, having designed for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Chicago Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Productions, and many others. Nathan has also designed for such theatre companies as Lifeline Theatre, Griffin Theatre, City Lit Theatre, and Emerald City Theatre, and has also worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Marriott-Lincolnshire Theatre, Northwestern University, and countless other performing arts entities nationwide. His picturesque costume renderings have been exhibited and sold in art galleries, and have been featured in Time Out Chicago. In addition to working as a Freelance costume designer, Nathan is currently costume designer-in-residence at both Thodos Dance Chicago and Chicago Repertory Ballet, where he is a founding member. Nathan received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
Jessica Kuehnau Wardell (Scenic Designer) is a freelance Scenic and Costume Designer in Chicago. Her Chicago credits include Rivendell Theatre (Jeff recommended These Shining Lives), Griffin Theate (Jeff recommended Company, Journey’s End), Steep Theatre, A Red Orchid, The Building Stage, Pegasus Players, Lifeline Theatre, Circle Theatre and Metropolis Performing Arts Center. Jessica is a founding ensemble member of Adventure Stage Chicago and Backstage Theatre Company and artistic associate with MPAACT. She earned her MFA from Northwestern University in 2007, and is currently the Director of Design at University of Chicago. Her online portfolio is at jesskdesign.com.
Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer) is a Chicago based designer, composer and performer. Recent Chicago work includes projects with Writers’ Theatre, Victory Gardens, Redmoon Theater, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theatre Project, The Hypocrites and Timeline Theatre. Regional and Off-Broadway credits include American Conservatory Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and Second Stage Theatre. International credits include Tukkers Connexion (Arnhem, Holland) and International Festival of Londrina (Londrina, Brazil). Recent film composition credits include The Wise Kids and In Memoriam. He has received seven Joseph Jefferson Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award, A Garland Award and an After Dark Award for an Original Musical. He was also nominated for the Henry Hewes Design Award and was honored with The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. Fiksel is an ensemble member of 2nd Story, an Artistic Associate with Collaboraction, Wildclaw Theatre and Redmoon Theatre. www.mikhailfiksel.com
Matthew Gawryk (Lighting Designer) works primarily as a lighting designer here in Chicago, but has worn many hats while producing theater, dance, and music. The Theater School at DePaul University graduated him in 2004 with a BFA in Lighting Design. His work has been seen at A Red Orchid, Mary-Arrchie, Piven, Second City, Lookingglass, and many other theaters. He has toured domestically and internationally with Hubbard Street Dance and hit the road for a while with the gypsy/punk/marching band Mucca Pazza. A variety of theatrical outreach programs and summer camps have given him children to instruct in stage design, including the Chicago High School for the Arts during the 2010-2011 school year. He is a co-recipient of an After Dark Award, and a Jeff Award Nominee.
Ben Carcello (Technical Director) worked for two years as Technical Director at Presbyterian College. He has also worked as a carpenter for Lookingglass Theatre Company and Chicago Shakepeare Theater. He has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design and Production from Illinois State University.
Jenny Pinson (Props Master) has been a freelance Properties Designer in Chicago since her graduation in 2006 from The Theatre School of DePaul University where she received her BFA in Theatre Technology. She's had the opportunity to work with a variety of theatre companies in the Chicagoland area including, Theater Wit, Redtwist Theatre, Oakton Community College, Route 66 Theatre Company, TUTA, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and Emerald City Theatre Company to name a few.
Lucy A. Little (Circus Choreographer) is a graduate of UChicago (AB '12), where she studied Music Composition and the applications of music in healthcare and social services. While at UChicago, Lucy re-founded and ran the student circus troupe Le Vorris & Vox Circus, during which time she co-created and directed four circus productions. She is excited to see how far the circus arts have come at UChicago, and is so happy to be involved in this fantastic project! In the past, Lucy held the 2012-2013 Dr. Aizik Wolf Human Rights Post-Baccalauretae Fellowship, which funded her work with Heartland Alliance, where she developed creative arts programming for youth and trained staff on best practices for use of the arts in social service work. Lucy currently works on campus at the Institute of Politics and as a circus teacher with Chicago's social youth circus organization, CircEsteem. Lucy is also a Cirque du Soleil-certified social circus educator.
Laura Ashlock (Production Manager) has been professionally Stage Managing and Production Managing for the past 10 years. She comes to University Theatre from Emerald City Theatre Company where she served as the Production Manager overseeing all of the mainstage and touring productions. Laura has also worked at Steppenwolf Theatre Company as the Production Management Apprentice and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as the Production Management Intern. Her Stage Management Highlights include being the Resident Stage Manager at the Dorset Theater Festival in Vermont, Stage Manager for the Human Festival in Chicago as well as numerous New Plays and World Premieres. Laura holds a BFA in Stage Management from The Theatre School-De Paul University.
Caroline Gully Brown (Stage Manager) is a third-year Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) major pursuing a career in stage management. Past credits include: Godspell (University Theater), The Terrible Magic of Gertrude Lazarus (The New Colony), Tales of Kalidasa (Apsara/UT Collaboration), Spring Awakening (The Theater School), Tartuffe (The Theater School), La Boheme (La Musica Lirica), An Actor Prepares (TAPS), and The Violet Hour (University Theater).
Scarlett J. Kim (Assistant Director) has directed (The Hamletmachine, Hotel Nepenthe, 4.48 Psychosis), acted (The House of Yes, reWILDing Genius, The Vagina Monologues), and set designed (Godspell) with UT. She is the Chair of the University Theater Committee.
Robert Eric Shoemaker (Assistant Scenic Designer) has scenic designed for Dream Theater Company, written plays for American Theater Company, and directed for 3 Brothers Theatre, but he will always treasure his time at UChicago working with University Theater (Life is a Dream, Adaptation, The Physicists, Hotel Nepenthe, Principia Circusatica, The Drowsy Chaperone, and this production) and his baby the Classical Entertainment Society (Coriolanus, Beowulf, Tiresias, Blood Weddin', Iron Bridal Feast). Thank you to Jess for being a great mentor.
Bobby Huggins (Assistant Sound Designer) is a fourth-year Math major. He intends to pursue a career in Chicago theatre after graduation, and he hopes the show fills you with wonder.
Brett Pepowski (Assistant Technical Director) is a second-year Biology major, although everyone else seems to think she is a TAPS major instead. She is thrilled to be working on her first pro show with Ben as her fearless leader, and is quite happy to be back in a scene shop. Other productions she is currently working on include CES’s Iron Bridal Feast (Stage Manager and Tech Director) and FOTA’s PLATH/HUGHES (Stage Manager). Some of her past productions include Rhinofest’s PLATH/HUGHES (Stage Manager) and CES’s Blood-Weddin’ (Aunt Patsy and Lighting Designer).
Sammi Wreschner (Assistant Lighting Designer)
Natalie Wagner (Assistant Stage Manager) is a first-year in the College. She has worked on Hedda Gabler, Grey Gardens, and Godspell (Assistant Stage Manager) and is working on Cabaret this quarter (Assistant Set Designer). She has designed and curated-for-a-day for Theater, and she is a member of UT's Student Committee.
Samantha Stambuk (Assistant Production Manager) is a fourth-year student in the College who looks forward to graduating with a degree in Theater and Performance Studies this spring. Previous credits in stage management include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oedipus, Blood Weddin’ and Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.
Lauren Eames (Master Electrician) is a first-year Religious Studies Major. For UT: Godspell (ME), Fool for Love (ME), The Hamletmachine (ALD). She has also designed lights for UChicago MAYA, Le Vorris & Vox, and is a curator for Theater.
Murphy Spence (Tech Staff Liaison) is TAPS major in the college; she is employed by the department as a member of the technical staff and as the assistant to the director of the department. This quarter, she is also the set designer for Cabaret. She has previously worked as a Master Carpenter (Fool for Love), lighting designer (As You Like It; The Drowsy Chaperone), as well as an assistant lighting designer (The Real Thing; reWilding Genius). Outside of UT, she has worked with the Laura Twirls Suicide Foundation, Chicago Association of Black Storytellers, The New Colony, and the Inconvenience.