Filament, Theatre, Allison Powell, Allie's Gift, Chicago, Artists

Filament Announces Allie’s Gift 2013 Call For Applications

Filament, Theatre, Allison Powell, Allie's Gift, Chicago, ArtistsCHICAGO – The Filament Theatre Ensemble is now accepting applications for the third annual Allie’s Gift, a gift to Chicago theatre artists to help subsidize the costs of career-related expenses.

Allison Powell was the business manager of the Filament Theatre Ensemble from February of 2010 until her untimely passing in January of 2011. Like so many of us, Allie aspired to ultimately earn a living in the arts, but held day jobs in the meantime to support herself and save money for graduate school. As she wrote in her first correspondence with Filament when discussing her day job, “I love art, but I also love food.”

In celebration of Allie’s memory and her belief that artists should be supported for their work, the Filament Theatre Ensemble will award Allie’s Gift to one Chicago artist who demonstrates passion, dedication, and a love for their art in addition to a financial need. Allie’s Gift will award up to $350 towards a specific artistic project or endeavor (i.e. materials, a class, headshots, etc.).

Application requirements:
-Please write us a brief letter (no more than 3 pages) telling us a bit about yourself and your specific intended use of the Allie’s Gift funding, including a brief statement describing your current financial situation (primary source of income, etc.).
-A current resume in pdf format.
-Applicants must currently live in Chicago, pursuing a career in theatre arts.
-Any samples of your work – portfolio, video, audio, etc. – are encouraged but not required.

Applications should be emailed to gift[at]filamenttheatre[dot]org, attached as pdf documents.

Applications are due no later than 5pm on Friday, April 12. Applicants may be contacted for an interview. The recipient of Allie’s Gift will be announced on April 26 (Allie’s birthday).

For any questions about Allie’s Gift or the application process, do not hesitate to email us at info[at]filamenttheatre[dot]org.

Allison Powell Filament Theatre Ensemble

One Year Later

Allison Powell Filament Theatre Ensemble Artistic Director Julie Ritchey reflects on 2011, and our dear friend Allison Powell.

To say that I am grateful for the many blessings that filled this last year would be an understatement. Filament has grown in ways I never thought imaginable in such a short time. From new supporters, audience, collaborators, our astonishing advisory board members – we have been graced with so many generous people, ready to cheer us on and provide support and insight whenever we need it. It has been a year of tremendous joy, and for that I am profoundly thankful.

This New Year also carries with it a degree of sadness, however, as January 2 marks the one year anniversary of Allison Powell’s passing. With every step forward Filament has taken, I have felt a pang of sorrow at the realization that Allie is not here to share in our celebrations. We recently performed Choose Thine Own Adventure at a children’s theatre in Wisconsin, and it was so marvelous and surreal to hear her play spoken again. Her presence was so strong, through all the jokes and irreverence and thoughtful use of text – in a way it was like having her in the room again.

As I reflect on this anniversary, mixed in among the tears and the ache of missing my friend, I feel a kind of gladness. The depth of sorrow comes from a depth of love, and I feel so fortunate to have known and loved Allie.

I think back to the day I met Allie: She had seen online that Filament was looking to hire a business manager, and she applied with the most

Allison Powell Choose Thine Own Adventure William Shakespeare

Opening Night of "Choose"

heart-warming cover letter I’ve ever read (I still have it saved, and read it often). We met for an interview, and the second she walked out the door I called Peter and Christian to say that my conversation with Allie felt more like the best first date of all time than it did a job interview. That moment was so characteristic of every conversation I ever had with Allie – she is funny, charming, intelligent, and beautiful. As soon as the rest of the company met her, they fell in love just like I did. How could they not? How lucky we are that her life brought her to Chicago, that she saw that listing, that we happened to meet, to collaborate, to become friends.

How astonishing it is for any one of us to find ourselves on the earth at the same time as each other. Think of all the events that led up to your birth. If your mom had been sick on the day of the party. If your grandmother had moved to a different town. If your great-grandfather hadn’t survived the war. If, if, if, back and back and back in time. If any one moment had aligned differently, you would not be here. What a miracle it is – and as an atheist I do not use the word miracle lightly – that with billions of people on the earth, and infinite individual human choices, we find ourselves sitting across the table from any one of the remarkable people we are fortunate enough to call friends.

Allie helped lay the groundwork for all the developments this last year has brought. I see her work, vision, and ideas with every step we take. She helped to point us in a new direction, and I will work tirelessly to help finish the work that she could not. I am so grateful that Allison Powell is part of my story, of Filament’s story – of all of our story.  I miss my friend. I will always miss my friend.

As 2012 begins, let us celebrate. Let us remember the miracle that in the vast sea of people and places and choices, we have found each other. Let us hold our friends close, and cherish the overlapping of our lives. Let us treasure all the moments, good and bad, that have led us to be right where we are, loving the people we love. Let us not forget for a moment what a gift it is that we have shared another year together, and that we will share in this next year to come.

Allie’s Gift 2011 Announcement

Kevin Barry Crowley

The Filament Theatre Ensemble is thrilled to announce that the 2011 recipient of Allie’s Gift is Kevin Barry Crowley.

Allie’s Gift is an annual financial gift given to a Chicago artist in honor of Allison Powell, Filament’s business manager from February 2010 to her untimely passing on January 2, 2011. Allie had a business mind with an artistic heart. Like so many of us, Allie aspired to ultimately earn a living in the arts, but held day jobs in the meantime to support herself and save money for graduate school. As she wrote in her first correspondence with Filament when discussing her day job, “I love art, but I also love food.” She worked with us to begin setting a path for Filament to create a financially sustainable model where we may one day support an administrative staff as well as the artists who work with us. The Filament Theatre Ensemble will award Allie’s Gift annually on her birthday to one Chicago artist who demonstrates passion, dedication, and a love for their art in addition to a financial need.

We are so honored to be celebrating Allie’s memory through the giving of this award. Her parents, Dayle and Will Spencer, gave a generous donation to the Allie’s Gift fund, ensuring that we could extend this gift in her honor. We are grateful to their contributions,  just as we are grateful for the contributions of their wonderful daughter, who helped us grow our company so much.

Kevin Barry Crowley is a consummate artist, collaborator, and all-around wonderful person – qualities Allie demonstrated and valued in her own life. Below is a statement from Kevin, giving a bit of his personal background and his intended use of the gift.

I hail from Springfield, MA. I have been acting and playing music since I was 17. I attended Salem State College in Salem, MA where I was greatly encouraged to pursue both things professionally. And so I have. I got my Master’s in Acting from Roosevelt in 2009 and have been working steadily since. I am getting married in the fall to a true Chicagoan and fellow thespian, Leslie Frame, who I met working on Wilson Wants It All with The House Theatre. I am currently in the process of creating a one-man show which will incorporate original music in many styles and a wide array of characters. I enjoy transforming and I enjoy the experience of things changing in front of my eyes and ears. I think it’s representative of the nature of life and aesthetically pleasing as well when a piece of theatre brings with it a wide range of emotional life.

I have been wanting to get a keyboard for some time. While I was in school at Roosevelt University from 2006 to 2009 I taught myself how to play piano and since I haven’t had access to the schools computers I’m not able to play as much. I find myself going downtown to the Harold Washington Library a couple times a month for no other reason then to just play. As an actor and a musician it is, of course, difficult to make ends meet, and having both talents could mean being able to find work in the theater as an actor and a musician. Some of the most fulfilling projects I’ve had so far, including Orpheus: Featuring DJ Puzzle as Fate, have allowed me to showcase both talents. It’s a very important task to increase the role of music in my career. It keeps bringing about great things.

I am so honored! It fills my heart with joy to accept this gift from Filament on behalf of Allie.

-Kevin Barry Crowley

Allison Powell

Our Beautiful Friend.

It has been a difficult and tragic week at the Filament Theatre Ensemble, as we mourn the sudden loss of ensemble member Allison Powell.  Allie’s vibrant spirit, creativity, and unmistakable brand of humor profoundly enriched the Filament community, from her one-of-a-kind adaptation of Choose Thine Own Adventure, to her upbeat attitude at every meeting.  We are proud to have had the chance to know and work with such a remarkable woman, and will work hard to continue her legacy in all the work that we do.

Below, the we of the Filament Theatre Ensemble have shared thoughts and memories of Allie, and we would love to invite you to do the same.  Please comment below, or email me at julie [at] filamenttheatre [dot] org.  We send deepest sympathy to Allison’s friends and  family around the world.  There are no words to express our sadness at the loss of our dear, sweet friend and collaborator.

A public celebration of Allie’s life will be held at the Strand Theatre in Marietta, Georgia at 2:00 on Friday, January 14.

Earl Smith Strand Theatre
117 North Park Square
Marietta, GA 30060
Office: 770-293-0080

For friends and family in the Chicago area, we will be holding a celebration on the same day – Friday January 14 – at 7:00pm, location at the Menomonee Club.

Menomonee Club
1535 N. Dayton Street
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 664-4631

Please RSVP at info [at] filamenttheatre [dot] org if you would like to attend, so that we can pass that information on to the gracious people at the Menomonee Club.  A broadcast of the celebration in Marietta, GA will be screened at 7:30, with time to talk and share stories and memories. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, either through this website or at (773) 270-1660.

On October 18, 2010, a podcast aired featuring Allie and the cast of Choose Thine Own Adventure discussing and promoting the show.  The podcast is available here.  We will continue to gather photos and video of Allie and post them here to share with you.

All of us in Filament are profoundly grateful for her contributions to the company, and will be continuing her legacy with an annual gift to Chicago-based artists in Allison’s name. She recognized the challenges of the lifestyle of the artist, and believed firmly that artists should be monetarily compensated for their work.  We are establishing “Allie’s Gift” to provide individual Chicago artists with funds to grow and support their artistic careers. This gift will be offered annually on Allison’s birthday, April 26. More details will be available here on our website in the coming days.

We love you, Allie.

Allie’s Gift

Allison Powell, 1982-2011

Allison Powell was the Business Manager of the Filament Theatre Ensemble from February of 2010 until her untimely passing in January 2011. Allie had a business mind with an artistic heart. Like so many of us, Allie aspired to ultimately earn a living in the arts, but held day jobs in the meantime to support herself and save money for graduate school. As she wrote in her first correspondence with Filament when discussing her day job, “I love art, but I also love food.” She worked with us to begin setting a path for Filament to create a financially sustainable model where we may one day support an administrative staff as well as the artists who work with us.

With her humor, intelligence, insight, and love, Allie inspired each and every one of us in the Filament Theatre Ensemble. We would like to share the inspiration that we were so lucky to experience firsthand with the Chicago arts community. Therefore, the Filament Theatre Ensemble has created an annual gift in Allie’s name to support the development of a Chicago artist.

The Filament Theatre Ensemble will award Allie’s Gift to one Chicago artist who demonstrates passion, dedication, and a love for their art in addition to a financial need. We will pay up to $300 toward class tuition, material investments, space needs, etc.


Application requirements:

[] Please write us a brief letter (no more than 3 pages) telling us a bit about yourself and your specific intended use of the Allie’s Gift funding.
[] A brief statement describing your current financial situation (primary source of income, etc.)
[] A current resume in PDF format
[] Applicants must currently live in Chicago, pursuing a career in theatre arts.
[] Any samples of your work – portfolio, video, audio, etc. – are encouraged but not required.

Applications should be emailed to, attached as PDF documents.

Applications are due no later than 5pm on Friday April 13. Applicants may be contacted for an interview.  The recipient of Allie’s Gift will be announced on April 26. For any questions about Allie’s Gift or the application process, do not hesitate to email us at

Meeting Shakespeare

This week the Filament Blog asks the question, “What was your first experience with Shakespeare?” Ensemble members and the Choose Thine Own Adventure cast weigh in on middle school plays, boring high school English classes, and Leonardo diCaprio. Sharing all these stories has made us wonder – What was your first encounter with Shakespeare? Comment below and let us know!

CHOOSE runs through Dec. 11!

My most memorable Shakespeare casting was as a dancer in a Maui production of Comedy of Errors. It was set in New York’s 1970’s Studio 54 club, complete with drugs, boas, glitter, plenty of polyester and numerous Diana Ross dance numbers. It was hilariously awful and yet fabulous as only a room lit with a mirror ball can be. To this day, every time I hear Amii Stewart’s cover of “Knock On Wood” I expect to see twin Dromios in white bell bottoms dancing on a bar.
-Allison Powell, Business Manager and Adapter of Choose Thine Own Adventure

When I was seven, my mom took me to a production of The Tempest at a local college. The images from that play have stuck with me ever since. I don’t think I knew at that point that Shakespeare was supposed to be “hard” to understand, so I understood the meaning of every moment. That experience fixed Shakespeare in my mind as something thrilling. Seven years later I played Puck in my highschool’s Midsummer. Inhabiting the words and actions of Shakespeare at that moment caught me hook line and sinker and I’ve been caught ever since!
-Omen Sade, Associate Artistic Director and Bernardo in Choose Thine Own Adventure

The first Shakespeare play I was ever in was Much Ado About Nothing. I was twelve years old, and I played Benedick. After that, I thought I knew everything there was to know about Shakespeare and probably annoyed the bajeezus out of all of my friends. That continues to this day.
-Reggie Gowland, Ensemble Member

Village Hypochondriac: “The Queen has demanded a new Will Shakespeare play.”
Will Shakespeare: “But I don’t have one ready. Can’t she just write one herself!”
Village Hypochondriac: “I’ll give her your reply sir!”
Will Shakespeare: “NO no no no”

Thus begins every performance of Instant Shakespeare performed at Renaissance Festivals across the country. After this set up, the actors launch into creating a new Shakespeare play based on one of the classics (the first one I saw was Romeo & Juliet); however Shakespeare would ask the audience for help through the process. Names, circumstances, and insults from the audience filled in this Madlib Shakespeare that would then unfold before the audience full of improvisations in Iambic pentameter and audience involvement. To give an idea of the atmosphere, when the audience was asked for an insult, a jolly portly gentleman holding a huge smoked turkey leg (you know the guy) yelled out: “YOU VOMITUS PENNY PINCHING SCUM!” (That insult has been a part of my family’s vocabulary ever since.) At 6 years old, this was my first exposure to Shakespeare and quickly became something I looked forward to every year when my family attended the Renaissance Festival. From that point on, I knew that there was an underlying joy and playfulness in Shakespeare’s plays, and later when I read my first Shakespeare play in English class (you guessed it… Romeo & Juliet), I was able to connect with the joy and irreverence inspired by Instant Shakespeare.
-Christian Libonati, Managing Director

My first experience with Shakespeare was in 7th grade when we were required to read Romeo and Juliet, I distinctly remember hating the play. I get so angry at how silly the whole thing is, all of it could have been so easily avoided. What made it worse was when our teacher made us sit through the 1968 film version. That was pure torture. It wasnt until my senior year of high school that I would learn to love the bard. I read Macbeth, which to this day, is my favorite Shakespeare play.
-Shayna Kamilar, Production Manager

My first “Shakespeare encounter” occured in 7th grade, and was the result of two simultaneous events. First, as part of our English cirriculum, we were to cover both Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. Second, there was a speech contest which occured each year for 7th graders and encompassed several topics – one of those was dramatic interpretation (in other words, a monologue). I chose Cassius’ monologue from I.ii, which begins “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world/Like a colossus…” So there I was reading Romeo and Juliet in class, as well as working on a Shakespeare speech for the speech contest. A Shakespeare nerd from the start, you might think. Well, that simply was not the case! I still had glorious dreams of being a professional baseball player, and was riding high on skipping a level of the local leagues due to my great tryout the previous fall. In my free time I was most likely playing video games, sports, or chasing girls – theatre, Shakespeare in particular, was the least of my interests.

The speech contest went well (I scored high, but did not win), and I received high marks in English. I can’t say that some seed was planted at that moment, but I certainly can remember that I felt an affinity for the language (even if I didn’t understand a lot of it). I don’t know when I first really considered acting seriously as a field of study, and eventually a profession, but I do know that every time I have come across an opportunity to study Shakespeare, or work on a Shakespearean production, there has been some unseen pull toward his language. If you went back in time and told my 11 year-old self that he would be an actor, and have an affinity for Shakespeare’s works, he would probably laugh at you, and yet still have some subconscious understanding of that future reality.
-Marco Minichiello, Dromio in Choose Thine Own Adventure

When I was about eight, my grandparents showed me Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I was instantly obsessed (I mean, John McEnery’s Queen Mab speech is killer, right?!).  I spent an enormous part of the subsequent months performing the balcony scene in my house, using the staircase landing as the balcony and my four year old sister as Romeo. She had a pretty impressive speech impediment at the time, and to this day I can hear her little voice saying “He jests at scaws that nevew fehwt a wound!” In the two decades since then, my sister has outgrown her speech impediment, but I’m still going strong with my love of the Bard.
-Julie Ritchey, Artistic Director and Director of Choose Thine Own Adventure

When I was just a few years old my mom–who is a theatre teacher at a private school in San Diego–directed a production of Hamlet. My dad guest-starred as the Ghost. I don’t remember very much from the production, but I do have a few blurry images in my head. I certainly liked the sword-fighting (which, I believe, my dad also choreographed). Sword-fighting may have played a big role in drawing me into the theatre–when, as a kid, I had to keep myself entertained while my mom finished a rehearsal, I’d get to play with some of the prop swords that were always lying around.
-Jack Novak, Ensemble Member

I read Othello in high school with my remedial English class and I do not remember if I understood what happened in the play but I remember that I was mad at everybody for not acting the parts out.  How could they just read this stuff without any emotion?

The second most memorable moment was when I read Merchant of Venice unassigned one summer before my senior year of college.  It was the first Shakespeare play I read on my own accord and the first time I understand the story.  I remember the moment I finished the play.  I was sitting in an upstairs part of the library where I worked during the summer and the sun was coming in on my face.  I remember being very hungry and I was poor at the time so I kept myself busy that week with this play.  I needed nourishment and this play supplied it.  I never told anybody about this but I guess I have now.  I really saw this play happening as I read which was the first time visualization had happened throughout an entire Shakespeare play.  I want to re read it now just thinking about this moment.
-Mary Spearen, Development Director and Rosalind in Choose Thine Own Adventure

Shakespeare is to the English language as the moon is to the sky, it is as though the two always belonged together, describing love and the pain that comes with the journey that is the path of life.  I must say that my early experience with the Bard was as an explorer of words, as a creature in love with the texture and smell of old books and the oceans of words upon the shelves. It is from some such exploration that a weathered copy of the Complete Works cast its breath upon my face like some volume of sacred text, calling forth the boy to worship at its soft and faded page. And with its voice taking my hand and softly whispering some reminder of what I was to come to know. I don’t think I fully understood at the time what I was looking at, but I knew right away that it was a very important part of the history of life. I knew even then that it had the power to change lives.
Peter Oyloe, Marketing Director

My first encounter with Shakespeare was more tangible than most, it was not by reading any of his plays or even attending one of them.  At age 10 I visited Stratford-upon-Avon and have fond memories of visiting the various landmarks around the town, my favorite being Anne Hathaway’s cottage.  Here I purchased a beautiful, picture book edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Upon returning home, I immediately rented the movie edition, read the actual play and thus began a love of “the bard.”
-Kristen Ahern, Costume Designer of Choose Thine Own Adventure

My sister put up a giant poster of Leonardo DiCaprio from Romeo + Juliet behind the fish tank on her wall – when I say giant, I mean takes up half the wall space giant. I was 10. I would sneak into her room and kiss the poster!
-Carolyn Faye Kramer, Ensemble Member

High school sucks and here is why. I had the greatest English teacher in the world. Did I know or appreciate it at the time, no. Example, in addition to reading poetry, and studying drama, this guy brought us on field trips to the Ruth Page Theatre (now Chicago Shakes) to see incredible productions. As a 15 year old (at least in 1996) there is nothing more uncool than liking Shakespeare. So, I distinctively remember sitting in the front row of a matinee of Comedy of Errors with my arms folded across my chest, slumped into the chair with my coat still on, acting way too cool for school. This was all for show (or at least to keep the bullies at bay). Inside I was dying with excitement. I LOVED every second. The mistaken identities, watching the Dromios get pummeled, the prat falls, the lights, the costumes, the music, the oh so happy ending… it was awesome! Those matinees have a lot to do with how and why I’m an actor today. The coolest part is I’ve now shared the stage with some of those guys I grew up watching and admiring. So to Mr. T. I thank you. Even though there was no way you could have known it then, I was deeply in love (and still am) with the things I was exposed to in your class.
-Ryan Reilly, Ensemble Member

I don’t remember my first encounter with Shakespeare but it must have been much like my first encounter with chocolate. That stalwart and king of sugary treats has always been in my sensory memory just as Shakespeare seems to have always been a part of the ether of my nostalgic subconscious, sweetly satiating the appetite of my intellectual curiosity and theatrical cravings. Over the years I’ve tasted chocolate in a plethora of forms — dark, milk, white, with peanut butter, rice crispies, jalapenos, etc — and have similarly seen Shakespeare’s works in classical theater style, post-modern interpretations, recontextualizations of all sorts, and in Japanese samurai cinema. That’s the deliciously beautiful thing about chocolate and Shakespeare, they go well in almost any form. The reason, I think, is because at some very basic level, they hit us in the pit of our brains, arousing some fantastic and cathartic feeling in our cores, satisfying a primal human desire to feel joy. And although too much chocolate can lead to a number of health concerns, too much Shakespeare only makes me wish the Bard was still around to share the second Twix bar with.
-Ped Naseri, Antonio in Choose Thine Own Adventure

Julie Ritchey, Shayna Kamilar, Allison Powell

Allison Asks, What If?

This week, the Filament blog checks in with playwright Allison Powell, as she shares her experience adapting Choose Thine Own Adventure.

Julie Ritchey, Shayna Kamilar, Allison Powell

Allison Powell (right) in a rehearsal.

It’s alive, breathing, bickering, swashbuckling, beer guzzling, heart breakingly wonderful and that was in just the first ten minutes of Saturday night’s rehearsal in the venue. I have never been more excited about a show. Ever. And that’s a big statement because I excite easily.

Choose Thine Own Adventure had been brewing in the collective subconscious of Filament long before I sat down with my copy of the Bard and started piecing the show together. In fact, it was listed on the company’s website as a future production when I initially interviewed to be the Business Manager. I was devastated to hear (Director) Julie say that, for as brilliant of an idea as it was, they had postponed writing. It’s been on the Filament ‘to do’ list for so long that no one can even remember whose idea it was originally, just that everyone was itching for a chance to ask “what if?”

What if Juliet woke up 10 seconds sooner? What if Hamlet was a bit more action and a lot less talk? What if Lear was a better judge of character?

And the biggest ‘what if?’ of all: what if we could make Shakespeare fun again? Give it back to the groundlings as a bawdy, boozy, brazen good time—all the things we love about these plays—and drop all of those pretentious, boring production habits that have become the norm for Shakespeare. Don’t want to see a 3 hour performance of Macbeth set in 1690s Salem, Massachusetts? Me neither. Sill think codpiece jokes are funny? Me too!

I was not a Choose Your Own Adventure virgin going into this. In college I wrote a CYOA play with The Experimental Theatre Company (hi guys!) so I had some idea of how to structure this kind of show.

And the structure’s the thing (Check out this Scene Map!). With Shakespeare, the wealth of zany characters, thorny plot twists and gorgeous language meant never wanting for good material—but when you make a choice (and you’re going to make lots of them!) there is a ripple effect through the plot line, as way leads on to way. So figuring out how one decision in Twelfth Night would naturally lead to a scene from Othello was like a great unraveling. I got to pull at all of these loose threads to see where each one led me, until a bigger picture finally took shape. And if that’s my metaphor, then picture me completely tangled in yarn on a regular basis.

The script is now in its umpteenth revision, with brilliance regularly added to it by the cast and designers. But you get to make the final edit.

Choose Thine Own Adventure, Map

Scene Map for "Choose"

We have no idea what show you’re going to see when you come so we’re as excited as you are. And, mathematically speaking, the likelihood of any show happening twice is less than .00024%. (I calculated that so leave some room for error.) What the numbers are telling us is that each show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—so you can come back and see it every night and you’ll always see something new. While that’s true of any live performance, it’s especially true of this one. It’s even possible some of the scenes will never be seen! Imagine, all of that writing, rewriting, blocking, memorizing of lines, costumes sewn, props painted and it never gets chosen! That’s a real risk, but we’re willing to take it to give you the opportunity to have this hands-on experience with characters you’ve seen a hundred times (and hopefully a few you’ve never met) in a new world of your choosing.

Here are some rumors I’d like to dispel:

1. I am a Shakespeare scholar.
– As if! Probably no more or less than you. When I got stuck, which was frequent (see ‘yarn’ above) I had the internet at my immediate disposal. Can’t remember a scene that has pirates? Need another reference to a horse? I’d like to particularly thank MIT for their free on-line posting of all of Will’s work.

2. I LOVE Shakespeare.
– Again, probably no more or less than you. Having irreverence towards the text was crucial in this process. But so was loving his words. I have my favorites (most of which found their way into the final draft) and anything I didn’t think would make you either laugh or cry was cut.

3. Two of the actors have webbed toes.
– It’s just not true.

Shakespeare invented the word ‘laughable’! Really! Look it up! So I take that to mean he really wanted his work to make you laugh. We hope in our hands it does. So come early and often, get a drink (or two) and tell us what you’d like to see happen next because we’re as curious as you are.

Stuff Allison Likes

Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary on Montrose Point – A tiny Eden in the city. I discovered this protected area on a meandering run one afternoon and now it’s my destination every time I hit the Lake Shore Path. Dense trees and plants line a maze of well-kept trails and the wildlife (bunnies! wild flowers! dragonflies! butterflies! all sorts of birds!) are a needed reminder of life beyond the pavement. Once you step into the mini-forest (or maxi-garden), it’s easy to imagine you’re in another world entirely. If you head towards the lake, the paths end at an open field of chest-high wildflowers with an incredible view of Chicago’s skyline. But be forewarned: there are rumors of untoward activities taking place in the brush, so perhaps not the best night spot.

The Underdog by Spoon – This song makes me really happy so it’s my go-to first song on just about every CD I burn. Foremost for the opening drums, but that’s followed up with horns, a great melody and some brilliant lyrics. It reminds me to keep going when the odds are stacked against, which in the world of the performing arts, feels like a lot of the time. It can’t all be wedding cake and beware the underdog.

Bar on Buena – This cozy beer bar/restaurant feels like a hidden gem. There’s over 50 beers to choose from, booths, couches, stools and other sitting accoutrements to keep you comfortable, outdoor seating when the weather cooperates, and absolutely delicious burgers that come off of what they boats is the “World’s smallest grill” (size doesn’t matter here). It also happens to be just a hop, skip and jump from my apartment, so the week-night specials are particularly appreciated.