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Photo: TimeLine’s 2017 – 2018 Playwrights Collective members (from left): Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Maureen Gallagher and Calamity West.
TimeLine Theatre Company has announced its inaugural “First Draft: A TimeLine Playwrights Collective Festival,” the culmination of the company’s latest two-year new-play incubator program offering residency to Chicago-based emerging and established writers. First Draft will take place December 1 – 3 at TimeLine’s 615 W. Wellington Avenue home.
The free public readings are penned by Playwrights Collective members Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Maureen Gallagher, and Calamity West. “We greatly admire these four artists and it has been an incredible experience working with them over the past two years as they’ve explored these four stories,” said Ben Thiem, TimeLine’s Literary Manager. “Being a playwright is often very solitary work without regular opportunities for structured feedback and support. By creating this First Draft festival as a culmination of their time with us, TimeLine hopes to give both playwrights and audience members an invaluable opportunity to hear these new plays during a critical moment in their continuing development.”
The festival kicks off Saturday, December 1, at 11 a.m. with CAMPAIGNS, INC. by Will Allan, directed by Nick Bowling. In 1934, famous novelist Upton Sinclair was all but guaranteed to become the first Democratic governor of the state of California—until a young, unknown couple formed the first political consulting firm in U.S. history in order to take him down. CAMPAIGNS, INC follows Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter, who methodically constructed one of the most spectacular smear campaigns ever. The cast for CAMPAIGNS, INC. includes Amy Carpenter, Bryce Gangel, Francis Guinan, Terry Hamilton, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Phillip Earl Johnson, Travis Knight, and Mark Ulrich. The stage manager is Kelsey York.
GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW! A LOVE STORY by Calamity West follows on Saturday evening at 8 p.m., directed by Elly Green. Chronicling the brief courtship and marriage of actor Olga Knipper and playwright Anton Chekhov, GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW! is a fantasy set against the backdrop of a rising Moscow art scene in the 20th century and the sprawling vacuum of rural Russia. The cast includes Kaiser Ahmed, Harry Belden, Sydney Charles, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Susaan Jamshidi, Niko Kourtis, Kelli Simpkins, and Samuel Taylor. The stage manager is Kelsey York.
Sunday, December 2 at 6:30 p.m. is KENT STATE JACKSON STATE by Maureen Gallagher, directed by Wardell Julius Clark. On May 4, 1970, three days after Nixon expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia and protests were staged across the county, four college students were killed and nine were wounded at Kent State University. That shocking event was immortalized in song, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, and extensive coverage. Eleven days later, two students were killed and as many as 20 were wounded at a peaceful protest at Jackson State College. Few people around the country heard about it then or know about it now. KENT STATE JACKSON STATE is a personal story about the six students who died and the coming together of the two schools in a solidarity which continues to this day. The cast includes Sam Boeck, Sydney Charles, Richard Costes, Charles Andrew Gardner, Kayla Raelle Holder, James Leaming, and Ayssette Muñoz, The stage manager is Jennifer Gregory.
The festival closes out on Monday, December 3 at 7 p.m. with RELENTLESS by Tyla Abercrumbie, directed by Ron OJ Parson. Two sisters return to their childhood home in Philadelphia in 1918. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to keep safe the illusion of a perfect life with her husband Dr. Marcus Stanton. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel black women into power. When they selfishly finger through the pages of their late mother’s diaries, it lands them at the foothills of a woman they never really knew. The cast for RELENTLESS includes Adia Alli, Ayanna Bakari, Chanell Bell, Aaron Todd Douglas, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Kelvin Roston Jr., and Maggie Scrantom. The stage manager is Jennifer Gregory.
Tickets are free but advance reservations are strongly recommended as space is limited. To reserve tickets, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at 773.281.8463 x6.