Tympanic Announces Ninth Season!


Tympanic Theatre Company announces ninth season, new Artistic Director, new co-Literary Managers

Following a hugely successful eighth season, which included the Midwest Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Social Creatures and the acclaimed short play festival, Today We Escape-inspired by Radiohead’s OK COMPUTER -Tympanic Theatre Company is proud to announce its ninth season in Chicago, as well as the appointment of a new Artistic Director and co-Literary Managers. Outgoing Artistic Director Dan Caffrey, who will continue serving as part of the company's Literary and Marketing Committees, and incoming Artistic Director Christopher Acevedo are proud to announce the two plays that will be comprising Tympanic’s ninth season:- Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws, and Paper City Phoenix by Walt McGough. In addition to announcing Acevedo as the new Artistic Director, the company also proudly announces the appointment of Ted Brengle and Joshua Ellison as co-Literary Managers.

First up in 2016, Michael Carnow (Tympanic Artistic Associate, Director – The Great Story of Love and Sacrifice and Loss and Rebirth for Today We Escape) directs the new play Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws (MFA Playwright - Yale School of Drama, screenwriter The Neon Demon, and AMC’s Preacher). Blueberry Toast will go into production at the Athenaeum Theatre from February 13 - March 13, 2016. Following Blueberry Toast, Rebecca Willingham (Assistant Director - Balm in Gilead, Director – Wavelength for Today We Escape) will direct the Midwest Premiere of Paper City Phoenix by Walt McGough (Sideshow Theatre Company, Chalk), which was a finalist for the 2013 Source Festival. Paper City Phoenix goes into production at the Alley Stage from April 15 – May 8, 2016.

"I’m incredibly excited to continue the brand of weird, exciting theatre Tympanic has become known for,” remarked Acevedo. “We have created and stayed true to our uniquely, yet very Chicago, offbeat style of theatre for the past eight years culminating in national recognition, this past spring, by American Theatre Magazine for our unique album-based short play festival Today We Escape, which was inspired by Radiohead’s OK Computer. I’m thrilled to be able to continue cultivating Tympanic’s growth, along with this wonderful ensemble of artists, leading us into our ninth season and beyond.” Added Caffrey, "On one hand, I'd like to say that it's with a heavy heart that I step down as Artistic Director, but my heart isn't heavy at all! I'm so proud to have been involved with a collective of such smart, talented, and passionate individuals, and I couldn't be more artistically satisfied with the body of work Tympanic has produced. From over a dozen world premieres, to our album-oriented short-play festivals across eight seasons, it's been a wild ride.”

And I am not going anywhere, not by a long shot,” Caffrey added. “I'll be staying on as a full-time Company Member and Board Member to make sure this transition is a smooth one. Christopher and I met at auditions for Biloxi Blues at Florida State University, and haven't stopped working together since. Christopher has been a dedicated Tympanic Company member since our founding in 2007 and his artistic investment in Tympanic has never wavered. He has already taken over several of my AD duties this past season, and I know that, under his leadership, Tympanic is going to continue to produce the offbeat new work that we're known for. So thank you to Chris, thank you to the company, and thank you to the rest of the Chicago theatre community for letting us produce some truly out-there stuff."

"We’re also ecstatic to have the brilliant Joshua Ellison and Ted Brengle as our new co-Literary Managers,” Acevedo added. “They’re incredible when it comes to cultivating new plays, and working with writers, and are already underway planning the 2016/17 season - our tenth.”

Christopher Acevedo (Artistic Director) is a founding member of Tympanic Theatre Company. With Tympanic he has appeared in Splintered Crosses, The House of Weird Death, Gregor & the Squonk, Bastards of Young, And Then It Burst, Ozma & Harriet, Muerte del Maestro, and most recently in Wavelength and Choke (as part of the Today We Escape short play festival). He has been the company’s Literary Manager since 2013. Other credits in Chicago include work with Adventure Stage Chicago, Lifeline Theatre, Teatro Vista, Strawdog, Victory Gardens, University of Chicago, American Theatre, the Right Brain Project, Urban Theater, Genesis Ensemble, Teatro Luna, Pavement Group, Collaboraction, Red Tape, The Ruckus, and the side project. He is a recent graduate of the School at Steppenwolf (Class of 2015), and is represented by Grossman & Jack.

Ted Brengle (co-Literary Manager) has Master’s degrees in both English (Creative Writing) and Theatre (Playwriting) from Miami University of Ohio. His contributed scripts for Tympanic include Daughters of Necessity (from 2012s Deliver Us From Nowhere: Tales From Nebraska), B.E.M. (from 2015s Today We Escape), the short film, All The Pleasures Prove (an Official Selection at the 2015 Orlando Film Festival), and the audio play, Best Show Ever (for the Bull Crow Project podcast). Outside Tympanic, his plays have been produced regionally as well as in New York City, and he produced the premier of his play Alone Apart at the Chicago Fringe Festival. Ted has won a couple of awards here and there, including national honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, First Prize in the One Million Monkeys playwriting competition, and he has been a semi-finalist for the National Playwrights Conference. He lives in Chicago.

Joshua Ellison (co-Literary Manager) is a founding member of Area IV Theatre where he directed Vacation, MARCH (Edmonton International Theatre Festival) and From the Nightshade Family (Chicago Fringe Festival). His work was also seen at Oracle, where he directed Samuel Beckett, Andre the Giant, and the Crickets. For Tympanic he has directed Julia Pastrana, Daughters of Necessity (as part of Deliver Us From Nowhere), and The Iceland of Space (as part of Today We Escape). He also co-produces Tympanic's Podcast series The Bull Crow Project.



Join us this February for the new play…

Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws directed by Michael Carnow*

February 13th through March 13th Previews begin Thursday, February 11th Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Athenaeum Theatre Studio One (2936 N. Southport Ave.) Tickets $20 general, $15 students/industry/seniors

It's a Sunday morning in a sunny, suburban kitchen. Barb is making breakfast for her husband, Walt. Their children, Jack and Jill, are busy writing a play. When Barb and Walt disagree over a seemingly innocuous piece of blueberry toast, the veneer of their polished existence begins to crack and what's underneath might eat them for breakfast.

About the Playwright

Mary Laws is a native of Texas. Her plays include Bird Fire Fly, Blueberry Toast (Yale School of Drama), Wonderful (Tympanic Theatre Company), The Drive (Tympanic Theatre Company), What A Very Pretty Pageant!, Stand (an autumn play) (The American Laboratory), The Trapeze Artist (Baylor University), and This. (Yale Cabaret). Her work has been read/developed by Baylor University, Theatre Masters National MRA Playwrites Festival, the American Laboratory, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Endstation Theatre Playwrigtes Initiative, The Cherry Lane, Le Pavé d’Orsay in Paris, and The Horton Foote American Playwrights Festival. For three years she served as literary associate at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York. In addition, she has mentored for the Yale/Co-Op Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Program, the Dwight/Edgewood Project in New Haven, and taught Playwriting at Wesleyan University. She also served as a Deacon at the University Church in Yale. In 2014, Mary signed on as co-screenwriter with Nicolas Winding Refn on his next film The Neon Demon, which recently shot in LA. She currently writes for the upcoming AMC Drama Preacher. MFA, Yale School of Drama. BFA, Baylor University.

About the Director

Michael Carnow is a Tympanic Artistic Associate, who has directed pieces in Today We Escape and Deliver Us From Nowhere. Elsewhere in Chicago, he has directed for The Gift Theatre, American Blues Theatre, American Theatre Company, WNEP Theatre, and The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre. In Detroit, he was nominated for a Wilde Award for the Best Production of a New Play for Snowbound and his production of A Trois was a Patron’s Pick at the Windsor International Fringe Festival. In collaboration with PopUP Theatrics, he has collaborated with artists in Romania, Australia and Nigeria, and his work has been seen in New York, Mexico and Scotland. He founded two new works festivals: GPS (the Gay Play Series) at the Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale, MI and Quickies at Brandeis University. 

Cast: Christopher Acevedo*, Allie Long, Christopher Michael Meister, Kelly Parker*, and Sergio Soltero*

Stage Manager: Erin Altekruse* Production Manager: Eric Turner Lighting Designer: Claire Sangster Violence Designer: Jon Beal Sound Designer/Original Music: Maxwell Shults* Costume Designers: Katie Friedman Casting Director: Kelly Parker* *denotes Tympanic Company Member or Artistic Associate

And in the spring, the Midwest Premiere of...

Paper City Phoenix by Walt McGough directed by Rebecca Willingham

April 15th through May 8th Preview on Thursday, April 14th Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. With three additional Monday industry performances at 8 p.m. The Alley Stage (4147 N. Broadway St.) Tickets $20 general, $15 students/industry/seniors

Brenna’s soul mate is missing, but finding him is hard when she can’t stop channeling the Internet. Gale tries to help, but she’s got her own problems and her printer’s out of toner. Both women, an anti-Tech cult,the FBI, and the Internet itself will be involved before it’s over, and the city will never be the same. An explosive comedy exploring how we connect when we’re always connected, and just what’s left when the universe hits the delete key.

About the Playwright

Walt McGough is a founding ensemble member of Chicago's Sideshow Theatre Company. He currently lives in Boston, where he has held fellowships with both the Huntington and New Repertory Theatre Companies. His plays include Pattern of Life, which was named Best New Play by the Independent Reviewers of New England, as well as Chalk, The Farm, Priscilla Dreams the Answer, Dante Dies!! (And Then Things Get Weird), and Non-Player Character. He has worked around the country with companies including The Lark, the Huntington, New Rep, the Kennedy Center, NNPN, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Fresh Ink, Sideshow, Orfeo Group, Nu Sass Productions, Chicago Dramatists, and Argos. In 2015, his TYA play Advice for Astronauts was selected as the winner of the Milken Playwriting Prize. He serves on the staff at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, and was previously the company manager at Chicago Dramatists. He holds a BA from the University of Virginia, and an MFA in playwriting from Boston University.

About the Director

Rebecca Willingham is a Chicago-based theater director. Her directing credits include Seagulls (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), The Rockers (Bechdel Fest, Broken Nose Theatre), If you came closer (Snapshots Festival, 20% Theatre), Wavelength (Today We Escape, Tympanic Theatre), Danny Met Sarah (The Frontier), and The Sacred Schizoid Heart (Landmark Festival, Prologue Theatre). Her assistant-directing credits include Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theatre), Mr. Burns (Theater Wit), Cicada (Route 66), strangers, babies (Steep Theatre), and The Seafarer (Irish Theatre of Chicago). Rebecca is a proud alumna of Emerson College and the National Theatre Institute.

Cast: Andrew Bailes, Jamie Bragg*, Stevie Chaddock*, Clare Cooney, Nick Mikula, and Celeste Burns

Stage Manager: Erin Altekruse* Production Manager: Eric Turner Lighting Designer: Brian Berman* Sound Designer/Original Music: Maxwell Shults* Costume Designers: Jerica Hucke Casting Director: Kelly Parker* *denotes Tympanic Company Member or Artistic Associate

About Tympanic Theatre Company

After moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2006, a handful of fellow alumni from Florida State University founded The Tympanic Theatre Company. Producing eight seasons thus far of thrilling new work, the collective has since expanded to 31 members and associates, and is helmed by Artistic Director Christopher Acevedo and Managing Director Paul E. Martinez.

Besides being a resident company at the side project from 2007 to 2011, Tympanic was nationally recognized, in 2015, by American Theatre Magazine for their short play festival Today We Escape – a collection of short plays each inspired by a track from Radiohead’s album OK Computer, participated in the Department of Cultural Affairs' Incubator Series, extensively workshopping Randall Colburn's Verse Chorus Verse (directed by Kyra Lewandowski) before mounting the full world premiere, as well as Mary Arrchie's Abbie Hoffman Festival and Curious Theatre Branch's Rhino Fest. Recent productions include Today We Escape, The Midwest Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Social Creatures, Deliver Us From Nowhere - a collection of short plays each based on a song from Bruce Springsteen’s album Nebraska, the World Premiere of Dan Caffrey’s Sandalwood (directed by Aaron Henrickson and co-produced with the side project), the world premiere of Scott T. Barsotti’s Brewed, (directed by Anna C. Bahow and co-produced with The Ruckus), and the Midwest Premiere of Shaun Prendergast’s The True History Of The Tragic Life And Triumphant Death Of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman In The World (directed by Joshua Ellison), which was performed entirely in the dark

The Tympanic Theatre Company is dedicated to producing new and developed work with fantastical, frightening, or absurd subject matter that provokes, inspires, and entertains. Through our use of vibrant storytelling, dynamic language, and colorful characters, we invite our audience to plunge headfirst with us into theatrical worlds that are fresh, energetic, and visceral.