FALLING

TheNorthPoolPoster

By Deanna Jent
Directed by James Yost

March 16 - April 16

It takes a village, and then some. For Tami Martin, raising her 18-year-old severely autistic son Josh, is not only a full time job, it's a labor of love. But Josh's increasingly violent outbursts and pressure from her family threaten to drive Tami's efforts and her sanity to the brink. Interrobang is proud to close its FLESH AND BLOOD Season with this Chicago Premiere.

Deanna Jent is the Artistic Director of Mustard Seed Theatre and a Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, where she has been teaching since 1995. She has written stage adaptations of the novels Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis and Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. Her play Falling won the Kevin Kline award for Best New Play of 2011 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Best Play Award following its off-Broadway run in 2012. Falling was produced in Singapore in 2016 and has been translated into Portuguese for an upcoming production in Brazil. 

 

PRESS

Photographer: Emily Schwartz

Photographer: Emily Schwartz

It’s difficult to write objectively about a play, currently enjoying its stunning Chicago premiere, in a production that so moved the audience it was almost impossible to move afterward. . . It’s an extraordinarily powerful theatrical experience that must be seen to be appreciated. . . Tami, like every parent in a similar situation, should be awarded sainthood for her love, patience and sacrifice. In this role, the honesty and convincing believability of Amy Johnson’s performance cannot be dismissed. She’s a supreme talent, and the very heart and soul of this play. . . There’s not enough adjectives to praise the impressive performance delivered by Justin Tsatsa, as Josh. He is truly a gifted actor whose depiction of this difficult character is award-worthy — Highly Recommended.
— Colin Douglas (Chicago Theatre Review)
Directed by James Yost, “Falling” is a harrowing and brutally honest depiction of a loving family stretched to the breaking point. It feels almost prescient. . . Tsatsa gives a remarkably accurate and deeply moving portrayal of a young man with severe Autism. . . As Tami, Johnson captures the world of guilt, fear and overwhelmed weariness of Josh’s mother. As Bill, Freed nails the frustration of a father rapidly approaching the tattered end of his rope. Hall instills the side-eye sarcasm endemic to all teenagers with a layer of profound anger at constantly having to take a backseat to the demands of her brother. ”Falling” is a drama of importance and power. And given the prominence of health care in the news, it couldn’t be more relevant.
— Catey Sullivan (Chicago Sun-Times)
James Yost puts together all the puzzle pieces and under his direction this ensemble provides performances so plausible that I experienced being an interloper in the Martin family’s modest living room while feeling all their feels. . . The entire ensemble nobly navigates immense emotional terrain but none as adeptly as Tsatsa who vocally and physically embodies Josh complete with tactile experiences and emotional outburst which left me wondering if he actually has autism. . . Greg Pinsoneault’s set not only invites us into the Martin’s home but intricately details their power dynamics. . . Steph Taylor’s costumes further define each character’s mood placing Lisa and Grammy Sue in bright clothes juxtaposed to Tami’s more muted and casual outfit. . . FALLING is deeper than a play about autism, offering an exploration into family dynamics and the human condition — Critics’ Pick
— Alyssa Dyksterhouse (Performink)
Sensitively directed by James Yost, this Interrobang Theatre Project Chicago premiere is an emotional roller coaster, played with impressive emotional authenticity. — Recommended!
— Albert Williams (Chicago Reader)

The Artists
 

CAST

Nick Freed - Bill 
Tristin Hall
- Lisa
Amy Johnson - Tami
Heidi Katz - Grammy Sue
Justin Tsatsa - Josh

PRODUCTION TEAM

Christina Casano, production stage manager
Sarah Gise, casting
Sheila Kettering, asl interpreter
Tristin Hall, fight captain
Margaret Knapp dramaturg
Morgan Lake sound design
Pauline Oleksy, props
Greg Pinsoneault set design
Al Raci (CI/CT), asl interpreter
Rob Stepek lighting design
Steph Taylor, costume design
Alan Weusthoff technical director
Joseph Wiens assistant director
Claire Yearman fight choreographer

Christopher Aaron Knarr house and social media manager
David Rosenberg press relations
Zoë Verdin creative design

Emily Schwartz photographer

  

Cast Bios

Production Team

CHRISTINA CASANO, Production Stage Manager
Christina is a theatre artist based in Chicago. She earned a BA in Theatre from Miami University and completed the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Summer Professional Training Program. She has stage managed, acted, and directed around Chicago for the last two years. Selected works include Milk Like Sugar (The Yard+Raven Theatre), Twelfth Night (Crowded Bookshelf Dramatics), The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc., Belladonna Luna Sonata, and These Saints Will Burn (The Plagiarists), Owners (ITP), Macbeth and Angels in America (Miami University). Christina is a company member of The Plagiarists, where she serves as the Resident Stage Manager.

SARAH GISE, Casting
Sarah has been a proud ITP company member since February 2015. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a BFA in Acting. She was previously seen in Interrobang's Fifth Season productions, Owners and Really Really. She is currently a company member with New American Folk Theatre (Chicago) and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre (Los Angeles), with whom she won the LAWeekly Best Actress award for The Belle of Belfast in 2013. She can be seen at many film festivals around the country in the new film Halfway starring Quinton Aaron from The Blindside, which was awarded Best Feature at the Julian Dubuque International Film Festival. In February 2016, she performed the one-woman show The Amish Project with AtticRep in San Antonio, TX, and shortly after was invited to take the show to the Teatro Potlach FLIPT festival in Rome, Italy. She can be seen performing in the Midwest premiere of Still by Jen Silverman with Interrobang from September 28-October 30th at the Athenaeum, followed by the remount of AtticRep's The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey with Interrobang November 10th-December 4th.

SHEILA KETTERING, ASL Interpreter
Sheila is thrilled to be working with Interrobang Theatre Project interpreting this production of Falling.  Sheila has been interpreting for twenty five years in the Chicagoland area in a variety of settings, such as medical, business, educational, video relay interpreting and is especially passionate about theatrical interpreting.  Some recent productions Sheila has interpreted: Good Friday (Oracle Theater),  Wonderful Town and Magic, The Play (The Goodman Theater), Hand to God (Victory Gardens Theater), The Little Mermaid (The Paramount Theater), and The Kid Who Ran for President (Merle Reskin Theater). Sheila would like to thank Interrobang for this wonderful opportunity, and her wonderful husband Bill for all his love and support.

MARGARET KNAPP, Dramaturg
Margaret is new to the Interrobang Theatre Project family and is happy to be working both as the dramaturg for Falling and as the Literary Manager for the company. A proud member of Actors’ Equity since 1992, Margaret has acted at various theaters in the Midwest such as the Apollo here in Chicago, Drury Lane-Oakbrook, The Unicorn Theater in Kansas City, MO, and The Human Race Theater in Dayton, OH. Her directing credits include: Uncle Vanya, Honey Brown Eyes, The Intelligent Design of Jenny ChowRhinocerosMuseum by Tina Howe, and 12th Night. Margaret also teaches Speech, Acting and Comparative Literature at various colleges in Illinois. 

CHRISTOPHER AARON KNARR, House Manager & Social Media Guru
Originally from South Bend, Indiana, and relocated to beautiful Chicago, Christopher graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Theatre & Drama, and studied abroad with The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Recent credits include Interrobang Theatre Project's Season Seven productions Still and The Amish Project, and all Season Six productions as House Manager, Marketing, and Social Media. He was House Manager for the fifth season's Owners and Really Really and contributed to past productions of Orange Flower Water as Production Assistant, and Terminus, The Pitchfork Disney, and Ibsen is Dead as Assistant Stage Manager. 

MORGAN LAKE, Sound Design
Morgan Lake is a Chicago-based sound designer. She is very excited to be working with Interrobang Theatre Project for the first time. Recent projects include designing The Terrible (The New Colony) and engineering It's a Wonderful Life (American Blues Theater). Upcoming work includes engineering The Life of Galileo (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company) and Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater) this spring.

PAULINE OLEKSY, Props
Pauline is a scenic and properties designer from Illinois. She has recently earned her Masters of Fine Arts in stage design from Northern Illinois University and works designing and detailing exhibits and trades shows. Pauline currently resides in Chicago where she is pursuing opportunities in scenic design for theater and corporate stages, properties design, and scenic painting.

GREG PINSONEAULT, Set Design
Greg Pinsoneault is a Chicago based designer who recently received a BFA in Scenic Design from The Theatre School at DePaul University.  Chicago credits include works with Griffin Theatre, Profiles Theatre, Interrobang Theatre Project, Rasaka Theatre Company, The Agency Theatre Collective, Cock and Bull, and Underscore Theatre Company.  He has also assisted on productions at The Cort Theatre (NYC), The Broadhurst Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Paramount Theatre, and Drury Lane Oakbrook.  Greg was the recipient of The 2014 Theatre School Michael Merritt Award and the 2015 USITT W Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award.  Examples of his work can be found at GPScenic.com.

AL RACI (CI/CT), ASL Interpreter
Al is thrilled to be interpreting Falling for Interrobang Theatre Project. Past credits include Goodman Theater shows The Magic Play, The World of Extreme Happiness, Animal Crackers, The Trinity River Plays, Chinglish, Red, Race, Stage Kiss, Camino Real, The Iceman Cometh, and Crowns. Al has also interpreted for many productions at Steppenwolf, The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier, Chicago Children's Theater, Victory Gardens, the Lyric Opera, the Oil Lamp Theatre, and the Paramount Theater. He works full-time as a freelance interpreter in the Chicago area and brings a rich background of experience to the production of Falling. Al would like to thank Interrobang for making accessibility possible here. 

DAVID ROSENBERG, Press Relations

ROB STEPEK, Lighting Design
Born and raised in Chicago, Rob is more than excited to be back in the city and working with Interrobang Theatre Project for the first time. He holds a 2015 MFA in lighting design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a 2012 BS in theatrical design and production from Illinois State University. Both locations allowed Rob to experiment and find his design aesthetic and he is more than happy to be able to continue with his professional career with a great team on The North Pool.

STEPH TAYLOR, Costume Design
Steph makes her Interrobang debut. Recent design credits include: Dead Man Walking (Piven Theatre), The Wiz, Arabian Nights, and To Kill a Mockingbird (ETHS Theatre). Associate designs include: Robin Hood, Pinocchio, and Fog Island (Filament Theatre), Support Group for Men, Blue Skies Process (Goodman Theatre) and Stupid F***ing Bird (Side Show Theatre Company). After graduation from Illinois State University, Steph ran wigs and wardrobe for two years at Drury Lane Theatre. She would like to thank her family, friends and supporters of live theatre.

ZOE VERDIN, Website & Creative Design
Zoë provides creative direction for all ITP print and digital marketing, while working as a freelance graphic designer and practitioner of Thai bodywork and trigger point therapy. Zoë has also worked as scenic designer/carpenter, costume designer and muralist on all main stage productions at Polaris Charter Academy since 2011. Her most recent designs include costumes and backdrop for the Academy’s Wiley and the Hairy Man and publicity for Interrobang’s Season Six: Unnatural Disasters. Zoë has a BA in Studio Art from Carleton College, with concentrations in ceramics and photography. Zoë is delighted to be collaborating with Social Media Marketing Guru, Christopher Knarr on publicity for Season Seven’s Flesh & Blood series, and with Ed Anderson on ITP's website.

ALAN WEUSTHOFF, Technical Director
This is Alan’s first show with Interrobang Theatre Project. As a freelance Technical Director, Alan has most recently built the sets for The Wiz with Kokandy Productions, Venus in Fur with Circle Theatre and In The Heights with Porchlight Theatre. Other Chicago credits include: Winterset (Griffin Theatre), How We Got On (Haven Theatre), Sister Cities (Chimera Theatre), Caught (Sideshow Theatre), and Once In A Lifetime (Strawdog Theatre). Alan is a graduate of the theater program at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO.

JOSEPH WIENS, Assistant Director
Joseph has been a Shattered Globe Theatre company member since 2011. He has been seen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus Descending, Her Naked Skin, Other People's Money, The Grown Up, The Whaleship Essex,  Animals Out of Paper, In the Heat of the Night and True West with SGT. Other credits around Chicago include Breaks and Bikes with Pavement Group,  A Touch of the Poet and Beaten with The Artistic Home, The Tennessee Willams Project with The Hypocrites and Orange Flower Water (Brad) for Interrobang Theatre (nominated for a Jeff Award for Supporting Actor in a Play) and Look Back in Anger at Redtwist Theatre (nominated for a Jeff  Award for Best Actor). TV credits include Chicago PD. He was most recently seen in The Tall Girls at Shattered Globe Theatre. Joseph spent 4 years working in an Autism program for Envision Unlimited. He currently teaches a theater group for Thresholds focusing on mental health and the arts. He is very excited to work on Falling with James and Interrobang.

CLAIR YEARMAN, Fight Choreographer
Claire is a certified teacher with The Society of American Fight Directors, an actor, fight choreographer, and adjunct professor of theatre. She received a Jeff nomination for her fight choreography for Red Tape Theatre’s production of The Love of the Nightingale. Claire has an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University and is a company member with Interrobang Theatre Project.