OUT OF LOVE

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By Elinor Cook
Directed by Artistic Director Georgette Verdin

August 16 – September 14 (U.S. Premiere) – at Rivendell Theatre

Press opening: Monday, August 19 (8 pm)
Subscriber/Board opening: Thursday, August 22 (8 pm)

Trust. Betrayal. Loyalty. Humiliation. That’s what friends are for. Grace and Lorna have been inseparable since childhood, and vow one day to get out of their small English town and make something of themselves. But the world has different plans. An honest and brutal depiction of companionship, rivalry and the fiery bond that exists between women, Out of Love bravely examines one life-long friendship in all its beautiful, gory complexity.

Elinor Cook was the winner of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award 2018. She is currently writing an episode of Killing Eve Season 3.


 
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PRESS

. . . a wise, small and moving three-actor play . . .
The growing Interrobang Theatre, now in residence at Rivendell’s intimate studio on Chicago’s Far North Side, has the United States premiere under the direction of the rising and very capable Georgette Verdin.
The piece also explores, with considerable courage, one of the most overlooked aspects of privilege these days — physical beauty and its ability to propel one lucky enough to be born attractive to increased opportunity . . . very worthy ideas to spend 80 minutes pondering.
. . . there is an earthy, poetic quality to Cook’s writing, an unusually intense corporal feel to her prose.
In its best moments, and there are many of those, Verdin’s production . . . has the guts to go with the complexity of the ideas and feelings here — it’s not easy, since sexual exploration and exploitation are key elements of the story of Lorna and Grace.
. . . both Gise and Taylor offer vulnerable but assertive performances and you’ll find yourself immersed in the trajectories of their likable characters . . . an experience likely to linger.
— Chris Jones (Chicago Tribune, August 23)
It’s the push and pull between the two—clever, brash Grace and careful, self-conscious Lorna—as they navigate tragedies, opportunities, and especially sexuality that the play renders most sharply.
Cook’s smash-cut scene shifts ask a lot of the actors . . . and Gise and Taylor come through.
Gertas impresses . . . differentiating at least nine different characters with an array of regional dialects and minor adjustments to his costume.
— Kris Vire (Storefront Rebellion, August 20)
Verdin’s able touch well-known to Interrobang fans is present throughout . . . superb acting.
. . . [the set’s] simple geometric confection eased us into imagining the shared moments of these characters’ lives . . . the narrowed frame freezes time in picture postcards mailed from the stage.
A script as rich as life itself, and performed with consummate skill—this is a top pick for any lover of theater . . .
— Amy Munice (Picture This Post, August 20)
Elinor Cook’s impressive, poignant ‘Out of Love’ belongs to an unfortunately rare genre: plays that, without pulling punches, highlight and explore the complexity of women’s relationships. Cook’s bittersweet drama doesn’t try to hide the blemishes of this relationship: anger and pain and even occasional nastiness share the spotlight with tenderness because the playwright’s goal here is to illustrate honestly the highs and lows that must be dealt with in order to maintain this kind of long term friendship . . .
Under the wise and thoughtful direction of Georgette Verdin, Gise and Taylor are both outstanding . . . The set design serves to allow the audience to see the fractured interdependence of these women . . .
Michelle E. Benda’s lighting and Erik Siegling’s sound design brilliantly integrate with each complicated moment Verdin and Cook create.
’Out of Love’ unabashedly presents us with life in all of its glory and ugliness . . . the best examination of the intricate entanglements of female friendship that I have ever seen.
It’s difficult to imagine any woman who will not be moved by it.
— Karen Topham (Chicago On Stage, August 20)
Gise and Taylor . . . embody the heat and rage that forge female friendships, relatable and occasionally hideous impulses I’ve certainly held on to since girlhood.”
— KT Hawbaker (Chicago Reader, August 21)
[P]oignant and powerful, two things that are rarely true for portrayals of female friendship. . . . the combination of benign and malignant. The ugly and the beautiful . . . It’s real.
Set upon Sotirios Livaditis’ dreamy, lopsided set, Cook’s nonlinear telling is always off-kilter. Inclines give characters vertical power over one another and provide the nearly bare stage with depth. Michelle E. Benda’s lighting design allows the action to go from hazy to sharp in an instant. The design gives ‘Out of Love’ a playfulness that it needs, particularly in its heated moments.
— Amanda Finn (Newcity, August 21)
Verdin aptly presents an evolving relationship on stage, and not a static one. With a lesser skilled director and with more shallow actors, all of these roles could have turned into archetypes . . . 75 minutes flew by like a twenty minute television show.
Anyone who has ever known another human being should see this show, for to know someone is to be horribly tangled in each other’s flaws and contradictions.
— Sophie Vitello (Chicago Theatre Review, August 22)
Cook’s writing is lyrical and understated but also captures the rhythms of how women talk to each other. Taylor, in particular, has incisive comedic timing and adds ironic levity to the friends’ conversations . . . at a lean 80 minutes, the production propels forward without a wasted breath.
Under Georgette Verdin’s direction, Taylor and Gise both deliver strong, fluid, vulnerable performances, bringing character and empathy to their roles . . .
Another strong production from Interrobang Theatre Project, ‘Out of Love’ reminds theatergoers why the company won the 2019 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theatre Award and continues to raise the bar in their tenth-anniversary season.
— Beth Dugan (The Broadway Blog)
. . . It’s harsh, straightforward, confident, mesmerizing, and staggeringly beautiful.
— Aaron Lockman (Rescripted, September 3)
. . . Stellar acting paired with refreshingly nuanced and emotional themes make this Interrobang Theatre production well worth the price of admission.
— Ryan Moore (The Hawk Chicago, September 4)

The Artists

CAST

Peter Gertas (Actor 3)
Sarah Gise* (Lorna)
Laura Berner Taylor* (Grace)
Ashley Greenwood (Grace U/S)
Nancy Payne* (Lorna U/S)
Frank Montero (Actor 3 U/S)

PRODUCTION TEAM

Elinor Cook, playwright
Artistic Director Georgette Verdin*, director

Michelle Benda, lighting design
Blake Cordell, master electrician
Elana Elyce*, artistic producer
Elise Kauzlaric, dialect coach
Jamie Kreppein, assistant director
Sotirios Livaditis, scenic design
Erik Siegling, sound design/original composition
Evan Sposato, technical director
Steph Taylor
, costume design
Albert "Beep" Trefts, stage manager
Richie Vavrina, production manager
Claire Yearman*, violence/intimacy design

Sarah Gise*
, casting coordinator
Christopher Aaron Knarr*, production artist
Matthew Nerber*, marketing associate
Nancy Payne*, marketing director
David Rosenberg, press relations
Jon-Paul Schaut*, social media director
Zoë Verdin*, creative director

Emily Schwartz, Photographer

*Denotes Interrobang Theatre Project Ensemble Member, Staff or Artistic Associate

CAST BIOS

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PETER GERTAS, Actor 3 (George, Charlie, Leonard, et al)

Peter was most recently in Lifeline theatre’s production of Emma as Mr.Elton/Frank Chruchill, as well as Griffin Theatre’s production of In To America. He is a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and is so excited to be a part of this fantastic cast and crew. Enjoy the show!

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SARAH GISE, Lorna

Sarah has been a proud Interrobang Theatre Project ensemble member since February 2015. She holds a BFA in acting from the University of Southern California (USC) and in 2013 received the LA Weekly Best Actress Award for her performance in The Belle of Belfast. She is also a company member with New American Folk Theatre in Chicago, where she will make her directorial debut in November 2019. In addition to theatre, she has appeared in several web series, films, and commercials, and is a voiceover artist having narrated over two dozen audiobooks. She is happily represented by DDO Chicago. With ITP, she has appeared in Really Really, Owners, Still, The Amish Project (Nominated for a 2017 Joseph Jefferson Award), and For The Loyal. Sarah is beyond grateful to her Interrobang family, and is thrilled to have found such a wonderful artistic home.

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LAURA BERNER TAYLOR, Grace

Laura has been a proud ensemble member of ITP since 2016, appearing in GRACE, STILL, and RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS. Recent credits include BOY (u/s TimeLine), DETROIT (TheatreSquared – Fayetteville, AR), THIS (u/s Windy City Playhouse), URBAN LOVE STORY (Black Ensemble Theatre), and A LIFE OF GALILEO (ETOPiA at Northwestern). She’s also performed with Backroom Shakespeare Project in KING LEAR and LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST. Television credits include THE CHI (Showtime) CHICAGO MED (2 episodes) and CHICAGO JUSTICE (NBC). She has a BFA in Acting from Santa Fe University of Art and Design and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. www.laurabernertaylor.com

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ASHLEY GREENWOOD, Understudy (Grace)

Ashley is thrilled to be working with Interrobang for the first time! Her favorite theatre credits include 1 2 3 (One) at Wayward Sisters Theatre Ensemble and Barbecue Apocalypse (Glory) at The Cuckoo’s Theatre Project. Other credits include, Alias Grace (Mary Whitney U/S) at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, The Audit (Auditor) at The Barrens Theatre Company, and I Don’t Care: An Homage to Judy Garland, which she self-produced at Davenport’s Piano Bar Cabaret. Ashley is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

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FRANK MONTERO, Understudy (Actor 3)

This is Frank’s second production in Chicago, first with Interrobang Theatre Project. He hopes it won’t be the last.

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NANCY PAYNE, Understudy (Lorna)

Nancy is so excited to be part of Out of Love. She performs with her local sketch/improv comedy group The Supreme Court at theatres around the city, such as The Second City and iO, and is looking forward to expanding her performing skills with ITP. She has been part of the Interrobang team since 2017 acting as the marketing director, and has loved being part of such an inclusive and supportive group of people.

PRODUCTION TEAM

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GEORGETTE VERDIN, Director (Artistic Director)

Georgette has been working with ITP since 2014. She is also a freelance director, theater and speech educator and arts integration specialist. She was the founding theater teacher at Polaris Charter Academy, an Expeditionary Learning School in West Humboldt Park, where she taught full-time for eight years. For Interrobang, Georgette directed last season’s Jeff recommended production of GRACE by Craig Wright, season seven’s production of the 2013 Yale Drama Series winner, STILL by Jen Silverman, as well as season six’s KATRINA: MOTHER-IN-LAW OF ‘EM ALL by Rob Florence and the Jeff recommended RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS, also by Craig Wright. Other recent directing credits include Jeff Recommended 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS (Assistant Director, Lookingglass Theatre Company), Jeff Recommended TIME STANDS STILL (AstonRep), PHOEBE IN WINTER (Assistant Director, Facility Theatre) and Goodman’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Assistant Director). Georgette holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA and a Master in Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

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ELINOR COOK, Playwright

Elinor Cook's work includes: a version of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea (Donmar Warehouse, 2017); Out of Love (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd/Orange Tree tour, 2017); Pilgrims(HighTide/Theatr Clwyd/The Yard, 2016); Image of an Unknown Young Woman (Gate Theatre, London, 2015); and The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World (HighTide, 2014).

She was the winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2013 and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award 2018. She is currently writing an episode of Killing Eve series 3.


MICHELLE BENDA, Lighting Design
Michelle is thrilled to be designing her second show with Interrobang Theatre Project! She previously designed I Call My Brothers earlier this year. Lighting design credits include Everybody (Brown Paper Box Co.), Hamlet (The Gift Theatre), The Gentleman Caller (Raven Theatre), Collage of a Dystopian Midwest, Frankenstein (Bower Theatre Ensemble), Failure: A Love Story (Illinois Theatre), and Cabaret (No Stakes Theater Project). She has assisted lighting designers at Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and TimeLine Theatre Company. Michelle holds an MFA in Lighting Design and Technology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

BLAKE CORDELL, Master Electrician
This is Blake’s second time working with Interrobang Theatre Project as Master Electrician. He has also worked as Master Electrician at theaters such as Adventure Stage Chicago, Pride, and Haven, and has been an electrician with numerous others. He graduated from Kansas State University with a B.A. in theatre and a B.A. in music back in 2017, and has since been working freelance in Chicago. To find out more about Blake’s electrical and audio work, visit blakecordell.com.

ELANA ELYCE, Artistic Producer
Elana acts, directs, writes, coaches and produces. She first met Interrobang as a cast member of The Argument in 2012 and subsequently produced Here Lies Henry (2012), Hot N’ Throbbing (2012) and Speaking in Tongues (2013). After a hiatus, she returned to perform with fellow ensemble members in Still (2016) and resumed producer responsibilities for all productions that followed.  Over the last few years, Elana has been seen with The House Theatre of Chicago, first appearing in the acclaimed United Flight 232, which won a Jeff award for best ensemble.  She is now a company member with The House.  Other theaters that have welcomed her in recent years include Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Eclipse, Remy Bummpo, Stage Left & Theatre Seven, and The Yard/Raven Theatre. She is also the Business Manager of The Chicago Inclusion Projectwww.elanaelyce.net

SARAH GISE, Casting Coordinator
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 LA Weekly 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 performed in the Midwest premiere of Still by Jen Silverman with Interrobang at the Athenaeum, followed by the remount of AtticRep's The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey with Interrobang last year.

ELISE KAUZLARIC, Dialect Coach
Elise Kauzlaric is happy to be working with Interrobang for the first time. She is a member of the artistic ensemble of Lifeline Theatre where she has coached numerous productions. Around town and regionally she has coached for Steppenwolf, Marriott, Timeline, Irish Theatre of Chicago, the hypocrites, Griffin Theatre and The Michigan Shakespeare Festival among others. She has been twice nominated by the Jeff Committee for her dialect work on Busman’s Honeymoon (Lifeline) and Punk Rock (Griffin). Elise is also a director and actor and spends her days teaching at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and The Theatre School at DePaul University.

CHRISTOPHER AARON KNARR, Design Associate

Christopher Knarr is a South Bend, Indiana native, Chicago transplant, and is currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Theatre & Drama and a Music minor, and studied abroad with The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Recent credits include Interrobang Theatre Project's season eight production of For the Loyal, for which he created original music. For season seven's StillThe Amish Project, and Falling, he was House Manager, Marketing, and Social Media. He was also House Manager/Social Media for the fifth and sixth season, including Really ReallyRecent Tragic Events, and The North Pool, and also was a part of past season productions of Orange Flower Water as a Production Assistant, and TerminusThe Pitchfork Disney, and Ibsen is Dead as Assistant Stage Manager. christopheraaronknarr.com

JAMIE KREPPEIN, Assistant Director
Jamie is a multi-faceted theatre artist originally from Gurnee, Illinois. A recent graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University in Theatre Arts and English-Writing, Jamie is a director, stage manager, educator, and scenic artist. She is thrilled to be working on her first show with Interrobang Theatre Project. She recently served as the Props Designer for The Ruse of Medusa at Facility Theatre, where she also started her Chicago theatre career as the ASM for Phoebe in Winter. Jamie recently completed the Artistic/Education internship at Writers Theatre while being the Youth Performer Coordinator on the Polar Express Train Ride. Currently, you can find her doing props and scenic work at Chicago Children's Theatre, Steep Theatre Co., Warren Theatre, and more. Mostly, she's just trying to be 23 and a functional human being, so let her know if you have any tips.

SOTIRIOS LIVADITIS, Scenic Design
Sotirios Livaditis is excited to be working with Interrobang Theatre Project. Recent projects include Hans Christian Andersen (Northwestern University), For Services Rendered, The Harvest (Griffin Theatre), Small World, Fun Harmless War Machine (The New Colony), Language Rooms (Broken Nose Theatre) Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies (First Floor Theatre), The Light Fantastic, 1980 or Why I’m Voting for John Anderson (Jackalope Theatre). He was the associate scenic designer on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Djembe! (Apollo Theatre) and Madama Butterfly (Irish National Opera) with Todd Rosenthal. MFA - Northwestern University. Please experience more of his work at www.sotiriosdesigns.com

MATTHEW NERBER, Marketing Associate

Matthew comes to Chicago from Buffalo, New York, where he earned his BFA in theatre performance from SUNY Buffalo. He has been with ITP since 2014's Owners, which he understudied. He also assistant directed the company's production of Katrina: Mother-in-Law of 'Em All and played Andrew in 2016's Recent Tragic Events. Other Chicago credits include Her Naked Skin(Shattered Globe Theatre), Once in a Lifetime (Strawdog Theatre Company), and Assistance (LiveWire Theatre Chicago). Matthew has also assistant directed shows at Collaboraction and Redtwist.

NANCY PAYNE, Marketing Manager
Nancy comes to ITP to provide marketing support and direction as Marketing Manager. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in strategic communication and business, she has been working in marketing and advertising full-time. As a lifelong theater advocate, she is excited to help promote ITP's mission and upcoming seasons.  

DAVID ROSENBERG, Press Relations

JON-PAUL SCHAUT, Social Media Director
Originally from Tampa, FL, Jon-Paul is an arts marketer, actor, director, producer and artistic director. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with dual B.A. degrees in Theatre Studies and Advertising/Public Relations. He is a former Student Leadership Liaison with the Florida State Thespian Festival, former Artistic Director of Project Spotlight and a former box office and marketing assistant for the UCF School of Performing Arts. Currently Jon-Paul works at Carol Fox and Associates as a group sales representative and events assistant along with his responsibilities with Interrobang Theatre Project. 

ERIK SIEGLING, Sound Designer/Original Composition
Erik is pleased to be sound designing his fourth show with Interrobang. He recently designed for ITP’s production of Utility this past spring. Last fall, Erik designed for The Comrads’ production of Warrior Class, as well as several shows at Oakton Community College. He has also designed for Seattle Shakespeare Company in Seattle. An accomplished actor as well, Erik has guest starred on the TV show Z Nation, performed in theatres across the country, and has a B.A. degree in Theatre from Principia College.

EVAN SPOSATO, Technical Director
Evan has spent the last two decades in and around the theatre as an actor, director, stage manager, technical director, and production manager. He spent eight years at the Waterville Opera House in Waterville, Maine, working both onstage and behind the scenes. During the Opera House's centennial renovation, he was the technical advisor to the building team and wrote grants totaling more than $2 million. While in Maine, Evan also served as the longtime president of the board of directors of Aqua City Actor's Theatre and worked with Bossov Ballet Theatre and Everyman Repertory Theatre. Since moving to the Chicago area, Evan has built shows for Jackalope, Cloudgate, Steep, City Lit, New Colony, and others. This is Evan's first show with ITP. When Evan isn't in a theater, he works with political campaigns on voter contact and digital outreach.

STEPH TAYLOR, Costume Design
Steph is thrilled to be back working with Interrobang where she previously designed Falling. She is a Chicago based Costume Designer that also loves to dabble in hair and makeup design. Credits include productions with Court Theatre, Filament Theatre, The Marriott Theatre, Northlight Theatre and The Goodman. Steph is currently working with a program called After School Matters, teaching young Chicago actors about theatre and design.

ALBERT “BEEP” TREFTS, Stage Manager
Beep is a Chicago-area stage and production manager. He is thrilled to be back with Interrobang, having previously stage managed The North Pool. His recent projects include The Ruse of Medusa and Phoebe in Winter, both at Facility Theatre. Beep has also worked with Piccolo Theatre, Actors Training Center, Pride Films & Plays, and the URTAs in Chicago. He is a graduate of Hofstra University and member of the Piccolo Theatre ensemble. He is ever thankful to Lee.

RICHIE VAVRINA, Production Manager
Richie is a Production Manager, Scenic, and Lighting Designer. This is his third production with ITP, having worked as a lighting designer on both Grace and The Goat in 2017. His work has been seen in productions by Firebrand Theatre, Elgin Community College, Circle Theatre Company, among countless others. He works as a draftsman and render artist by day.

ZOE VERDIN, 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 the ITP website.

CLAIRE YEARMAN, Violence/Intimacy Design
Claire is an actor, Certified Teacher with The Society of American Fight Directors, intimacy choreographer and educator. She has an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University. She’s worked with ITP, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Williams Street Rep, Red Tape Theatre, Piccolo Theatre, Aston Rep, 20% Theatre, and Metropolis Performing Arts. Her fight choreography received a Jeff nomination for Red Tape Theatre’s The Love of the Nightingale. Claire has choreographed violence for ITP’s Foxfinder, Hot N’ Throbbing, Owners, Really Really, and Falling. safd.org/member profile