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Scientific Method

By Jenny Connell Davis

Directed by Devon de Mayo

A World Premiere
October 25 – December 8, 2019

This production is sponsored in part by Dan Cyganowski in memory of Carol K Cyganowski, scholar and theatre lover.


The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission.



Scientific Method is Jeff Recommended. 

Amy, a hotshot scientist at an elite U.S. cancer research lab, is moments from publishing data that could revolutionize the field. When she’s scooped by a senior scientist from a competing lab, she first questions her own ability to compete in her chosen field. But as new information comes to light, Amy must face the possibility of willful sabotage by a powerful male colleague. Scientific Method is a witty and complex behind-the-scenes look at women in the sciences—and the struggle many women have to keep moving forward on the rocky terrain of an uneven playing field.



Be patient and Scientific Method will yield results

“…Amy discovers a possible betrayal by a fellow researcher, and suddenly her doomed efforts to get her due in a system rigged to favor the world’s Julians becomes a thrilling, harrowing ride. Director Devon de Mayo’s ideal cast makes the finale of this Rivendell world premiere worth waiting for.”

Read more here


In Scientific Method, Politics in the Lab Are as Rigorous as the Research

“Along with all the endless higher education, intellectual rigor, peer review, pressure to publish, sheer tenaciousness and deeply original thinking so essential to the work done at the labs and universities where science is of the essence, there also is a whole lot of unsavory politics. And in her play, Scientific Method, now receiving a crackling world premiere at Rivendell Theatre, Jenny Connell Davis puts it all under a powerful magnifying microscope.”

Read more here


Review |Scientific Method at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

“In Jenny Connell Davis’ thoughtful and provocative new drama Scientific Method, with superb direction from Devon de Mayo, Davis shows how easily, how often, and casually this kind of derailing occurs, how devastating its consequences can be, and just how incognizant men are to its presence and its effects.”

Read more here


Gaslighting Smart Girls and Sexism in Science: Highly Recommended 

“Rivendell’s Scientific Method is beautiful, infuriating, smart theatre whose time has come. ..ingrained bias thrives in darkness, so creating works of theatre, where our societal failings can be examined under the illumination of stage lights, is a boon to smart women everywhere.”

Read more here

Related stories to SCIENTIFIC METHOD:


How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says

“…the costs for women — and for the ability of scientific fields to retain the full range of talented people — can be great, even if the consequences can seem subtle at first…”


Girls’ STEM programs alone can’t combat #MeToo in science fields

“There are generations of women that we have lost to science because we pushed them out. They did come, they got their degrees, they tried to join a lab or start a tenure-track job, but then they left…”

Community EVENTS

Rivendell provides several opportunities throughout our runs to see the performance and also take part in additional access, entertainment, or insight. For SCIENTIFIC METHOD these include:


Sunday, October 21st at 3:00 pm – Additional Sunday 3 pm matinee 

Audiences have been asking for Sunday matinees – get your tickets while you can!



Friday, November 2 at 8:00 pm – Planned Parenthood benefit night

See a show and support Planned Parenthood at the same time! $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

Friday, November 9 at 8:00 pm – Mama’s Night / Ladies Night

Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese, and some great conversation!


Saturday, November 17, 2018, following 4:00 pm matinee – Town Hall Discussion: “Inequalities in STEM: A Discussion of Gender Disparities and Sexual Harassment in STEM Fields”

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.


Panelists on November 17th include:


Kori Milroy – Educator Fellow for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology


Kori Milroy is the Educator Fellow for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. She teaches science at Skinner West Classical School, a Chicago Public School on the city’s Near West Side. She is a passionate advocate for science education, believing that scientific thinking leads to human empowerment. Kori studied education at Loyola University Chicago, where she developed an interest in life science, particularly human evolution. She later attended graduate school at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where her studies focused on teaching physics. Her studies at Illinois Tech inspired a love of space science that continues to inform her teaching. She has twice participated in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, sending student microgravity experiments to the International Space Station.


Patti Friend – Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago


Dr. Friend is an Associate Professor and the program director of the graduate oncology specialty tracts at Loyola University Chicago, which prepares graduate nurses with advanced oncology expertise. She has advanced certification in oncology nursing and genetics and is licensed as an advanced practice nurse. She completed her Ph.D. in nursing at Loyola University Chicago in 1999, during which she was awarded an American Cancer Society scholarship and a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. Her research, examining the interactions between stress and immune responses in women undergoing a diagnostic breast biopsy, was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Oncology Nursing Foundation, and the Chicago Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. She is currently leading a team of physician and social work faculty colleagues in an NCI-sponsored Interprofessional Education Exchange Project to develop implement and evaluate interprofessional education in palliative care at Loyola University Chicago.


Anne Y. Lee – Bell Labs Fellow, Nokia Technology Vision


Anne is a Bell Labs Fellow currently working on the Bell Labs CTO Technology Vision supporting the CTO and CEO by analyzing the evolution of key technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, blockchain) and the overall network architecture to identify new directions for the industry and the impact and requirements on the company’s portfolio. Anne has over 30 years of experience at Nokia (AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.  Anne has multiple patents awarded and papers published.


Michele McDonough – Assistant Chair, Northwestern Department of Molecular Biosciences


Dr. McDonough is a member of the Molecular Biosciences Department in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining Molecular Biosciences in 2008, Michele spent four years as an Assistant Editor for a scientific journal. Professor McDonough holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry doing research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

Sunday, November 18, 2018 12;00-2:00pm and 3:00pm matinee – Brunch for Science: SOLD OUT

Join Rivendell artists and local scientists for brunch and conversation in advance of a performance. This event will be hosted in a beautifully historic Andersonville home.


The conversation will feature the following women in STEM: Nina Rouhanizadeh, Hyunjin Kim, and Krisztina Eleki, in conversation with Rivendell’s Artistic Director, Tara Mallen, and Scientific Method director Devon de Mayo.


Amazing Edibles catered brunch will include: vegetable quiche, Applewood bacon, pastries, yogurt parfaits, fruit salad, orange juice, and mimosas.


Brunch is scheduled from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, followed by the 3:00 pm matinee at Rivendell Theatre.

Friday, November 23, 2018, at 8:00 pm – Open Captioned Performance

Join Rivendell for an 8:00pm performance with open captioning. $15 Tickets are available with the code “ACCESS”.



Saturday, December 1, 2018, following 4:00 pm matinee – Town Hall Discussion: “Inequalities in STEM: A Discussion of Gender Disparities and Sexual Harassment in STEM Fields”

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.


Panelists on December 1st include:


Lauren Segal – Associate Technology Manager, University of Illinois-Chicago


Lauren received her Ph.D. in fungal genetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May of 2018. She currently works as an Associate Technology Manager at the University of Illinois-Chicago. In her current role, she works to transfer research from the university to industrial partners, bringing academic research to the public sphere. In addition to her work, she is passionate about science communication and diversity in STEM and continues to speak about these subjects on panels and in scientific publications.


Marina Damiano, Ph.D. – President, Association for Women In Science (AWIS-Chicago)


Marina Damiano, Ph.D., is the owner of Damiano Group, scientific communication consulting practice serving academia, industry, and non-profits. Her work and philosophy are influenced by her diverse experiences as a scientist developing nanoparticles to treat cancer, a scientific communications specialist spreading the word about science, medical technology, and healthcare companies, and now as an entrepreneur building and sustaining her own business. She’s also president of the Chicago chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Marina’s educational background includes B.S. and B.A. degrees in Chemistry and German from DePaul University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University.


Krisztina Eleki – Executive Director, Chicago Council on Science and Technology


Krisztina Eleki is currently the Executive Director for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness about the importance of science and technology to society. Before moving to the executive role, Dr. Eleki was the Programming Director for the organization developing public outreach programs from 2011 to 2014. Prior to working for C2ST, she was the Life Science Curator/Life Science Program Director for the California Science Center in Los Angeles where she designed and oversaw the implementation of life science exhibits and public programs aligned with the mission of the Center. After earning her Ph.D. in environmental science, Dr. Eleki worked as a Research Associate at Iowa State University. During this time she obtained a Master of Public Administration degree reflective of her interest in science in society.


Alexandra “Sasha” Prokuda, Ph.D. – Director of Programs and Engagement, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST)


Alexandra “Sasha” Prokuda, Ph.D., is the Director of Programs and Engagement at the Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST). Before working at C2ST, she was a research and teaching assistant and contributing consultant for the UC Riverside Institute for Development of Education Applications (IDEA Lab). While working on her graduate degree, she was a volunteer at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, a teacher of an after-school class at a local elementary school, and the founder of a scientific meet-up group. Before graduate school, Sasha interpreted science for the public all over the US while working with birds, weasels, deer, bears, and Giant Redwoods. Sasha holds a Ph.D. in Evolutionary and Behavioral Biology from the University of California, Riverside, and a B.S. in Biology from Penn State.


Sunday, December 2nd at 3:00 pm – Additional Sunday 3 pm matinee 

Audiences have been asking for Sunday matinees – get your tickets while you can!



Ashley Neal (Amy) is back at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where she is a longtime member and most recently appeared in Cal in Camo. She has appeared in many Rivendell productions including Alias Grace, Wrens, 26 Miles, The Walls, Be Aggressive, and others. Ashley most recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre’s The Nether where she also appeared in A Red Handed Otter. Other shows include London Wall, Men Should Weep and Stage Door with Griffin Theatre, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle with Steep Theatre, as well as work with Chicago Dramatists, Pine Box, Irish Theatre Company, Step Up, Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, Strawdog, The Greenhouse Theatre, and others. Ashley is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and The School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Big Mouth Talent.





Glenn Obrero (Danny) is making his Rivendell debut. Other Chicago credits include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Lookingglass Theatre); A Beauty Queen of Leenane (Northlight Theatre, u/s); A Wrinkle in Time (Lifeline Theatre); Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago); How We Got On (Haven Theatre, u/s). TV credits include Chicago Fire (NBC). He received his BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and trained on-camera at Vagabond School of the Arts. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.










Josh Odor (Julian) is back at Rivendell where he was last seen in The Firebirds Take the Field. Most recently Josh performed in TimeLine’s To Catch a Fish, ATC’s Welcome to Jesus, and The Hypocrites’ You On the Moors Now – also directed by Devon de Mayo. Josh has also worked at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Steep, Teatro Vista, The Artistic Home, The Inconvenience, Griffin, The House, Haven, Erasing the Distance, The New Colony, Collaboraction, Side Project, LiveWire, Buffalo Ensemble, at The Long Wharf in New Haven, CT. Josh’s television work includes The Chi, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Betrayal and Boss.




Carmen Roman (Marie) most recently performed in Angels in America at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Last fall she played Margaret Thatcher in The Audience at Timeline Theatre and in Native Son, at Yale Rep., She also played in the world premiere production of Native Son—a co-production of American Blues Theater and The Court Theatre. She played Mrs. Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady at The Lyric Opera last season. Other recent productions include Sotto Vocce by Nilo Cruz at Portland Stage (Maine), Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones at Peninsula Players (Wisconsin) and playing opposite Hal Linden in Moon Over Buffalo at The New Theater (Kansas City). Carmen was in the National Tour of Angels in America and appeared Off-Broadway in The Iphigenia Cycle (Theater for a New Audience); The Mysteries (Classic Stage Company); Paradise (Gary Allen productions), and Love, Sex and Death in the Amazon (Paradise Factory Theater). Regional credits include 13 seasons with Peninsula Players; Wit, Black Snow, Brutality of Fact (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) Side Man (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), The Price (Syracuse Stage and Geva), The Importance of Being Earnest (Centerstage Baltimore), Lost in Yonkers (Coconut Grove, Walnut Street Theater) Sonia Flew (The Huntington Theatre), According to Goldman (Philadelphia Theater Company) Electra (Hartford Stage Company), Big Love (The Wilma), Shadowlands (The Alliance Theater). Film/Television credits include Chicago PD; Betrayal; Boss; All My Children; Early Edition; Law and Order; Law and Order SVU; Criminal Intent; Savages, The Falcon (a co-production shot in Soviet Georgia) She is a company member at American Blues Theater and Circling the Drain, New York. Awards and honors include the 2002 Fox Fellow, Sarah Siddons Award, Florence Herscher Award, and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Master Class and Wit.

Courtney Williams (Makayla) is making her Chicago stage debut with Rivendell. Originally a Brooklyn-based performer from Oakland, CA, her work has primarily been in New York’s colorful downtown scene. She’s performed and collaborated with Daniel Alexander Jones, Kaneza Schaal, Mike Iveson, Tea Alagic, Gracie Gardner, and other artists who have enriched her collaborative process.





Jenny Connell Davis’s (Playwright) plays include End of Shift, Goddess of Mercy, The Dragon Play, and Scientific Method. Her work has been produced or developed at Chance Theater, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center, Icicle Creek Theater Festival, ACT Seattle, ATC Chicago, the Araca Group, Asolo Rep, New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, The Gift Theatre, Shrewd Productions, ScriptWorks, NAATCO, and Rivendell. Her first screenplay, Playing House, was a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship; her second, Two Truths and a Lie, was a semi-finalist. Her short with writer/director Soham Mehta, Fatakra, has screened worldwide and been recognized with more than a dozen audience awards and jury prizes. She currently has film and television projects in development with Maven Pictures/Tangerine Entertainment, Fox Animation, Astronauts Wanted/Cinestar Pictures, and Iconoclast/Anonymous Content. Jenny has an MFA from UT Austin, is a former member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, an Affiliated Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, and was the 2014-2015 Hot Seat Resident Playwright at Baltimore’s Center Stage. She is a proud member of Chicago’s Gift Theatre Company, Scriptworks, and the MARTHAs, an Austin-based playwrights’ collective.



Devon de Mayo (Director) is working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theatre Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre), Harvey (Court Theatre), Sycamore (Raven Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre), You Can’t Take it With You, and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre), Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, and Clouds (Dog & Pony). Directing and devising credits: Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back (Pivot Arts); Guerra: A Clown Play (La Piara, Mexico); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali, Indonesia. 

Production Team


Skyler Gray (Dramaturg) is thrilled to return to Rivendell after working on The Cake. Gray is the Director of New Play Development at Victory Gardens Theater. Before joining Victory Gardens, he was the Literary Manager at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX. Gray has developed new work with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory, Alley Theatre, Chance Theater, Rogue Artists Ensemble, UC Irvine, Columbia University, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, WildWind Lab, Echo Theater Company, Artists at Play, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. He has also worked in the literary departments at South Coast Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and William Morris Endeavor in New York City, as well as serving as the Artistic Director of Children’s Musical Theaterworks and The Underground @ CMT in Fresno, CA. Gray holds a BA in Theater from the University of California, Irvine with Honors in Directing and Stage Management.


Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) is excited to return to Rivendell. She previously stage managed The Cake, Cal in Camo, Alias Grace, Grizzly Mama, and Winter. Jenniffer has stage managed for SoloChicago, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Commercial Collective, Noble Fool, Nuns for Fun, Emerald City, and Light Opera Works. Her work as a set designer with her partner Robert Groth has been seen at the Irish Theatre of Chicago, Mary Arrchie, The Royal George, Metropolis Performing Arts, The Broadway Playhouse, The Apollo Theater, and Emerald City’s Little Theater. Jenniffer is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.


Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design) is a freelance designer who also works full-time as a studio assistant building scale models. In the past, she has worked as a projections designer for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and held the position of production manager for Emergent Theatre. Recent design credits include Caroline or Change (Firebrand Theatre), The Pajama Game (Highland Park Players), Surely, Goodness, and Mercy (Redtwist), and also children’s musicals Yo Vikings! and Elephant and Piggie (Northbrook). Upcoming projects include Follies (Harper College), You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (NU), Pinkalicious (Northbrook), and Ghosts (Redtwist). Prior to her graduate studies, she was a scenic artist for 5 years. MFA Northwestern.


Anthony Churchill (Projections Design) collaborates on media for theatre, events, and installations. Recent projections and media with Q Brothers, Marriott Theatre, The Cher Show, Porchlight Music Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Theatre Wit, Stage Left, Museum of Broadcast Communications, Big Noise Theatre, 16th Street Theatre—Berwyn, and BoHo Theatre—which he is a proud company member of. Tony has been nominated for three Jeff Awards for Projections, winning one in 2017 for Body of An American. When not working on plays, he enjoys sculpting tiny astronauts in peril and playing projections with his band, Grape Juice Plus.


Heather Sparling (Lighting Design) is grateful to be working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent design credits include The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience), Empower Youth! (Lyric Unlimited); The Burn (Steppenwolf ); Twelfth Night and The Heart of Robin Hood (Door Shakespeare), Yardbird (Hackney Empire, London), La Havana Madrid (Teatro Vista), Longer! Louder! Wagner! (Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Way She Spoke (Greenhouse Theater). Heather is a proud alum of Boston University. For more information on her work, visit


Shain Longbehn (Original Music and Sound Design) makes his Rivendell debut. He also works around Chicago as a projection designer, audio engineer, and composer. Recent design credits include: In the Canyon, Franklinland (Jackalope), Student Body (Northwestern), Brainstorm, Godspell, Gilgamesh K-12 (Perry Mansfield i/a/w The House), Ofrenda (Albany Park Theater), Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Wit), Red Bowl at the Jeffs (The Sound), and Luz Estrada (Mercy Street). Recent technical credits include Borealis, Hatfield & McCoy, The Nutcracker (The House), Aristophenesathon (Hypocrites), Trevor, Parade (Writers), and Thrones! The Musical Parody (Apollo Theater). He graduated with a BA in Theater from Loyola University Chicago.


Izumi Inaba (Costume Design) is excited to be working with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble for the first time. Recent Chicago credits: Borealis (House), Frankenstein (Lifeline), Koalas (16th Street), Zurich (Steep), Frederick (Chicago Children’s), and Cosmologies (The Gift). Upcoming: Mansfield Park (Northlight), A Doll’s House Part 2 (Steppenwolf ), Twilight Bowl (Goodman). She is a resident artist at Albany Park Theater Project, an ensemble member at Red Tape, and a member of United Scenic Artists USA Local 829.


Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (Properties Design) is a Chicago-based designer and artisan. Jonathan has previously worked with companies such as Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Paramount Theater, Hope Summer Repertory Theater, Underscore Theatre, Something Marvelous, and Mudlark Theatre, Favorite design credits include Haymarket, Johnny 10 Beers’ Daughter, Bomber’s Moon, Curious George: The Golden Meatball, Alice in Wonderland, Ghosts, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Endgame, and Prometheus Bound. He holds a BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Boston University.


Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to return to Rivendell where she previously production managed The Cake and Cal in Camo. Recent production management credits include Significant Other (About Face Theater), Violet and Ragtime (Griffin Theatre), Invisible Hand, Hookman, and Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened… (Route 66 Theatre Company), and many circuses with Actors Gymnasium where she is the staff Production Manager. She has also worked with Congo Square Theatre, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Haven Theatre, Chimera Ensemble, and Step Up Productions where she was an Artistic Associate. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA in Acting.


Robert Groth (Technical Director) is excited to return to Rivendell. He has been a freelance technical director, scenic carpenter and designer for over 15 years. Robert has also worked as a scenic designer for several theater companies with his partner Jenniffer Thusing including Mary Arrchie, Pinebox, Emerald City, and most recently Chicago Theatre Workshop’s production of Little Miss Sunshine. Their design work was recognized in 2011 with a nomination for an Equity Wing Jeff for Best Scenic Design—Midsized Theater.


Izzy French (Assistant Stage Manager) is ecstatic to be working with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble for the first time. Her previous stage management credits include Weathervane Theatre Season 53, Conference of the Birds (Columbia College), Fear & Misery in the Third Riech (Haven Theatre), Servant of Two Masters (Columbia College), King Liz (Windy City Playhouse), and Dying For It (Columbia College). She is a senior pursuing a BFA in Theatre Technology at Columbia College Chicago, although Izzy is originally from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. In addition to stage management, She also works in scenic painting, props, and Illustration.


Brent Ervin-Eickhoff (Assistant Projections Designer) is a director, writer, and educator based in Chicago, IL. He has worked with A Red Orchid Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Facility Theatre, Mary-Archie Theatre Co., Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago›s Night Out in the Parks, The Barrens Theatre, and The Rockwell Theatre Bandits, and other storefronts around Chicago. Brent served as Co-Artistic Director and later as Managing Director of Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble, of which he was a founding member. An award-winning filmmaker, Brent’s films have screened as part of the Frog Baby Film Festival and Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project. He graduated from Ball State University with degrees in Directing and Theatre Education, and currently serves on the board of The Passage Theatre.


Arianna Soloway (Assistant Director) is thrilled to be working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include Guardians (Mary Archie Theatre), Carrie & Francine (Haven Theatre), and Pine in a site-specific production. Recent assistant directing credits include Linda (Steep Theatre) How to Use a Knife (Shattered Globe), Pillars of the Community (Strawdog Theatre), Roz and Ray (Victory Gardens), Red Handed Otter (A Red Orchid Theatre), Seminar (Haven Theatre Company), and Intelligence (Arena Stage). Arianna has a BFA in directing from Columbia College and is an associate member of the SDC.


Tara Mallen (Rivendell Artistic Director/ Producer/Marie Understudy) is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She is the 2017 3Arts William Franklin Grisham Awardee and the 2014 Volunteers of America Silver Star Awardee. Most recently Mallen was seen onstage in The Cake for which she was nominated for a 2018 Jeff Award for “Actor in a Principal Role”. In 2016, she performed in the world premiere production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat at Arena Stage. Prior to that she was in Rivendell’s world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in the Steppenwolf for Young Audience’s production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. One of Rivendell’s founding members, Tara has now produced and acted in over thirty productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for work in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for her work in My Simple City. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion; Empire (Fox); Boss (Starz); Chicago Fire (NBC); Doubt (CBS/Sony Pictures pilot); Chicago P.D. (NBC); Sense8 (Netflix) and the independent feature FOOLS. Tara co-conceived and directed the world premiere of WOMEN AT WAR, directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (co-production with Stageworks/ Hudson); and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.


Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She was thrilled to join the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble as the Managing Director in March 2014. Jackie is also the Membership and Development Associate at Arts Alliance Illinois, and the Co-Producer for Theatricum Botanicum. Previously Jackie was in the Los Angeles area where she worked with Center Theatre Group’s P.L.A.Y., the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Theatricum Botanicum. She has also freelanced regionally where she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, has a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Production and Business Management from Bradley University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Producing from the California Institute of the Arts.



Scientific Method production photos are courtesy of Michael Brosilow & Nathanael Filbert
Video: Scientific Method trailer by Brent Eickhoff
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