top of page

the walls

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble proudly presents the world premiere

By Lisa Dillman


Directed by Megan Carney


April 17, 2009


Presented as part of the Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative


A scholarly young woman must confront the issue of her mother’s untimely death and the possible consequences of her own complicated inheritance in this time-bending play about the elusive nature of madness.


To create this world-premiere, ensemble-based work exploring women and madness and the link to creative genius, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble worked with a variety of individuals and organizations from around the country.

The project was conceived in 2004 when a Rivendell ensemble member found a book called Voices Behind the Walls: Women of the Asylum, a collection of personal stories from women incarcerated in asylums between 1840 and 1940.

Commissioned by RTE in 2005, it had been developed through ongoing workshops and retreats over the past four years.


Location: Chicago Dramatists
(1105 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL)




Lacy Campbell as Carrie
Lacy is delighted to make her Rivendell debut. She was most recently seen as Helena in Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she also appeared in Troilus and Cressida. Other credits include The House of Yes (Will Act for Food); several projects with Redmoon Theater including Twilight Orchard and Loves Me…Loves Me Not; The Nose (Greasy Joan & Co.); The Well of the Saints (Irish Repertory of Chicago); and The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet (Crew of Patches Theatre Company). She frequently performs in That’s Weird, Grandma with Barrel of Monkeys, where she is a proud company member. Film and television credits include featured roles on E.R. and Stranger Than Fiction.


Meighan Gerachis as Virginia
Meighan Gerachis has been a company member since 1996. She has performed in Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes; WRENS; My Simple City; Mommapalooza!; The Factory Girls; Indulgences in the Louisville Harem; Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue; and RTE’S Jeff-nominated world-premiere production of The Walls. Meighan was also seen at the Chicago Humanities Festival in (fellow ensemble member) Lisa Dillman’s Shady Meadows. She filmed What’s Wrong with Virginia, written and directed by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black. Meighan is currently performing in the RTE world-premiere of Madeleine George’s Precious Little at the Storefront Theatre.


Tara Mallen as Alice

Tara Mallen is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Most recently she was seen on stage in Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s Jeff Nominated world premiere production of Rasheeda Speaking. Prior to that she appeared in Steppenwolf’s production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She performed in the Midwest premiere of Catherine Trieschmann’s Crooked, and in the Steppenwolf Garage as part of the ensemble in Rivendell’s World Premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls. Tara played Jolene Palmer, inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos, in Rivendell’s award winning production of Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen also at Steppenwolf Garage. (Both productions part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Theater Initiative). She received a Joseph Jefferson award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for Best Actress in a Principal Role for her work in My Simple City.

Her screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion opposite Kate Winslet , the Starz series Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, the NBC pilot of Chicago Fire, the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt, the NBC series Chicago P.D. and the new Netflix series Sense8 directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski.


With Rivendell, Tara conceived and directed the world premiere of Women At War, directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, NY; and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.


Danica Ivancevic as Jane
Danica is delighted and honored to be making her debut with Rivendell with such a talented group of women. She was last seen as Ruth Snyder in Not Enough Air at Timeline Theatre. Additional Chicago credits include; Esther in Dolly West’s Kitchen at Timeline; Gina in Theatre Mir’s Prisoner’s Dilemma; Uma Productions’ Faith Healer, which earned her a Jeff Citation for her work as Grace; Steppenwolf’s production of Butcher of Barboo and Kid Simple at American Theatre Company; and Timeline Line Theatre’s production of Hannah and Martin, which earned her a Jeff Citation for her work as Elfride Heiddeger. She has a BFA in Acting from DePaul University.


Mierka Girten as Lucy


Mark Ulrich as Vance Chudman & Others
Mark Ulrich has been a Rivendell Theatre Ensemble member since 2008. RTE acting credits include Silence; the Ottawa, Illinois, production of These Shining Lives, the Jeff-nominated The Walls, Falling: A Wake, and American Wee Pie. Mark worked as assistant director on Rivendell’s Psalms Of A Questionable Nature, and he directed their Jeff Award- and After Dark Award-winning Mary’s Wedding. Mark has appeared locally at The Goodman, Northlight, Writer’s Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists, among others. This year Mark directed A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, at Millwaukee’s Next Act Theatre. There, he also appeared in their production of Vigil. Mark appeared in Abigail’s Party at A Red Orchid Theatre, Mariela in the Desert, and The Sins of Sor Juana at The Goodman, The Book Thief and How Long Will I Cry at Steppenwolf, and A View From the Bridge at Teatro Vista.


John Zinn as Plaid Cranston & Others
John was Associate Artistic Director for storefront favorite Uma, and his Uma stage credits include The Violet Hour, The Pool of Bethesda, Why They Invented Dancing (also New York Fringe Festival), and Moment: Three Days of Rain/The Author’s Voice. He is also a company member at Collaboraction, where he has acted in Sketchbook three times (including this year). In Chicago, John has acted with Signal (The Weir-Jeff Nomination, Best Ensemble), Timeline, Chicago Dramatists, The Side Project, National Pastime and Victory Gardens, among others, and has done numerous voice-overs. Film credits include Baby on Board, Into It and the acclaimed short The Fifth Horseman. John has an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School/DePaul University and is Marketing Director at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.


Ashley Neal as Tabitha / Woman in Yellow / Orderly
Ashley has been a member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble for 7 years. During that time she has appeared in Be Aggressive, Expecting Isabel, The Walls, These Shining Lives, and most recently 26 Miles. As a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and having worked with numerous theatre companies throughout Chicago, Ashley is proud to call Chicago her home — and Rivendell her family!





Lisa Dillman
LISA DILLMAN’s plays have been produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival, American Theatre Company, Rogue Machine Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, SPF-NYC, and many other companies. She has been commissioned by Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Northlight Theatre, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where American Wee-Pie
and The Walls had their world premieres. Lisa has also developed work at the O’Neill Playwrights Festival, the PlayPenn Conference, the Goodman Playwrights Unit, and the National New Play Network. Her work is published by Samuel French, Playscripts Inc., Dramatic Publishing, Smith & Kraus, Heinemann, and New Issues Press.

She has won a Sprenger-Lang New History Play Prize, the Morton R. Sarett National Playwriting Award, and a Julie Harris–Beverly Hills Thea tre Guild Playwright Award. She is a two-time recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in Playwriting and a three-time Jefferson Award nominee for Best New Work.

She is currently working on new plays for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Northlight Theatre.





Director — Megan Carney

Megan Carney has been an ensemble member since 2007. She directed The Walls and American Wee Pie, both written by Lisa Dillman, and is currently a lead artist on Women at War. Other recent projects include Stupid Kids (About Face), Pittsburgh Project Remix, exploring the legacy of the steel industry; [classified], illuminating diversity issues at Virginia Tech University; and Open Systems, commemorating five years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, commissioned by the Goodman Theatre’s Education and Community Engagement Department.


Megan is the Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center, one of the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At the Center she provides vision and resources for collaborative programs that investigate and reveal diverse LGBTQ identities and histories using oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs.


Megan is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre and Music at UIC. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue and is a founding director of About Face Youth Theatre.


Assistant Producer — Zena Vaughn
Zena is excited to be working with the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble on this ground-breaking production of The Walls. During the day, Zena is the Managing Director of Raven Theatre, where she is currently preparing for the run of Hedda Gabler. Zena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi and is completing her Masters in Non Profit Management at DePaul University. Zena would like to thank Tara for the amazing opportunity, David for the professional and moral support, and Chris for the love.


Scenic Designer — Elvia Moreno
Elvia Moreno has done scenic design for Rivendell’s productions of Mary’s Wedding, The Walls, Fighting Words, Silence, Indulgences in the Louisville Harem, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, The Factory Girls, Holy Days, Mommapalooza! and WRENS; the Rivendell/Powertap production of Hamlet; Powertap’s Mr. Roberts; Blue, White and Blood Red at Chase Park Theater; and The Lightkeepers for the Bailiwick’s Pride Series. During the day, Elvia is a professional architect.


Lighting Designer — Diane Fairchild
Diane Fairchild is a proud ensemble member of Rivendell, an Artistic Associate of Next Theatre, an Artistic Affiliate of BoHo Theatre, and part time faculty at The School of the Art Institute. Previous designs for Rivendell include Rasheeda Speaking, The Electric Baby, WRENS (2012), Crooked, Precious Little, These Shining Lives, 26 Miles, The Walls, and Psalms of a Questionable Nature.

Other design credits include work at Lifeline, Babes with Blades, BoHo, Next, Northlight, Court, Timeline, Wheaton College, City Lit, Chicago Dramatists, Redmoon, Pegasus, Side Project, Raven, and the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. Awards she has been nominated for include a Non-Equity Jeff (The Gimmick, 2010), Broadway World Chicago (Floyd Collins, 2012 and Kiss of the Spider Woman, 2013), and a Wilde (Love’s Labours Lost, 2012). Ms. Fairchild holds an MFA in theater design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and she earned her BFA in design and technology for theater from Wright State University in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio.


Costume Designer — Kathryn Doebler
Kat is thrilled to be working on The Walls as her first production with Rivendell Theatre. Most recently she designed Stupid Kids for About Face Theatre. Other costume design credits include Third (Apple Tree Theater), The Laramie Project (Dominican University), American Girls Holiday Celebration (American Girl Theater Chicago), and Standing in Mattoon (Leaving Iowa, LLC). She is the Costume Shop Manager at Dominican University and can also be found doing hair and make-up at the Lyric Opera of Chicago during their season.


Sound Designer — Christopher Kriz
Chris works in Chicago as a composer, sound designer and audio engineer. Recent theatre credits include Literally Sexy 2 at Victory Gardens, The Shape of a Girl at Pegasus Players, The Rocks at Side Project Theatre, Aura at Redtwist Theatre, Private Lives at City Lit Theatre, Twelfth Night at Piccolo Theatre, The Illusion with Promethean Theatre, Golda’s Balcony at Pegasus Players and Odin’s Horse with Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. Other recent credits include A Taste of Honey with Shattered Globe Theatre, Glengarry Glen Ross at Redtwist Theatre, bobrauschenbergamerica with Chicago Fusion Theatre and Jitney at Pegasus Players. To read more of his work, please visit


Puppet Design/Choreography — Joe Mazza
Joe is honored to be working with Rivendell for the first time. His critically acclaimed solo-pieces The Hyperbolist and What Is Love were featured in the Building Stage’s recent festival of puppetry, “Objects in Motion.” He’s been caught stealing on Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, patting a spaniel in Mademoiselle Magazine, and pontificating as Napoleon on the Discovery Channel. Some of his other credits include two solo-shows, The Tiny O of Long and Man and Variations, which received extended runs at Tom Robinson Studio/ Gallery; Aufidius in Coriolanus (Red Tape), Claudius in Hamlet (Delvena Theatre, Boston), Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, and T.L. Shannon in The Night of the Iguana (Theatre Coop, Boston), and several productions at The Opera Company of Boston under Sarah Caldwell. As a playwright, his work has been performed at venues from tavern-vaults to nationally syndicated radio and his latest play, Art and Her Ugly Sisters, is a 2008 Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist.


Props Designer — Caleb Charles McAndrew
This is Caleb’s first production with Rivendell Theatre and he is excited to be working on such an ambitious project. His previous work includes Technical Director for Pegasus Players’ Shape of a Girl, Teatro Vista’s La Posada Magic, The Howmet Playhouse Summer Repertory Theatre, and Northwestern Opera’s Bartered Bride. He has also worked for Teatro Vista’s Our Lady of the Underpass as PM, for Pegasus Players’ Still Life as SM, and for Northwestern Opera’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Eugene Onegin as SM. Caleb is also a founding member of the Lawrence Youth Ensemble, a community outreach program in Lawrence Kansas bringing underprivileged youth and adult volunteers together to creatively explore their community and themselves.


Dramaturg — Martha Wade Steketee
Martha was a court researcher and child welfare and domestic violence policy analyst in a past professional life. Steketee been a script reader for Washington, D.C., and Chicago-area theatres, and has dramaturged productions and readings at Chicago theatres including Writers Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists. She has published Chicago theatre reviews at and mentors young writers in drama criticism in the Cindy Bandle Young Critics program co-directed by the Goodman and Association for Women Journalists Chicago. Steketee sees well over 150 Chicago productions a year, in part due to her active membership on the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. She has been a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas since 2004.


Stage Manager — Stephanie Hurovitz
Stephanie Hurovitz has been stage managing in Chicago since 2003 and she is very happy to have a home with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She stage managed the extension of Rivendell’s Eat Your Heart Out (2014); as well as the full productions of American Wee Pie (2013); Wrens (2012); Crooked (2012); Falling: A Wake (2012); Precious Little (2011); Mary’s Wedding (2010); The Walls (2009); These Shining Lives (all four incarnations, 2008-2010); and assistant stage managed Rivendell’s co-production of Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue (2006) with Teatro Vista at the Steppenwolf Garage. She most recently stage managed the Jeff Award Winning production of A View From the Bridge with Teatro Vista (2014), and is preparing to begin rehearsals with TV once again, for Between You, Me, and The Lampshade. Other recent credits outside of Rivendell include: Remy Bumppo’s An Inspector Calls (2013-14), The Runaway Circus’ Overcome (2013); 3 Squares Production’s Lipstick Goes on Last (2013); Teatro Vista’s world premier of i put the fear of mexico in ‘em (2012). She has also worked with: SuzBo Productions (a staged reading of One Is One; Two Is Math at Steppenwolf); Route 66 Theatre Company (A Twist of Water); Pegasus Players; Lifeline Theatre (Lyle, Lyle Crocodile; The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!; Gaudy Night; Giggle, Giggle Quack; A Long Way From Chicago; and Deep In The Jungle); Bailiwick Reparatory (Sunday on the Rocks) and ASM (Naked Boys Singing); Theatre Building Chicago, where she worked with Hancock Productions (The Brother and ‘Night Mother); Walk-About Theatre Company, in conjunction with Lookingglass (The Coast of Chicago); Collaboraction Theatre Company (Casanova); the (since re-named) International Theatre of Chicago (Safe); Brown Couch Theatre Company (Tempting Fate and Defying Gravity); Reverie Theatre Company (All’s Well That Ends Well); and (since-dissolved) Pywackett Theatre Company (Misery).


Assistant Stage Manager — Keri Godsey-Mack
Keri holds dual BAs from The Ohio State University in Theatre and Humanities. She has been a freelance stage manager in Columbus, Ohio, for over a decade and was a resident SM with Actors’ Theatre for Shakespeare in the Park. Keri moved to Chicago last September and is proud to call Rivendell her third Chicago production. She would like to thank her family for all their love and support and a wonderful cast and crew for all their hard work.

bottom of page