Fresh produce 2022
A Celebration of New Plays by Women

 

Festival of New Works by Women

August 18-29, 2022

All readings are at 7:30pm

Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
5779 N. Ridge, Chicago

400 Horses
By Mackenzie Yaeger
Director: Azar Kazemi
Public Reading: Thursday, August 18


Blood of My Mother's
By Karissa Murrell Myers
Director: Denise Yvette Serna
Public Reading: Monday, August 22


Wipeout
By Aurora Real D'Asua
Director: Devon de Mayo
Public Reading: Monday, August 29

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Tickets are $10-25 per reading, or
$25-50 for a package of all three readings.


We never want you to skip a visit to Rivendell because of a tight budget. Contact us if none of these work for you!
773-334-7728 or info@rivendelltheatre.org

We are thrilled to announce the August 2022 marks the reemergence of Fresh Produce: A Celebration of New Plays by Women. Originally launched in 2004, Rivendell has long cultivated the notion that thoughtfully planting new artistic seeds wields the richest harvest.  

Our Fresh Produce series is known for risky, innovative, and compelling new work. During each series, exciting new projects with women at the core are curated and nurtured through an intensive, developmental workshop process. 

Each project culminates in a public reading that features the opportunity for a moderated dialogue between artists and audience. We hope you will join us as we sow the seeds of original new work by women artists once again!
 

400 Horses

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Mackenzie Yaeger
Playwright

Azar Kazemi  - 400 horses.JPG

Azar Kazemi
Director

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Lucia Lombardi
Artistic Producer

In 2012, Rita Crundwell became the largest municipal fraud perpetrator in American History. She was found guilty of embezzling almost fifty-four million dollars over the course of twenty years from the small town of Dixon, Illinois, where she served as the city comptroller. And what she did with that fifty-three million dollars...was buy four-hundred horses.

With embezzlement and fraud in significant rise across the country, this story exemplifies how far some Americans will go in
the name of greed. Or, in Rita Crundwell's case, in order to buy 400 horses.  

CAST: RTE members Jerre Dye, Jessica Ervin, Meighan Gerachis* and Meg Thalken*, with Ken Bradley, Josh Odor and Tuckie White

STAGE MANAGER:  Deya Friedman

 

READING: Thursday 8/18 at 7:30PM

* Denotes a member of Actor's Equity

Mackenzie Yaeger (Playwright) has been writing television for a decade, working on shows you may have heard of as well as many you definitely have not, seeing as they never got made. While at DePaul University studying acting, she began writing plays and subsequently worked with Collaboraction, A Red Orchid, The Inconvenience and The Echo Theatre in Los Angeles. Most recently she directed a production of The Seagull with The Dorris Place Players. 

Azar Kazemi (Director) (she/her) is first generation Persian-American and the Founding Artistic Director at The Blind Owl, a socially-charged theatre where the political and personal collide. She most recently directed Layalina by Martin Yousif Zebari as part of Future Labs and The Wizards by Ricardo Gamboa as part of New Stages, both at the Goodman Theatre. Some of Azar's Chicago directing credits include: the U.S. premiere of Debbie Tucker Green's dirty butterfly, the Midwest premiere of Jack's Precious Moment by Samuel D. Hunter, and Crave by Sarah Kane. Azar received her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2011, where she has also been on faculty since 2015 and received the 2020-21 Excellence in Teaching Award. Along with the Goodman Theatre, Azar has worked at Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Jackalope Theatre, Silk Road Rising, American Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In New York City Azar worked at The New Group where she assistant directed three Off-Broadway productions, two under the direction of her mentor Ethan Hawke. 

Lucia Lombardi (Artistic Producer) (she/her) Lucia has over forty years of experience in both the commercial and not for profit theatre communities. Her national touring credits include The Lion King, Billy Elliot, Love Loss and What I Wore and Scrooge The Musical. Here in Chicago she has worked at the Broadway Playhouse, the Drury Lane Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Briar Street Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Porchlight, the Ivanhoe Theatre, the Body Politic Theatre, the Organic Theatre Company, the Remains Theatre Company and Friends of the Zoo. Lucia is delighted to be making her Rivendell debut.

 

Blood of My Mother's

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Karissa Murrell Myers
Playwright

Denise Yvette Serna

Denise Yvette Serna
Director

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Jessica Ervin
Artistic Producer

On Christmas Eve 1997, pregnant Marina fled to her older sister's Lillian’s house in the middle of the night with the biggest problem she ever faced: an unwanted pregnancy. After giving birth, Marina abandons the baby Egg in her sister's care, much to the concern of Lillian's husband, Richard. Now sixteen years later, Egg has gone missing and no one seems to care but her sister/cousin Deanna. The search for the truth turns this Filipino-American family's world upside as they are forced to face their inner demons. Because sometimes, the place you run to for safety turns out to be the most dangerous place of all.

CAST: RTE member Eric Slater* with Blake Dava, Stephanie Fongheiser, Arvin Jalandoon, Stephanie Shum, and Marie Tredway.

 

READING: Monday, 8/22 at 7:30PM

* Denotes a member of Actor's Equity

Karissa Murrell Myers (Playwright) (she/her/hers) is a hapa Filipino American theatre artist based in Chicago, where she works as an actor, playwright, producer, and casting director. As a playwright, her work has been developed and/or produced at Strawdog Theatre, American Blues Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Our Perspective: Asian American Plays, and Bramble Theatre Company, where she is the Artistic Director. MFA from University of Hawaii, BA from Boise State University, and proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf 2019. More info at www.kmurrellmyers.com.

Denise Yvette Serna (Director) (she/her) is a theatre practitioner and arts activist raised in San Juan, Texas. She has facilitated international workshops and productions with Global Hive Laboratories and its partners, as well as readings, fundraisers, panels, and festivals to raise awareness and promote activism about racial equity, accessibility, climate justice, gender-based violence, immigration, land sovereignty, literacy, community collaboration, and collective joy.

 

Chicago directing and curating credits include productions with MCA Chicago, The Latinx Theatre Commons, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Prop Thtr, Strawdog Theatre Company, Pop Magic Productions, The Neo-Futurists, Victory Gardens Theater, Writers Theatre, Goodman Theatre, El Semillero, and Steep Theatre Company. Producing Credits include Dreams Beyond Borders: New Roots at Howard Area Community Center, Pop Magic’s salon series HOMESET, and The Syndicate’s FIRST READ. Denise is committed to supporting arts organizations as they champion equity, diversity, access and inclusion, and move forward as transformative Anti-Racist forces in their communities. deniseyvetteserna.com.

Jessica Ervin (Artistic Producer) (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor, working in theatre, film, and television. Jessica received an equity Jeff nomination for her portrayal of Ester in Dry Land at Rivendell. She has also been seen on stage at Rivendell in many other productions, readings, and as an understudy. Other theatre work includes roles with A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theater, Walkabout Theatre, Route 66, Prop Thtr, MCA, The Public House, and Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble. On screen, Jessica has appeared on Chicago Fire (NBC), and in the films Princess Cyd, Teacher, Provo, New Normal, and Stalled, in addition to other shorts. Originally from Kentucky, Jessica is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ball State University, where she received her B.F.A. in Acting.

 
 

Wipeout

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Aurora Real d'Asua
Playwright

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Devon de Mayo
Director

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Lucia Lombardi
Artistic Producer

For her seventy-seventh birthday, Gary wants one thing and one thing only: to surf a wave. There's a problem, though, beyond the extreme gymnastics required to get a wetsuit on: Gary has never stepped foot on a surfboard before. But with the help of a hotrod teenage surf instructor and the company of her two best friends, Gary goes on the ride of her life. As the three women navigate the currents of the Pacific Ocean, they confront seven decades of secrets, sacrifices, and the odd jellyfish or two. Wipeout is a septuagenarian surf comedy about love, loss, and what it really takes to hang ten.

CAST: RTE members Glenn Dale-Obreo and Meg Thalken* with Bridget Duffy, and Celeste Williams*.

Scenic Consultant: RTE member Regina Garcia
 

 

READING: Monday, 8/29 at 7:30PM

* Denotes a member of Actor's Equity

Aurora Real d'Asua (Playwright) (she/her) is a playwright, filmmaker, and performer from the Bay Area and the Basque Country. Her one-woman play about the life of Jane Goodall, Aping Jane, was one of five finalists for the UCross + BLANK Theatre's Future of Playwriting Prize, and was developed at Greenhouse Theatre, The Story Theatre, and Rivendell. Her short play Trigger Warning debuted at Victory Gardens. She is a 2020 Elizabeth George Commission with the South Coast Repertory Theatre, and has also received commissions from the Chicago Children's Theatre and sideshow. She has a BA from Northwestern University, and is a current candidate in Columbia University's MFA film program, where she received the Jesse Thompkins III Screenwriting Award.

Devon de Mayo (Director) (she/her) Devon de Mayo has directed the world premieres of The Tasters by Meghan Brown and The Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis for Rivendell Theatre, and served as director and movement director for Laura and the Sea. Other Directing credits include: If I Forget (Victory Gardens Theatre); First Love is the Revolution (Steep Theatre); 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.

Lucia Lombardi (Artistic Producer) (she/her) Lucia has over forty years of experience in both the commercial and not for profit theatre communities. Her national touring credits include The Lion King, Billy Elliot, Love Loss and What I Wore and Scrooge The Musical. Here in Chicago she has worked at the Broadway Playhouse, the Drury Lane Theatre, the Royal George Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Briar Street Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Porchlight, the Ivanhoe Theatre, the Body Politic Theatre, the Organic Theatre Company, the Remains Theatre Company and Friends of the Zoo. Lucia is delighted to be making her Rivendell debut.