12 Ophelias:

A Play With Broken Songs

Written by Caridad Svich

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

September 24th 2009 – October 31, 2009

Shakespeare’s Ophelia rises up out of the water dreaming of Pop Tarts and other sweet things. She finds herself in a half-remembered land where Gertrude runs a brothel, Hamlet is called Rude Boy, and nothing is what it seems. In this mirrored world of word scraps and cold sex, Ophelia cuts a new path for herself.

Combining original music with poetic and colloquial language, 12 Ophelias is a theatre song-poem about being broken by society and love, being lost and finding yourself again.

12  Ophelias“Ophelia comes back to life in Caridad Svich’s intriguing play “12 Ophelias: A Play With Broken Songs,” now in director Kate Hendrickson’s fiercely sexual and expressionistic production at Trap Door Theatre, one of Chicago’s most radical dramatic outposts. Far more surreal and twisted than Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” “12 Ophelias” is a reminder of just how morphable and mysterious Shakespeare’s original remains. Recommended!” -Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

“Extraordinary brilliance… aesthetically beguiling and emotionally ravaging. Trap Door Theatre consistently creates worlds that exist outside of the matrix of conventional and practical thought but still manage to evoke emotional and visceral reactions that profoundly connect to our human experience, thereby challenging the boundaries of perceived impossibility. 12 Ophelias: A Play With Broken Songs is one such extraordinary paradigm shift that should not be missed.” -Venus Zarris, Chicago Stage Review

A “Verbally kaledidoscopic, bluegrass-infused reimagining of Hamlet’s spurned lover. In Svich’s dreamscape adaptation, Ophelia doesn’t conveniently vanish under a pond after Hamlet dumps her: She tells the moody Dane to go F himself. The she seduces him, cheered on by a chorus of singing sister Ophelias.” -Catey Sullivan, Chicago Magazine

“Set in an erotic dreamscape, Caridad Svich’s imaginative reworking of Ophelia’s story follows the doomed girl as she rises out of a pool of water and seems to repeat her tragic romance with Hamlet, now called Rude Boy. Mildred Marie Langford’s earthy, anguished take on Ophelia meshes well with the wry compassion of Jen Ellison and Casey Chapman… the Appalachian-inflected songs, played by an ensemble of white-clad women, adds a heavenly-chorus aspect to this intriguing… portrait of a woman scorned and reborn.” -Kerry Reid, Chicago Reader

“Recommended. Atonal and hauntingly subdued pop/folk songs [underscore] the dark moods of the piece… throughout this strangely intoxicating 90 minute one-act. Raw emotions and vivid sensuality erupts once Ophelia rises from her watery grave to fulfill her carnal desires. Mildred Marie Langford, as Ophelia and Kevin Lucero Less anchor the piece with their powerfully manic performances laced with sensuality and lust. The sheer emotional depth and theatricality of the play grabs us and holds us throughout.” –Tom Williams, chicagocritic.com

CARIDAD SVICH (Playwright) is a US Latina playwright, translator, songwriter and editor whose works have been profiled in the July/August 2009 issue of American Theatre. Her play The House of the Spirits (based on Isabel Allende’s novel) premiered this February at Spanish Repertory/NY under Jose Zayas’ direction and is still in repertory (www.repertorio.org) and her play Instructions for Breathing premiered at Passage Theatre/NY in April under Daniella Topol’s direction, and Wreckage at Crowded Fire Theatre/CA in May under Erin Gilley’s direction. Among other key works: Any Place But Here, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, Fugitive Pieces, Iphigenia…a rave fable, The Tropic of X, The Labyrinth of Desire and The Booth Variations. In Chicago area her work has been at TUTA Theatre, Latino Chicago, Caffeine Theatre, and Northwestern University. She has edited several books on theatre andperformance including Trans-Global Readings (Manchester University Press) and Divine Fire (BackStage Books). She has translated nearly all of Federico Garcia Lorca’s plays as well as contemporary works from Argentina, Spain, Mexico and Cuba. She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance & press, associate editor of Routledge’s ContemporaryTheatre Review and contributing editor of TheatreForum. Her works are published by TCG, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus and more. She is member of PEN American Center, The Dramatists Guild and is featured in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latino History. She holds an MFA from UCSD. Website: www.caridadsvich.com

Director Kate Hendrickson is a resident director at Trap Door Theatre where her particular focus is on premiering new plays by radical American playwrights. She has developed and sustained long-term collaborative relationships with several playwrights, steering multiple world premiere productions to critical and popular success. Together with Margraff and the Trap Door ensemble Hendrickson created ANGER/FLY which was recognized in the Chicago Reader “Best Of” edition as part of a Trap Door season presenting the “best string of theatrical stunners.” Other Trap Door credits include Cookie Play, Chaste and Beholder (Jeff Award for Best New Work, After Dark Award for Best Original Music), by Ken Prestininzi. Chaste received “Best of the Year” nods in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Stage Review, and the Huffington Post. Kate also directed Midwest premieres of Prestininzi’s AmeriKafka, Howard Zinn’s Emma (After Dark Award for Best Ensemble), and  12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich.

Cast: Casey Chapman, Géraldine Dulex, Noah Durham, Jen Ellison, Joslyn Jones, Nikki Klix, Mildred Marie Langford, Kevin Lucero Less, Emily Lotspiech, Judy Loyd, Alyson Lyon, Pamela Maurer

Assistant Director: John Kahara Choreographer: Camille Kuthrell Composer – Arranger: Allison Chesley Music Director/Composer: Nicholas Tonozzi Makeup Designer: Zsófia Ötvös Lighting Designer: Gina Patterson Set Designer: Joseph Riley Stage Manager: Dianna Driscoll Fight Choreographer: Mathias Moloff Graphic Design/photos: Michal Janicki Trap Door Artistic Director: Beata Pilch