Modern

Chalk

Circle

an ensemble play devised and written by Nikomeh Anderson, Sophia Castuera, Sarah Harburg-Petrich, E.L. Hohn, Laura Menzie, Fenny Novyane and Rani O'Brien, with additional material by Dana Stern.

Directed by Rani O’Brien

FESTIVAL WORK IN PROGRESS PRODUCTION 

March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at 7:30pm at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios

Stay in the circle @ModernChalkCircle on IG for information and updates about ticketing!

Featuring Sierra Boudoin*, Anita Castillo-Halvorssen*, Omi Ford, Jasmin Malave, Laura Menzie,  and Eva Richards*

*Equity Approved Showcase

Directed by Rani O'Brien

Stage Management Cara Cincione

Costumes by Sophie Stratyner

Lighting by Sierra Boudoin

Set Design by Jessie Chen

Dramaturgy by Cha Ramos

 
 

THE STORY

Modern Chalk Circle is an awesome dystopia. Set in a United States not far in the future, a woman just trying to get by in a racist nation finds herself stuck with a famous baby and a quest to answer the question: in dark times, are there good people?

 

Does Grusha have the determination, the savoir faire, and enough tequila and diapers to navigate the whole of the new United States? Will she survive in this modern age of neo-liberal Amazon live/work fulfillment centers, young millennial speak, and reality TV dating shows? For that matter... will we?

Modern Chalk Circle features satire, beheadings, and a satisfying justice who tells "The Law" to go suck eggs!

September 2019 Reading

 

THE PROCESS

In January of 2019, Rani O’Brien invited a group of improvisors, actors, dramaturgs, writers, and designers to collaborate on a new devised play inspired by a Brecht classic. Employing methods of ensemble writing she used while directing at The Second City, Rani led the group to an open devising and pitch-to-improvisation process, creating a plethora of material. In March, the ensemble transformed into a writers' room and have since alternated between improvisation to script methods and collaborative writing techniques to generate the script. 

On September 29th, 2019 Modern Chalk Circle had its first work in process reading. In addition to hearing the current draft of the script, we were able to improvise our audience interactive scenes for the first time with a full and lively audience. On the walls of the hall, E.L. Hohn and Rani put up visual impressions with colors of robins egg blue, green, and hints of burnt orange and red. Clowns, impressionistic paintings, and gender queer punk styles were pulled to illustrate the feeling of the the collaborative ensemble process.

 

With the feedback and information gained from the invited audience we are now able to assemble a direction for the writing of our next draft, and, for the first time, we've moved into writing lyrics. In pairing with a composer, we've decided to conduct interviews to gain the most world specific points of view for each song.

Our first open to the public work in process show will be in March of 2020! Follow us @modernchalkcircle on IG for updates about the process.

 

Core Writers

Laura Menzie | Writer | Actor
Sophia Castuera | Writer | Actor
E.L. Hohn | Writer | Costumes
Nikomeh Anderson | Writer | Actor
Fenny Novyane | Writer | Actor
Sarah Harburg-Petrich | Writer
Rani O’Brien | Director | Writer

Collaborators Along

The Way

1/1

Special Thanks To

Austin Bowen, Mona Moriya, Christopher Reyes for their contribution to our early devising process.

E.L. Hohn | Writer | Costumes

E.L. likes clothing that reshapes, ungenders, and/or dehumanizes the body. E.L. designed costumes for University of Texas at Austin Theatre and Dance productions of In the Red and Brown Water, The Wild Party. Both nom. Best Costume Design B. Iden Payne Awards and Austin Critics’ Table Awards. Other credits Fixing Timon of Athens (The Rude Mechanicals), Poor Herman and Catalina de Erauso (paper chairs), and a site-specific devised dance piece (Body Shift and Stephan Koplowitz).