It was crazy ambitious. We had just a few hours to install a Floating Market into the Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. And due to the masterminds on our team, it appeared like magic — just like in the book! Thanks to Alan for bringing his experience and brilliance to the uber-design of the whole event. He and Ian and Brandon Wardell each designed areas of the Market (Trinkets and Treasures! Experiences and Explorations! Dreams and Destiny!) They transformed that room — and the costume team of Meredith Crilly, Kat Doebler and Elizabeth Klein transformed the people of the Market as well. Performances by The Space/Movement Project, Read My Hips and Pyrotechniq seemed to be spontaneous combustions emerging from our colorful world. Further color was added by members of Steam Punk Chicago, who integrated seamlessly. Roving storyteller, Chris Walsh, entertained clusters of listeners throughout the evening. Musicians Alan Goldberg, Ken Monroe, Paul Gilvary, Curt Silvers, Bill Rush and Kate Nawrocki (with her entire Afterlife band, on loan from our friends at The Strange Tree Group) surrounded us with sound.
Christopher Hainsworth wrote a short framing story for the evening, which included our fearless Neverwhere director, Paul, as emcee, quickly interrupted by a hotly pursed damsel in distress. Bodyguard Auditions were called to protect her and the fun began. Fights were designed by R&D Choreography (who are also choreographing Neverwhere) with performances (and swordplay) by Sarah Rose Graeber, Matt Barels, Matt Kahler, Shane Hill, David Gregory and Richard Gilbert.
And did I mention the plentiful and yummy food and booze, which Malnati’s and Stephani’s totally allowed us to rename to theme it up? You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten fingers of glory washed down with some Ratspeaker Sludge. Oh yeah. It was a great night.
All of us at LIfeline are sending get-well wishes to Jessica Wright, who is recovering from a car accident. Jessica is a former Lifeline intern and current Lifeline employee. She is also a playwright, with a recent production of her short play, Under Ground, at Curious Theatre’s RhinoFest earlier this year. Jessica also provided a short story performed for Lifeline’s April 19th benefit. (It was an audience favorite — which is pretty impressive given that other short stories read were by Edgar Allan Poe, Neil Gaiman and Richard Adams!) Jessica wears many hats at Lifeline. She was serving as assistant director and assistant stage manager for our upcoming production of Neverwhere at Lifeline as well as frequently working front of house for us. We are sad to be without her but glad that she is on the road to recovery. We look forward to seeing her back at Lifeline soon.
Interns that Rock!
Lifeline Theatre welcomes two new shop interns, Andrew Lehmkuhl and Kathleen Weiss. They join Meredith Crilly (Chicago Semester, Dordt College, Iowa) and Christopher Scholtens (Columbia) as they all make considerable contributions to the ambitious undertaking that is Neverwhere.
Andrew hails from Dubuque, Iowa and is a freshman theater major at Loyola University. Andrew comes to us thru the Loyola Job Fair where he was looking for opportunities to work in the the Chicago theater community. He is a hard worker and we’re thrilled he found us. Andrew is going home for the summer but is hoping to return to LIfeline in the fall and work with us between his school projects. We hope so too!
Kathleen Weiss will be a junior theater design major at Columbia this fall. She spent the past two years at SE Missouri State, where she was pursuing a BFA in Theatre and working as a Resident Assistant, while also working full time in a library! She is obviously a terrific multi-tasker! Kathleen is looking forward to living in a more urban setting. Ian found her at Porchlight Theater where he was doing a scenic design for Into the Woods. He was impressed with her work and brought her back to Lifeline. We look forward to having her with us for a good long while!
All four of our interns have been instrumental in making magic for our upcoming show. Meredith (who also led the charge in organizing our costumes for our recent benefit) is assisting Elizabeth on costumes. Chris, Andrew and Kathleen have been assisting Ian and Alan in creating the tunnels below London and other Neverwhere magic. And Chris is now subbing in as board operator and stage hand until Jessica returns to town after her accident. And is those projects weren’t enough, Meredith and Chris are collaborating on a costume he will wear as the character Darsh Schneider from the Anime/Manga Bastard! at the upcoming Anime Central convention in mid-May. You better believe I’ll get a picture of that when it’s finished! Just wait.