March 14 – April 19, 2020

Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 1pm

In the land of This and That there are only two kinds of animals, these and those. Then, one day something different hatches! But they aren’t this or that. Are they both, or are they neither? What do you do when you feel you don’t belong? Based on the book by Airlie Anderson, explore the things that make us unique in this world premiere musical that teaches that it’s our differences that make us special.

Director Oly Oxinfry joins ensemble member Bilal Dardai (The Man Who Was Thursday) along with artists Jeff Trainor and Emilie Modaff to bring our young audiences a world premiere musical that teaches them important lessons about what happens when you don’t fit, embracing our unique qualities, and self-love.

Based on the book by Airlie Anderson
Adapted by Bilal Dardai, Emilie Modaff, Oly Oxinfry, & Jeff Trainor
Directed by Oly Oxinfry
Music and Lyrics by Emilie Modaff

Special Performances:
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Sunday, March 29
   Touch tour: 10:00am
   Performance: 11:00am

Open Captioning
Saturday March 28 at 11am & 1pm

Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance
Sunday, April 19 at 3:00pm

Visit our Accessibility page for more information.

  • Amanda de la Guardia (Governor Bunny/Ensemble)

    Amanda (she/her) is so pleased to be a part of this wonderful cast for her first production with Lifeline. Most recently, she appeared as Aunt Drosselmeyer in The House Theater of Chicago‘s 10th anniversary production of The Nutcracker. Other past credits include: X-Marks the Spot and The World Inside Me (Chicago Children’s Theatre), Fear and Misery in the Third Reich (Haven Theatre), United Flight 232 and The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz (The House), A Bright Room Called Day (Spartan Theatre Co.), Living Large in a Mini Kind of Way (16th Street Theatre), and Your Problem with Men at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Amanda is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

  • Jessie Ellingsen (Curious Bunny/Ensemble)

    Jessie (they/them, she/her) is thrilled to make their Lifeline debut! Chicago credits include: Romeo & Juliet (Teatro Vista), I Know My Own Heart (Pride Films & Plays), Cicada Summer (Rough House), Wise Women & Witches (Piven). They’ve also worked with Otherworld, Waltzing Mechanics, Women’s Theatre Alliance, and have toured schools across Chicagoland with the Shakespeare All-Stars since 2018. Jessie is an alum of Loyola University Chicago (B.A.). For their sibling, with love.

  • Kelsey McGrath (Governor Bird/Ensemble)

    Kelsey (they/them) is a Chicago actor, writer, and producer! They are thrilled to collaborate with Lifeline and so grateful to be surrounded by incredible, inspirational artists that compel them to consider the world in a different way. Acting credits include work with First Floor Theater, Broken Nose Theater, Eclipse Theater Company, Otherworld Theater Company, and Chicago Dramatists. 2017 graduate of Black Box ACADEMY. Represented by the fabulous dames of DDO Chicago.

  • Alec Phan (Both)

    Alec (he/him, they/them) is thrilled to be joining Lifeline onstage for the very first time! Favorite recent credits include: The Barback Daddies (Pop Magic Productions), Les Innocents ((re)discover theatre), and All Quiet on the Western Front (Red Tape Theatre). Alec is from Wisconsin, where he was founding Artistic Director of Fermat’s Last Theater Co. Now based in Chicago, he is an Artistic Associate of Pop Magic Productions and collaborates frequently with the city’s diverse storefronts.

  • Larry D. Trice II (Either/Butterfly Cat/Ensemble)

    Larry (they/them) is proud to be sharing the amazing story of Neither with Lifeline. This interdisciplinary artist is also a team member with Trans Voices Cabaret Chicago and former Production Manager of Artists Giving Back. Some of their favorite credits include: Back In The Day (Urban Theater Company), Shrek (Windy City Performs), Kingdom (Broken Nose), Magic Treehouse: Showtime with Shakespeare (Emerald City Theatre), Once On This Island (That Was a Show Theatre Co.), Rocky Horror Show (Stage Wright Productions), Pirates Of Penzance (COT/ASM), Spring Awakening (Music For Theatre Chicago), and countless other shows and play readings. Love to friends, fam, and my little guy, Eli.

  • Cohen Kraus (Asst. Director/ u/s Curious Bunny/Ensemble)

    Cohen (they/them) is an actor, writer, director, and educator who stands for the many voices missing or underrepresented within our business.  Chicago credits include: Violet Surprise (Otherworld Theatre), Sparks Festival (NoMads Art Collective), Valiant Theater Festival (February 2020), Strawdog’s Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins [December 2019], and Recastings. Cohen has toured their own solo show here in Chicago as a reading with NoMads Art Collective and as a full production in N.Y.C., North Carolina, and Dayton Ohio as well as the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

  • Josh Pennington (u/s Gov. Bird/Ensemble)

    Josh (he/him, they/them) is a Chicago based actor and very excited to be working with Lifeline for the first time! Recent Chicago Credits: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Strawdog Theatre), Press Cuttings (Artemisia Theatre), The Tempest (Midsommer Flight), Twelfth Night (Theatre Evolve), The Wood (Imposters Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher (E.D.G.E Theatre). Regional Credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Twelfth Night, and Julius Caesar (Stone Soup Shakespeare).

  • Wil Ann Whedbee (u/s Both)

    Wil (he/him, they/them) is so happy everyone gets to see this production. Thank you to KaCee, Bailey, and Jillian over at DDO. Hello to two special kids in The Land of All, Teddy and Calvin!

  • Bilal Dardai (Co-adaptor)

    Bilal (he/him) has been a Lifeline ensemble member since 2017, and Neither is his second adaptation for the company after last year’s production of The Man Who Was ThursdayBilal has also written, devised, and performed a number of different plays for several theaters in the Chicago area, including The Neo-Futurists, Broken Nose Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, Upended, Mudlark, and Mercury. He is also a contributing essayist within the city’s “Live Lit” scene, and a member of the writing team for acclaimed audio drama Unwell, produced by HartLife. With much gratitude to Airlie for trusting us with her work, the Neither team of performers and designers for embracing the story with the whole of their hearts, and to Dana and Robin for their unconditional love and support.

  • Jeff Trainor (Co-adapter)

    Jeff (he/him) is thrilled that Lifeline said yes to Neither. Though living in Princeton, NJ now, while he was in Chicago, Jeff performed with The Neo-Futurist, Theater Wit, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Hypocrites, Rivendell Theatre, Writer’s Theatre, American Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Playmakers Laboratory, The Backroom Shakespeare Project, Strawdog Theatre Company, and he was the Program Coordinator for the Chicago Inclusion Project. Television credits include: Chicago PD and Mind Games. To Dixie, Zora, and Bruce: I love you.

  • Emilie Modaff (Composer/Music Director/Co-adaptor)

    Emilie (they/them) is thrilled to have contributed to this important piece of theatre. Last seen in: Kentucky (The Gift Theatre), In The Blood (Red Tape Theatre). Up next: Hundred Days (Kokandy Productions), Other Rockpools (The New Colony). Repped by DDO. Red Tape Theatre ensemble member. Thank you to my non-binary, trans, gender creative family.

  • Oly Oxinfry / Robin Nuna de la Tierra (Director/Co-adaptor)

    Oly/Robin (they/them, she/her) is humbled to make their directing debut at Lifeline Theatre. Previously they assisted direction of the Giggle Giggle Quack National Tour and appeared on stage in The Man Who Was Thursday and You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?.  She is a multi-disciplined director, actor, designer, adaptor, producer, teaching artist, and dramaturg.  Recently, they assisted Yasen Peyankov on the world premiere of The Fundamentals at Steppenwolf, produced two seasons for Muse of Fire Shakespeare, provided dramaturgy for Thaddeus and Slocum and Blood Wedding at Lookingglass, and co-designed the set for STORM! at Walkabout. She is an ensemble member with Imagination Theatre, PlayMakers Laboratory, and Stone Soup Shakespeare. Catch them on stage in Loki: The End of the World Tour at Lifeline this summer! This story is for Teddy and the wild baby Ben.

  • Rebecca Dose (Stage Manager)

    Rebecca (she/her) is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago and is so excited to be a part of her first show with Lifeline! Recent credits include: Columbia College productions of A Man of No Importance, Helen, Still Now, High Fidelity, and Sweet Charity as well as the Midwest premiere of Something Clean with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble/Sideshow Theatre Company.

  • Mike Przygoda (Sound Designer/Orchestrator)

    Mike (he/him) is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Chicago.  Previous adventures at Lifeline include: The Three Musketeers and The Killer Angels.  Other recent theatrical work includes work at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Goodman Theater, 16th Street Theater, and Tellin’ Tales.  During the day, Przygoda works in the dance department at The Chicago High School For The Arts, by night he produces records for local bands and leads his own band, The Przmatics whose albums have received awards for “Best Indie Rock” and lyrical praise from David Crosby.  He has a Jeff Award for “Artistic Specialization in Percussion”.

  • Therese Ritchie (Scenic Designer)

    Therese (she/her) (Pepperell, MA) is currently working towards her M.F.A. at Northern Illinois University; she received the 2019 Ed Burbridge Award for Scenic Design and the 2018 John Murbach Prize for Collaboration in Design. Previous credits include: Scenic Design for Labyrinth (Broken Nose Theatre), A Bright New Boise (Northern Illinois University), Blue Stockings (Promethean Theatre), Scenic Design for Now or Later (Intrinsic Theatre), Annie KIDS (Wilmette Children’s Theatre), Girl in the Red Corner (Broken Nose Theatre), The Truth About Santa (Intrinsic Theatre), No Child (Definition Theatre), and Wild Party (Columbia College Chicago).

  • Sarah Scanlon (Movement Director)

    Sarah (she/her) is thrilled to be back at Lifeline for a KidsSeries show, which she’s been attending since she was a kid herself! Previous Lifeline credits: The Man Who Was Thursday (Secretary/Marquee u/s), Her Majesty’s Will (Asst. Director), and Soon I Will Be Invincible (Elphin). Sarah is a multi-disciplinary actor and IDI and IDC Certified Intimacy Director here in Chicago and has worked with Steep, Marriott Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, Kokandy Productions, among others. Recent favorite acting credits include shows with About Face Theatre, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, The Factory Theater, The Conspirators, and Akvavit Theatre. Sarah holds an M.F.A. from the Moscow Art Theatre School and the American Repertory Theatre and a B.A. from Western Michigan University. For more info or just to say hi, visit

  • Rachel M. Sypniewski (Costume Design)

    Rachel (she/her) is grateful to be back designing with Lifeline after previously designing Arnie the Doughnut, Miss Holmes, Midnight Cowboy, and Sylvester. Other companies she has worked with include The Goodman, Broken Nose, Black Button Eyes, Jackalope, The New Colony, Emerald City, TUTA, Haven, Griffin , CityLit, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Trap Door, Promethean, Strawdog, Rasaka, the Factory, Red Tape and Redtwist.  She also has designed at Wheaton College, North Central College, St. Patrick’s High School, Indiana University Northwest, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She is a six time Non-equity Jeff nominee, having been awarded one for La Bete at Trap Door. More info at

  • Megan Turnquist (Lighting Designer)

    (she/her) Chicago design credits include: Rabbit Summer (Redtwist); Veronica’s Room, Amadeus, Myths and Hymns (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble); Antigone, Julius Caesar (Wheaton College); and Eclipsed (Pegasus, Theatre on the Lake). Regional design credits include: Macbeth, Guys and Dolls, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arkansas Shakespeare Festival). Assistant credits include: Roe (Goodman); Oedipus Rex, Photograph 51 (Court); Love’s Labour’s Lost, Book of Will, The Way the Mountain Moved, Snow in Midsummer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Megan holds an M.F.A. from Purdue University.


Coming Soon!