The 2020 Fillet of Solo Festival

Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings together a dozen storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

The 23rd Anniversary Fillet of Solo Festival features solo performances by:

  • Jamie Black
  • Shelby Marie Edwards
  • Kristina Lebedeva
  • Arlene Malinowski
  • Janki Mody
  • Anne Purky
  • Victoria Reeves
  • R.C. Riley
  • Shannon Wright

Plus the work of the following storytelling collectives:

LOCATIONS
Performances are at Lifeline Theatre and The Teal Room (a new location this year!).
Free parking and shuttle available: see Performance Venues for more details.

DATES & TIMES
Performance times are: Fridays at 7:00 and 8:30pm at both venues, Saturdays at 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, and 8:30 p.m. at both venues, and Sundays at 4:00 and 5:30 p.m. at both venues. See the complete Schedule.

Unless otherwise noted, each performance runs approximately 60 minutes in length.

, https://boxoffice.diamondticketing.com/lifelinetheatre/events/filletofsolo, _blank
FREE KICK-OFF EVENT: DISCOUNTED PASSES FOR SALE!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
7:00 p.m
The Teal Room
6956 N. Glenwood Ave

Live Lit (n): A fast-growing genre of live performance that involves a microphone, a story and an audience, typically performed in a bar or bookstore.

Chicago’s Live Lit scene is a rapidly-growing community of people who gather to tell and listen to stories. While storytelling as an art form dates back to ancient times, the current evolution of the form has recently exploded in popularity. On any given night in Chicago, you can find a place to listen to stories as an audience member or to test out your work as a writer-performer.

At the Fillet of Solo Kick-Off Night, join Dorothy Milne from Lifeline Theatre for an evening of performance and conversation with Fillet of Solo storytellers. Learn about the form, the history of the festival, and details on Chicago’s many storytelling nights from the people who make them happen — all while hearing stories of different styles interspersed throughout.

Discounted Passes: Fillet of Solo Festival Passes will be offered at a special discounted rate of only $30 at the event (regularly $60).

Admission is free, no reservations required. Contact the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477 for more information.

TRAILER VIDEO

PERFORMANCE VENUES

Lifeline Theatre
6912 N. Glenwood Avenue

The Teal Room (a new location this year!)
6956 N. Glenwood Avenue

Both venues are located in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, in the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, steps from the Morse Red Line CTA stop.

Free parking is available at Sullivan High School (school address is 6631 N. Bosworth Ave. — the lot is located on the corner of Bosworth Ave. and Albion Ave., with the entrance on Albion) with free shuttle service before and after the shows. Street parking is also available.

Click here for more information about our shuttle service.

For all performances, call the Lifeline Theatre box office for tickets (773.761.4477) or click here.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE: January 10-12
Friday, January 10
Lifeline Theatre
7:00pm — Lifeline Storytelling Project
8:30pm — 80 Minutes Around the World
The Teal Room
7:00pm — Universal Sound
8:30pm — Is This a Thing?

Saturday, January 11
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — GeNarrations
5:30pm — Tellin’ Tales Theatre w/ Tekki Lomnicki
7:00pm — Story Sessions
8:30pm — Sweat Girls
The Teal Room
4:00pm — Janki Mody (“Hear Me, See Me”)
5:30pm — Serving the Sentence
7:00pm — the kates
8:30pm — Stir-Friday Night!

Sunday, January 12
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — Arlene Malinowski (“A Little Bit Not Normal”)
5:30pm — Anne Purky (“The Fixer (Notes from a Helicopter Mom on Steroids)”)
The Teal Room
4:00pm — Back Room Stories
5:30pm — Loose Chicks

 

WEEK TWO: January 17-19
Friday, January 17
Lifeline Theatre
7:00pm — Lifeline Storytelling Project
8:30pm — 80 Minutes Around the World
The Teal Room
7:00pm — the kates
8:30pm — Victoria Reeves (“Brassy + Intrepid”)

Saturday, January 18
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — GeNarrations
5:30pm — Tellin’ Tales Theatre w/ Tekki Lomnicki
7:00pm — Sweat Girls
8:30pm — Shannon Wright (“LOVE, SHANNON XO”)
The Teal Room
4:00pm — Kristina Lebedeva (“It’s Easy to be a Hero: Disability in Exile”)
5:30pm — Serving the Sentence
7:00pm — Loose Chicks
8:30pm — Universal Sound

Sunday, January 19
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — Shelby Marie Edwards (“Lost Home, Won Home”)
5:30pm — R.C. Riley (“Take It Easy on the Left Hand, Please”)
The Teal Room
4:00pm — The Stoop
5:30pm — We Met at Nine

 

WEEK THREE: January 24-26
Friday, January 24
Lifeline Theatre
7:00pm — Shelby Marie Edwards (“Lost Home, Win Home”)
8:30pm — 80 Minutes Around the World
The Teal Room
7:00pm — Is This a Thing?
8:30pm — Lifeline Storytelling Project

Saturday, January 25
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — Jamie Black (“It’s My Penis and I’ll Cry If I Want To”)
5:30pm — Tellin’ Tales Theatre w/ Tekki Lomnicki
7:00pm — Sweat Girls
8:30pm — R.C. Riley (“Take It Easy on the Left Hand, Please”)
The Teal Room
4:00pm — Janki Mody (“Hear Me, See Me”)
5:30pm — The Stoop
7:00pm — Back Room Stories
8:30pm — Stir-Friday Night!

Sunday, January 26
Lifeline Theatre
4:00pm — GeNarrations
5:30pm — Shannon Wright (“LOVE, SHANNON XO”)
The Teal Room
4:00pm — Victoria Reeves (“Brassy + Intrepid”)
5:30pm — Kristina Lebedeva (“It’s Easy to be a Hero: Disability in Exile”)

Performers

80 Minutes Around the World: Immigration Stories
Curated and produced by Nestor Gomez

Celebrated storyteller and 40-time Moth Slam winner Nestor Gomez has assembled a group of local performers to help illuminate the voices of immigrants in our city.

Performances:
Friday, January 10 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Friday, January 17 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Friday, January 24 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Back Room Stories
The Back Room is a curated show that features voices from across the spectrum of storytelling.  Margaret Burk
co-produces and co-hosts three monthly storytelling events in Oak Park/River Forest: Back Room Stories at Hamburger Mary’s, Illinois Storytelling’s series at Dominican University, and Do Not Submit Oak Park at the Eastgate Cafe.

Performances:
Sunday, January 12 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

Jamie Black
It’s My Penis and I’ll Cry If I Want To
Written and performed by Jamie Black
Directed by Geoffrey Bleeker

What happens when we allow society to dictate who we are and how we express ourselves? Winner of National Artist of the Year at the 2016 St. Lou Fringe Festival, this award-winning and critically acclaimed show will surprise and entertain you!

Performances:
Saturday, January 25 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

 

Shelby Marie Edwards
Lost Home, Win Home
Written and performed by Shelby Marie Edwards
Directed by Earliana McLaurin

Some of us never leave; while others spend their whole lives in search of it. In “Lost Home, Win Home” a Charlottesville native unpacks the events of the Rally that turned her hometown upside down.

Performances:
Sunday, January 19 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Friday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

 

GeNarrations
Participants aged 55+ develop personal narrative pieces based on themes in Goodman productions in this storytelling performance workshop.

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 18 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Sunday, January 26 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

 

 

Is This a Thing?
Produced by Jake Cowan, Damian Raszewski, and Suzy Kahn Weinberg

Is this a thing? is a storytelling show that features new and experienced writers and tellers of true personal tales in a welcoming and nurturing space and place. Since 2014, our theme-inspired monthly show happens in the warm embrace of a Northside neighborhood pub, O’Shaughnessy’s at Ravenswood and Wilson on the second Monday of the month, February-July and September-December. The stories all benefit from a super helpful and supportive workshop for the performers and producers to listen to each other and share ideas. Is this a thing? Yes. Yes it is.

Performances:
Friday, January 10 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)
Friday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

the kates
An all-female comedy showcase that provides an intimate night of comedy dedicated to showcasing talented and hilarious female-identified performers by creating inclusive and positive environments. Artists are encouraged to express their comic point of view in unique and non-apologetic ways – proving that women are equal in the eyes of comedy.

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Friday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

Kristina Lebedeva
It’s Easy to be a Hero: Disability in Exile
Written and performed by Kristina Lebedeva
Directed by Josh Zagoren

Kristina Lebedeva moved to The United States from Russia in 2000 to earn a doctorate in philosophy. As her academic work continues to explore the intersections of ethics, trauma, social justice, and disability, Kristina’s fiction and autobiographical essays address such themes as mourning, violence, suffering, survival, and memory. Kristina is currently working as a language instructor, splitting her free time between writing, theater, and digital art.

Performances:
Saturday, January 18 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Sunday, January 26 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

The Lifeline Storytelling Project
Written and performed by Jay D. Lenn (Lifeline board member), Amanda Link (Lifeline ensemble member), Lisbeth Maxwell (Lifeline board member), Darren Meyers (Lifeline artist), Sessy Nyman (Lifeline board member) and Betsy Vandercook (Lifeline subscriber).
Directed by Dorothy Milne

The Lifeline Storytelling Project produces live music and storytelling events designed to develop and showcase artists affiliated with Lifeline Theatre.

Performances:
Friday, January 10 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Friday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Friday, January 24 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

Loose Chicks
Before the #MeToo began empowering women, there was Loose Chicks. Loose Chicks is a collection of courageous women who share experiences that most women keep to themselves. Each show features six exceptional writers and performers who allow themselves to be vulnerable as they share with uncommon honesty.

Performances:
Sunday, January 12 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

 

Arlene Malinowski
A Little Bit Not Normal
Written and performed by Arlene Malinowski
Directed by Lisa Portes

With her trademark humor, Arlene confronts her own state of mind when depression slips in through her basement window, lights a cigarette and makes himself at home. A Little Bit Not Normal circles around a secret that had been kept for six decades and discovered at a family wedding. It’s a serious comedy about depression, the journey of a love story tested and the secrets we keep about crazy.
This performance will be ASL interpreted.

Performance:
Sunday, January 12 at 4:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Janki Mody
Hear Me, See Me
Hosted by Janki Mody

Survivors share their personal stories of being cared for, dismissed, or silenced by the medical community. An audience talk back and conversation will follow. This storytelling panel is hosted by Janki Mody, who premiered her second solo show, This is All Fine at last year’s Fillet of Solo Festival. Janki is a women’s health, infertility, and pregnancy loss advocate.

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 25 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

Anne Purky
The Fixer (Notes from a Helicopter Mom on Steroids)
Written and performed by Anne Purky
Directed by Stephanie Rogers

When Anne Purky discovers her daughter Lelia’s diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, she embarks upon a madcap quest to “fix” Lelia, desperately looking for answers in nightmarish mom and tot groups and healing pods in Florida, where Bach and Beethoven are feverishly pumped into baby headphones. From the bizarre to the extreme, Purky faces the emotional, hilarious, and often brutal fight for her daughter’s life and health. But, in the process of desperately trying to fix Lelia, Purky ultimately learns how to fix herself.

Performance:
Sunday, January 12 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Victoria Reeves
Brassy + Intrepid
Written and performed by Victoria Reeves
Director, Music Director and DJ:  Johnny Price

Victoria Reeves regales her audience with true tales of discovering feminism, surviving as a creative, forging a gypsy-road-show life with her partner and surviving motherhood on a Suzuki TU250X. These compelling coming-of-age stories are woven together with musical and visual transitions.

Performances:
Friday, January 17 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)
Sunday, January 26 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

R.C. Riley
Take It Easy on the Left Hand, Please
Written and performed by R.C. Riley
Directed by Emmi Hilger

This sometimes comical, sometimes political one-woman show depicts the lives of three distinct women as they grapple with challenging life concerns such as masturbation, abortion, and paternal identity. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. You will certainly leave this show questioning everything you thought you knew – from how much lube to use to the importance of legal representation.

Performances:
Sunday, January 19 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 25 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Serving the Sentence
Different storytellers take the same first sentence — each in their own direction. At the end of the show, a new sentence is drawn that the next show’s storytellers will embark from!

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 18 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

 

 

Stir-Friday Night!
A 23-year-old Asian-American comedy group, based in Chicago and performing at Second City, iO, Annoyance, Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, and at festivals all over the country. Stir-Friday Night! alumni include Danny Pudi from Community, and Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead. Stir-Friday Night! is a nonprofit theater company, specializing in sketch comedy and improvisation, and offers touring shows and workshops for schools, companies, and organizations.

Performances:
Saturday, January 12 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 25 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

The Stoop
The Stoop is hosted by Moth GrandSLAM champion Lily Be. Featured storytellers are given a theme and each share a short story related to that theme. The Stoop is a platform to bring Chicagoans to a better understanding of each other and to inspire change. Performing regularly at Rosa’s Lounge in Humboldt Park, it is as much about community and survival as it is about entertainment.

Performances:
Sunday, January 19 at 4:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 25 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

 

Story Sessions
Produced and hosted by Jill Howe

Story Sessions is a monthly show in Edgewater featuring a collection of curated performers and open mics sharing true personal stories that will tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone and take your mind on a wild adventure. First Fridays at Sauce and Bread Kitchen also feature delicious fresh pizza and BYO. The show is an hour long without intermission, so there is plenty of time to hang out with fellow story lovers. The show is free and always will be.


Performance:

Saturday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Sweat Girls
With 26 years of shared history, the Sweat Girls represent the greying edge of Chicago’s Live Lit community. Known for their “contagious gusto” the Sweat Girls have been called “the undisputed tribal elders” of the solo performance scene (Chicago Reader, 2014).

Performers: Caroline Andres, Cindy Hanson, Dorothy Milne, Clare Nolan, Martie Sanders, Pamela Webster.

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Tellin’ Tales Theatre
Tellin’ Tales Theatre shatters the barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through personal story — adult solo performances as well as “Six Stories Up,” a mentoring program and show featuring kids and adults, with and without disabilities. Tekki Lomnicki is a solo performer, playwright, director and educator.

Performances:
Saturday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 18 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Saturday, January 25 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)

 

Universal Sound
Hosted by Vincent Greco

Universal Sound is a storytelling event that is part curated and part open mic, designed for people to tell their stories their way. It is sponsored by Voice Power Chicago on the first Friday of every month at the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park.

Performances:
Friday, January 10 at 7:00 p.m. (Teal Room)
Saturday, January 18 at 8:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

 

We Met at Nine
Hosted and Produced by Lindsay Eanet and Lindsey Schroeder

We Met at Nine is a quarterly storytelling show at Chicago’s Laugh Out Loud Theater involving true stories told by pairs. Each show features five pairs (partners, parent and child, coworkers, siblings, best friends, exes). Stories might be about a first date, an ill-fated road trip, a science fair experiment gone awry—whatever memory speaks to both parties. The name of the show comes from the Lerner & Loewe song “I Remember It Well”, where an old married couple go back and forth, each recalling their first date very differently.

Performance:
Sunday, January 19 at 5:30 p.m. (Teal Room)

 

Shannon Wright
“LOVE, SHANNON XO”
Written and performed by Shannon Wright
Directed by Tom Herman

Shannon Wright takes us on a journey through the senses in her solo performance, “LOVE, SHANNON XO” Wright is a skilled vocalist and performer who weaves together storytelling and song. It all began with her leopard Technicolor dream coat, one punch in the face and traveling around the world to gain hostage negotiation skills.

Performances:
Saturday, January 18 at 8:30 p.m. (Lifeline)
Sunday, January 26 at 5:30 p.m. (Lifeline)

FESTIVAL HISTORY

Live Bait Theater developed more than 200 world premieres over its 20-year history and was nominated for over 50 Non-Equity Jeff Awards, predominately in the category of New Work. Sharon Evans was the Artistic Director from 1987-2008, and in 1995 she created the Fillet of Solo Festival, which featured over 200 solo artists in its first 13 years.

In 2009, Live Bait closed its doors, but Evans’ enthusiasm for new work and for the Festival remained undiminished. When searching for a new producer of the Festival, it was important to her that it be a theater dedicated to new work and she was delighted to find a perfect fit with Lifeline Theatre. In 2010, Lifeline and Live Bait co-produced the 14th Annual festival, and Lifeline has been carrying on the tradition ever since.