THE FINE PRINT
Theatre Company

Citizens Play Festival

Citizens Play Festival

Details

When

Week One – 8 plays
July 15 & 16

Week Two – 6 plays
July 22 & 23

Final Week – 4 plays
July 29

Where

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave

Eight new plays from eight Midwestern playwrights. Eight directors. Dozens of actors. One Winner.

A development springboard for new plays; Citizens brings together 8 playwrights, 8 directors, and dozens of actors–working to add new stories to the theatrical canon. Now in its third year, the festival has already kickstarted work on 20 new plays, 2 of which were produced by Fine Print–MT Cozzola’s Boy Small and Erik Gernand’s A Place in the Woods (Jeff recommended).

Each week, audiences select the plays they are most interested in seeing developed further. As some plays are eliminated from the competition, audience favorites go back into rehearsal and are given more stage time. In the final week a winner is chosen from 4 finalists.

Designed to bring theatergoers into the development process and give them a voice in selecting plays for production, Citizens spurs discussion and fosters community. The spacious lobby and full bar at Stage 773 provide the perfect venue, with performances in the Cab–a 70 seat cabaret.

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More Details

Winner Announced

Winner Announced

Nikki Paley Cox

ALL OTHER NIGHTS by Nikki Paley Cox is the winner of the 2014 Citizens Play Festival!

Congratulations to all the finalists, and a big thank you to all the artists and audience members who participated in this year’s fest.

Final Round – 4 Plays

Final Round – 4 PLAYS

July 29th
7:30

Audiences have chosen the final four! Join us at Stage 773 on Tuesday, July 29th and vote to decide the winner of the 2014 Citizens Play Festival!

COUNTER by Jonathan Baude
directed by Dave Belden

THE TUSK HUNTERS by Dan Caffrey
directed by Michael Carnow

ALL OTHER NIGHTS by Nikki Paley Cox
directed by Stephanie Stroud

A LITTLE BIT NOT NORMAL by Arlene Malinowski
directed by Natasha Tsoutsouris


 

Tickets Now Available

 
Buy Tickets →
 

Round One – 8 Plays

ROUND ONE – 8 PLAYS

July 15th
Group A – 7:30
Group B – 9:00

July 16th
Group B – 7:30
Group A – 9:00


 

GROUP A

THE TUSK HUNTERS
by Dan Caffrey
dir. Michael Carnow

A LITTLE BIT NOT NORMAL
by Arlene Malinowski
dir. Natasha Tsoutsouris

LOVE IN A MINOR KEY
by David Finney
dir. Danica Horton

ALL OTHER NIGHTS
by Nikki Paley Cox
dir. Stephanie Stroud


 

GROUP B

DARK WAS THE NIGHT
by Aaron Stephenson
dir. Taryn Wood

COUNTER
by Jonathan Baude
dir. Dave Belden

GHOST GARDENS
by Steven Simoncic
dir. Lance Baker

UNSUBSTANTIAL
by Axel Arth
dir. Jennifer Olson


 

Tickets Now Available

 
Buy Tickets →
 


Playwrights

2014 Citizens Play Festival Playwrights

Axel Arth

Axel Arth
Axel Arth is very excited to be returning to the Citizens Play Festival. Originally a Nebraska native, Axel has been happily living and working in Chicago for the last three years. In his time here, he’s been fortunate enough to have his pieces performed at American Theater Company and Victory Gardens, and has worked with other companies such as Cold Basement Dramatics and The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre.


 

Aaron Stephenson

Aaron James Stephenson is a theatre artist from the American Midwest. He is the Literary Manager for Underscore Theatre Company. He helps tell stories with a variety of companies around Chicago including Oracle Productions, Ex-Pats Theatre Company, Redmoon, and Steppenwolf as a freelance actor/writer/director/designer/engineer-type.


 

Nikki Paley Cox

Nikki Paley Cox
Nikki is very excited to participate in the Citizens Play Festival again this year. Her plays have been featured in events at Chicago Dramatists, Stage 773, Theatre Wit, and Next Theatre in Evanston. Her movie is coming along nicely. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her manuscript is currently searching for a publisher. Nikki continues to teach writing and rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


 

Steven Simoncic

Steven Simoncic
Steven Simoncic’s plays have received productions, readings and workshops at The Goodman, Victory Gardens, The Soho Theatre and Stageplays Theatre in New York. His play, Once Upon a Time in Detroit was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and Toxic Donut, won the NAAA Playwriting Festival in London. His play, Broken Fences, received critically acclaimed productions in New York and Chicago and will be produced in 2015 at The Road in Los Angeles.


 

Dan Caffrey

Dan Caffrey
Dan Caffrey is the Artistic Director of the Tympanic Theatre Company, an Ensemble Member with The Ruckus, and an Associate Artist of the side project. Most recently, the world-premiere of his Western, Sandalwood, was co-produced by Tympanic and the side project. He’s worked with a number of other Chicago companies, including Chicago Dramatists, Hobo Junction, Victory Gardens, and WildClaw. His play Matawan, about the New Jersey Shark Attacks of 1916, was a Finalist for the O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2013. He also writes for the music site Consequence of Sound, and you can catch him around town in his band The Elizabeth Dane.


 

Arlene Malinowski

Arlene Malinowski
Arlene Malinowski is an actor/playwright whose award-winning solo shows have been produced in venues and colleges across the country and abroad. including St Louis Center of Contemporary Art, the New Works Project at Millennium Park and HBO Workspace. Her other plays have been produced by Victory Gardens, NY Flash Fest, Chicago Theater Off Book, G1-60 UK Fest and was a finalist for the Heartland. In addition to her film and TV work (some of it good- most of it bad) she has appeared on stages in LA and Chicago including the Goodman and Victory Gardens. She teaches at Chicago Dramatists and coaches privately. She has been a contributing writer to a lot of literary publications with strange names like Paramanu Pentataquark, En Posse Review and The Week Behind. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a Ragdale Fellow. When she wants to show off she mentions that her work was cited in the Huffington Post and is to her knowledge, the only actor to appear both in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure AND Doogie Howser and in the same 24 hours. arlenemalinowski.com


 

Jonathan Baude

Jonathan Baude
Jonathan Baude is a Chicago-based playwright originally from scenic and cool – he swears – Bloomington, Indiana. Jonathan was a 2010 finalist for the Heideman Award and 2009 winner of the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Award. Most recently, his play Searching for Love was part of American Blues Theater’s 2014 Ripped: The Living Newspaper Festival. In 2013, Men and Dogs, his two-man show about President William McKinley’s assassin Leon Czolgosz, premiered at the Chicago Fringe Festival, where it won the Unlimited Ticket Holders’ Pick of the Festival Award. Other recent-ish work includes Living Room Playmakers’ On Display at Roman Susan in Rogers Park July 18-20 (lrplays.org), as well as the upcoming Drekfest 2014, Stage Left’s annual contest for terrible, terrible plays. Love to Black.


 

David Finney

Play Synopses

Play Synopses

A LITTLE BIT NOT NORMAL

by Arlene Malinowski

A coat left on the train tracks. A wedding. A funereal. The Sims and the secrets we keep about crazy.

The autobiographical solo show revolves around a secret that has been kept for over six decades and is discovered at a family wedding. When depression slips in through her window, lites a cigarette and makes himself at home, Arlene confronts her own state of mind. The play is a journey through depression and despair, wellness and triumph. It explores the shame and secrecy that comes from any disability particularly mental illness because of the stigma that is so attached to it.


 

DARK WAS THE NIGHT

by Aaron Stephenson

DARK WAS THE NIGHT explores how art and love influence the choices of two young people in a world on the brink.


 

UNSUBSTANTIAL

by Axel Arth

Growing up was hard for Oliva. With her father gone and her mother, Rebecca, a raging alcoholic, she had no one to depend on. So, she made someone; her imaginary friend, Athena. For the last twenty six years, Athena has stood by and helped Olivia in any way that she could, helping her to grow up into a competent and capable young woman.

And now, days before Oliva’s 30th birthday, Rebecca’s had enough. She’s kicked her drinking habit for good, and is looking to find a way to reconnect with her daughter. But something is standing in her way; Athena, the faithful imaginary friend. But there’s a solution to that problem: Rebecca has contacted a man who has promised that he can make Athena go away, no questions asked. His methods are dubious, but this imaginary hitman guarantees results. What follows is a battle for life and death, both in and out of our perception. Lives are at stake as one woman will do whatever she needs to to get her daughter back.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s just unSubstantial.


 

ALL OTHER NIGHTS

by Nikki Paley Cox

A young woman is beset by biblical signs and wonders after she journeys home for the Passover Seder to finally confront her estranged family.


 

GHOST GARDENS

by Steven Simoncic

In a forgotten corner of Detroit, where smoke stacks tower over a community that has grown increasingly sick and tired, there is a pimp-turned-preacher looking for redemption, a stripper-turned-nurse looking for justice, and Lorelie… who just wants a baby. For ten years she has tried, and for ten years she has failed. Until today when Lorelie announces to the world that she is finally having a baby… and that changes everything. GHOST GARDENS is a story of the humor, grit, denial and delusion it takes to survive in the post-industrial modern American urban village. It examines race, health, culture, and socioeconomics with humor, pathos, deer ticks, dance contests, and the occasional dream about Loretta Lynn, weaving fantasy and reality into a story that pits redemption against destruction and hope against hopelessness.


 

THE TUSK HUNTERS

by Dan Caffrey

Grimwald and Pup make their living hunting for woolly mammoth tusks, under the impression that their employers sell the fossils as an alternative to elephant ivory. But when Pup makes their biggest find yet, the company’s true intentions become clear, testing the duo’s beliefs on nature and their own friendship.


 

COUNTER

by Jonathan Baude

After Blair loses her father, she’s beyond help, until it arrives in the form of a mysterious package on her doorstep. But is it help at all? As Blair tries to track down its origins, she begins to realize just how little she knows about where she herself came from.

Directors

Directors

Dave Belden

Dave Belden
Dave Belden is a Fine Print Associate Artist, and appeared in last fall’s production of BOY SMALL. Other stage credits include CHARLES IVES TAKE ME HOME (Strawdog Theatre); THE JEWELS (TUTA); CYRANO at Chicago Shakespeare, where he also appeared in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST; UNCLE VANYA (Court Theatre); THE TELL-TALE HEART (Blair Thomas & Co.); THE SANDMAN (Oracle Theatre); THE THREE SISTERS and LADY CHAPLIN & HER TRAMP (Piven Theatre); EARTH TO MARGARET (Acorn Theatre); and SHOPPERS CARRIED BY ESCALATORS INTO THE FLAMES (Viaduct Theatre). Film credits include the independent feature EYE OF THE SANDMAN and the short film BLOOD. Dave is a violinist in the folk & roll band Midwest and the Chicago Sinfonietta, and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and San Francisco Ballet. Dave has directed several short films, and is excited to be directing Jonathan Baude’s COUNTER for this year’s Citizens Play Festival.


 

Natasha Tsoutsouris

Natasha Tsoutsouris
Natasha Tsoutsouris is an actor, writer, solo artist and storyteller here in Chicago. She is delighted to be making her directorial debut with Arlene Malinowski’s solo show, “A Little Bit Not Normal”, and is even more thrilled to be working The Fine Print for a second time.

A tale of coming to terms with a decades old family secret while struggling to understand its affect on her own life issues, “A Little Bit Not Normal” is Arlene Malinowski’s daring look at mental illness. Beautiful, hilarious and haunting in its honesty, Arlene Malinowski deftly paints an image of her own crippling battle with depression and how the truest of love, support and an undeterred quest for answers pulled her through to the other side.


 

Stephanie Stroud

Stephanie Stroud
Stephanie is excited to be back directing another Nikki Paley Cox play as part of the Citizen Play Festival. Stephanie is an actor, director, and teaching artist in Chicago where she has worked with various companies including, Profiles, Lookingglass, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Chicago Dramatists, Fine Print Theatre, and Pegasus Players. Stephanie was a founding member, director, and casting director with Mortar Theatre Company. Current/Upcoming projects: Annapurna at Profiles Theatre (Emma, Understudy), Best of the Tens at Second City in Association with Chicago Dramatists (Director), Until Death by Dana Lynn Formby at Concordia University Chicago in Association with Chicago Dramatists (Director). Stephanie is the Communication and Theatre Program Coordinator at Concordia University Chicago and holds an MFA in acting from Penn State University.


 

Lance Baker

Lance Baker
Lance Baker is a local actor/director. He has been seen at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Writers, Northlight, Court, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, ATC, Theater Wit, Victory Gardens, Rivendell, Redmoon, Remains, Chicago Dramatists, Collaboraction, and A Red Orchid Theater where he is an ensemble member.


 

Michael Carnow

Michael Carnow
Michael Carnow is a Chicago-based director specializing in new work. In Chicago, he has directed for The Gift Theatre, American Blues Theatre, American Theatre Company, WNEP Theatre and Tympanic Theatre. He is currently an Artistic Associate with Tympanic and previously was the Literary Manager of Profiles Theatre. His work on Long Distance Affair, a collaboration with Pop-Up Theatrics, has been seen in New York, Mexico and the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. While directing in Detroit, he was nominated for a Wilde Award for the Best Production of a New Play for Snowbound and his production of A Trois was a Patron’s Pick at the Windsor International Fringe Festival. He founded two new works festivals: GPS (the Gay Play Series) at the Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale, MI and Quickies at Brandeis University, as well as the First Bite new play reading series at Profiles.


 

Danica Horton
Taryn Wood
Jennifer Olson