THE FINE PRINT
Theatre Company

The Xylophone West

The Xylophone West
Photo by Gretchen Kelley

Details

Playwright

Alex Lubischer

Director

Josh Sobel

When

March 16 – April 4, 2012

Where

Red Tape Theatre
621 W Belmont Ave

An unsettling coming-of-age story for the modern day

The Xylophone West chronicles a young boy’s journey into the heart of violence and back again. Set against the backdrop of an insular, rural community in Nebraska, the story ignites with Patrick plotting a flight west to escape an increasingly hostile gang of boys at his high school. When a nightmarish accident nixes his chance of outrunning them, he is forced to confront his aggressors, and himself.

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Playwright

Alex Lubischer

Alex Lubischer

Chicago playwright Alex Lubischer grew up on a farm near Humphrey, Nebraska. Here, rural isolation spurred him to invent faraway worlds and incubated a fervor for storytelling that continues to drive his work.

Following a small town Catholic education for elementary and high school, Lubischer left Nebraska to study theater at the University of Southern California. Soon after arriving at USC, he wrote and produced his first play: Acts of Contrition. The play, which details a Catholic priest’s covert affair with a young woman and its subsequent impact on his vocation, went on to win Best Concurrent Play Lab Script at the 2008 Great Plains Theater Conference.

Lubischer graduated college early and moved to Connecticut, where he studied playwriting at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. After seeing his one acts staged in the same theater as the National Playwrights Conference, he gained the conviction that he could write professionally. Reading A Long Day’s Journey Into Night in the childhood home where Eugene O’Neill set his most personal play, Lubischer adopted the credo that writing required constant, unflinching self-examination.

Upon concluding his time at the O’Neill, Lubischer returned to Los Angeles and struggled through his first stretch of post-grad life: he did extra work on TV shows, waited tables in an Italian restaurant, and wrote constantly.

Seven months later, Lubischer left Los Angeles in search of artistic opportunities elsewhere. As he uprooted his life, he began writing a play that would become The Xylophone West. He continued writing in motels on his cross-country road trip, finished the first draft in his family’s Nebraska farmhouse, and revised the play that summer at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where he returned for an internship.

Encouraged by friend and O’Neill collaborator Director Josh Sobel, Lubischer signed a lease for a Chicago apartment mere weeks before The Fine Print Theatre Company selected The Xylophone West for production. He moved to Chicago in September to work on the script, aid in the production, and create art in a new city.

In Chicago, Lubischer continues to write plays, in addition to having taken the reigns as Literary Manager for Route 66 Theatre Company. As a playwright, he finds constant inspiration in the works of Tom Waits, Tennessee Williams, and Cormac McCarthy, as well as his fellow Chicago artists. He continues to craft bold new stories that investigate identity and challenge convention.

Director

Josh Sobel

Josh Sobel

Josh Sobel attended Brighton High School in Rochester, NY, which was fortunate enough to be blessed with an exciting and challenging arts program that included Shakespeare, the Greeks, Tom Stoppard, Eugene Ionesco, and an annual 24-Hour Plays program. After a particularly emotional theatre-going experience, he decided that he wanted to be a part of that world, seeking to create work that moved people to tears, to laughter, to thoughtfulness – theatre that AFFECTS the audience.

After Brighton, Josh attended Oberlin College in rural Ohio and immersed himself in the theatre community. He served on both student and department run theatre boards and directed highly lauded productions of CABARET and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, as well as acted in numerous productions and co-produced a three-week-long festival of student-written work. He graduated with Honors in Directing in 2009.

Inspired by fellow Oberlin alumnus and Chicago artist Taylor Bibat, Josh attended a semester at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute (NTI) program. The rigor of this program – from 7:30am to 10:00pm seven days a week – only further fueled his passion, and established his particular love of the written and spoken word (he sometimes refers to himself as a “TEXT-o-phile”). He returned to the O’Neill in 2009 and was soon promoted to Associate Director of “Theatermakers” (the summer NTI program), a position he has held for the last two years and will be returning to this summer.

After the summer of 2009 the question arose of where to set his artistic roots. This was not a difficult question, as Chicago presented a passion, risk-taking, and respect for process that was (and is) difficult to find elsewhere. Chicago is a place where intimate theatre, DIY creativity and ensemble are valued, and that’s where he wanted to be. Josh has been privileged to work in Chicago with Victory Gardens Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre, Pavement Group at Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, The State Theatre, and New Leaf Theatre where he serves as Literary Manager. He has had the privilege of working with Avery Brooks (American History X), John de Lancie (Breaking Bad, Star Trek: TNG), and Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal), among others. He is also constantly inspired by the work of Martin McDonagh, Sarah Kane, Mike Daisey, Gregory S. Moss, Idris Goodwin, and OK Go.

Every show Josh works on is dedicated to his Aunt, the acclaimed opera and theatre coach Janet Bookspan, who was his mentor for the early stages of his career. She passed away in the Fall of 2008. Janet’s belief in him gave him the confidence to pursue his passion with purpose. Every day (and especially when he is working on a show) he misses their long talks spent picking apart the work. He is eternally grateful for her insight, her challenges and critiques, and her love and support.

Cast

Donny Sheldon – Patrick
David Weiss – Shane
Mandy Walsh – Mom
Stephan Cephalu Jr. – Cole
Christian Stokes – Doc
Chris Daley – Loni
Paul Krick – Rhett
Nate Ross – Rush

Production Team

Director – Josh Sobel
Writer – Alex Lubischer
Assistant Director – Alex Huntsberger
Props – Aimee Plant
Stage Manager – Sydney Ray
Assistant Stage Manager – Kate Reed
Fight Choreographer – Mark E. Penzien
Sound Design – Nick Selesky
Set Design – Nick Sieben
Lighting – Valerie Walz
Costumes – Alyssa Fiala
Tech Director – Eli King
Photos – Gretchen Kelley

Photos

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Videos

Press

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