Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



Plasticene Theater finishes 17-years with final show
From a news release

This article shared 3595 times since Mon Feb 27, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

GRAPHOMANIAx (super-script "x" — not part of the title spelling. Please omit "x" if it cannot be super-scripted) is a meta-theatrical exploration of meaning, privacy and consequence in a paranoid world flooded with data. Plasticene's performers gather, record, decode, struggle, and crunch information to save the state and themselves from unknown but imminent threat. Masters of scenic innovation, the company uses three rolling chalkboards, complex video animations, experimental live sound, and textured lighting, to build mysterious, visceral, and striking theater.

The piece was workshopped as part of City of Chicago's "In the Works" program at Millenium Park in 2011 with participation of performers Sharon Göpfert and director Paola Colletto.

GRAPHOMANIAx marks Plasticene's final creation. The company and its mission will remain in existence, but will no longer create new performance work as a collective. We invite the press and community to celebrate this ending with us through retrospectives or features.



Saturday 3/17 Preview 7:30pm

Sunday 3/18 Preview 3:00pm

Monday 3/19 Opening 7:30pm PRESS INVITED - Please reserve at 773.960.9098 or

Thursday 3/22 Performance 7:30pm

Friday 3/23 Performance 7:30pm

Saturday 3/24 Performance 7:30pm

Sunday 3/25 Performance 3:00pm

Thursday 3/29 Performance 7:30pm

Friday 3/30 Performance 7:30pm

Saturday 3/31 Performance 7:30pm

Sunday 4/1 Performance 3:00pm


The Chopin Theatre (downstairs)

1543 W Division Street

Chicago, IL 60642


Previews all seats $10

Performances $20 full price, $12 student rush half-hour before curtain, as available.

Make reservations at

More Info:



Plasticene has been a pioneering force in experimental, avant-garde, and physical theater in Chicago since 1995. Plasticene creates original theater inspired by a unique process of research and construction developed over the past seventeen years. Plasticene assembles high-impact theater from the most plastic elements of theatrical creation: the body in action, objects in motion, light as revelation, and sound as sensation. Plasticene performance and education work offers our community an experience that is playful, visceral, poetic, athletic, evocative, brave and endlessly creative.

Unlike the majority of Chicago and national theater companies and producers who interpret or import work from other times and cities, Plasticene is an artists' collective that has staunchly made its work in the present from our own community. We build work from a process of theater-making developed internally over seventeen years of practice, failure, success, action and reflection. The value of on-going and actor- centered work that we champion is a direct challenge to the short-term and producer-centered work that financial pressures impose on the arts. We make theater no one else does or could. We make theater that enraptures. We make theater that celebrates intelligence, play, social awareness, artistic risk, collaboration, and future-directedness.

Production history includes:

Doorslam 1995 Chopin Theater, Steppenwolf Studio, Edinburgh Fringe

Refuge 1996/1999 Schaberle Studio NYC, National Pastime Theater, PACedge 2005

Volume XII 1997 Athenaeum Theater, The Blue Rider Theater, Viaduct Theater

Come Like Shadows... 1999 Chopin Theater

Head Poison 2001 DCA Storefront Theater (second production in venue history)

And So I May Return 2002 Viaduct Theater

The Palmer Raids 2002 National Pastime Theater, PACedge 2003, Ohio Theater NYC

Flight! 2003 Museum of Science and Industry

BlankSlate 2004 PACedge 2004

Live Feed 2006 National Pastime Theater

One Fal$e Note 2006 DCA Storefront Theater

Com-pen-di-um 2006 SITEUnseen Chicago Cultural Center

Until One Falls 2008 Illinois Wesleyan University

GhostLight 2008 Looptopia

LightCycle 2009 Objects in Motion Festival Building Stage

From a Fading Light 2010 St. Paul's Cultural Center

Plasticene has been a vital cultural and educational contributor to the Chicago artistic landscape, collaborating with over 100 arts organizations, educational groups, and companies. Some organizations we have worked with include: MCA, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, CAPE, UIC, DePaul University, Columbia College, The Arts and Business Council, The League of Chicago Theaters, Redmoon Theater, The Rhinoceros Festival, The Chicago Park District, Sears Theater Fever, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, Free Street, Collins High School, Senn High School, Highland Park High School, Reavis High School, Second City, Lake Forest College, Associated Colleges of the Midwest, About Face Theater, Performing Arts Chicago, Links Hall, The Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, Noble Fool Theater, Live Bait Theater, Dance Chicago, The Saints, Teatro Vista, Gallery 37, ATHE, Theatre Arts Program at Barat College, Northwestern University National High School Institute, Association House, The Drama League of New York, Ohio Theater Ice Factory, Theatre Workshop Edinburgh, University of Novi Sod Serbia, Les Métissages France/Brazil, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Boulder Fringe Festival, Shakespeare-on-the-Green's Teen Conservatory, and many more.



Mark Comiskey — ensemble since 1998

Brian Shaw — co-founder 1995

Julia Neary — special guest performer

Light Design:

Carrie Kennedy - ensemble since 1998

Sound Composition and Performance:

Eric Leonardson — co-founder 1995

Production Video Design:

Mark Comiskey

Outside Eye:

Dexter Bullard — co-founder 1995

Video Art, Animations and Graphics:

Ted Hardin, Ian Munsell, Adrian Schindler

Video Performers:

Cameron Peart and Adrian Schindler

Text Contribution:

Cavan Hallman

Stage Management:

Anna Lafontant


Mark Comiskey (performer/video design) is proud to have been a member of Chicago's premiere physical theater ensemble and has had the distinct pleasure of performing every show in Plasticene's repertoire. Plasticene has been Mark's creative playground since 1997 and he has the scars to prove it. He has been producing, creating and performing theater and music on Chicago stages since 1989. With a focus on original work, he has premiered over 100 productions with The Curious Theater Branch, Theatre Oobleck, Red Moon, the Neo Futurists, Collaboraction, Bread & Puppet, Prop Theater and the Jellyeye Drum Ensemble. Mark has scored and performed original music with Ten Tongues, Asimina Chermos, Curious Theater Branch, Local Infinities, Maestro-matic, Plasticene, Prop Theatre, Red Moon, and Vigilante Films. More recently, he produced, wrote and directed The Gist as part of Collaboraction's 2009 Sketchbook festival. He also creates original video and graphic design.

He is currently the Video Director of Blue Man Group, Chicago.

Brian Shaw (performer) is a founding member of Plasticene Physical Theater and has created, performed and taught with the company many times since 1995. Brian has performed with numerous theaters in Chicago, the Festival of the Americas in Montreal and the Hispanic Theater Festival in Miami. He appeared off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre in The Strangerer by Mickle Maher. He plays the leading role in the independent feature film The Defiled directed by Julian Grant. The Defiled was an official selection of the Chicago International Film Festival, the Bram Stoker Film Festival and various other festivals. He has appeared in numerous commercials, industrial films and a cancelled network television cop show. This past fall, he gave voice to "Croak" in Samuel Beckett's Words and Music live on WFMT radio with the Spektral String Quartet. Brian is a Professor at Columbia College where he teaches acting and physical theater. He is the recipient of the 2003 Excellence in Teaching Award from Columbia College. He has developed exchange programs with the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia, the University of East London, Dublin Institute of Technology and Rose Bruford College. He works with the Center for Community Arts Partnerships, developing programs with community-based organizations to engage students in the creation of youth theater. Brian also was instrumental in the development of Columbia's Comedy Studies program in partnership with Second City.

Julia Neary (performer) and Dexter Bullard first worked together in A Night at the Fights in 1992 and are now working as colleagues at The Theatre School, DePaul University where she is an Assistant Professor of Acting and Movement. She played opposite Brian Shaw in Steppenwolf Theatre's production of Waving Goodbye in 2002 and has known and studied alongside Sharon Göpfert for just as long… so it is a true privilege for her to be working with Plasticene in their final "hoorah" production. Neary was a founding member of the Organic Theatre Collective, Powertap Productions and Running With Scissors all based in the creation of original and physically inspired work. She has directed and choreographed dance, movement and combat in theatre, television, music videos and film. She has co-adapted three novels for the stage one of which, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, received two After Dark Awards and a nomination for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Adaptation. As an actor, she has worked with various theatres throughout Chicago including Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, Next, Teatro Vista, Chicago Dramatists, Lifeline, Strawdog, About Face, Collaboraction and received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actress as a ventriloquist's dummy in Famous Door's award winning production of Ghetto, which she also choreographed. She will be choreographing fights for Skin Tight this summer and dance choreography for Spring Awakening in the fall. Film and television credits include Early Edition, The Untouchables, The Break Up, Black Days, Samaritan, Four/Four, Jack Slash, Etchings, Thanks Mom!, and I Think Not.

Eric Leonardson (sound composition and performance) is a Chicago-based composer, radio artist, sound designer, instrument inventor, improvisor, visual artist, and teacher. He has devoted a majority of his professional career to unorthodox approaches to sound and its instrumentation with a broad understanding of texture, atmosphere and microtones. Since 1995, Eric has been a designing, performing, and composing sound for Plasticene. He is Vice President of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, founder of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, and Executive Director of the World Listening Project. Leonardson is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Carrie Kennedy (light design) is a lighting designer and event producer and Plasticene ensemble member since 1998. She designed lights for From a Fading Light, The Perimeter, BlankSlate, The Palmer Raids, And So I May Return, Volume XII, Flight! and 4X4.

When she is not creating with Plasticene, she spends her time creating and producing events for a long list of clients. These credits include large scale public events such as Chicago Ideas Week, Looptopia, Taste of Chicago, The Chicago Blues Festival, and The Chicago Air and Water Show. She also had the privilege to be the Executive Producer for the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee for the IOC's Evaluation Commission's visit to Chicago and the Bid Committee's final presentation in Copenhagen for the entire IOC. Check more of her work at .

Dexter Bullard (artistic director/outside eye)is an award-winning director dedicated to directing new plays and creating original improvisational and experimental theater for Chicago and beyond. Recent directing credits include Circle Mirror Transformation at Victory Gardens Theatre, The Big Meal at American Theatre Company, Odradek at The HOUSE Theatre, Mistakes Were Made at Barrow Street Theater Off-Broadway and with A Red Orchid Theatre, The DIALogues at Links Hall and MCA. In 2004, Dexter was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Tracy Letts' Bug at The Barrow Street Theater, as well as a Drama Desk Nomination. In 1995 Dexter co—founded Plasticene, a physical theater company whose critically—acclaimed experimental works have been featured at The Steppenwolf Studio, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Storefront Theatre, Performing Arts Chicago, MCA, and in New York City. With the Plasticene company, he has directed and collaboratively created fourteen original works over fifteen years including The Palmer Raids (2003) and From A Fading Light (2010). Since 1996, Dexter has also directed with The Second City, leading a National Touring Company and developing revues at E.T.C. and at Second City Detroit. Back in 1990, Dexter founded The Next Lab at The Next Theatre. As Associate Artistic Director at Next Theatre, he directed and/or created eight shows for mainstage and Lab as well as producing the world premiere of Tracy Lett's Killer Joe. He has also directed projects for Famous Door Theatre, Northlight, Steppenwolf, Hartford Stage Company, Links Hall, and several times for A Red Orchid Theatre. He received his MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dexter is the Head of Graduate Acting at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

This article shared 3595 times since Mon Feb 27, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

A stocking stuffed with holiday shows! 2022-12-03
- Christmas follows fast on Thanksgiving's leftovers, which means sugarplums-and-treacle time for Chicago theater, when many troupes offer holiday shows. There are at least 40 of 'em, from biggies such as the 45th annual A Christmas Carol ...

Gay News

Billy Porter receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame 2022-12-02
- On Dec. 1, award-winning actor/director/singer/playwright Billy Porter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "I'm just so blessed and so grateful to be here," he said, according to KTLA. "James Baldwin said, 'It's an ...

Gay News

Peppermint barks while Broadway bangs, and all the other dish to start the week 2022-11-28
- "I love Broadway. I love what they do—Broadway Cares, but I also want to say the show is extraordinary!" —Nicole Kidman's impromptu speech after bidding $100K to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for Hugh Jackman's hat after ...

Gay News

New York theaters bounce back: Four shows ask questions about identity 2022-11-22
- All theater critics worth their salt should take a bite of the Big Apple now and then, savoring the bright lights of Broadway and a soggy slice of what passes for pizza. On my first visit in nearly three years, Broadway ...

Gay News

Gay man to head Chicago Latino Theater Alliance 2022-11-15
- The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) announced the appointment of Jorge Valdivia as its new executive director, according to the Lawndale News. Valdivia's previous position was director of performing arts at the National Museum of Mexic ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Porchlight's Rent is a winner 2022-11-09
By Jonathan Abarbanel - Title: Rent. Playwright: Jonathan Larson (book, music, lyrics) At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center. Tickets: 773-777-9884;; $25 and up. Runs through: Dec. 11 From its 1996 premiere ...

Gay News

Mister International Rubber takes the stage at Center on Halsted, Riviera Theatre 2022-11-07
- The MIR26 (Mister International Rubber) competition took place at the Center on Halsted and the Riviera Theatre over the Nov. 4-6 weekend. Pusckatt Pumera Onyx won the competition. The event was co-emceed by Lucy Stoole and ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Gay racer, GALECA, Lena Waithe, 'Chicago,' LGBTQ+ films 2022-11-06
- Gay motorsports racer Zach Herrin made his long-awaited debut in a NASCAR-affiliated race in Phoenix, The Advocate noted. "I know I have a lot of eyes on me, and all I want to do is get out there and blur everything ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Nathan Lane, gala, Beyonce, Kevin Aviance, Henry Cavill, Shania 2022-10-30
Video below - Nathan Lane is returning to Broadway this winter to star in the debut run of Pictures of Home, per The Hollywood Reporter. Based on the photo memoir by Larry Sultan of the same name and adapted ...

Gay News

Young trans playwright queers Shakespeare in new production 'Malapert Love' 2022-10-29
- The Artistic Home will debut Malapert Love on Nov. 5-Dec. 11 in Wicker Park at The Den Theatre's Upstairs Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. The gender-bending, Shakespearean romantic comedy was written by 18-year-old Siah Berlatsky, who's ...

Gay News

THEATER 'The Golden Girls' holiday special Nov. 26-Dec. 30 2022-10-27
- Hell in a Handbag Productions is in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Obligatory Holiday Special, playing Nov. 26-Dec. 30 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Dorothy, Rose, ...

Gay News

'Cirque Dreams Holidaze' to take place Dec. 22-24 2022-10-26
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze is set to dazzle Chicago audiences with a Broadway-style production infused with contemporary circus arts. The production will play for six performances on Dec. 22-24 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 Ida B. Wells ...

Gay News

16th Street Theater to close at the end of the year 2022-10-26
- The board of Berwyn's 16th Street Theater announced that the award-winning, nationally acclaimed Equity theater company will close at the end of 2022. A statement read, "For 15 inspiring seasons, plus two years of the pandemic, ...

Gay News

Cody Estle to step down as Raven Theatre artistic director 2022-10-24
- Raven Theatre's board of directors announced that Cody Estle will step down as the company's artistic director at the end of November. Estle has been the company's artistic leader since 2017. He will join Milwaukee's Next ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: COVID book, 'Wicked' cocktails, 'A Taste of Hope' and more 2022-10-24
- —COVID-19, the LGBTQIA+ Community and Public Policy: As studies emerge to help us understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on every facet of modern life, it is critical that the effect of the pandemic on ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.