Welcome to The Room, an online reading series that brings original work, plays in-development, and new stories to Chicago audiences. Offering in-depth discussions as well as action steps for patrons that intersect with themes of the plays. The Room will run via Zoom monthly for the duration for the COVID-19 pandemic as a fundraiser with the intent to transition into an in-person experience in the future.

There’s a Clown in my Bubble

written and performed by Ensemble Member Philip Earl Johnson 

May 14, 2021

Our physical, social network – or “bubble” – isn’t a new concept, but it certainly has been more relentless lately. Inspired by the idea of being inside the bubble – comedian, storyteller, and award-winning Ensemble Member Philip Earl Johnson turns to stories about the original bubble: family. Whether it’s with the family we came from of the one we helped create, life in the bubble is filled with certain moments of adaptation. And that’s when it gets ridiculous.

On the Greenbelt

written by Karissa Murrell Myers, 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award semi-finalist
directed by Andrew Coopman

April 30, 2021

Jules saw something in the Idaho hospital the night her mom died, but she’ll never say what it was. Not to her ex, Olivia, and especially not to her brother, Jake, who keeps trying to convince her to go with him to the Greenbelt to spread their mom’s ashes with their father, Alan. But try as she might, Jules can’t shake the memories of the past that haunt her like a gin-soaked hangover as the day unravels the past events surrounding her mother’s death come to light. A serio-comic play that jumps between past and present, On the Greenbelt, explores family, love, memory, and the question of “how do we process grief?”

Sanctuary City

created & directed by Ensemble Member Ian Paul Custer
written by Shannon Pritchard

March 26, 2021

It’s the last city in the country where you can become an American. Sanctuary City opens its gates to hopeful immigrants from around the world, who work and live in the city in order to gain citizenship. Anyone can get in, it’s just hard to get out. This is the pilot episode of a neo-noir podcast in development.

Football Football Football Football (Or I Love Lave Dash)

written and directed by Kristoffer Diaz

featuring Lora Lee Gayer, Suli Holum, Marin Ireland, Maria-Christina Oliveras, and Maureen Sebastian

February 5, 2021

One professional football team must choose between two potential top draft picks: Charismatic multiethnic finesse machine Lave Dash and salt-of-the-earth muscle monster Mervin Gufflinson the First. But when these two young legends join forces, it not only changes the game, but also all sports, and also the whole world, and maybe the entire universe. An insane comedy about masculinity, featuring an all-female cast.

The Lion

written and performed by Ensemble Member Manny Buckley

January 15, 2021

The Lion tells the compelling story of arguably the nineteenth century’s most famous African- American civil rights activist, Frederick Douglass. Douglass rose from beginnings as a slave in Maryland to become a self-taught writer, publisher, orator, abolitionist, and politician.

Red Bike

written by Caridad Svich
directed by Lavina Jadhwani
starring August Forman 

December 9, 2020

What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now.

Days of Decision – The Music of Phil Ochs

devised and performed by Artistic Affiliate Zachary Stevenson 

November 1 & 2, 2020

A virtual Phil Ochs tribute concert performed by award-winning Artistic Affiliate Zachary Stevenson (Buddy in The Buddy Holly Story). Featuring powerful songs and incredible stories, Zach reveals his personal journey into the music of this legendary folk singer who stood for freedom, equality, and social justice.

Alma

written by Benjamin Benne
directed by Ana Velazquez
featuring Jazmín Corona and Keren Diaz de Leon

October 18 & 19, 2020

Working mom Alma has single-handedly raised her daughter, Angel, on tough love, home-cooked comida, and lots of prayers. But on the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present. Will the American Dream cost them a life together?

Yes… My Name Is Lucy!

written by Ensemble Member Wandachristine
directed by Ensemble Member Chuck Smith
featuring Deanna Dunagan and Camille Robinson

September 18, 2020

To earn extra cash, Sarah James, a young, struggling Black filmmaker, decorates the set for an upcoming documentary on the life of deceased Chicagoan and Civil Rights activist, Lucy Hassell Montgomery. While busily making last minute changes, Sarah has an unexpected visitor…Lucy herself.

A Shot: #A Love Story Inspired By Black Lives Matter

written by Gloria Bond Clunie
directed by Ensemble Member Chuck Smith
featuring Ensemble Members Ian Paul Custer and Wandachristine

August 7, 2020

When Mrs. Nettie Morris goes to the storefront campaign office of congressional hopeful Jeffrey Talbott determined to save her grandson from Chicago’s violent streets and incarceration with an ingenious plan – a very personal life and death struggle takes a surprising turn.

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