Press Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Underwood
312.806.0541 michelle@mortartheatrecompany.org

MORTAR THEATRE COMPANY COLLABORATES WITH PEGASUS PLAYERS ON AUTUMN MUSE SERIES

Mortar Theatre produces staged readings of a new musical and a one-man show, and hosts a Viewpoints Intensive Weekend

CHICAGOMortar Theatre Company is proud to present two staged readings and a Viewpoints workshop in collaboration with Pegasus Players’AUTUMN MUSE Series this September and October at the Uptown Hull House Leo Turner Theater at 4520 N. Beacon St. Every weekend AUTUMN MUSE will fill the Uptown Theater with staged readings of new work, musical performances, and film screenings. On Saturday September 22 at 5:00pm, Mortar presents a staged reading of a new musical, Never Having Seen a Bird by Sarah Marie Neilson. For two nights on FridaySeptember 28 at 8:00pm and Friday October 12 at 8:00pm, Mortar will stage a reading of a one-man show, Seek and Ye Shall Find, written and performed by Sentell Harper. The weekend of October 6-7, Mortar will host a Viewpoints Intensive two-day movement workshop led by Stephanie Stroud and Sentell Harper.

All AUTUMN MUSE programming is a $5 suggested donation at the door. The Viewpoints Intensive is $75 for the weekend, with $60 Early Bird pricing. Workshop registration is open on MortarTheatreCompany.org. For more information email: tickets@mortartheatrecompany.org.

Never Having Seen a Bird by Sarah Marie Neilson follows a rebellious mermaid who will risk everything to traverse new worlds, even if it means giving up her voice and struggling in her new form. This bluesy, acoustic and playful musical alteration of the classic childhood story “The Little Mermaid” explores the body in all its complications, the thrill and fear of change, and the strength it takes to sing again. Mortar Theatre producing ensemble member Stephanie Stroud directs the staged reading of Never Having Seen a Bird on September 22 at 5:00p.m. with musical composition by Damon Cole and musical direction by David Knoell.

The talented musical cast includes Cruz GonzalezSentell Harper**, Rachel Edwards Harvith*, Geoff KnoxGretchen PorroMegan Tabaque, and Katie Weiss. *Indicates Mortar Theatre Company member. **Indicates Mortar Theatre Artistic Associate.

As part of the evening’s festivities, musicians Megan Tabaque and David Knoell will take the stage to perform individual sets following the staged reading. Megan Tabaque is a self-taught player of the guitar, banjo, and ukulele with a sound that is both sweet and sad in the folk rock and pop realms. David Knoell plays original acoustic folk inspired by science and philosophy.

Seek and Ye Shall Find written and performed by Sentell Harper is a one-man show that asks, What does it mean to be different? To be black? To be gay? One performer boldly explores the stories of 25 different black, gay men who are fiercely funny, deeply honest, and constantly surprising. Combining interviewing techniques and storytelling flair, Seek and Ye Shall Find brings forth the comedic and heartbreaking tales of individuals whose complexity cannot be simplified behind stereotype. Mortar Theatre producing ensemble members Stephanie Stroud directs and Dana Lynn Formby dramaturgs the staged reading of Seek and Ye Shall Find on two nights, September 28 and October 12 at 8:00p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday October 6-7 from 12-4:30p.m., Mortar and Pegasus will host Viewpoints Intensive: A Weekend Workshop in The Studio at Uptown Center. The Viewpoints technique of ensemble interaction, improvisation, and movement has become a dominant form of actor training in the United States and Chicago in particular. Originally developed by choreographer Mary Overlie, the Viewpoints were later expanded and adapted for actors by Steppenwolf’s Tina Landau and SITI Company’s Anne Bogart. The Viewpoints are an essential foundation for the modern actor. Led by Stephanie Stroud and Sentell Harper, the workshop will be limited to 15 participants. Prior knowledge of Viewpoints is not necessary.

The Viewpoints workshop offered by Mortar Theatre Company will introduce actors to the Viewpoints of Time and Space. The Viewpoints teach actors to develop the technique of ensemble work through active listening, spontaneity, trust, kinesthetic response, shared energy, spatial relationships and becoming present. The workshop artist will explore Viewpoints through grid-work, the flow, and lane-work, culminating in Open Viewpoints.

Workshop lead and Mortar Theatre Producing Ensemble Member Stephanie Stroud received her M.F.A. in Acting from Pennsylvania State University, where she studied the Viewpoints, Lacoq, Tai Chi, Mime and Mask from the nationally recognized authority on stage movement, Mark Olsen. Stephanie has applied the Viewpoints to both solo and ensemble theatrical productions. Recent Viewpoints Collaboration: Henry V(Pennsylvania Center Stage), Home Run (Steppenwolf: Explore Detroit), Corazón de Manzana (Mortar Theatre Company at Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs).

Workshop lead and Mortar Artistic Associate Sentell Harper studied Viewpoints with the renowned SITI Company under the direction of Anne Bogart while receiving his M.F.A. in Acting at Arizona State University. For three years he was part of a collaborative group of theatre artists who worked with SITI Company members that used the Viewpoints to create original pieces for main stage productions at the Herberger School of Fine Arts while also teaching Viewpoints to theatre undergrads at Arizona State University. Sentell’s continued study and use of the Viewpoints has furthered his own original solo performances and helped him reimagine characters, words, and space through a vocabulary that is beneficial to all actors.

AUTUMN MUSE Collaborative Programming:

Saturday, September 22, 5:00 p.m.

Staged Reading: Never Having Seen a Bird, a new musical by Sarah Marie Neilson, musical composition by Damon Cole, directed by Stephanie Stroud, musical direction by David Knoell

8PM Musical guests: Megan Tabaque and David Knoell

Friday, September 28, 8:00 p.m.
Staged Reading: Seek and Ye Shall Find, a new solo show written and performed by Sentell Harper, directed by Stephanie Stroud

Saturday-Sunday October 6 & 7,12 – 4:30p.m.
Viewpoints Intensive: A Weekend Workshop taught by Sentell Harper and Stephanie Stroud in the The Studio at Uptown Hull House Leo Lerner Theater

Friday, October 12, 8:00 p.m.
Staged Reading: Seek and Ye Shall Find, a new solo show written and performed by Sentell Harper, directed by Stephanie Stroud

A full listing of Pegasus’ AUTUMN MUSE programming is available on PegasusPlayers.org.

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ABOUT MORTAR THEATRE COMPANY

Mortar Theatre is an experiment in rethinking the system. A space for innovative visuals and staging. A connection point where audience and artist dare to be collaborative rebels. An exercise in fearless storytelling. Mortar brings a devotion to the holistic development of new work as an artistic collective composed of actors, directors, designers and playwrights.

ABOUT PEGASUS PLAYERS

For more than 33 years, Pegasus Players has been committed to providing high quality, socially relevant theatre to Chicago, especially people who have limited access to the arts. Pegasus Players is committed to presenting new and contemporary work that crosses cultural, social, and geographical boundaries and brings communities together by presenting works that provoke dialogue. Through programs such as its annual Young Playwrights Festival and international tours of productions, Pegasus Players has touched the hearts, minds and futures of thousands of people throughout Chicago and around the world. Pegasus Players has received over 80 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Awards.

Mortar Theatre Company’s programming collaboration with Pegasus Players’ AUTUMN MUSE Series performs at the Uptown Hull House Leo Lerner Theater4520 N. Beacon Street, September 22 and 28, October 6-7 and October 12. All AUTUMN MUSE programming is a $5 suggested donation at the door. The Viewpoints Intensive is $75 for the weekend, with $60 Early Bird pricing. Workshop registration is open on MortarTheatreCompany.org. For more information email: tickets@mortartheatrecompany.org.

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