A staged reading series that showcases new, full-length work by Chicago area playwrights.
Each script is brought to life through collaboration with a director and cast of talented actors.
BURY ME by Brynne Frauenhoffer
Directed by Ben Kaye
Featuring Krista Gustafson, Tom Jansson, Victoria Perez, Justine Serino, David Stobbe, and Lexi Turner
Monday, March 26
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL
$5 suggested donation
Josh and Michelle didn't mean to get pregnant. Five months along, they return to Josh's rural hometown of Pacific, Missouri to visit his mother, teenage half-sister, and stepfather. When Josh gets into a fateful fender-bender with his high school crush, he begins to question the life he's beginning. Meanwhile, a passionate pro-choice essay written by his sister spurs revelations that force everyone to evaluate their beliefs in parenthood, in God, and in the plans they've made for their lives.
MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT
BRYNNE FRAUENHOFFER is a Chicago-based playwright, and she is so grateful to Dandelion for the chance to share this story with her chosen city. Previously, Bury Me has been selected for readings at Echo Theater in Dallas, TX and Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, CA. Brynne developed her full-length play Synchronicity through The Writers Room at The New Colony; it later won the 2016 Davey Foundation Theatre Grant and received a workshop at Salt Lake Acting Company. Her most recent full-length, Jane's Heir (IT'S BRONTE BITCH), was commissioned and workshopped by Adapt Theatre Productions. Her short plays have been produced by Commission Theatre Company, 20% Theatre Company, and the Chicago One Minute Play Festival. As a script supervisor and director's assistant, she has worked on world premieres at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Chicago Dramatists. Currently, she profiles Chicago theatremakers for Perform.Ink, and is developing Pizza Hut Heartbreaker for Commission Theatre Company's reading series The Outset. When she's not writing, she can be found performing with PS... Burlesque. www.brynnefrau.com
We asked Brynne a few questions about playwriting, making theatre, and Bury Me. Here's what she had to say:
Q. What's your hometown?
I grew up mainly in Eureka, Missouri, which is a ride down the highway from St. Louis and just a county line over from the town where Bury Me is set.
Q. What brought you to Chicago?
I always wanted to end up in the Chicago theatre world. Right after I graduated from the University of Oklahoma, my family piled everything I owned in a van and moved me up here to get started. I always had the sense that Chicago supported new work and prioritized passion over profit, and so far that's proved absolutely true for me.
Q. Why playwriting? Was there a play you saw or a moment you experienced that made you realize you wanted to write plays?
I've written for as long as I can remember--as a kid I typed away at Pokemon and Harry Potter fanfiction on my grandma's PC, so it's always been a part of my life. In high school I fell in love with theatre, and then in college (where I majored in acting) I took my first playwriting class and it finally clicked that playwriting was the best of both worlds.
Q. Which playwrights or other artists have inspired or influenced you the most?
I was so blessed to have Laura Jacqmin as my first playwriting teacher. She exposed me to so many new plays and new ways of thinking about writing, and she was the first person to tell me I should write a full-length, plus her body of work is gorgeous and astounding. Dana Lynn Formby is another incredible playwright and educator who I've learned so much from by taking her classes, reading her work, and seeing her in the rehearsal room. I look up to and just adore Calamity West, and being a part of The Writers Room at The New Colony gave me the chance to work with Evan Linder, who's also a genius. I'm also a huge fangirl about Sam Hunter, because so often his plays feel ripped right out of my heart and made 1000x better.
Q. How did you come to write Bury Me?
The seed of this play came from a friend whose family experienced one of the pivotal plot points, so that germinated for years. Then I went through my first real heartbreak, and started reconsidering a lot of my old political and spiritual ideologies, and so I finally had the fuel to build a whole play. I spent about a year writing the first draft and told no one what it was about, which kept me focused on writing the story so I could finally share it!
Q. What kind of theatre are you most excited about/passionate about?
I love stories that can only be told onstage, that wouldn't make sense or make an impact in any other art form. I live for moments in plays that feel magically theatrical, that effortlessly transform a blackbox or proscenium or church basement into another world. Also, theatre radically changed and continues to shape how I perceive perspectives outside my own, so I'm really invested in stories that show me points of view that I don't regularly access as a cis/hetero/white female. Theatre is such a powerful tool for empathy and change--I've witnessed it in myself, my family, my friends--and so I seek out bold stories that continue to blow audiences' perceptions wide open and offer a window into underrepresented experiences.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
BEN KAYE is a freelance director, composer, and performer based in Chicago, and is thrilled to be working with Dandelion Theatre to develop this new play. His work has previously been seen at Nothing Without a Company, The New Colony, The Hypocrites, Chicago Dramatists, Mercy Street Theatre Company, and GreatWorks Theatre Company. He also works as the Audience Services Manager at Emerald City Theatre. See more at thebenkaye.com.