RESERVOIR

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.

COME HERE TO ME by Dianne Nora

Directed by Alex Mallory

Featuring Ashley Agbay and Nora Hunt

Monday, February 25

at 7:30pm

Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL

$5 suggested donation

Aoife, a young Irish woman, and Grace, her American roommate, travel together from their home in Dublin to London, pursued by a ghost. Set in October 2018, this play offers a glimpse into the time after Ireland's historic vote to repeal the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution, making abortion legal in the Republic of Ireland, but before the law had come into effect. As Aoife and Grace tackle issues of friendship, grief, and autonomy, Come Here to Me looks at the intersections of Irish and American culture, and the women's lives that hang in the balance. 

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MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT

DIANNE NORA is a playwright, dramaturg, theatre scholar, and comedy writer who lives and works in Chicago, New York, and Dublin, Ireland. She is a 2018-2019 member of Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, where she has been commissioned to write a new play about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She assisted her mentor Tracy Letts on the world premieres of his plays Mary Page Marlowe, Linda Vista, and The Minutes, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. She is co-writing a parody of the Bible with Scott Dikkers, founding editor of The Onion. She is also a writer on Dikkers' new book Welcome to the Universe Which is Mine by (Not) Elon Musk, available everywhere from Grand Central Publishing. This summer, her play Monica: This Play Is Not About Monica Lewinsky will have its world premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, produced by Via Brooklyn, with previews at New York's 59E59 Theaters. BA: NYU; MPhil: Trinity College Dublin; MFA: Columbia University School of the Arts.

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We asked Dianne a few questions about making theatre, her inspirations, and Come Here to Me. Here's what she had to say:

 

Q. What's your hometown?

I am from Oak Park, just west of Chicago, where I currently live with my amazing family. I consider Chicago, Brooklyn, and Dublin to be my homes. 

 

Q. What about Chicago keeps you here?

I returned to Chicago in 2016 to work for the playwright and actor Tracy Letts. The artists in Chicago who make me most excited to work here are those who are constantly expanding the definition of what it means to be a Chicago theatre artist, those who strive to make the theatre community as complex, beautiful, and challenging as the city. 

Q. Come Here to Me takes place in Ireland, a place you've spent time. How would you describe your experience of Ireland and what about it has stuck with you the most?

Ireland is a million things. As an American, I’d never be able to do it justice in a short description. I will say Dublin is the place I am happiest and most at home. It’s a place of great stories, great art, and great craic. 

Q. What brought you to playwriting?

I started writing plays while studying dramatic literature and theatre history at NYU. I think writing plays gives me an opportunity to express and explore things I can’t say offstage. 

Q. Which playwrights or other artists have inspired or influenced you?

My playwriting teachers have had a significant influence on my writing and how I look at the world, especially Michael West, Marina Carr, Melissa Sihra, Karin McCully, Chuck Mee, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Gregory Mosher, and Tracy Letts. I’ve learned so much from the dramaturg Ed Sobel. I continue to grow from experiencing the work of my peers and collaborators, too. I thought a lot about the work of Conor McPherson, Mark O’Rowe, and David Bowie while writing this play.

Q. How did you come to write Come Here to Me?

I wanted to write about female friendships and how they can be complicated by issues of identity and inequality. I wanted to write about grief, and loss, and the perceived value of women’s lives, particularly women who don’t have children. I wanted to write about the direction that I see Irish culture moving in, and the direction that I see American culture moving in, and what happens to people who are in and of both worlds. And I wanted to write about ghosts. Come Here to Me grew out of all those impulses. 

 

Q. What kind of theatre are you most excited about/passionate about?

The theatre that I’m most passionate about, and the theatre I hope to make, is work that uses language and form in interesting and surprising ways, work that challenges what we think we know, and work that is driven by empathy.

MEET THE CAST

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

 

ALEX MALLORY is a third-year MFA candidate in Directing at Northwestern University investigating theatrical collisions of violence and identity. Directing highlights include GOLIATH and DIJLA WAL FURAT at Wild Project, FAITH at Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival, and THE REFUGE PROJECT for Bedlam MadLAB, all developed with Poetic Theater Productions, and an original adaptation of SPRING AWAKENING at Northwestern. Since 2012 Alex has worked with military veterans as a director and facilitator with The Telling Project, Veteran Artist Program, DE-CRUIT, and LaGuardia Community College. She holds a BA from Stanford University where she received the Louis Sudler Prize in Creative Arts and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for work involving social issues. She has assisted at Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Goodman New Stages, and will be assisting on INDECENT at Oregon Shakespeare Festival this season. Upcoming: MARY STUART with an all-womxn cast at Northwestern April 26-May 5. Associate Member, SDC. www.alex-mallory.com.      

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CONTENT ADVISORY

Dandelion Theatre does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any questions about content, please contact Dandelion Theatre directly at dandeliontheatre@gmail.com.