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.
HITTING ON THE BREAK by Sharon Krome
Directed by Scott Dare
Featuring Flora Bare, Jenni Hadley, Chase Nuerge,
Kyra Leigh, and Brandon Rodriguez
Monday, April 29
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL
$5 suggested donation
When an all-female group of therapy buddies decides to take a boxing class (girl power all the way) it's far from what they expect. Mexican boxer and all around tough guy, Val attempts to train the ladies but his no nonsense demeanor doesn't go over well. Filled with sports metaphors, sweat, and tears...but mostly sweat, Hitting on the Break takes a swing at fragile masculinity while championing the resilience we acquire through living with trauma.
As tragic circumstances begin to break the boxers, will they learn to finally fight back?
MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT
SHARON KROME is a Chicago-based filmmaker, director, and playwright. Originally from small-town Maryland, Sharon has studied/lived all over Europe, including Graffiti-smattered Berlin. She received her MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University, where she discovered her love of teaching. Since then, she has taught everything from video production to playwriting at Old Town School of Folk Music, Changing Worlds, Chicago Children's Theatre, and American Blues Theater. Here in Chicago, she directed the webseries Symbiosis, assisted on sets from indie films to House Hunters, and worked at theaters like Silk Road Rising & Red Theater. Most recently, she was a featured playwright in Jackalope Theatre's inaugural Playwrights Lab and self-produced her original punk play ThroatPunch.
MEET THE CAST
We asked Sharon a few questions about playwriting, making theatre, and Hitting on the Break. Here's what she had to say:
Q. What's your hometown?
Good ol' Union Bridge. We have one traffic light and a gas station - it's a very glamorous place.
Q. What brought you to Chicago?
I moved here for grad school. While pursuing my MFA from Northwestern I tried to sponge in as much Chicago that I could but barely scratched the service. The city is less superficial than LA and kinder than NYC with a growing number of theaters. Staying in Chicago just makes sense.
Q. Was there a play you saw or a moment you experienced that made you realize you wanted to write plays?
My grandma took me and my sisters to see Little Women on Broadway and I've been discovering my fiery inner Jo March ever since...Sutton Foster will do that to you.
Q. What’s a piece of advice, playwriting related or not, that has stuck with you?
First drafts will always be terrible no matter how talented you are. A good writer has the courage to rewrite and sit with notes and face criticism. It will be terrifying but that just means that you're writing something that needs to be said. Resilience outweighs talent. And let the countless rejection letters be your fuel, rather than a reason to stop writing.
Q. Which playwrights or other artists have inspired or influenced you?
Annie Baker and Simon Stephens are all-time favorites. My professors at Northwestern definitely shaped my style as well. Rebecca Gilman showed me what it means to be a female writer with agency. Thomas Bradshaw inspired me to be fearless. My students remind me to stay weird and embrace the silly. And my writing collective shows me that artists can support one another. There is enough room for all of us and thoughtful feedback is the greatest gift.
Q. How did you come to write Hitting on the Break?
Just after grad school, I was working for a major theater. One day, the artistic director said to me 'people with PTSD don't belong in theater'. The idea that a well-educated person could be so judgmental and misinformed really bothered me. So I created a play in which every character has PTSD to show that we are not weak. If we want to be in theater or a boxing class, that's where we belong. And someone had to document my boxing trainer's steady supply of wisdom.
Q. What kind of theatre are you most excited about/passionate about?
The strange, the bold, and musicals! I think we can be so quick to put on our critic hat before we acknowledge that putting up any show is a vulnerable thing. Even if a production has a non-existent budget, is a bit under baked, or just not my thing, I'm proud of them. That's the theater that excites me - those who take risks and put themselves out there, even if they know they probably won't get a 4-star review or a Jeff nomination.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
SCOTT DARE is a physical theatre and circus artist working as a director, deviser, choreographer, and educator. He serves as Education Manager for the Actors Gymnasium and as co-curator and co-host for Heels Over Head. Outside of Chicago his works have been seen in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and London. Locally he has collaborated with The Actors Gymnasium, Theater Unspeakable, Filament Theater, Mudlark Theater, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, American Theater Company, The Agency Collective, Semi-Circus and Imaginez Ensemble. He holds a Master’s degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and a black belt in traditional martial arts from the ISKA. Find out more at scottjdare.com