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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.


Directed by Kaycee Filson

Featuring Darío Fernando Carrión, Christina Casano, Allegra Denes, Destini Huston, Larenz Jones, Philip Lindsey, Marjorie Muller, Jon O'Grady, and Gracie Schwartzenberger

Tuesday, January 30

at 7:30pm

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

$5 suggested donation

The draft has been reinstated for every American under twenty-six, and four friends try to decide if they should accept or resist. Also, a young ballet company prepares for a year of new pieces and everyone’s favorite, The Nutcracker. Also also, the ghost of a poet is haunted by another spirit, and by his own poetry. And all over Michigan, draft dodgers unite, sinkholes appear, monsters crawl out, and baseball is cancelled. Skipping & Dodging searches for the difference between the dystopias we dream up and the dystopias outside our door—if there even is a difference.

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KYLE WHALEN is a Chicago-based playwright and theatermaker. His work has been read and developed by American Theatre Company, the Actors Theatre of Louisville Professional Training Company, Fresh Ground Pepper NYC, Dandelion Theatre, and Commission Theatre. His short play Nickelodeons was performed in Dandelion’s The Ticket Booth. Whalen is an alum of the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Williamstown apprenticeships, and The New Colony's Writers' Room. He serves as literary manager for Commission Theatre. He studied dramaturgy at the University of Oklahoma.

We asked Kyle a few questions about playwriting, making theatre, and Skipping & Dodging. Here's what he had to say:

Hometown: Houston, Texas.

Q. What brought you to Chicago?
Ensemble theatre. Also, my family moved around a lot when I was young. I thought none of us had ever lived in Chicago. That novelty was appealing, but it turns out my great-aunt was a nurse here in her twenties. She beat me to it.

Q. What was the first play that made you want to write plays?

I think the desire took root when I was an actor in high school. Often in plays I was cast in, I would wish a line, or a narrative choice, or the rhythm was different, and I would feel a little frustrated that I was in no position to adjust it. So, I started writing so I could hear what I longed to hear.

Q. Which playwrights or other artists have inspired or influenced you the most?
Playwrights would be Churchill, Stoppard, Nilo Cruz, August Wilson, Lucas Hnath, Calamity West, Laura Jacqmin, Ntozake Shange, Marina Carr, Rajiv Joseph, and Judith Thompson. And of course, the House, the Hypocrites, the Mad Ones, the Neo-Futurists, etc. Ensembles’ energies and styles definitely shaped what I think makes good characters and a good story.

Q. How did you come to write Skipping and Dodging?

Skipping & Dodging grew from my love of Judith Thompson’s play The Lion in the Streets and G.K. Chesterton’s book The Man Who Was Thursday. Skipping & Dodging began as an exercise in copying Thompson, in pushing myself to make bolder choices, especially concerning language.

Q. What kind of theatre are you most excited about/passionate about?
Decentralized theatre. Theatre that makes me cry. Theatre with good music. Theatre that took a team to make. Theatre that I couldn’t have made.


KAYCEE FILSON is a theater artist and educator who made her directorial debut in Chicago this past spring with Dandelion Theatre’s The Ticket Booth. Most recently, Kaycee worked as the Props Designer for Breath, Boom (Eclipse Theatre), and Dorkumentary Live! (Tarleton/Dawn Productions), and is currently working as a teaching artist with American Blues Theater’s The Lincoln Project. Before relocating to Chicago last year, Kaycee lived and worked in New Orleans where she was a member of a National Poetry Slam championship team, hosted a live dating show, and created, toured, and published her solo project, BODY Play. She has spent the last decade working with young people in schools, museums, camps, youth homes, and juvenile detention centers, and is thrilled to be working with Dandelion Theatre again to promote the work of local playwrights.

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