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By Okko Leo
Directed by Brad Akin
December 11, 2015 – January 10, 2016

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We are pleased to present the U.S. premiere of Finnish playwright Okko Leo’s dark comedy THE ORCHESTRA directed by Brad Akin. THE ORCHESTRA follows a group of has-been rockers who’ve been playing weddings for peanuts. But when a band-mates famous sister visits them at a gig – they see an opportunity for one final push for fame. It’s “Fargo meets This Is Spinal Tap” in a performance that has all of Finland abuzz – and that’s saying something in a land where extroverted Finns look at your shoes when they talk!

At Rivendell Theatre - 5779 N. Ridge Ave. in Chicago
Previews December 9 &10, 2015
Performances Friday, December 11 – Sunday, January 10, 2016
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.
Please note: there will not be performances on Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) and Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day).

Cast: Bergen Anderson*, Steve Herson, Josiah Kumpost, Jim Poole, Ryan David Heywood and Tony St. Clair.

Production Team: Joe Schermoly (scenic designer), Izumi Inabi (costume designer), Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (lighting designer), Matt Chapman (sound designer and composer), Archer Curry (props designer) and Krista Mickelson (production manager).

About the Playright
Okko Leo is a Helsinki-based playwright and dramaturg who graduated from the Finnish Theatre Academy in 2011. He has written for both stage and radio, and his plays have been performed in many of Finland’s best-known professional theatres including the Finnish National Theatre and KOM Theatre in Helsinki, as well as in theatres abroad. Leo's plays often explore themes of communication, language, identity and social structures. Productions include Pitch, Blue-coloured, Divina Comédia, What Are Big Boys Made Of?, National Hero, Orchestra - The Everlast, Guests - Family Saga and The World Trusts Us.

About the Director
Brad Akin is a Chicago-based director and educator. An ensemble member at Steep Theatre Company since 2005, Brad has directed several productions with his artistic family including the Chicago premieres of Linda McLean’s strangers, babies; David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky; Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Emily Mann’s Greensboro: A Requiem. Outside his Steep home, Brad directed the Chicago premieres of Lucy Thurber’s Where We’re Born and Bekah Brunstetter’s OOHRAH! (with LiveWire Chicago) at Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre. Other companies Brad has had the pleasure of directing plays, readings and workshops for include WildClaw, The Poor Theatre, Sideshow, Dog & Pony, 2nd Story, Pivot Arts and Bowen Park Theatre. Every summer, Brad has the great privilege of challenging the best and the brightest high school seniors of North Carolina as the theatre instructor for the NC Governor’s School.

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"Dark & unique...Extreme credit goes to Lygre’s poetic language, a committed cast, and the dual direction from Chad Eric Bergman and Breahan Eve Pautsch in making something so unusual flow so naturally. Akvavit’s skilled production remains focused and engaging..." RECOMMENDED -- Chicago Theater Beat

"...elegantly designed, cooly acted, and affectingly lyrical..." -- Chicago Reader

Arne Lygre’s new play NOTHING OF ME is a post-modern ghost story. Not long after an unspeakable tragedy, a wife and mother walks away from her entire life for a new relationship with a much younger man. Is she moving on towards a bright new life, or is she sinking deeper into self-destruction? In a playful yet haunting style, Lygre delves into the bond of love, its force and its dead-ends, using ruthlessly telltale dialogue. The play warns us of the danger we are all guilty of when we imprison others within our expectations, through the very love we feel for them.

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Signal Ensemble Theatre
1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago

March 5-April 6, 2016
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm
Sundays at 3:00 pm. 
The production team for NOTHING OF ME includes: Chad Eric Bergman (set design), Christina Marcantonio (costume design), Emma Deane (lighting design), Nigel Harsch (sound designer), Derik Iverson (production manager) and Catherine Connelly (stage manager).
Cast: company members Bergen Anderson* (Me) and Kirstin Franklin* (Person) with Paul S. Holmquist (Ex) and Dan Wilson (He).
About the Playwright
Arne Lygre made his debut in 1998 with the play Mother and Me and Men. Since then he has written six other plays, which has been staged and published in countries around the world. Man Without Purpose was directed by Claude Régy at Odeon Théâtre in Paris in 2007/08. I Disappear, premiered at La Colline Théâtre National in November 2011, directed by Stéphane Braunschweig. For his short stories collection, In Time, he received the prestigious Norwegian literary award Brageprisen in 2004. He has also written two novels, A Last Face and My Dead Man, which both was very well recieved by the critics. He was awarded the literary award Mads Wiels Nygaards’ Legacy in 2010.
About the Directors
Chad Eric Bergman actively collaborates in the Chicago Storefront scene having worked with Stage Left, Live Bait, Chicago Dramatists, MPAACT, parker, Plasticene and Akvavit in various artistic ways. He has been an artist in residence at the Ragdale Foundation and the University of Chicago’s Summer Incubator. He spent a year in Finland on a Fulbright exploring bilingual theatre. At North Park University, he has been developing a theatre curriculum that is based on the Chicago Storefront Theatre model.
Breahan Eve Pautsch has been working in Chicago as an actor and director since 2003. As a director, she has worked with Akvavit, Raven Theatre, The International Voices Project, Hobo Junction Productions, Full Voice Productions, Mudgeonsoul Cinema and Stockyards Theatre Project.
As an actor, she has worked with various theatre companies including Akvavit, Hobo Junction Productions, Halcyon Theatre Company, Chicago ScriptWorks and The Side Project. On film, Breahan has worked with Mudgeonsoul Cinema, Full Voice Productions and Butcher's Son Films. She is originally from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and earned her BA in Theatre and English at UW-Madison
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By Sofia Fredén

World Premiere Translation
by Chad Eric Bergman*

Directed by Breahan Eve Pautsch*
September 14 – October 16, 2016 at The Den Theatre

In this madcap black comedy from Sweden, six accidental roommates struggle to find money, love and – hardest of all – their own apartment in Stockholm. Each works hard to manipulate the system in their own ways, but all of them are willing to go to extreme lengths to find a place (or person) to call home. They look for shelter in the wilderness, the bedroom, and, – in their most desperate moments – the government. As the characters lives spiral hilariously and disastrously out of control, they discover just how painstakingly high the cost of living really can be.

Buy Tickets here:

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Translator: Chad Eric Bergman*
Director: Breahan Eve Pautsch
Cast: Derik Iverson* (Aaron) with Scottie Caldwell (Nina), Kamille Dawkins (Nadia), Todd Michael Kiech (Gary), Jae K. Renfrow (Alan) and Johnard Washington (Peter).

Production Team:  
Chad Eric Bergman* (scenic design), Emma Deane (lighting design), Nigel Harsch (sound designer), R&D Choreography (violence/intimacy design) Matthew Isler* (technical director), Carri M, Stevens (production manager) and Kirstin Franklin* (casting) and Dan Wilson (assistant director).

*Denotes Akvavit Theatre company members.