Haven Presents DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 – Preview

The Fifth Annual Directors Haven Showcases the Talents of Three Up and Coming Chicago Directors -- Lauren Katz, Aaron Mays, AJ Schwartz

When:
October 14 – 30, 2019
Sundays at 3 pm
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 pm

Where:
The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago

Haven present its fifth DIRECTORS HAVEN, an annual showcase of three rising directors. This season, Lauren Katz directs Caryl Churchill’s ambitious surrealist work THIS IS A CHAIR; Aaron Mays helms Sonia Sanchez’s lyrical drama 2 x 2; and AJ Schwartz directs Dan Giles’ one-act HOW YOU KISS ME IS NOT HOW I LIKE TO BE KISSED.

Comments Artistic Director Ian Damont Martin, “…Each of these early-career directors have interests and visions that are specific, intelligent and downright exciting. The pieces they have individually selected are glimpses of the kind of work we need to be seeing and making right now – work that asks us the difficult questions – work that makes space for the marginal and the marginalized.”

DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 includes:

Haven Presents DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019
(front, l to r) Lakecia Harris and Julian "Joolz" Stroop (THIS IS A CHAIR)
Haven Presents DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019
(left to right) Merrina Millsapp and Sheree Bynum (2x2)

THIS IS A CHAIR

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lauren Katz
Mentor: Devon de Mayo
Featuring Catherine Dvorak, Tamsen Glaser, Lakecia Harris, Isaac Snyder, Julian "Joolz" Stroop and Diego Zozaya

This is a Chair is composed of a series of individual vignettes, each including a headline that is meant to be clearly displayed or stated. Each title refers to a contemporary world issue, including “The War in Bosnia,” “Genetic Engineering,” and “Pornography and Censorship” – titles that seemingly share no connection to the scene at hand. Caryl Churchill invites us to dig deep into our personal lives and relationships, exploring the depths of how we interact with the world around us.

2 x 2

By Sonia Sanchez
Directed by Aaron Mays
Mentor: Pemon Rami
Featuring Dionne Addai, Sheree Bynum, Simon Gebremedhin, Merrina Millsapp and Juwon Perry

Beverly Smith is watching her family fall apart. Her grandchildren are in need of her care while her daughter Ramona, once a fierce activist, struggles with addiction. When Beverly goes to take the kids home with her, she learns about Ramona’s past passion for activism and what led to her decline. This lyrical drama set in North Philadelphia explores social activism, generational differences and the hardships facing urban black communities through the lens of a mother-daughter relationship.

Haven Presents DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019
(left to right) Morgan Lavenstein and Rolando Serrano (HOW YOU KISS ME IS NOT HOW I LIKE TO BE KISSED)

HOW YOU KISS ME IS NOT HOW I LIKE TO BE KISSED

By Dan Giles
Directed by AJ Schwartz
Mentor: Monty Cole
Featuring Morgan Lavenstein and Rolando Serrano

It’s a love story that transcends labels. Two people meet, they fall in love, they U-Haul, life happens. A couple just like any other – well, almost. How You Kiss Me Is Not How I Like To Be Kissed innovatively addresses the urgent contemporary issue of straight representation in the arts. This groundbreaking and oh-so-needed play brings important visibility to the sorrows and joys – and even the inherent flaws – of the heterosexual lifestyle.

Production Team:

Will Tople (scenic design), Angela Mix (costume design), Sim Carpenter (lighting design), Jonesy Jones (sound design) and Emily Boyd (resident props).

About the Directors:

(left to right) Lauren Katz, Aaron Mays, AJ Schwartz

Lauren Katz (This is a Chair) is a freelance director, dramaturg, and teaching artist. She served as the 2016-17 Artistic Apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a fellow in the 2018-19 Directors Inclusion Initiative at Victory Gardens. Recent directing projects include: Subjective is Beauty (Prop Thtr), Toni and Marcus: From Village Life to Urban Stress (Illinois Holocaust Museum) and Salena’s Story (iO Theater). As an assistant director and dramaturg in Chicago, Lauren has worked with various companies including About Face Theatre, Firebrand Theatre, Theater Wit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers Theatre and Windy City Playhouse. As a teaching artist, Lauren works with Lookingglass Theatre and Mudlark Theatre.

Aaron Mays (2 x 2) is an emerging director and playwright in Chicago with a passion for stories of the African diaspora and the narratives of marginalized voices. Aaron’s most recent directing credits include Waiting for Godot (Tympanic Theatre) with an all-Latinx cast and Tug of War (CIRCA Pintig), a series of short plays on war, trauma and immigration. In addition, he has worked with Chicago’s top directors, serving as the assistant director for such productions as Sweat (Goodman Theatre), Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising), Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre) and Seven Guitars (Court Theatre).

AJ Schwartz (How You Kissed Me is Not How I Like to be Kissed) is a director living and making art in Chicago since 2013. As a theatremaker, they aim to use performance to explore the world through a radical, iconoclastic and undeniably queer lens. Their recent credits include Mike Pence Sex DreamRefrigerator (assistant director, First Floor Theater), This Bitter Earth (dramaturg), Time Is on Our Side (assistant director, About Face Theatre), Zurich (assistant director, Steep Theatre Co.), and The Henry V Project (director, Loyola University Chicago).

Tickets:

$10 available through the Haven website

Photos by Austin D. Oie

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