Waltzing Mechanics

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Welcoming Melody!

Waltzing Mechanics is pleased to welcome Melody Ekstrom as our resident dramaturg. Having trained at two of the nation's finest regional theatres, Melody is well poised to support the playwriting and public dialogue for our eight full-length documentary dramas in development. DSC_2279

Melody Ekstrom, an alumna of Ball State University, most recently used her dramaturgical skills as an artistic apprentice at Cleveland Play House during the 2013-2014 season. Melody also served as an intern at the Goodman Theatre in the summer of 2013. She reads for the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Melody has provided dramaturgical support for Mamaí Theatre Company, Minnetrista Cultural Center, and Broadway actress Sutton Foster, as a member of a student group that conducted pre-production research for Anything Goes. In 2013, she traveled to the Kennedy Center in recognition for her dramaturgical work on Spring Awakening at Ball State.  As a sophomore in college, Melody worked on an immersive learning project with Jennifer Blackmer and Dr. Melinda Messineo that involved conducting interviews with the people of Muncie and adapted that research into a play about the Indiana city. She is excited to continue her documentary theatre journey with the Waltzing Mechanics.

Waltzing Mechanics, now in their fifth year in Chicago, create original documentary theatre inspired by real people telling stories about their lives. Using methods of performance ethnography, we facilitate dialogues among our audiences and within our communities.

Exit stage left; enter stage right...

Waltzing Mechanics, Chicago's stage for documentary theatre, is growing and transitioning, and we have so many developments to share with you! Let's get started:

Our founding artistic director, Thomas Murray, has been admitted to the M.F.A. program in Directing and Public Dialogue at Virginia Tech. This highly individualized graduate course of study accepts only one student a year, and its core tenets include forming creative community partnerships and animating community dialogue through theatre - both key aims of Waltzing Mechanics' work as well. Since Thomas will be relocating to Blacksburg, Virginia to complete this program, he will remain a Mechanic but will step down from his role as artistic director at the end of the summer.

Zack FlorentIn August, co-founder Zack Florent will assume the role of Waltzing Mechanics' artistic director to foster our continued public and community-based programming. Zack has helmed four editions of our flagship EL Stories series, co-directed our 2014 production of Line One, and associate directed our 2013 production of Kate's Dates. While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, he also constructed a theatre education curriculum for students in the Phillippines. Zack holds a degree in theatre from Ball State University.

Bryan CampbellA Mechanic since 2011, Bryan Campbell will serve as the company's managing director starting next month. As an actor on our stages, Bryan appeared in five editions of EL Stories and anchored our 2012 production of Over My Dead Body in the role of cemetery advocate Bob Sell. He made his directorial debut with the 14th edition of EL Stories last year and will helm our 6th annual EL Stories: Holiday Train at the end of 2016. He has served as Waltzing Mechanics' company manager for the last year. Like Zack and Thomas, Bryan is a graduate of Ball State University.

carinne

As our production director, Carinne Uslar will assume additional responsibilities as a primary liaison between Waltzing Mechanics' growing artistic and management teams. Artistically, she will return to the director's chair for our 5th annual EL Stories: Holiday Train in November. Carinne also graduated from Ball State University.

kanomeKanomé Jones is our newest casting director, succeeding fellow Mechanic Adrienne Matzen who managed our audition processes exceedingly well for the last four years. Kanomé performed in our 10th edition of EL Stories in 2013 and associate directed EL Stories: Love Train earlier this year. She will make her directorial debut on the 24th edition of EL Stories in the winter of 2016. Prior to moving to Chicago, Kanomé was an acting apprentice with the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is a graduate of Missouri State University.

adrienne

Since our production of Line One last fall, Adrienne Matzen has served as the company's resident voice coach. Her work with the rotating casts of EL Stories has been particularly notable. A Mechanic since 2011, Adrienne has performed in five editions of EL Stories and our 2012 production of Over My Dead Body. She is a graduate of LAMDA and Wichita State University.

shaferWaltzing Mechanics is thrilled to launch its first partnership in higher education with Ball State University's acclaimed Department of Theatre and Dance. As the recipient of a Provost Immersive Learning Grant, associate professor Karen Kessler will lead a group of undergraduate students on the creation of a documentary play about sexual assault on college campuses. Mechanics Bryan Campbell, Thomas Murray, and Eleni Pappageorge will travel to Muncie, Indiana this month to teach research methods for devising ethnographic drama. Three Mechanics under the guidance of education director Amy Hopkins will return to campus in September to teach adaptation and performance of documentary plays. The partnership will culminate in a public reading of the new script in Chicago this December.

bodycourage

We're on the cusp of announcing an exciting production partnership as the next step forward for Body/Courage, a full-length verbatim play adapted from interviews and performed by guest artist Danielle Pinnock. Mechanics Patrice Foster and Thomas Murray collaborated with Danielle through a series of workshop performances in 2014 under the banner of The Body Image Project. Stay tuned for additional news in the coming weeks as this docudrama nears its official world premiere!

kafala

The Mechanics are also eager to announce an additional project among our works in development. In 2010, director Andrea Beschel traveled to Kuwait to interview Filipino domestic workers who were abuse victims under the kafala sponsorship system. A drama culled from those experiences, Kafala, had its world premiere staging at Carnegie Mellon University last year. As a guest artist, Andrea will work with members of the Waltzing Mechanics artistic staff this summer to adapt her ethnographic research into a verbatim play. A workshop reading of Kafala is targeted for later this year.

keely

Mechanics co-founder Keely Leonard remains hard at work adapting correspondence, diary entries and official records from the Romanov dynasty into an original documentary play charting their rise, their fall, and their familial love. Teamed with incoming artistic director Zack Florent, Keely is preparing the script for a workshop reading later this year. Keely serves as our Director of New Play Development and holds a degree in theatre from Ball State University.

Meanwhile, fellow Mechanics have been popping up frequently on area stages. Eleni Pappageorge just wrapped production on the world premiere of An Issue of Blood at Victory Gardens Theatre. Shariba Rivers is understudying roles in both Target Behavior for 20% Theatre Company and the world premiere documentary play The Project(s) at American Theatre Company. D.J. Reed is designing props for Doubt at Writers Theatre. Patrice Foster recently directed a series of one minute plays in the 5th annual One Minute Play Festival at The Den Theatre. Finally, Lew Wallace and Elise Spoerlein both had original short plays featured in arciTEXT at The Arc Theatre last month.

There's even more to share in the works! Stay tuned to our blog, Facebook, and Twitter to catch all the updates.

Meet Our Newest Mechanics!

Waltzing Mechanics is thrilled to announce our newest company members!  As Chicago’s only stage dedicated to original documentary theatre, we continually aspire to adapt non-fiction dramas that engage a dialogue with our community.  The addition of these five dynamic performance artists to our company will enable us to premiere two new full-length documentaries in primetime each year in addition to our continuing EL Stories late night series. Please join us in welcoming Patrice Foster, Kanome Jones, D.J. Reed, Elise Spoerlein, and Lew Wallace!  Find out more about them below!

Patrice Foster

Originally from Wilmington, DE, Patrice Foster recently completed a 15-month acting contract as a Barter Player at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. Patrice received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of Arkansas and while in Chicago has worked with Knife & Fork, Theater Unspeakable, Prologue Theatre Company, The Arc Theatre, and Pride Films and Plays. With the Waltzing Mechanics,she has been in EL Stories IV and Holiday Train.  In addition to acting, Patrice also enjoys teaching and directing and is currently directing for both The Arc Theatre's ArchiTEXT Festival and the Indie Boots Theatre Festival. She is so excited to be joining Waltzing Mechanics and can't wait to get to work!

Kanome Jones

Kanome’ Jones has moved over seventeen times in her life and is super glad that Chicago romanced her into calling this place home. She has her BFA in acting from Missouri State University and also completed the acting apprenticeship at Actors Theatre of Louisville. In Chicago, she has performed for Prologue Theatre Company, Halycon Theatre, Waltzing Mechanics, Midsommer Flight, Broken Nose Theatre and Collaboraction. She also moonlights as a sassy latte goddess (a.k.a. Starbucks barista) and an equally sassy, but super tough, group fitness instructor at an all-women's gym.  Kanome gets all this sass and wit to share with the world from her loving mom, her amazing friends and all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls.

D.J. Reed

D.J. Reed graduated from Ball State University in 2005. He began freelance designing props at Drury Lane for SWEET CHARITY and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS.  He has also designed for ATC, Victory Gardens, Timeline, Strawdog, Strange Loop, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Emerald City Children's Theatre. D.J. started dabbling in costume design when he was asked to coordinate them for EL Stories and has now worked with Chemically Imbalanced Comedy & Underscore Theatre Company. Last Fall, he started working full-time at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as the First Assistant in the Costume Craft Shop. He dedicates all of his work in tribute to his two high school directors and teachers who unfortunately passed away too soon.

Elise Spoerlein

A graduate of Ball State University and former acting intern at Simon Casting, Elise Spoerlein was seen last year as Past Kate in Kate’s Dates as well as EL Stories XII,and will be seen in the upcoming production of EL Stories XV. Currently, she is the project leader on the marriage documentary play called Forever Hold Your Peace. Chicago credits include working with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Strawdog, Knife and Fork, The Arc Theatre, Street Tempo Theatre, and CIC. She is a proud company member of Broken Nose Theatre and serves as Profiles Theatre’s assistant literary manager. Elise recently became a vegan after seeing what happens to baby chicks in one too many Netflix documentaries. She also has an overwhelming and unhealthy relationship with Sour Patch Kids…so there’s that.

Lew Wallace

Lew Wallace is an actor, playwright, and human being from Cleveland, OH.  He studied acting at Cleveland State University and is the creator of 30 Awkward Minutes with Pat and Glenn and Jesus is Dead... and Jerry Garcia is God.  He was a part of the Cleveland Ingenuity Festival with his short play The Myth of Cleveland. These plays only add to the countless others, which have been written in the privacy of his home and currently reside in Google Drive. He was a teaching artist for Cleveland’s Y-Haven program, and cast in Akarui. Most recently, he was in back-to-back EL Stories XII and XIII and is excited to get started on telling stories with the Mechanics.  Also, his thumbs are different sizes.

"EL Stories" opens the Illinois High School Theatre Festival

Waltzing Mechanics' third annual edition of EL Stories: Holiday Train, called "a quirky gem" and recommended by the Chicago Reader, is proud to perform in the opening ceremonies of the 39th annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival (http://www.illinoistheatrefest.org/). Performances will bow at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2014 and 9:00 a.m. on Friday, January 10, 2014 at the CPA Theatre on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Each show will be followed by a brief workshop with students and teachers detailing how the Waltzing Mechanics create their signature documentary productions from verbatim interviews.

Recognized as one of the top fringe shows by the Chicago Tribune, Waltzing Mechanics' annual holiday edition of EL Stories celebrates (and laments?) one of the city’s most recognized institutions with an hour-long ride, featuring some of our favorite Yuletide public transit stories.  As always, audience members at each performance are invited to share an EL story of their own for a chance to have it played back during the performance or included in a future show.

EL Stories: Holiday Train is adapted from original interviews by Keely Leonard and directed by Zack Florent. The cast includes Jon Beal, Zach Bundy, Patrice Foster, Kyle Geissler, LaKecia Harris, Sarah Liken, Natalie Sallee, Tiffany Small, Thomas Sparks, and Lew Wallace. Production stage management is by Carinne Uslar assisted by J.D. Ostergaard.

Produced by the Illinois Theatre Association, the Illinois High School Theatre Festival (IHSTF) is the largest and oldest non-competitive high school theatre festival in the world. The three-day festival takes place every year in early January, and switches locations between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University. Over 4,000 students, teachers, university representatives, exhibitors, and volunteers come together to put on over 25 different high school productions and over 150 workshops.

EL Stories: Holiday Train will conclude its regular run at the Greenhouse Theater Center on Saturday, January 11 at 11:00 p.m. Waltzing Mechanics' next edition of EL Stories, the fourteenth in the series, premieres Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 p.m. at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Tickets and information are at 773-404-7336 or waltzingmechanics.org.

Riding with Amanda Bloom

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Amanda Bloom to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through November 23rd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
Oh my goodness. This is tough because I love words and I've now spent far too many minutes typing and deleting options here. I'm going to go with AMAZING! It is something I say quite a bit and a sure sign that I'm tipsy if I start to say it about everything. Close contenders included zephyr, panache, and zeal.
2. What is your least favorite word? 
MOIST  or  CUNT  or those two words together.
3. What turns you on?
Confidence, compassion and a zest for life and living it with gusto and vigor!
4. What turns you off?
Dispassionate people or those who are completely closed off to change.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Running water. Leaves crunching. Biting into a crisp apple (and my own voice of course!)... again, so many choices!
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Singing off key. Horror movie music (I don't like that genre best but they are soooooo much easier to watch without the music)
7. What is your favorite curse word?
FUCK
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Besides acting I teach performing arts and direct/choreograph shows for young artists, which I love and would like to do more of. I hope to be a summer camp director some day (my family business). If those are too close and realistic...I'll go with...OOH OOH OOH I want to be a professional TRAVELER!!! I love travel... can I do that? If I have to write about it or be followed around by a tv crew I'll take it to see more of this world.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Pest Control. I don't love the creepy crawlies... or anything dealing with Frogs (irrational fear of those).
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"You did good kiddo, welcome home" (or just welcome home) or "Here's lookin' at you kid"!

 

AMANDA BLOOM is excited to be a part of EL Stories XII. Recent performances include Five Course Love (Metropolis PAC), May I Have Your Lack of Attention Please? (Donny’s Skybox), Once Upon a RomCom (Gorilla Tango); Off Broadway: Light and Sweet (Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater). Appeared in Rady/Bloom productions of Peter/Wendy and The Green Knight.   Amanda holds a B.F.A. in theater from NYU’s Tisch School and trains with The Second City, where you can see her in Grown Ass Adults (A Coming of Age Fail), Sundays at 8:00pm through October 13th. Visit AmandaGillianBloom.com to learn more.

Riding with Veronica Garza

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Veronica Garza to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through November 23rd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
Snuggles.
2. What is your least favorite word?
No.
3. What turns you on?
Gingers.
4. What turns you off?
Spitting onto the street.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
pffffffttt? (like a fart that is a question)
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
A Chihuahua's bark.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Twat.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Optometry.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Hair.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"We have snacks"

 

VERONICA GARZA is so excited to be a part of EL Stories! Recently, she was at Fox Valley Repertory understudying Flo and Sally in Why Do Fools Fall in Love, and in the new year, she will understudy Ring of Fire at Theatre at the Center! She can be seen all over town playing guitar and singing at children's events. Her favorite animal is the giraffe.

Riding with Sheridan Singleton

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Sheridan Singleton to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through November 23rd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
Scruples. It's a well-meaning word that sounds like an STD.
2. What is your least favorite word?
The N Word. I don't like it.
3. What turns you on?
Traveling through space and time.
4. What turns you off?
Cockroaches. Blech.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Any sound that comes out of Jason Mraz's mouth.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Keening. Sorrow is no fun for anyone.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Cunt. I say it with vigor.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Being a chef would be cool. That, or a circus dancer/puppeteer. I've often fantasized of traveling the country in a colorful trailer with cooky folks.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Math. It's not a profession but if it involves it I dislike it. And cooking measurements don't count as math.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Nothing. Just a high five. And it'd be the greatest high five ever, infinity.

 

SHERIDAN SINGLETON is super excited to be riding on the Waltzing Mechanics’ EL train for the very first time! Most recently she was seen as a sports agent named Eddie and a basketball wife in The Lockout: A Musical, based on the 2011 NBA labor lockout. Other Chicago credits include the 20th Anniversary production of Hellcab at Profiles Theatre and The War to End War with The Island Theatre Company. Following EL Stories, she will be appearing in the revival of Hellcab at Profiles Theatre this coming holiday season. She would like to thank her family and friends for being a constant source of support and love; the cast and crew for being generally awesome people, and viewers like you.

Riding with Tony Rossi

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Tony Rossi to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Presents (Who doesn't like presents?!)
2. What is your least favorite word?
I see what you're doing here. I am not telling. If I do, you're just going to keep saying it around me.
3. What turns you on? Girls who like baseball. Also, girls who have been to New England and love it. So really any girls who like the Red Sox.
4. What turns you off? Lazy people, anyone hesitant to go after their dreams, and girls who like the Yankees.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of the ocean. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of guys who grunt at the gym. Guys, we don't need to hear you while you work out. Or look at you for that matter. Stop checking yourself out in the mirror.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Haha, it's the F word, with the word "tard" after it. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Not many know this, but I love baseball. I'd kill to be a ballplayer.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
I would absolutely hate to be a waiter. In the Gold Coast. At a Chinese and Thai restaurant. That just doesn't sound appealing at all. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"GO RED SOX! Sorry about Bobby Valentine."

 

TONY ROSSI made the move to Chicago in the fall of 2010 after receiving his B.A. in theatre performance from Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. Chicago credits include Eclipse Theatre (Ah, Wilderness!), Factory Theatre (Toast of the Town, Black and Blue), Fury Theatre (Seven Points for Love), and most recently with Trip Theatre (Hope). He takes voice lessons and has taken ballet at Visceral Dance (where he was the most handsome man in the class). Much love to both his New England and Chicago families – especially his Tango Sur North friends – for always supporting him on this crazy and exciting road! @_tonyrossi

Riding with Katie Galan

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Katie Galan to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Its a swear word (clusterfuck), but if thats a no-no, I'm also quite fond of the word "bananas" used as an expletive lately. (Examples, "holy bananas" or "jesus bananas")
2. What is your least favorite word?
Don't really have one, but I hear that the word "moist" is a popular choice.
3. What turns you on? When things work out like they're supposed to.
4. What turns you off? Ignorance, as far as human rights and basic common decency is concerned.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Old school cash registers, when they go "Ka-Ching" and the old printers that go with them. Oh, and the sound of my baby nephew cooing when I'm on the phone with my sister. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? Random crashes in my apartment when I know the cats broke something AND/OR my doorbell ringing at an ungodly hour because someone, ironically enough, wants to talk to me about god.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Word: "clusterfuck"
Phrase: "Well, fuck me running with a stick!" 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Professor of very specific literature. I could teach all day long about Harry Potter.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
If there was a job only cleaning out the drain catcher thingies out of sinks, I'd rather chew off my own arm than do that. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
What I would like to hear: "Welcome. The eternal buffet is on the left."

What I might actually hear: *laughter* "You took a right when you should have taken a left at the fork. Dammit Peter, I keep telling him this isn't funny to anyone but him."

 

KATIE GALAN is a Chicago native and a veteran of both the ‘L’ and EL Stories. She has previously appeared with Waltzing Mechanics in EL Stories: Brown Line and the 2012 edition of EL Stories: Holiday Train. When not on stage, Katie is busy creating and collecting her own EL Stories on the Brown Line.

Riding with Kristi Parker-Barnhart

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Kristi Parker-Barnhart to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Flabbergasted -- It's a fun word to say and I love the meaning! Surprise (someone) greatly; astonish.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Hate. I hate the word hate... just hate it.
3. What turns you on? Southern Blues music.
4. What turns you off? The Wrigleyville bar crowd. Yuck!
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of a holiday party about an hour after folks start drinkin'. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? Car horns for sure. Where I come from, it's impolite to honk at someone, so it was strange when I moved here. I thought everyone wanted to pick a fight with me.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
I'm sure everyone says this, but I love the word "fuck." Life wouldn't be the same without it. I could do without shit or damn, but fuck would be hard to let go of. Fuck! 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Other than being a full-time actor who can pay the bills........ a chef... or an owner of a bar and grill in The Smokey Mountains... and I'd live in a cabin with a hot tub that sits on a big giant back porch that overlooks the mountains. Yeah. That.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves sitting behind a desk all day. I'd rather clean toilets than be forced to sit and stare at a computer screen. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Hey Kristi, it's good to see you again! You did a great job with the whole Earth stuff! Your cabin, the hot tub, and the giant back porch are waiting for you on the other side of the mountain. Here are your wings, you can just fly on up there... but you should stop by your grandma's house first cause she made biscuits and gravy!  Oh, and one more thing! You were right; I do support gay rights." And then he would smile and a rainbow would beam out of his hand.... Sweet!

 

KRISTI PARKER-BARNHART is an Oklahoma native who moved to Chicago with her husband Travis three years ago and instantly fell in love with the city! She is so excited to be working with Waltzing Mechanics as part of the cast of EL Stories! Her recent credits include Ada, Saint and Grace in Samaritan Syndrome with Dream Theatre, Harlot O’Scara in The New Colony’s Down and Derby, Mrs. Barrymore in The Hound of The Baskervilles with Theatre Hikes, Mrs. Milford in Underscore Theatre’s Liberal Arts: The Musical, Mrs. Clause in The ComedySportz Crew Saves Santa at ComedySportz Theatre and Three in In Pursuit with Hobo Junction Productions, where she is also an ensemble member. Thanks to her husband Travis for doing all the laundry while she’s in rehearsals!

Riding with Rachel Simon

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Rachel Simon to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Diaphanous, I like the way it glides off the tongue, it's a silky word, makes me think of  gossamer silk.
2. What is your least favorite word?
For some reason, scintilla makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It makes me think of the hairs on insects, which is a different word that sounds similar (sensilla)
but I like scintilla less.
3. What turns you on? A good sense of humor paired with intelligence. Give me a run for my money in a game of scrabble and you just got sexier. [sapiosexual - attracted to intelligence] And also enthusiasm, if you're enthusiastic about something you love, I like that a lot.
4. What turns you off? Bigotry, snobbery, rudeness. Asking me "what are you mixed with?" like it's a compliment. Catcalls.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter: children's laughter and the laughter of people I care about. There's a pure happiness to kid's laughter, they let themselves be happy fully, which is something that I need to relearn. And it makes me happy when the people I care about are happy, there's always a little niggling restlessness in the back of my mind when I know they're unhappy. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? Nails on a chalkboard is the first thing that comes to mind, but the squeak of pipes in disrepair is a bad one too.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Frak. It's not a "real" curse word I know, but it's got that lovely fricative at the start ends with that nice plosive K. And it's from Battlestar. And I can say it pretty much anywhere without people being offended. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Youth pastor. I like working with kids. I like being an active Christian. I think putting them together in a useful way helping make religion and important part of lives that helps them cope with being kids and the struggle if growing up instead of just being empty words is important.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Social Worker. I don't think I have the stamina to see everything they do and not burn out or get jaded. I'd shut down and end up not really being able to help anyone. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"You are my child and you are loved, and you have been loved, and will always be loved; each day I love you more. You are mine."

 

RACHEL SIMON is pleased to be in Waltzing Mechanics’ EL Stories. She was seen most recently in The Runaways' That's What Makes Her an Icon as Lauryn. Some of her most memorable past credits are Agave in The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite and Grumio in Taming of the Shrew. Rachel is also currently in the web series Windy City Hostel.

Riding with Patsy Radford

We asked our EL Stories XI stage manager Patsy Radford to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Watch her conduct our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? "Y'all" -- I'm a Southerner; it's kind of in my blood.
2. What is your least favorite word? "Awesome." I think it's overused and misunderstood.
3. What turns you on? Tension between me and someone I can't have. I love The Chase.
4. What turns you off? Misogyny and incorrect grammar.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Crickets and grasshoppers in the summertime on a squeaky porch in a rocking chair, the clink of ice in my drink swirling away at sundown... 6. What sound or noise do you hate? I really hate the sound of my car's air conditioner on the lowest setting. It kind of rattles and disrupts the silence.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
It's a tie between "sonofabitch" and fuck. I say both equal amounts with equal gusto. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Travel blogger. Helllooo! Get paid to travel and write about what you do? It's ideal!
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything in food service. I've never done it but I know I'd be absolutely miserable. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"About time you got up here. You should have been here years ago, but you looked like you were having such a good time on that planet, we figured we'd give you some extra time."

 

PATSY RADFORD is thrilled to be involved with such an amazing team as Waltzing Mechanics and a great show like EL Stories. An import to Chicago from Louisiana via Tennessee, she’s an anniversaried stage manager for Teatro Luna and Artistic Associate with the company. With TL, she holds credits on Crossed, Living Large in a Mini Kind of Way, and Solo Tres. Other notable Chicago credits include The Eye Inside with Biophiliac Productions, and The Original Grease with American Theatre Company. Around Chicago, she can be seen lending all of her skills to the storefront theatre scene wherever they are needed. She loves an aged Cabernet with a good book or movie but runs on coffee and laughter. "Pour mes amis, ma famille, mes amants, mes verres de vin, mes tasses de café... je te rends grâce."

Riding with Jake Baker

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Jake Baker to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Hoagie.
2. What is your least favorite word? Moist...or panties....or moist panties....
3. What turns you on? Good sense of humor.
4. What turns you off? Bitches.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Waves of the ocean. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? Crying babies.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Owning a guitar repair and build shop.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything where I'm in a cubicle. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three... Come with me, and you will be, in a world of pure imagination..."

JAKE BAKER is so excited to be in this round of EL Stories. This marks his Chicago debut, and he is so thrilled it’s with the Waltzing Mechanics. Jake received a B.A. in theatre from the University of Tennessee and has worked with many companies in Tennessee such as Theatre Knoxville Downtown and The Clarence Brown Theatre. He would like to thank everyone in the cast and the Waltzing Mechanics for this wonderful opportunity.

Riding with Jenna Csont

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Jenna Csont to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Pamplemousse.  It is French for grapefruit.
2. What is your least favorite word? Epic! EVERYTHING is described as “epic” now, thus nothing is epic. I also hate the word "thus."
3. What turns you on? Good grammar, nice teeth, chocolate, and undivided attention.
4. What turns you off? Co-dependence, unemployment, vomit, and chain-smoking.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Silence. But not as silent as that room that makes in Minneapolis that makes you hallucinate. 6. What sound or noise do you hate? Garbage trucks.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Fortune cookie writer. I have been extremely disappointed by the lack of actual fortunes written for cookies these days. Would I be good at it? I don't know, but it can't be hard to write a fortune better than, “A good way to stay healthy is eat more Chinese food.”
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Rodeo clown. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"HA! That was fucking hilarious!"

JENNA CSONT is thrilled to be joining the cast of EL Stories. She would like to thank her family and friends for providing her with their unconditional support and love - especially her mom and dad for giving her the tools to be here today.  Also, Jenna thanks the cast and crew for all their amazing work to create this amazing show!

Riding with Marissa Lessman

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Marissa Lessman to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
Tumor.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Churn! Ew!
3. What turns you on?
Beards, pasta, and you. 4. What turns you off?
Large birds, cucumbers, war movies 5. What sound or noise do you love?
Applause, laughter 6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Churning, barking 7. What is your favorite curse word?
Shithead. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Journalism--funny articles for like Marie Claire. 9. What profession would you not like to do?
Plumber, commercial fisherman 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Sorry about the mix up!"

MARISSA LESSMAN is an actress and a sketch comedian! Yeah! She has worked with The Second City in Hollywood and Chicago, pH Comedy Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Stage 773, ImprovOlympic, and The Groundlings among others. She was recently a cast member and a staff writer for two year-long running sketch shows at The Second City in Los Angeles. Come see her at the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival in June! She holds a B.F.A. in acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. She wears cable-knit and eats too much cheese. She would like to thank the Waltzing Mechanics for thinking she was silly! Who wants to buy this girl a nice cocktail?

Riding with Cody Davis

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Cody Davis to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word?
Superfluous. I think it's because it just feels fun in your mouth. And it could arguably be attached to many unnecessary, goofy things I say and do on a daily basis.  Maybe that's it. But mostly, it's just fun to say.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Retard. It makes me cringe more than any racial slur.
3. What turns you on?
When my humor and a girl's humor resonate. Anytime I find myself making the same jokes as a girl or sharing a funny, impromptu moment. 4. What turns you off?
Finding out that a girl doesn't read for fun. Ever. 5. What sound or noise do you love?
A full-on, completely uninhibited laugh. The kind of chest-laugh that you know is making it hard to breathe but it's totally worth it. 6. What sound or noise do you hate?
"Yippie" dogs barking. So obnoxious. I love dogs but not these dogs. 7. What is your favorite curse word?
I find myself saying "Fucking-Damn it!" a lot. I don't know where that came from but it has been my stand by (often unconsciously) for a few years. 8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
In a different universe, where I was actually good at science, I would like to be a Nurse. I think that position possess so much potential for making a difference in people's lives in a very powerful, personal way and at a time when they really need it. I have seen a lot of that with family members in the past. But, I'm terrible at science so, no go. 9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything on an assembly line. I don't think I could handle the monotony. 10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Nice job, man."

CODY DAVIS is a Colorado native and a new arrival to Chicago, and he is incredibly excited to be making his Waltzing Mechanics debut with EL Stories. Cody’s Chicago credits include the roles of ensemble in Shadow Town (Herstory Theater), the Smuggler and Sam in The Masterworks: The Van Gogh Plays (Commedia Beauregard), ensemble member in Lunatique (Redmoon Theater), and multiple characters in Love to the Third (Theater on the Spot). Additional regional credits include Jack Favell in Rebecca (Spark Theater), Rick in Death by Hairbrush (Athena Project), Drake, F.D.R. and Bert Healy in Annie (Afterthought Theater), Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, Musical Director for Schoolhouse Rock Live Too! (SC Theater Festival), Troupe Member in 9 Lives Improv, Pit Conductor for Children of Eden (Southwestern College) as well as his Off-Broadway debut in Out of Oz (S. Rue and Friends, NYC).  Cody is a graduate of Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where he earned a B.A. in theater performance as well as a B.M.E. in music education.

Riding with Alex Goodman

We asked EL Stories XI cast member Alex Goodman to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through September 14th.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Inconceivable. But only if you say it the way Vizzini says it in The Princess Bride.

2. What is your least favorite word?

I'm not sure I have a least favorite word. Probably "Legit" when used in the sentence, "That's so legit!"  I fucking hate that word.

3. What turns you on?

The idea of sexuality. Is that an appropriate answer? That and a good rub down. Yowza!

4. What turns you off?

Anal sex. Lord have mercy, nothing kills my mood more than those two words in the same sentence. Gross. GROSS! Not judging, of course. If that flips your switch, have at it.

5. What sound or noise do you love?

Rain when I'm sitting at home, the wooshing sound that the TARDIS makes, and the beginning chords to my favorite song, "Wild Wild West" by Will Smith ft. Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee.

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

Babies crying and the sound that comes from scratching a piece of paper with your fingernails. Ugh. I'm cringing as type this...

7. What is your favorite curse word?

It varies. Some weeks it's "fuck;" other weeks its "goddamnit" which is totally one word, so, fuck you!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Comic Book artist. But really, in my heart of hearts, a ninja assassin. Because that would be totally bad ass!

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Horse trainer. Because horses scare the shit out of me. That, and anything requiring me to wear a tie. Don't let the man bring ya down!!

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Hey, good job being a decent human being compared to half the other assholes claiming to do my work. You weren't perfect but that's not the point.  You tried, you loved, you laughed, you cried, you gave it your best and helped others along the way. We've got the bacon buffet set up for you next to the movie theater. Wild Wild West starts in 20 minutes. Come on in!

ALEX GOODMAN is happy to make his Chicago debut in EL Stories. He moved to this glorious city last summer after graduating from Wright State University with a B.F.A. in theater.  Most recently, he was seen as The Story Teller in Adventures of the Storyfinder with The Zoot Theater Company. Additionally, he has played numerous roles in Wright State productions including Dr. Jim Bayliss in All My Sons, Cymbeline in Cymbeline and Belize in Angels in America. Alex is thankful for the support of his friends and family and, contrary to popular belief, actually does enjoy riding the train to and from work every day.

Riding with Bob Pantalone

We asked EL Stories X cast member Bob Pantalone to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through June 22nd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? America!
2. What is your least favorite word? Ohio.
3. What turns you on?
Artistic collaboration.
4. What turns you off?
Argument / debate.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Collective laughter.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Wrigleyville.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Bitch (or "betch" if you feel like having fun with it).
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Sports broadcasting. TV or radio - it wouldn't matter.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Police officer. No doubt in my mind.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Welcome, Mr. Pantalone. For you, we will waive the cover charge."

 

BOB PANTALONE is thrilled to rejoin the talented Mechanics for his second EL Stories ride after performing in the Transit Race edition last summer. Bob is a Michigan native and graduated with a B.A in acting from Central Michigan University. Since then, Bob has performed in a number of stellar productions at ComedySportz Chicago. Other local credits include Fairlane Theatre's Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Bernie), Lasso'd Moon's Almost Maine, and Red Star's YO JOE! (Python Commander). Bob can also be found performing improv comedy all over this city. As always he would like to thank his circle of friends, his family, and his cat Jackson for the love and support!

Riding with Eli Kurtz

We asked EL Stories X cast member Eli Kurtz to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through June 22nd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? Etymology.  Words in general are really awesome.
2. What is your least favorite word? No such thing.
3. What turns you on?
I am the biggest sucker for a nice nose.
4. What turns you off?
Pettiness.  Love is about moving forward.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Wind in the trees.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Small dogs.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
The Big One.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Gentleman Adventurer.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Henchman.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Boy, is YOUR face red!"

 

ELI KURTZ graduated from the theatre program at Drury University in 2010. Since then, he appeared as Hamlet in Hamlet vs. Zombies: Something is Rotting in the State of Denmark (Best of Fringe at the 2011 San Francisco Fringe Festival) and Dr. Elias Todd in Teslacon III: A Trip to the Moon. Eli is a member of Jest Murder Mystery Company.  He is thrilled to make his Chicago stage debut with the cast and crew of EL Stories.

Riding with Charlie Wein

We asked EL Stories X cast member Charlie Wein to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through June 22nd.  Tickets at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories

1. What is your favorite word? I'm trying to bring back Keen and Swell.
2. What is your least favorite word? Necessary.
3. What turns you on?
Confidence.
4. What turns you off?
Ageism.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The various sounds my Playstation 3 makes.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The sucking sound people make when they are trying to clean their teeth.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Shite.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
In another life, I'm a private eye / concert violinist.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
I could never be a responsible pimp.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Welcome, to the city of atlantis!"

 

CHARLIE WEIN recently moved to Chicago after completing his B.A. in acting at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Previous stage credits include Ste in Beautiful Thing (Pride Films & Plays), Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank, Randy Anderson in The Outsiders, Lonnie in A Dead Man's Apartment, Wendel P. Bloyd in Spoon River, and Dante in the Pittsburgh premiere of Off-Color Remarks (for which he won an award for best supporting actor). Film credits include Warrior, All in a Nights Work, and The Dark Knight Rises.