Waltzing Mechanics

Chicago's Home for Documentary Theatre

Line One - Vocabulary

Continuing our efforts to document our rehearsal process for Line One, cast member Claire Reinhart shares some of the key vocabulary words that have developed over the past couple of weeks:

The third week of rehearsals revolved around a couple of LINE ONE vocabulary buzzwords: "channeling," "focus," and "shoop." I'll break them down for all you lovely Waltzing Mechanic blog readers, so when you see the show, you'll be able to recognize some of the work we've been doing!

CHANNELING: This is one of the most important things we do in the show. During every show, we get calls from new strangers who tell us different stories from their lives. Our job as actors is to "channel" that person to the audience. We speak the stories coming through our headsets and let their words do the work. It's not like anything you do when you have a script in hand or are doing an improv scene. The ensemble has been practicing with storytelling podcasts, and it's been an exciting challenge to try to honestly express what we're hearing, while still keeping the energy out for an audience.

FOCUS: Our rehearsal director, Zack, talks a lot about "focus" to our ensemble. This show takes a lot of trust. All the actors onstage need to really commit to the action and to each other. If you let your mind wander or get upset about tripping over a word while channeling, you aren't engaging with the group. Focus is important in any show, but this show has so many variables that we really need to stay alert and listen to each other.

SHOOP: When one of us is channeling, the rest of us stay onstage and listen. We've been using the term "shoop" to describe what the ensemble does when we aren't speaking. Ask me if I've ever heard the word "shoop" and didn't immediately start singing Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop." The answer is: it's what I do EVERY. TIME. Shoop-ing is really useful, because it keeps the non-speakers actively engaged both physically and mentally. We try to move as a group decisively and shift our focus to whatever story needs our attention.

For some expert insight on Shoop, please watch the instructional video below:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vaN01VLYSQ[/embed]

Introducing Line One

Waltzing Mechanics is thrilled to present our next prime time documentary play, Line One.  Originally conceived by John Kaufmann, Line One is a unique theatrical experience, incorporating live actors, live callers, and a new theme every night.  As Kaufmann describes it:

Actors enter with cell phones, not knowing what the night will hold. Their job: to speak aloud whatever they hear through their earpieces. The phones start to ring and the real-time adventure begins. Spontaneous conversations, narrated journeys, and unique experiences overlap as each night’s theme emerges.

Each week, we will be documenting our rehearsal processing by posting blog entries authored by cast and production crew members.  This week, we begin with cast and Waltzing Mechanics ensemble member, Maggie Scrantom:

I attended undergrad at the University of Iowa with Line One creator John Kaufman, who was a grad student at the time. He provided me with the opportunity to participate in a Line One rendition during my time there. And this past Sunday in a cold room in Beloit WI, I viscerally recalled my love for this show as I was reintroduced to channeling. Channeling is the central conceit in Line one: a person calls the actor during the show, the actor answers, the person is given a prompt, the person answer the prompt, and the actor vocalizes everything they hear coming in on the call. Thus, the actor channels the person on the phone in order to share that person with the audience without that person ever stepping foot in the theatre. As an actor, I must trust my voice and body to be a vessel instantly filled with the thoughts and stories of another human. I have no time to prepare, I can only be. And as the caller sorted through their answer to the given prompt, I felt as though I too was sorting. We were taking the thought journey together, though none of the thoughts were actually my own.
This past year I was blessed to venture into the depth of some amazing female roles on stage and film. Tireless yet exhilarating, I felt that I hit a stride with my acting process and character development. I suppose I should never get too comfortable. After this first week of Line One rehearsals, I feel confronted with a new and exciting challenge. I have no character to discover or script to pour over. It is not about isolating and specifying parts of myself to bring a role to life because I do not know my role. I do not know who I will be channeling during any performance. All I can do is trust the group and be open. What a beautiful gift. I am supremely grateful to John Kaufman for dreaming up this mystical journey and the Mechanics for their bravery in leading us though the adventure.
Below are photos from our first rehearsal, a workshop with John Kaufmann in Beloit, WI:

 

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.

Riding with Kevin Lambert

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Kevin Lambert to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Poop.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Deceased.
3. What turns you on?
My wife laughing so hard she can't breathe.
4. What turns you off?
Turning your back on people on who need help.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Robust laughter.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
An over talkative coworker's voice.  He sits five cubes away and speaks more than the radio.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Shit.  It goes great on its own or as a compound word.  I'm also a fan of using non-profanity as profanity.  Sometimes I say, "oh, snickerdoodles."
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
College Guidance Counselor.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Mortician.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"I'm proud of you.  Come on in, several people have been waiting for you."

 

KEVIN LAMBERT is thrilled to make his EL Stories debut.  He is a company member with Ka-Tet Theatre where he serves as their Company Coordinator and an ensemble member with The Ruckus.  Recent credits include Salt of the Earth, Fuddy Meers, and Lydie Breeze with Ka-Tet, and Little Triggers with The Ruckus.  He has also written a play about the scheming and backstage antics at a dinner theatre with jousting, a feast, and tons of over priced merchandise. And finally, he would like to thank his wonderful wife for her laughter when things aren't funny, her support when it's unearned, and her love when he doesn't deserve it.

Riding with Molly Parchment

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Molly Parchment to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Oh Geeze, I guess I would say one of my favorite words is Amethyst. It’s my birthstone and it just has a really pretty ring to it. It also helps that Amethyst is also a very pretty color (not my favorite color-that would be yellow! Yellow is AWESOME and my jam but yellow isn’t a very cool word. But I digress).  I also really like the word Kerfuffle because it sounds hilarious.
2. What is your least favorite word?
That would be Chunk or Chunky. That word makes me think of vomit and also makes me want to vomit.
3. What turns you on?
My Husband ;) More specifically- someone who can make me laugh (and has super good cooking skills) i.e. My Husband
4. What turns you off?
Bad Teeth and Bad Breath! YUCK!
5. What sound or noise do you love?
This is going to sound weird but fart noises! Farts are hilarious and the sound they make is the best part. Even thinking about it makes me giggle. Sorry if that makes me a weirdo.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
When I am home alone and the house is quiet I hate when I hear creeks or other creepy noises in the apartment. Makes my mind wander and imagine a big scary dude breaking in and attempting to kill me. I hate it.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Um…I have never really thought about it before. I guess it would be the F-word. It’s probably my go to curse word.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
For a day I would like to attempt being a figure skater. But for that one day I would want to be super good! So good that I would never fall and I would win the gold medal at the Olympics. And the Olympics would be somewhere amazing like Ireland or Iceland or Italy. That would be awesome.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
A Garbage Truck lady. I respect what they do but I could never do it.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Welcome Molly Parchment. The Waffle Bar is to your left. We have prepared a mountain of whipped cream for you. Also, Ellen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Idina Menzel are waiting for you. Would you like us to turn on the soundtrack from Frozen now or later?”

 

MOLLY PARCHMENT is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated with her B.F.A. in drama from the College-Conservatory of Music last April. At CCM, she performed in Arcadia (Hannah Jarvis), Coram Boy (Mrs. Milcote), Our Town (Mrs. Soames) and Transmigration: The Casablanca Complex (Becca Babbage). Other Cincinnati credits include Steel Magnolias (Shelby), Gods Favorite (Sara Benjamin) and Art of Murder (Kate). She recently performed in Theater-Hikes’ production of The Three Musketeers (Sabine) in Chicago this past summer. Molly can also be seen performing her one woman improv show The Orientation at local comedy clubs in Chicago. More info at http://theorientationemployeespot.blogspot.com/.

Riding with Brittany Stock

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Brittany Stock to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Onomatopoeia.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Turd.
3. What turns you on?
A clever sense of humor, stylish glasses, an artistic temperament, and a strong working knowledge of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
4. What turns you off?
Willful ignorance; a lack of consideration for others or themselves.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Early morning rumbly thunderstorms.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of someone trying to talk to you when they are brushing their teeth – that weird “there is a whole lotta goo in the back of my mouth and I really should spit” sound.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Is anyone not going to say fuck? It’s classic, but I like an underdog, so I choose shit.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Yoga instructor. Also, I’d like to formally throw my name in the hat for Samantha Brown’s job.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Executioner. Or investment banker.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"No, I am not joking – you can come in. Skittles (my childhood cat) is right here!”

 

BRITTANY STOCK could not be happier to be part of the ensemble for EL Stories XIV! She recently worked with Forget Me Not Theatre Company on Charles Mee's Time to Burn (Yelena). Other Chicago credits include The Barista (Marla) with Bard and Fool Theater Group, The Right Brain Project's Timey Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza Geronimo! (The Companion), and Underscore Theatre Company's annual production of The Rocky Horror Show (Usherette/dance captain). Brittany holds a B.A. in theatre from Hope College, where she had the honor of performing at the national level of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in the original production of Rose and the Rime.

Riding with Laura Jewell

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Laura Jewell to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Supercilious.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Phlegm.
3. What turns you on?
The smell of old books.
4. What turns you off?
Sandwiches with too much mayonnaise.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Wind chimes.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Windshield wipers.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Twat!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I think it would be really cool and fun to be a Kindergarten teacher. If I hadn't gotten a theatre degree I probably would have studied education.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves being in an un-climate-controlled environment.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Yeah, we're surprised you ended up here too."

 

LAURA JEWELL graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in theatre. She was most recently seen as Lydie Hickman in Ka-Tet Theatre Company’s production of Lydie Breeze. Previous favorite roles include Laura in The Glass Menagerieand Janet in The Rocky Horror Show. She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.

Riding with Bryan Campbell

We asked fellow Mechanic and EL Stories XIV director Bryan Campbell to take the famous Pivot questionnaire. Ride the train he built every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Oh so many. Rumpus is a fun word.
2. What is your least favorite word?
No. I hate hearing it, and I’m not a huge fan of saying it either.
3. What turns you on?
Blueberry Muffins and Pencil Skirts
4. What turns you off?
Cable news
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The opening thirty seconds of Kenny Loggins’ "Footloose"
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Constant, loud drilling
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck.  Also: Dipshit
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Rock Star, Professional Athlete, Secret Agent…. I don’t have reasonable goals.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Any profession that demands more of people for less than they deserve.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Ah, Mr. Campbell, right on time I see.  I trust you had a safe and enjoyable trip."

 

BRYAN CAMPBELL has been a company member with the Waltzing Mechanics since their original "Red Line" edition of EL Stories and is thrilled to be making his directorial debut with the fourteenth edition. Bryan appeared onstage for the Waltzing Mechanics' first primetime show, Over My Dead Body, and he is one of the creative leads for the upcoming Waltzing Mechanics project, Uptown. He holds a degree in acting from Ball State University. Bryan would like to thank his fellow company members for their continuing contributions to the ongoing EL Stories series, as well as his all-star cast for all of their dedication and hard work.  He also thanks his family and friends for their continued support, and Amy for her many words of wisdom.  Finally, he would like to thank you, the audience member, for your continued support of the arts.

Riding with Colin Hudson

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Colin Hudson to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
"Puppy". Or maybe "love". Not those two words together, though.
2. What is your least favorite word?
"Smegma". Or maybe "mayonnaise."
3. What turns you on?
Tattoos.
4. What turns you off?
Apathy.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Metal cleats walking on concrete.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Open Mouth Chewing.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. For the versatility.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Professional football player. Duh.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Parking Enforcement. That'd be the worst thing.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Hey Bud, I've missed you."

 

COLIN HUDSON is ecstatic to be a part of EL Stories XIV. Hailing from Clearwater, Florida, Colin has called Chicago home for more than a year now. He has performed around town with Theatre Momentum and is currently taking classes at iO Theatre. Much love to the family.

Riding with Kayla Kennedy

We asked EL Stories XIV cast member Kayla Kennedy to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join her aboard our train every Saturday night at 11 p.m. through March 29th.  Tickets at http://greenhousetheater.org/portfolio/el-stories/

1. What is your favorite word?
Juxtaposition. I still remember the moment I learned that word in the 8th grade. Not only is it fun to say but you sound so smart when you use it correctly. PLUS it's a great ten point word in essays... Or rather it was... I'm a GRADUATE! Huzzah!
2. What is your least favorite word?
The "C" word. It makes me cringe. No matter what.
3. What turns you on?
If you can make me laugh uncontrollably, I'm instantly attracted to you. A six-pack doesn't hurt either.
4. What turns you off?
Extreme douche-baggery. It's not all about you sometimes. Ya know?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
When I'm standing in my kitchen after dedicating the whole day to cleaning it, and I hear the dishwasher go through its cycle. The sound of the dishwasher just embodies my joy in finally having a clean kitchen. Though it won't stay clean for long. Unfortunately.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
My brother's jaw sometimes clicks when he eats. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. I have to leave the room.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Oh, the F word definitely. Especially "mother-f***er." It's just sooooo mother-f***ing satisfying.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Ok. I would LOVE to be a singer/song-writer à la Sara Bareilles. But, let's be honest, I'm too lazy to learn the piano and I would waste all my energy trying to fit "juxtaposition" into my lyrics. I also really want to be an executive secretary/assistant to some hotshot CEO of some cool company. I am an organizational queen and I know I would rock that out.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Chemistry. Anything that involves chemistry, just count me out.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Glad you're here. We've got Stella on tap."

 

KAYLA KENNEDY is pleased as punch to be making her professional Chicago debut in EL Stories XIV. Other credits include Smoke on the Mountain (Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre), Spring Awakening and Lend Me a Tenor (Ball State University). She graduated from Ball State University last May with a B.F.A. in musical theatre and spent her first months as a graduate performing at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. She returned to her home city to join this amazingly close-knit theatre community and is excited for what the future holds.

"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 Jaci Kay

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Jaci Kay 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?
HELLO!
2. What is your least favorite word?
Hate. Or legitimately.
3. What turns you on?
Booty shakin'.
4. What turns you off?
Keg stands.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound a Swiffer Jet pack makes.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Teeth biting down on silverware!!!!
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuckin' fuck.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Life coaching.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Corrections officers.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"HELLO! Here's a mimosa; the beach is that way!"

 

JACI KAY is a native of Miami, Florida! She moved to Chicago to attend Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she earned her B.F.A. in Acting. She has also begun to explore directing! Most recently, Jaci has been seen in a one-woman show in Chicago’s Abbie Fest XXV. She is so happy and grateful to join EL Stories! It is very important to her that we all have a way to share our stories. Thanks to her super supportive family and C.J.!

Riding with Luke Michael Grimes

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Luke Michael Grimes to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him 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?
My favorite word would have to be cryptic.
2. What is your least favorite word?
I like all the words.
3. What turns you on?
Talent, Ambition, Drive -- basically anything that's vital and of the moment.
4. What turns you off?
Arrogance, violence and rudeness.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound the train makes when it's going extremely fast underground. All that air rushing past -- it fills up my head.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Sirens. I live on Belmont so I hear them all too often.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Ballz. (which isn't a curse word but I use it as one at least 235 times a day)
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a lawyer. I don't know how or why, but I think I'd be good at it. Am I right? I know I am.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
If I am ever in telemarketing...
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Oh, YOU'RE the one everyone's been talking about."

 

LUKE MICHAEL GRIMES has a B.F.A. in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since moving to Chicago last December, notable credits include Teddy Ferrara at the Goodman Theatre, Aloha Say the Pretty Girls at the Heartland Studio, and The Emperor's New Threads at Collaboraction. He is thrilled to be joining EL Stories XII with the Waltzing Mechanics.

Riding with Elaine Small

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Elaine Small 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?
Diminutive.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Turd.
3. What turns you on?
A good sense of humor.
4. What turns you off?
Bad teeth and people who wear crocs.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of kind words.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Loud sneezes.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Betch. My favorite curse phrase is, "I'm gonna betch slap you, shetbag."
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Animal Ambassador for the ASPCA.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Politician.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Hey girl, you did pretty good down there." (I'd also like for him to refer to me as a Glamazon, if at all possible)

 

ELAINE SMALL makes her Chicago debut in EL Stories after moving here from Los Angeles. While in L.A., she acted at Whitefire Theatre and in a commercial for University Medical. Prior to living in California, Elaine went to Illinois State University where she majored in acting and was fortunate to be cast in such roles as Linda in Talk Radio and Moretta in The Rover. Special thanks to the Waltzing Mechanics for bringing her back to the acting scene and to her family, friends, Lee, and her pooch, Stella, for all the love and support.

Riding with Michael Bullaro

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Michael Bullaro to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him 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?
Incumbent. Or Ditka.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Cunt.
3. What turns you on?
Talent.
4. What turns you off?
Margarine.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
My nephew Abraham laughing.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Cellophane crumbling.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Dickhead.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
General manager for the Chicago Bears.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Nuclear silo cleaner.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Your time isn't up yet."

 

MICHAEL BULLARO is excited to be making his Waltzing Mechanics debut and to be a part of EL Stories XII. He would like to thank Ben, Thomas and Adrienne for the opportunity. Michael graduated from Illinois State University with a B.A. in fine arts and is currently seeking a B.S. in history education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Other stage credits include Clutter (Kevin Dolan), And Neither Have I Wings To Fly (Charlie Doyle), The Importance of Being Earnest (Jack), Wait Until Dark (Carlino), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Nick), The Boarding House (Dell Bryden), Keep Tightly Closed in a Cool Dry Place (Jaspers), Macbeth (Lady Macduff’s husband), and The Grey Zone (Herr Oberscharfuhrer/Eric Muhsfeldt). As always and forever, this is for Mom, Dad, John III, Molly, John, Scarlett, Sadie, Abraham, Greta, Olive and Faye (this list is getting long, Molly), and, of course, Bert. And now for Mary-Kate, the moon of my stars.

Riding with Galya Loeb

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Galya Loeb 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?
Sale. Also, chocolate (it sounds as good as it tastes).
2. What is your least favorite word?
Moist.
3. What turns you on?
Music with a good beat.
4. What turns you off?
Arrogance.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of anyone in distress.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck! (And its many variations.)
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Politics. Or an E! News Correspondent.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
I would not like to work in a morgue.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Here is your complimentary glass of champagne. There are some people here waiting for you… come on in and join the party!"

 

GALYA LOEB (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Chicago debut in EL Stories XII with this amazing team! She recently graduated from Northwestern University where she was involved in such shows as Dream a Ticket, a new play; The 1,001 Arabian Nights; The Last Night of Ballyhoo; and Mother Hicks. Even if the EL doesn't always get us where we need to go, at least it gives us some awesome stories to share. Enjoy!

Riding with Elise Spoerlein

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Elise Spoerlein 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?
Fantastic. It automatically gives your mouth a smile when you say it, and it makes me even happier to hear it pronounced in my ChicAgo accent.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Hate. I don't even think I need to explain why.
3. What turns you on?
This sounds odd, but a defined back and shoulders. Now I'm talking like Ryan Gosling's back in CRAZY STUPID LOVE, not gross Arnold Schwarzenegger body-builder muscle here. If I can see back and shoulder muscle definition, sweet Jesus, I am all yours. No questions asked.
4. What turns you off?
Cockiness and arrogance. NOTHING is more of a turn-off.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter from friends and loved ones. It does my heart good.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Sounds of pain or agony. And this includes animal cries. My insides just churn at the thought of the sound.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. I fucking love saying the word fuck.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I think being a news anchor would be so much fun. And I would totally want to be on those cheesy morning news shows like the Today Show where my news skills would consist of cooking segments with professional chefs and interviewing Neil Patrick Harris for the 800th time.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
A post office worker. I swear to God I have yet to encounter a single, happy person working at a post office.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"That'll do, pig... that'll do."

 

ELISE SPOERLEIN is absolutely thrilled to be returning to Waltzing Mechanics after performing as Past Kate in their summer production of Kate’s Dates. Past Chicago credits include Big Love (Strawdog), La Ronde (Street Tempo Theatre), Hellcab (Profiles Theatre), The Promise (the side project), and The Red Stuff (ATC 10th Big Shoulders Festival). She also recently finished a wonderful four-month acting internship at Simon Casting. Elise is a proud graduate of Ball State University and moved back home to Chicago after having a wonderful introduction to Chicago theatre by interning at A Red Orchid Theatre in 2010. She is Profiles Theatre’s Assistant Literary Manager and has also assistant directed three of their shows: Bachelorette; In a Forest, Dark and Deep; and After. Much love to her family!

Riding with Watson Swift

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Watson Swift to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him 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?
“Piffle.” Defined as nonsense. A word I want to bring back into the mainstream because it’s fun to say.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Never.
3. What turns you on?
Intelligence.
4. What turns you off?
Rudeness.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
The pitter-patter of rain on a window.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Popping bubble wrap.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fucker!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Social anthropology.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Factory line work.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Any suggestions?"

 

WATSON SWIFT has appeared in The Long Walk for Water (City Lit Theatre), The Piano Lesson (Drama Group), To Kill a Mockingbird (Artcraft Theatre), I See Monkeys (Second City Chicago) and Three Rings of Comedy (The Second City Conservatory). Watson is a graduate of both The Second City Chicago Improv Conservatory and Acting and Annoyance Theatre Programs. The Chicago Theatre Review (7/4/13) called his performance "gripping" in The Long Walk for Water.

Riding with Lew Wallace

We asked EL Stories XII cast member Lew Wallace to take the famous Pivot questionnaire.  Join him 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?
Conundrum. It sounds like you're playing the Tympani's when you say it.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Consumerism. The word itself, and everything that comes with it, just makes me want to vomit.
3. What turns you on?
A truly great idea. That "A-ha!" moment.
4. What turns you off?
Acquiescence. Wake up!
5. What sound or noise do you love?
A reassuring voice.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
I know it sounds strange, but I hate the sound of birds chirping in the morning. Basically, any reminder that I have to get out of bed. I love my bed.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. Call me old fashioned, but for me, it's never been outdone. Saying it feels like a really good sneeze.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A travel writer. I mean, come on. How'd they manage to get that job?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
A systems analyst. I don't even know what that is, but it sounds boring as hell.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Don't worry - money's no good here. Just people."

 

LEW WALLACE is a newcomer to Chicago, making this his first production in the Windy City since moving here from Cleveland last year. While in Cleveland, he both acted in and wrote several productions. Original productions include his one-man show, Jesus is Dead... and Jerry Garcia is God, the aptly titled 30 Awkward Minutes with Pat and Glenn, and the short play The Myth of Cleveland. He was also involved in world premier plays at Cleveland Public Theatre including Don't Call Me Fat, and Akarui. He is very excited and honored to be working with the Waltzing Mechanics!

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.