Luz Estrada

Mercy Street Theatre Company
is a not-for-profit nomadic ensemble of play-makers based in Chicago. 

WE TELL STORIES THAT EXAMINE THE MODERN MYTH; STORIES OF EVERYDAY INTERACTION WITH THE EPIC, ICONIC, AND DIVINE.

Marci Portugal in rehearsal

Marci Portugal in rehearsal


TONIGHT'S OFFERING

The world premiere of Dusty Wilson's modern adaptation of Lysistrata, set in the cartel wars of Northern Mexico.

THE TEAM

playwright Dusty Wilson*
director Julia Rohed*

Luz Estrada Valeria Rosero
Carlotta Nicole Velasco Lockard
El Cucui Sipriano Cahue
Javier Ian Michael Smith
La Princesa Gaby Moldovan
Vidal Victor Maraña
Mireya Marci Portugal
El Oso David Gonzalez
Santos Matthew Harris
Livvy Ali-Janes Paulsen

stage manager Jennifer Roseman
assistant director Sonja Lynn Mata*
set designer Jordan Siragusa
costume designer Alaina Moore*
lighting designer John Kelly
sound designer Shain Longbehn
fight choreographers Almanya Narula
& John Tervanis
blood consultant Tyler Oser
dramaturg Juan Castañeda
production manager Danielle Stack*

* denotes Mercy Street Resident

Special Thanks

Antigone Arvanitis
Max Marciniak
Emily Lowney
Roland Oria
Ralph Scotese
Duncan Stephens

John Patrick Bray
Karrie Dowling
Rebecca Gilman
Nicki Mazzocca
Brett Neveau
Elizabeth Nungaray
Mary Rose O'Connor
Shannon Pritchard
Joanie Schultz

Nicole Velasco Lockard, Valeria Rosero, Gaby Moldovan, and Ali-Janes Paulsen in rehearsal

Nicole Velasco Lockard, Valeria Rosero, Gaby Moldovan, and Ali-Janes Paulsen in rehearsal

Content Note: This show contains excessive amounts of blood and a moment of simulated sexual violence.

The play will run 1 hour and 45 minutes with one ten-minute intermission.


playwright's note

INSERT NOTE HERE.

Victor Maraña and Nicole Velasco Lockard in rehearsal

Victor Maraña and Nicole Velasco Lockard in rehearsal

Dramaturg's Note

INSERT NOTE HERE

Ian Michael Smith, Valeria Rosero, and Victor Maraña in rehearsal

Ian Michael Smith, Valeria Rosero, and Victor Maraña in rehearsal


What's Next?

MERCY STREET’S FIRST THREE YEARS HAVE BEEN
– THERE’S NO OTHER WORD FOR IT –
EPIC.

3 Seasons of Work,
22 New Plays Developed & Produced,
12 Shorts, 5 Beacon Workshops, 5 Full Productions,
2 Charity Partnerships,
102 Artists Involved,
 1467 Iced Coffees,
and counting...

As we’ve continued with our mission to examine “modern myths,” we’ve seen the amazing power of storytelling to reflect, provoke, inspire, and unite our community. Now it’s time to figure what’s next for our company, and we can’t do that without you!

Contribute to the future of Mercy Street by making a tax-deductible donation of any amount, and ensure that we continue on this path forward.

So, what’s next?
We’re not telling just yet.
But with your help, we'll make it awesome.

Donate

Cast & Crew BIOS

Victor Maraña in rehearsal

Victor Maraña in rehearsal

VALERIA ROSERO (Luz Estrada)

NICOLE VELASCO LOCKARD (Carlotta) is thrilled to work with Mercy Street Theatre Company! She was last seen in Arc Theatre's "United We Stand: New Works Festival". She is a graduate of The Theatre School at Depaul University. Some of her favorite Theatre School credits include Terminus (B), Esperanza Rising (Marta), and These Shining Lives (Charlotte). Nicole is proudly represented by Stewart Talent Agency. 

SIPRIANO CAHUE (El Cucui) is making his Mercy Street Theatre Company debut in Luz Estrada. Past credits include: You, Me & Tuno (TeatroLuna), ‘Gator Bait & A Piece of My Heart (A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company), & he most recently was a part of the long running Chicago classic, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Sipriano is very grateful to get the chance to work on a show that deals with themes and content that are so near and dear to him.

IAN MICHAEL SMITH (Javier) is amped to be making his Mercy Street debut! Recently, he was reliving his teenage years playing guitar and XBOX in American Hwangap (A-Squared Theatre/Halcyon.) Favorite roles: Kawabata, Take Me Out (Eclectic Theatre), Michael, Goldstar, OH (ATC), Flippy, B-Side Studio (Inconvenience/New Colony), Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast (Disney), Caesar, Hunger Games (Lionsgate), Nigel, The Devil Wears Prada (20th Century Fox), and- wait. That was Stanley Tucci? Where am I...? Can you take me home?

GABY MOLDOVAN (La Princesa) graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. She moved up to Chi-town after graduation and has since been taking classes, performing with her sketch comedy group, 3 Day Weekend, as well as creating content with Make It Up Media. This is her first production with Mercy Street Theatre and she's happy to be here.

VICTOR MARAÑA (Vidal) is excited to make his debut with Mercy Street Theatre. During his career, he has performed in several venues in Chicago, Mexico City, Greece and Romania. He has received national and state Best Actor Awards for the plays Heaven Under the Skin and Strawberry and Chocolate. Víctor was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and the University of the Americas in Mexico.

MARCI PORTUGAL (Mireya) is a proud Chicago native. She is thrilled to be a part of the cast of Luz Estrada! She would like to dedicate her performance to the bravest revolutionary she knows, her mom, who gave everything so I can have everything. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -John F. Kennedy. Marci is proudly represented by LTA. 

DAVID GONZALEZ (El Oso) is ecstatic to be making his debut with Mercy Street Theatre. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in philosophy, David moved to Chicago to pursue acting. He would like to thank his great acting teacher Anne Thibault, who helped him to realize the endless possibilities in storytelling.

MATTHEW HARRIS (Santos) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street for the first time. He was last seen on stage with Eclectic Theatre Company’s production of The History Boys. He has appeared in productions of The Lyons, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Wit (Aston rep) From White Plains (Broken Nose) and Lydia (National Pastime Theatre). He has also performed in readings with Commission Theatre, Greenhouse theatre; Pride Films and Plays, Spartan Workshop and The Ruckus. Love to his family, U and N.

ALI-JANES PAULSEN (Livvy)

Gaby Moldovan, John Tervanis, Almanya Narula, Tyler Oser, Sipriano Cahue, and Julia Rohed in rehearsal

Gaby Moldovan, John Tervanis, Almanya Narula, Tyler Oser, Sipriano Cahue, and Julia Rohed in rehearsal

DUSTY WILSON (Playwright) plays include Ephebophilia, Poison, and Beige Tea. Dusty’s work has been produced by The Plagiarists, Chicago Dramatists, American Blues Theatre Company, Hobo Junction Productions, Piccolo Theatre, and the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. Luz Estrada was developed through Mercy Street Theatre Company, as well as The Trellis at the Greenhouse Theater Center and Rose of Athens Theatre. Dusty is a resident playwright with Mercy Street Theatre Company and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s MFA Writing for the Stage and Screen program.

JULIA ROHED (Director)  is the artistic director of Mercy Street Theatre. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre-Directing. Selected directing credits include; The Rubenstein Kiss by James Phillips, Animal Farm: a workshop production (Coriolis Theatre Company), Rusalka by Ashlee Marie Mundy (Snapshots Festival - 20% Theatre Company), The Essentials by Dusty Wilson (First Laugh One Act Fest- Piccolo Theatre) and The Bird Girl by EJC Calvert (Mercy Street).

JENNIFER ROSEMAN (Stage Manager)

JORDAN SIRAGUSA (Set Designer) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street Theater as a scenic designer. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and an employee of Ravenswood studios where he builds set pieces for a multitude of theaters and exhibits for museums all across the world. He also works occasionally as a stage manager for theater and music venues. 

ALAINA MOORE (Costume Designer) is a Mercy Street Resident who works as a freelance stylist, costumer, and production designer for both screen and stage, as well as owning and operating Kaleidoscope Vintage with her long time partner and collaborator, Christopher Semel. She has designed costumes for numerous Chicago area theater companies, most frequently for the Raven Theatre, where she garnered a Jeff nomination for her work on The Playboy of the Western World. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College Chicago, where she studied theater and film design. alainamoore.com

JOHN KELLY (Lighting Designer) is very excited to be working with Mercy Street Theatre Company for the first time. Previously John has designed for The Second City, Theatre Wit, About Face Theatre, Lifeline Theatre Company, The Gift, The Neofuturists, Second City, Oracle Theatre, Red Twist Theatre and Eclipse Theatre. His designs for Great Expectations and D.O.A. at Strawdog Theatre were nominated for Jeff Awards in 2014 and 2016. John is an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre Company. johnkellydesigns.com

SHAIN LONGBEHN (Sound Designer) is thrilled to work on Luz Estrada. He hails from St. Paul, Minnesota and recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago. There, he studied a variety of disciplines such as sound design, vocal pedagogy, music direction, composition, acting, percussion, dancing, and electrics. His most recent credits include: Baltimore Waltz (Sound Design/Original Music), Tintypes (Assistant Music Director), She Kills Monsters (Sound Design), Lynchtown (Dancer), and Elephant's Graveyard (Trainer). shainlongbehn.com

ALMANYA NARULA (Fight Choreographer) is an international actor, combatant, and fight choreographer from Bangkok, currently residing in Chicago . Her most recent project included being the Fight Choreographer and Lead Actor in Nickelback's music video Feed the Machine and Stunt Coordinator for the upcoming feature film Mollywood. She was most recently seen in First Folio Theatre's Jeff Recommended production of Captain Blood, where she was able to make use of her stage combat abilities. She will soon be featured in Factory Theater's production of Fight City and will be choreographing fights for Babes With Blades production of The Good Fight. She has worked with other theatre companies around town such as Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, Griffin, Jackalope, Steep, Babes With Blades, Strawdog, American Blues Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. Raised in Bangkok and Mumbai she has appeared in numerous Bollywood films, television and music videos. Almanya is proud to be represented by Big Mouth Talent.

JOHN TERVANIS (Co-Fight Choreographer)

SONJA LYNN MATA (Assistant Director) graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from Ohio University and completed the Professional Training Program at Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, California. She has studied and performed with the National Theater and Dance Company of Ghana in their nations capital, Accra. Sonja is an ensemble member of Mercy Street Theatre Company and Theater Unspeakable. Sonja continues to devise original works throughout the Midwest.

JUAN CASTAÑEDA (Dramaturg) was born and raised in Chicago. He has worked as a Director, assistant director, dramaturge and actor with companies like Urban Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, Halcyon Theatre, Steep Theatre, The Right Brain Project, The Chicago Mammals, La Molecula Artistica, Colectivo El Pozo, and many others. Juan would like to thank everyone at Mercy Street Theatre for inviting him to jump aboard on Luz Estrada.

JAKE FRUEND (Graphic Designer) is the Associate Artistic Director of Mercy Street Theatre, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, and a native of St. Louis. He has designed posters for a plethora of Chicago theatres, including Jackalope, The Yard, Mary-Arrchie, About Face, Red, Raven, The Living Canvas, Northlight, Nothing Without a Company, and of course Mercy Street. Recent stage directing credits include Sarah Gubbins' The Kid Thing (Nothing Without a Company) and Dakota Parobek's Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile! (Mercy Street). jakefruend.com

DANIELLE STACK (Production Manager) is excited to bring Luz Estrada to the stage. Originally from Texas, she holds a BFA in Performance from Baylor University. She is a freelance Production Manager, Artistic Producer of Jackalope Theatre Company and the Producing Director of Mercy Street Theatre. Much love to B.

Valeria Rosero in rehearsal

Valeria Rosero in rehearsal


THE COMPANY

Staff

Artistic Director Julia Rohed
Producing Director Danielle Stack
Associate Artistic Director Jake Fruend

Board of Directors

Danielle Stack
Julia Rohed
Karrie Dowling
Lydia Gordon
Andrew Saenz

Residents

Jerico Bleu
E.J.C. Calvert

Rachel DuBose
Michael Evans
Jake Fruend
Kate Grudichak
Nellsyn Hill
Ian Michael James

Slick Jorgensen
Francisco Lopez
Sonja Lynn Mata
Alaina Moore
Dakota Parobek
Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Dusty Wilson
Clint Worthington

Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile!

Mercy Street Theatre Company
is a not-for-profit nomadic ensemble of play-makers based in Chicago. 

WE TELL STORIES THAT EXAMINE THE MODERN MYTH; STORIES OF EVERYDAY INTERACTION WITH THE EPIC, ICONIC, AND DIVINE.

Heather Branham Green in rehearsal

Heather Branham Green in rehearsal


TONIGHT'S OFFERING

A moving and madcap adventure by poet and resident playwright Dakota Parobek returns to Mercy Street in this encore production, staged as a classic holiday radio play.

THE TEAM

playwright Dakota Parobek*
director Jake Fruend*
production designer Alaina Moore*
lighting designer Slick Jorgensen*
set decorator Christopher Semel
foley coordinators Julia Rohed*
& Clint Worthington*
technical director Jordan Siragusa
casting director Kate Grudichak*
production manager Camille Smith
stage manager Amanda Gustafsson

Laura Alexia Jasmene
Santa Nicholas Caesar
Mom Annelise Dickinson
Dad Andrew Clancey
Mrs. Claus Heather Branham Green
Comet/Nurse Christopher Michael Sylvie
Tree Ian Michael James*
Tree Kelsey Wang
Elf/Mistletoe Sonja Lynn Mata*
Elf Samantha Michelle Nava
Snowman Clint Worthington*

* denotes Mercy Street Resident

Special Thanks

Project Fierce Chicago
Kaleidoscope Vintage
Raven Theatre
Columbia College Chicago
Tom Moore
Joe Griffin
Ele Matelan
Tasasha Henderson
The League of Chicago Theatres
The Christmas Spirit

Kelsey Wang & Ian Michael James in rehearsal

Kelsey Wang & Ian Michael James in rehearsal

The show will run 1 hour and 30 minutes with no intermission.


PROJECT FIERCE

A grassroots response to LGBTQ youth homelessness

Mercy Street is proud to be partnering with Project Fierce Chicago, a grassroots collective of radical social workers, youth advocates and other community members who are working together to establish community-driven, identity-affirming housing in Chicago. Project Fierce’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing transitional housing and support services to LGBTQ-identified young adults.

PFC is delighted to announce that they have purchased a home on Chicago’s Southwest side, and are beginning the work of readying the space to house young people. They will provide supportive, collaborative, transitional housing for 10-12 LGBTQ-identified young adults.

Learn more and donate to the cause right here. Because everyone deserves a home.

Clint Worthington in rehearsal

Clint Worthington in rehearsal


COMING UP IN SEASON 3

LUZ ESTRADA

By Dusty Wilson
Summer 2017

After learning of her family's murder by the local cartel leader, Luz Estrada volunteers for her town's long-vacant position of sheriff. With her new authority, she enlists the citizens of her town to fight a war against the drug lord that destroyed everything they held dear.

Mercy Street is proud to present the world premiere of resident playwright Dusty Wilson's  modern-day adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, set in the cartel wars of Northern Mexico.

THE MERCY STREET BEACON

Reading & Workshop Series
Spring 2017

The Beacon Series is Mercy Street's direct line to the bold new work of our resident playwrights. Every year, we'll present a smorgasbord of fresh plays in intimate readings and workshop productions. Join us for our first round of Beacon plays - five stories that examine the balance of power between divided families, friends, lovers, and regimes.

Featuring plays by EJC Calvert, Dakota Parobek, Sonja Lynn Mata, Rachel DuBose, and Ian Michael James.

HELP US BRING THESE STORIES TO LIFE!

Thanks to the generosity of our audiences, in our first 12 MONTHS, our company produced 4 WORLD PREMIERE PRODUCTIONS, which supported the work of over 60 ARTISTS.

And this year, we're bringing SEVEN (yes, SEVEN) new plays into the world.
But we can't do that without your help!

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our humble non-profit theatre. Your contribution allows us to bolster the work of Chicago playwrights and continue our quest to cultivate unity and affect change through storytelling.

Donate

Cast & Crew BIOS

Nicholas Caesar, Annelise Dickinson, and Andrew Clancey in rehearsal

Nicholas Caesar, Annelise Dickinson, and Andrew Clancey in rehearsal

ALEXIA JASMENE (Laura) is a trans actress/musician/comedian that is a recent transplant from mainland China after living there for 3 1/2 years. She was recently in Mary Shelley Sees The Future (Runaways Lab) and will be in American Theater Company's upcoming production of Picnic as Millie this Spring. She's also been seen in Kinfolk (The New Colony), Wanderers (Northwestern Playwright Festival), Cathedrals (The Living Canvas), Temperance vs Tolerance (Step Up Productions), and several film projects around the city. She can be seen playing music at open mics and cabarets around the city and looks forward to continue winning the hearts and minds of Chicago audiences.

NICHOLAS CAESAR (Santa) is thrilled to be returning to Mercy Street Theatre for this wonderful show! Nick is from Kansas City, and is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Some previous credits include: Rotpeter (Mercy Street Theatre), the Jeff Award winning production of When the Rain Stops Falling (Circle Theatre), the London world premiere of Book of Disquiet (Blue Elephant Theatre), and Chicago Fire  (NBC Universal). Nick would like to thank his mother, father, and his lovely girlfriend for their love and support. Nick would also like to thank Jake Fruend for being a wonderful artistic partner through the years. Enjoy the show, and be sure to check out Nick's podcast, Hustlecast, at chicagohustlecast.com

ANNELISE DICKINSON (Mom) is delighted to return to Mercy Street. Recent roles include Queen Margaret in Queen Margaret (Muse of Fire Theatre Co.) Jacques in As You Like It (Citadel Theatre Company) and Mother in last year's Mulch Pile. Annelise has worked regionwide as an actor, director, and vocal coach with Forward Theater Company, Children's Theater of Madison, Interlochen Shakespeare Festival, Parallel 45, Wisconsin Studio Theater, and Theatre In All The Wrong Places. She holds an MFA in Acting from UW-Madison and is represented by ATG.

ANDREW CLANCEY (Dad) gratefully performs in this evolving piece, having been an inspired spectator in 2015. He is an actor, cellist, and teaching artist with Compass Creative Dramatics in Chicago and has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa. Recent performance credits include Jest a Second at Oil Lamp Theater and Now. Here. This. at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Andrew sends his love to Mom, Dad, his sister, Jen, and Adam and Crystal Walter.

HEATHER BRANHAM GREEN (Sonya Claus) would like to thank the team at Mercy Street for producing art that utilizes present day myths to challenge the status quo. This is why she got into theatre in the first place. Heather is a classically trained actor, director, playwright who dares to redefine what it means to be an Appalachian artist for over 25 years. She is currently writing an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and a drag show for the Chicago stage while Chihuahua stalking, rocking, rolling, advocating for social justice & animal rights, as well as being a committed dog-mom (Hi, Mitzi Susan!) and kick ass wife (Hi, Eddy!). Heather would like to thank her parents for not leaving her in the woods and her husband for giving her the world even though it “was already sold”. heatherbranhamgreen.com

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL SYLVIE (Comet/Nurse) is extremely grateful to be playing Nurse and reprising his role as Comet in Mercy Street Theatre Company’s Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile!  A passionate lover of theatre and the arts, Sylvie graduated from Northwestern State University of Louisiana where he earned his B.S. in Theatre Performance/Directing before moving to Chicago. Some of his favorite credits since moving to the Windy City include King of Shadows (Nihar), Dog Night (Zachery Tate), The Diary of Anne Frank (Peter), The Church of Hip Hop (Brotha’ Spectre/Hip Hop Choir), and Illumination (Illuminati Dancers). Sylvie is a proud member of the Equity Member Candidate program.  http://christophersylvie.wix.com/theatre

IAN MICHAEL JAMES (Tree) is a Chicago-based actor, playwright, and dramaturg. Ian also serves as Associate Artistic Director and Resident dramaturg of No Stakes Theater Project. Favorite credits include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (No Stakes, dramaturg), BURN (Mercy Street, playwright). Up next, Ian will adapt Max Frisch's Andorra for Mercy Street's Beacon series and dramaturg Cabaret for No Stakes' Actor Initiative. More at ianmichaeljames.com

KELSEY WANG (Tree) is a theatrical costumer and singer based in Chicago. She is a recent graduate from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI with degrees in theatre arts and vocal performance. Her most recent projects include a revival of the popular 1910 musical comedy Madame Sherry and the classic drama The Gin Game with Third Avenue Playhouse, and An Almanc for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico with The Jades.

SAMANTHA MICHELLE NAVA (Elf) is from El Paso, Texas and was the first ever to receive a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University Texas at El Paso.  She continued her education at East 15 Acting School in London, England, where she received her M.F.A. While part of East 15 she performed at Shakespeare’s Globe and completed a one month residence at The Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow. Favorite credits include Sharon Bates in the UK premiere of Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days, MacDuff in a gender swapped Macbeth and Tamora and Emilia in Bloody Shakespeare.  After moving to Chicago she had the honor of performing with Collaboraction as part of their Peacebook Festival. Thank you to family and friends for their endless love and support.

SONJA LYNN MATA (Elf/Mistletoe) graduated with a BFA in Theatre Performance from Ohio University in Athens. She also completed the Professional Training Program at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. She has also studied and performed with the National Theater and Dance Company of Ghana in their nations capital, Accra. Some of her favorite credits include: an ensemble devised clown play titled: Drunk Donkey (Prop Thtr), The Bird Girl(Mercy Street Theatre Company), Point and Shoot (Cold Basement Dramatics), The Boxer(Pursuit Productions), and Waspi Odyssey!: an ensemble devised three-hour river float down the Wapsipinicon River. Sonja continues to devise original works throughout the midwest and the city of Chicago and is a resident of Mercy Street Theatre.

CLINT WORTHINGTON (Felix J. Snowman/Foley Coordinator) is a Mercy Street Resident with a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Truman State University. He has worked as an actor, writer, and director with a number of companies, including The Right Brain Project, Redmoon Theatre, and The Phebe Project, among others. On stage, Clint was most recently seen playing the Doctor in The Right Brain Project’s The Timey-Wimey Fantastic Brilliant Extravaganza (Geronimo!), and his most recent directorial efforts include the world premiere of Ephebophilia by Dusty Wilson. Clint is also the co-host/editor of the film website and podcast Alcohollywood.

Slick Jorgensen, Amanda Gustafsson, Jake Fruend, and Camille Smith in rehearsal

Slick Jorgensen, Amanda Gustafsson, Jake Fruend, and Camille Smith in rehearsal

DAKOTA PAROBEK (Playwright) is a Resident of Mercy Street and a graduate Columbia College Chicago. Originally from Louisville, KY, they have had work produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Walden Theatre Alumni Company. They are also an active poet and musician, performing in Chicago and throughout the Midwest.

JAKE FRUEND (Director) is the associate artistic director of Mercy Street Theatre. His directing credits include Dakota Parobek's Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile! (2015), Franz Kafka's Rotpeter (Mercy Street), Point & Shoot, co-written with Liz Ellison, John Patrick Bray’s Green Sound (Cold Basement Dramatics). Up next, he'll be directing Sarah Gubbins' The Kid Thing for Nothing Without a Company and Ian Michael James' adaptation of Max Frisch's Andorra for MSTC's Beacon Series. He is also a graphic designer, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, a native of St. Louis, and a Pillsbury Cook-Off winner.

ALAINA MOORE (Production Designer) is a Mercy Street Resident who works as a freelance stylist, costumer, and production designer for both screen and stage, as well as owning and operating Kaleidoscope Vintage with her long time partner and collaborator, Christopher Semel. She has designed costumes for numerous Chicago area theater companies, most frequently for the Raven Theatre, where she garnered a Jeff nomination for her work on The Playboy of the Western World. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College Chicago, where she studied theater and film design. alainamoore.com

SLICK JORGENSEN (Lighting Designer) graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Lighting Design. They have served as lighting designer with Definition Theatre Company, Mercy Street Theatre Company (where they are a resident), and Tibbits Opera House. Primarily dance based they have worked at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Gallim Dance, and Thodos Dance Chicago.

JULIA ROHED (Foley Coordinator) is the artistic director of Mercy Street Theatre. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre-Directing. Selected directing credits include; The Rubenstein Kiss by James Phillips, Animal Farm: a workshop production (Coriolis Theatre Company), Rusalka by Ashlee Marie Mundy (Snapshots Festival - 20% Theatre Company), The Essentials by Dusty Wilson (First Laugh One Act Fest- Piccolo Theatre) and The Bird Girl by EJC Calvert (Mercy Street).

A155D47F-3FA5-4CC4-A987-1858A7F3BE61.jpg

THE COMPANY

Staff

Artistic Director Julia Rohed
Producing Director Danielle Stack
Associate Artistic Director Jake Fruend
Casting Director Kate Grudichak

Graphic & Web Design by Jake Fruend

Board of Directors

Danielle Stack
Julia Rohed
Karrie Dowling
Lydia Gordon
Andrew Saenz

Residents

Jerico Bleu
E.J.C. Calvert

Rachel DuBose
Michael Evans
Jake Fruend
Kate Grudichak
Nellsyn Hill
Ian Michael James

Slick Jorgensen
Francisco Lopez
Sonja Lynn Mata
Alaina Moore
Dakota Parobek
Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Dusty Wilson
Clint Worthington

THE MERCY STREET AFFAIR 2016

Mercy Street Theatre Company
is a not-for-profit nomadic ensemble of play-makers based in Chicago. 

WE TELL STORIES THAT EXAMINE THE MODERN MYTH; STORIES OF EVERYDAY INTERACTION WITH THE EPIC, ICONIC, AND DIVINE.


TONIGHT'S OFFERING

Four plays based on poems from "Beastiary USA,"
a posthumously published collection by Anne Sexton.

BAT

Written by Shannon Pritchard
Directed by Sophie Blumberg

Ellenor Riley-Condit
Taryn Wood

SHEEP

Written by EJC Calvert*
Directed by Fracisco Lopez*

Kat Wilson
Eric Duhon
Rolo Rodriguez

COCKROACH

Written by Rachel DuBose*
Directed by Sonja Lynn Mata*

Darren Patin
Claire Bauman

HORNET

Written by Ian Michael James*
Directed by Will Quam

Casey Morris
Annabel Steven
Gaby FeBland

* Denotes Mercy Street Resident


Welcome to season 3

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MULCH PILE!
BY DAKOTA PAROBEK

December 8-11, 2016

Santa Claus has quit his job, run away, and is living under a bridge in suburban America. His best friend is Laura, a young trans woman working to gain the acceptance of her Mother and Father, who always ruin everything. Laura and Santa encounter singing trees, collectivist elves, and adulthood in their quest to find the thing between selfish and selfless.

A moving and madcap adventure by poet and resident playwright Dakota Parobek returns to Mercy Street in this encore production, staged as a classic holiday radio play.

THE MERCY STREET BEACON
READING & WORKSHOP SERIES

Spring 2017

The Beacon Series is Mercy Street's direct line to the bold new work of our resident playwrights. Every year, we'll present a smorgasbord of fresh plays in intimate readings and workshop productions. Join us for our first season of Beacon plays - five stories that examine the balance of power between divided families, friends, lovers, and regimes.

LUZ ESTRADA
BY DUSTY WILSON

Summer 2016

After learning of her family's murder by the local cartel leader, Luz Estrada volunteers for her town's long-vacant position of sheriff. With her new authority, she enlists the citizens of her town to fight a war against the drug lord that destroyed everything they held dear.

Mercy Street is proud to present the world premiere of resident playwright Dusty Wilson's modern-day adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, set in the cartel wars of Northern Mexico.

 

HELP US BRING THESE SEVEN AMAZING
NEW PLAYS INTO THE WORLD!

Thanks to the generosity of our audiences, in our first 12 MONTHS, our company produced 4 WORLD PREMIERE PRODUCTIONS, which supported the work of over 60 LOCAL ARTISTS.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our humble non-profit theatre. Your support allows us to bolster the work of new Chicago playwrights and continue our quest to cultivate unity and affect change through storytelling.

Contribute

THE POEMS

BAT

His awful skin
stretched out by some tradesman
is like my skin, here between my fingers,
a kind of webbing, a kind of frog.
Surely when first born my face was this tiny
and before I was born surely I could fly.
Not well, mind you, only a veil of skin

from my arms to my waist.
I flew at night, too. Not to be seen
for if I were I'd be taken down.
In August perhaps as the trees rose to the stars

I have flown from leaf to leaf in the thick dark.
If you had caught me with your flashlight
you would have seen a pink corpse with wings,  
out, out, from her mother's belly, all furry
and hoarse skimming over the houses, the armies.
That's why the dogs of your house sniff me.
They know I'm something to be caught
somewhere in the cemetery hanging upside down
like a misshapen udder.

Sheep

Little oily fuzzbear,
wearing your wool full of wood,
Mr. Ba-Ba, you mellow man,
you grease ball of thistles,
you yes sir, yes sir three bags full,
have been the work of the men of my life
for all of my life and the mention of you
turns my hands into green money. No longer.

Now the sheep in Australia and Cape Town
are cheaper and boss the world-wide market.
May they turn sour. May many mean things
happen upon them, no shepherds, no dogs,
a blight of the skin, a mange of the wool,
and they will die eating foreign money,
choking on its green alphabet.

COCKROACH

Roach, foulest of creatures,
who attacks with yellow teeth
and an army of cousins big as shoes,
you are lumps of coal that are mechanized
and when I turn on the light you scuttle
into the corners and there is this hiss upon the land.
Yet I know you are only the common angel
turned into, by way of enchantment, the ugliest.
Your uncle was made into an apple.
Your aunt was made into a Siamese cat,
all the rest were made into butterflies
but because you lied to God outrightly-

told him that all things on earth were in order-
He turned his wrath upon you and said,
I will make you the most loathsome,
I will make you into God's lie,
and never will a little girl fondle you

or hold your dark wings cupped in her palm.

But that was not true. Once in New Orleans
with a group of students a roach fled across

the floor and I shrieked and she picked it up
in her hands and held it from my fear for one hour.
And held it like a diamond ring that should not escape.
These days even the devil is getting overturned
and held up to the light like a glass of water.

HORNET

A red-hot needle
hangs out of him, he steers by it
as if it were a rudder, he
would get in the house any way he could
and then he would bounce from window
to ceiling, buzzing and looking for you.
Do not sleep for he is there wrapped in the curtain.
Do not sleep for he is there under the shelf.

Do not sleep for he wants to sew up your skin,
he want to leap into your body like a hammer
with a nail, do not sleep he wants to get into
your nose and make a transplant, he wants do not
sleep he wants to bury your fur and make
a nest of knives, he wants to slide under your
fingernail and push in a splinter, do not sleep
he wants to climb out of the toilet when you sit on it
and make a home in the embarrassed hair do not sleep
he wants you to walk into him as into a dark fire.


SHANNON PRITCHARD (Playwright, Bat) has written several plays, including Kin & KindTraces, Practice Babies, andThe County Hell. They’ve been produced and developed by Jackalope Theatre, TimeLine, Chicago Dramatists and Something Marvelous Theatre. Her short plays have been performed at A Red Orchid Theater, The Second City, Chicago Dramatists, and Playwrights Horizons Theater School. She is a two-time Eugene O’Neil Playwrighting Conference semi-finalist (2014 & 2015), a Humanitas nominee, and has received commissions from Next Theatre and the DePaul Theatre School. Shannon is a founding member of the Accidental Shakespeare Company and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Northwestern University’s MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage.

SOPHIE BLUMBERG (Director, Bat) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street!  Sophie is a Chicago based Director and Dramaturg.  Regional Theatre Credits: Director for Don't Leave Me Here Okay?The Q&A, Elsewhere, and The Rulers of All Worlds: A [Cos]Play at Actors Theatre of Louisville with the Apprentice/Intern Company. Assistant Director for The Undertaking with The Civilians, Out of the Mouths of Babes at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Another Word for Beauty at the Goodman, The Roommate, I Promised Myself To Live Faster, The Brothers Size, A Christmas Carol, The Last Five Years, and Love's Labour's Lost at Actor's Theatre of Louisville. Dramaturg for Objects in the Mirror and The Amateurs at the Goodman Theatre for New Stages 2015. Assistant Dramaturg: Smokefall, The Upstairs Concierge, Feathers and Teeth, and Buzzer at the Goodman Theatre. Chicago Theatre: Director at Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Writers Bloc, First Floor Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, Women's Theatre Alliance, Fury Theatre, Vienna Juvenile, and Cold Basement Dramatics, where she served as artistic director for two seasons. She is a founder and current ensemble member with devised theatre project The Electric Brain. Blumberg received her B.A from Kenyon College and completed the Directing Internship at Actors Theatre of Louisville in the 2014/2015 Season.

E.J.C. CALVERT (Playwright, Sheep) is from St. Louis, Missouri. Recent productions include Happy 3rd Birthday Siobhan (First Laugh Festival, Piccolo Theatre), Fast in Fire (Theatre HAN, Theatre for the New City), Sarazad and the Monster-King (The TRUF, Canal Park Playhouse), Calamity Jane Battles the Horrible Hoopsnakes (Lookingglass Theatre), Testify! (Audience Favorite Award, Roy Arias Studios), The Bear (A Tragedy) (Winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, 2010), Cadaver Synod (The Brecht Forum). Most recently, she developed and performed the shadow puppet play The Infinity Carrot with the Meowsner Players at the Piccolo Theatre in Evanston, IL. Publications include Calamity with YouthPlays LLC, The Bear (A Tragedy) in Samuel French’s Off-Off Broadway Festival Plays 35th Series, and A Dinner Party Goes Awry in the 31 Plays in 31 Days Project anthology. E. J. C. holds an MFA in Playwriting from the New School for Drama.

FRANCISCO LOPEZ JR. (Director, Sheep) is an actor/ singer originally from San Antonio, Texas. Favorite credits include: In the Heights (Porchlight Music Theatre), Planted (Rogue Elephant Productions), Dead Man Walking (Piven Theatre), Mutt (Stage Left and Red Tape Theatre), Letters Home (Griffin Theatre Company); Waking Up (Greyman Theatre Company); and Cabaret (Summer Stock Austin). He holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University.

RACHEL DUBOSE (Playwright, Cockroach) returned to the Chicago area by way of Atlanta, GA. After finishing her undergraduate career at Spelman College, Rachel went on to work with NinaHoliday Productions and BET. She is the author of Rotpeter, a devised adaptation of Franz Kafka's "A Report to an Academy," developed at Mercy Street. Some of her work, Eve Within and Alkie's Anonymous have received stage readings at Spelman with the latter being showcased at The Alliance Theatre during the Spelman Salon. Most recently, Lonely Hearts participated in The Fade 2 Black Festival in Houston, TX. Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University.

SONJA LYNN MATA (Director, Cockroach) graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She also completed the Professional Training Program at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. She has also studied and performed with the National Theater and Dance Company of Ghana in their nations capital, Accra. Sonja is a proud ensemble member of Mercy Street and Theater Unspeakable. Currently Sonja is working with Claire and (re)discover theatre in devising an evening of One Minute Dances.  This is her directing debut. She thanks her playwright, Rachel DuBose, for believing that every roach is a jewel in disguise. 

IAN MICHAEL JAMES (Playwright, Hornet) is an actor, playwright, and dramaturg living and learning in Chicago. Ian graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Theater (Concentration - Acting) and a Minor in Playwriting. As an actor, Ian appeared in ALL MY SONS (as George), THE ARSONISTS (as Beidermann), A THOUSAND CLOWNS (as Nick) and Cass Rose's DICTIONARY PROJECT, VOL. II. Ian's dramaturgy credits include THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (No Stakes Theater Project), ROTPETER (Mercy Street Theatre Company), TRAVESTIES (asst., Remy Bumppo) and HAIRSPRAY (Columbia College Chicago). Ian has had several plays developed and produced as a part of Columbia’s Fresh Ink and Manifest Performance Festivals ('13, '14). Ian is the Resident Dramaturg for No Stakes Theater Project.

WILL QUAM (Director, Hornet) is a director, teaching artist, and sound designer. Recent directing credits:Best Practices New Hires, Slippers, World War C (Golden Mountain); Revels, Thus Die I (Two Pence Theatre Company); Suessical: A Tragedy (Valentine's Play Festival). Children's theatre credits include Philip Dawkins' Einstein's Brains, Biff and Otis, Skokie Detective Charter School(Northlight Theatre); The Decameron (Mudlark Theatre Company). Recent assisting credits include Calamity West's Rolling (Jackalope Theatre Company) and No Candy (NYC, Signature Theatre/Roundabout Theatre). He has sound designed for Jackalope Theatre Company, Rhinofest, the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival and many others. Will is a graduate of Kenyon College and a proud Minnesotan.


Staff

Artistic Director Julia Rohed
Producing Director Danielle Stack
Associate Artistic Director Jake Fruend
Casting Director Kate Grudichak

Ensemble

Jerico Bleu
E.J.C. Calvert

Rachel DuBose
Michael Evans
Jake Fruend
Kate Grudichak
Nellsyn Hill
Ian Michael James

Slick Jorgensen
Francisco Lopez
Sonja Lynn Mata
Alaina Moore
Dakota Parobek
Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Dusty Wilson
Clint Worthington

Board of Directors

Danielle Stack
Julia Rohed
Karrie Dowling
Lydia Gordon
Andrew Saenz

BURN

Mercy Street Theatre Company
is a not-for-profit nomadic ensemble of play-makers based in Chicago. 

We tell stories that examine the modern myth; stories of everyday interaction with the epic, iconic, and divine.


Scott Olson and Alex Gudding

Scott Olson and Alex Gudding

A NOTE FROM PLAYWRIGHT IAN MICHAEL JAMES

"There’s a level of connectivity. That’s really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant you want to feel like a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive…”

- Neil DeGrasse Tyson

When I first started writing BURN three years ago, it was a different play. And I was a different person. We were all different people three years ago. We gained things. We’ve lost things. We’ve had failures and successes and hopes and doubts.  We’ve changed. Or maybe the things around us have. The apartments and houses we live in, the music we like, the perception of whether or not you’re a “mustache guy” or a "hat guy” (I tried both. Conclusion: I’m neither and no one is both). All those things change. And so do the people around us. They get new jobs, they move, they seem different, they die.

When I started BURN, no one in my family had ever died. Three years later, I’ve lost an uncle, a grandmother on both sides of my family, and a professor that was very influential in my education. This play has always been--in some part--about how people cope with death. When I wrote it three years ago, I think I was exploring that fear of death. I didn’t know what it was to lose someone. But now, three years later, it’s clear to me what that does to a person, what it does to a group of people. There’s always a sense of regret, a sense of “what could I have done to stop this?”. So now, for me, the question of the play isn’t "what happens”—now it’s “this is what happens. This is what always happens. So what do we do?"

Alex Gudding

But in the end, there’s nothing we can do. Everyone dies, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. A lot of people find the impermanence—the idea that we have so little time—scary. Artist Candy Chang noticed this fear in her New Orleans community just after Hurricane Katrina hit. After losing someone she loved, Chang channeled her grief and depression into a public art project on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood to restore perspective and find consolation with her neighbors.  The project was called “Before I Die.” She took chalkboard paint and covered one side of the abandoned house with the repeating phrase, "Before I die, I want to" followed by a blank space. Chalk was left out for anyone to pick up and fill out a line on the board. They wrote all kinds of things.

"Before I die I want to… sing for millions, see my daughter graduate, straddle the International Date Line, see the leaves change many times, be someone’s cavalry, live off the grid, build a school, hold her one more time, abandon all insecurities, be completely myself…" 

 Candy made templates for the project available online to make it something everyone can engage with in any community. While I would love to do something like this in the Chicago theater community––especially considering the losses to the community over the past few years––I don't have a space to offer for people to write out what they want to do. But I do have the wonders of the internet. I've made a Google Form, available here, for anyone to fill out the question however they want. It's completely anonymous and the answers are visible to everyone who fills it out. Consider it a place online where, like the theater itself, we can understand each other in new and enlightening ways, restore perspective, and remember, above all else, that we are not alone. 

The characters of BURN certainly don’t start the play with that perspective. But maybe, over time, they’ll change. 

-Ian


THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF OUR AUDIENCE,
MSTC HAD AN INCREDIBLE FIRST YEAR!

In just 12 MONTHS, our company has produced 4 WORLD PREMIERES. Those new productions supported over 60 LOCAL ARTISTS including actors, designers, managers and technicians. We have also continued to grow our own ensemble of 14 play-makers, ensuring that all voices are welcome at Mercy Street. 

In an effort to keep our momentum and continue bringing the epic, iconic, and divine to Chicago theatre, we're asking you to take part in our WHAT'S NEXT campaign!

Between now and March 20, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Mercy Street Theatre Company. Your support allows us to bolster the work of new Chicago playwrights and continue our quest to cultivate unity through storytelling...

Contribute

The Team

J. Cody Spellman

J. Cody Spellman

IAN MICHAEL JAMES (Playwright) is an actor, playwright, and Resident Dramaturg for No Stakes Theater Project, which supports the development of emerging theater directors through staged readings, fostered collaborations, and productions of exceptional work. Previous works include Stature of God and A Wild Boy (both at Columbia College Chicago). Ian is happy to join Mercy Street this year as an Ensemble Member.

J. CODY SPELLMAN (Director) is a Chicago based director that received his BA in Theatre with a concentration in Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2013. He has directed for Jackalope Theatre Co's Living Newspaper Festival, The Neapolitans Theatre Co., The Second City Training Center, Stage 773, The Fine Print Theatre Co., and Blood Oath Comedy.

Olivia Charles, Alex Gudding, and Scott Olson

Olivia Charles, Alex Gudding, and Scott Olson

ALEX GUDDING (Sam) is very excited to be working with Mercy Street for the first time. Alex was last seen in Jackalope Theatre’s Four with Theatre on the Lake, and has worked in various capacities with Northlight Theatre, Red Theatre, Abyss Theatre Group, and Chicago Dramatists. He is also the Development Director for No Stakes Theater Project, a fiscally-sponsored organization that supports the development of emerging theater directors. He graduated with a BFA in Acting from UW Stevens Point.

SCOTT OLSON (Dad) is happy to be working with the people of Mercy Street Theatre.  He most recently appeared in THE GILDED AGE at City Lit, FULFILLMENT at American Theatre Company, THE LYONS & THE LIEUTENANT OF INSIHMORE with Aston Rep, PORCELAIN with Prologue Theatre, and as Bennett in Remy Bumppo’s Jeff-Nominated production of TRAVESTIES.  Scott has also worked with Timeline, Red Orchid, Redtwist, and Chicago Dramatists among many other theatres.  When not on stage, Scott teaches acting as a faculty member of Columbia College’s Theatre department.  

OLIVIA CHARLES (Barb) started working the Chicago stage in 2010. Roles have included Sr. Margeret (understudy, "The Amen Corner") and Candylady ("Hoodoo Love") with eta Creative Arts; Ruby (understudy) for Congo Square's Jeff-nominated "King Hedley II". Online roles include Aubrey in radio production of "As You LIke It" and the Player Queen in web series of "Hamlet".


Poster Art by Jake Fruend, Christopher Semel, & Alaina Moore

Poster Art by Jake Fruend, Christopher Semel, & Alaina Moore

ELYSE BALOGH (Set & Props Designer) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street for the second time! Recent designs include Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile!(Mercy Street), Mr. Popper's Penguins (Lifeline), and Magic Treehouse: A Night in New Orleans (Emerald City). Upcoming designs: Skippyjon Jones (Emerald City), Christina, The Girl King (Cor), and Photograph 51 (20%).  www.elysebalogh.com

CHLOE CAPPUCCILLI (Costume Designer) has a BFA in costume design from Columbia College Chicago. Her previous work includes The Tempest, True West, Human Rites, Six Postcards, Antigone(CCC), Half Life of Memory (Cold Basement Dramatics), Moon Shoot, American Revolution (Theater Unspeakable). 

GROVER HOLLOWAY (Sound Designer) is a graduate of Northwestern University. Past sound designs include Hit the Wall, True West, Melancholy Play (Northwestern University), 10 Questions… (Next Act Theatre), Titanic (73rd Annual Dolphin Show), and Black Playwrights Festival (Black Ensemble Theater). He also works as a sound engineer for Utah Shakespeare Festival and Special K.

SLICK JORGENSEN (Lighting Designer) graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Lighting Design. They have served as lighting designer with Definition Theatre Company, Mercy Street Theatre Company, and Tibbits Opera House. Primarily dance based they have worked at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Gallim Dance, and Thodos Dance Chicago.

EMILY LOWNEY (Stage Manager) is originally from Wisconsin where she studied theatre design and technology at UW Stevens Point. She moved to Chicago in August and is loving the city! For the last four months, Emily was a stage management intern at The Goodman Theatre.    

DANIELLE STACK (Production Manager) is proud to present BURN by Ian Michael James. Originally from Texas, she holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University. Danielle is the Producing Director of Mercy Street Theatrr and the Production Manager of Jackalope Theatre Company.

Olivia Charles, Alex Gudding, and Scott Olson

Olivia Charles, Alex Gudding, and Scott Olson


Staff

Artistic Director Julia Rohed
Producing Director Danielle Stack
Associate Artistic Director Jake Fruend
Outreach & Development Coordinator Jerico Bleu
Marketing & PR Coordinator Francisco Lopez

Ensemble

Jerico Bleu
E.J.C. Calvert

Rachel DuBose
Michael Evans
Jake Fruend
Kate Grudichak
Nellsyn Hill
Ian Michael James
Francisco Lopez
Sonja Lynn Mata
Rachel Minkoff
Dakota Parobek
Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Dusty Wilson
Clint Worthington

Board of Directors

Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Karrie Dowling
Lydia Gordon
Andrew Saenz

45 Mercy Street

by Anne Sexton

In my dream, 
drilling into the marrow 
of my entire bone, 
my real dream, 
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill 
searching for a street sign - 
namely MERCY STREET. 
Not there. 

I try the Back Bay. 
Not there. 
Not there. 
And yet I know the number. 
45 Mercy Street. 
I know the stained-glass window 
of the foyer, 
the three flights of the house 
with its parquet floors. 
I know the furniture and 
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, 
the servants. 
I know the cupboard of Spode 
the boat of ice, solid silver, 
where the butter sits in neat squares 
like strange giant's teeth 
on the big mahogany table. 
I know it well. 
Not there. 

Where did you go? 
45 Mercy Street, 
with great-grandmother 
kneeling in her whale-bone corset 
and praying gently but fiercely 
to the wash basin, 
at five A.M. 
at noon 
dozing in her wiggy rocker, 
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry, 
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid, 
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower 
on her forehead to cover the curl 
of when she was good and when she was... 
And where she was begat 
and in a generation 
the third she will beget, 
me, 
with the stranger's seed blooming 
into the flower called Horrid. 

Anne2
 
Anne1
 

I walk in a yellow dress 
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes, 
enough pills, my wallet, my keys, 
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five? 
I walk. I walk. 
I hold matches at street signs 
for it is dark, 
as dark as the leathery dead 
and I have lost my green Ford, 
my house in the suburbs, 
two little kids 
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me 
and a husband 
who has wiped off his eyes 
in order not to see my inside out 
and I am walking and looking 
and this is no dream 
just my oily life 
where the people are alibis 
and the street is unfindable for an 
entire lifetime. 

Pull the shades down - 
I don't care! 
Bolt the door, mercy, 
erase the number, 
rip down the street sign, 
what can it matter, 
what can it matter to this cheapskate 
who wants to own the past 
that went out on a dead ship 
and left me only with paper? 

Not there. 

I open my pocketbook, 
as women do, 
and fish swim back and forth 
between the dollars and the lipstick. 
I pick them out, 
one by one 
and throw them at the street signs, 
and shoot my pocketbook 
into the Charles River. 
Next I pull the dream off 
and slam into the cement wall 
of the clumsy calendar 
I live in, 
my life, 
and its hauled up 
notebooks.