Madame Knipper's Journey To Eastern Prussia by Jean-Luc Lagarce
I recently cleaned out my old drawers. A compulsive hoarder, a totem-keeper, imbuer of memories and spirit into little tokens, it’s both refreshing and a fatigue on my psyche: a small gauche painting from a high school friend or a leather bag with a ring inside. Each of them whispers with old voices. There’s a memory here that I can’t quite grasp, but have some innate sense of.
But the journals. I’ve kept journals sporadically since high school. In the past year, it’s gotten more regular, but even those are more prayers against anxiety and fear than anything else. However, finding a note from the beginning of college, asking that this year be different, that this phase of my life will be easier and that I will not get caught in my head. “Instead,” I demand, “fearlessness. No hesitation. I will be me and do what I do.”
For journals, they’re remarkably unreflective, uncontemplative. They’re motivated not by searching the past, but requesting of the future. Again, more prayer than solution.
My logic has always been that I can’t help who I was, but I can change who I am, who I want to be. To a younger me, there was no purpose in looking back; in the past, you were stepping into shadows, occupied by monsters and devils.
But to get better, to become wholer and become that self you pray for, you must see those monsters. You must see where they were born and then cradle them, nurse their wounds. It will hurt for an instant. But if it doesn’t hurt for an instant, it will scar for a lifetime. It demands you kill the ego.
MADAME KNIPPER is a love story to sad people who can’t kill their ego because they don’t know how to: the tools were never there to dissect these things. More though, it’s about how identity morphs and shifts to fit an ego. A process that ultimately destroys a history.
–J Van Ort, Director
Cast & Crew
CAROLYN MOLLOY (A) is an actress, portrait artist, and musician based in Chicago. She is graduate of The School at Steppenwolf as well as the University of Illinois in Chicago. Recent acting projects include No Candy in NYC by Emma Stanton and The Edge of Our Bodies, a one woman show by Adam Rapp, that was produced by TUTA Theatre in Chicago.
EMILY WOODS (B) is extremely excited to be a part of Wingspan. Her most recent theatre projects include Hot Georgia Sunday (Haven Theatre), Kindling (Commission Theatre), and Quiver (Route 66 Theatre). Emily also performs in the band Brother Starrace and curates art events for The Dojo in Pilsen.
TIFFANY WILLIAMS (C) has been an actor on stage and screen in Chicago for the past five years. Some past favorite productions include, From These Fatal Loins (The Ruckus), The Beautiful Dark (Redtwist Theatre) and most recently a touring production of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry with GreatWorks Theater Company. Most recently Tiffany appeared in Starkid Productions' Firebringer, which you can catch on YouTube in a few months! Tiffany is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan.
MICHAEL P. DAHLBERG (D) is an actor, who has worked with First Folio Theatre, MadKap Productions, Oil Lamp Theater, Piccolo Theatre, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and more; and playwright, with productions in Skokie, Indiana, London, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with upcoming productions in Chicago and London. www.michaeldalberg.info
IAN MICHAEL JAMES* (E) is an actor, dramaturg, and playwright. He also serves as the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg of No Stakes Theater Project and as an Ensemble Member and Resident Playwright at Mercy Street Theatre Company. Ian most recently appeared in Self Defense, or death of some salesmen at No Stakes. www.ianmichaeljames.com
MOLLY WALLACE (F) is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Degree in Theater Performance. Since graduating, she has competed The Second City's Conservatory Program, written and performed in an original sketch show titled In Your Mildest Dreams, with a sold out run at The Second City, and was recently seen in Black Mamba Theatre’s debut production of The Pillowman. As always, she would like to thank her friends and family for the unending support.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ (G) is thrilled to be part of Wingspan 2016! He received his BFA in Acting at The University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an ensemble member at Walkabout Theater Company and was last seen in their outdoor summer show Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade.
J VAN ORT (DIRECTOR) is a Chicago-based performer, writer, and director. They are very excited to be working with No Stakes on Madame Knipper. Past credits as director include Crave and Stage Blood. They’d like to thank Erin Shea Brady for her support, the cast for their patience and their sister for being a top quality hume bean. J has a BA in Performance from UIC.
ERIN SHEA BRADY* (DIRECTING ADVISOR) is the Artistic Director of No Stakes Theater Project, where she directed The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Theater Wit. Erin has worked on productions at Goodman, TimeLine, A Red Orchid, Jackalope, Northlight, American Blues and Remy Bumppo, and completed a casting internship at Steppenwolf under Erica Daniels.
* denotes a member of No Stakes Theater Project