Monday, March 11, 2013

My work with Akvavit

So I'm in a show right now. I've mentioned that before. I've probably also mentioned that Akvavit Theatre is the company that I co-founded. Making a theatre company go is basically like running a small business. We worry about where the money comes from. We push hard to get people in to see the work we do. And most importantly, we (very enthusiastically) overwork ourselves to produce art that is meaningful, relevant, and true to our mission. It's all hard work, but it's also gratifying work. 

Our current show is a big one. It's actually three short full-length plays that we're producing under one title: Gjenganger. The Norwegian playwright (Jon Fosse) has never been produced in Chicago. His plays have rarely been produced in the United States at all, which is peculiar since he is one of Europe's most produced living playwrights. A Summer's Day, Autumn Dream, and Winter are the three plays that comprise Gjenganger, and we're presenting them on a rotating schedule (two on Thursday - Saturday and all three on Sundays). 

That's a lot of background, but I wanted to get the basics out there. 

One of the biggest concerns for Akvavit (or any theatre company, really) is getting people in to see our work. Theatre isn't theatre without an audience. We (as theatre artists) do the work that we do for ourselves because it is fulfilling, but also because we want to share this work with others -- with you. This is definitely the case for Gjenganger. We, as artists, and you, as audiences, get to live in a world that is very different from ours. An an audience member, this is a chance for you to experience plays that you haven't had an opportunity to see before, in a style that may be very foreign to you. This is a chance for you to step outside the black box (if you will...) and try something new. Sounds pretty exciting, right?

You may love our production. You may be moved beyond words. You may not, and that's ok too. You might be somewhere in between. You don't have to like it, but I encourage you to experience Jon Fosse & our plays that make up Gjenganger. Come and support the artists on stage giving it their all. Support the artists who have worked so hard to create a new world for you including the director, the designers, the crew.  

And to my close family and friends who haven't seen the show yet, this is very important work for me. I'm asking you to come and be a part of what I have spent so much of my time and energy with the last few months. Not every show is like this for me. I always have so much invested in this process of creating theatre, but this one is personal to me. 

I'm proud of this work. I'm proud of Akvavit for even thinking that mounting three full productions at once was something we could do. I'm proud of every single person involved. I'm proud of the folks who have already seen the show or are planning to see them. You are a part of this too. 

My friend and fellow Akvavit ensemble member, Mark Litwicki, posted some very thoughtful and moving words about our shows on Facebook this weekend. This is only a short excerpt, but it is the most meaningful to me. 

I challenge you to "sit still long enough to feel the power of Jon Fosse's voice and our interpretation of it, to appreciate the deep meaning of silence, of the slow turn, of the way time wraps itself around us, of the way we try to hold onto each other even as we slip away." 


  1. I loved this show. Two very moving stories well told. Well done, Akvavit. And Bergen!

    1. Leslie! Thank you so much. It was so lovely to have you in the audience.