Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni are participating in the Haven Theatre‘s fourth annual Director’s Haven, an initiative showcasing the talents of rising directors in Chicago. The project features three one-act plays on one program, each directed by a different early-career director selected by Haven Theatre. This year’s cohort of directors includes former Columbia College Theatre Department Theatre Directing program student Airos Sung-En Medill, who has directed Josefina Lopez’s Simply Maria, or The American Dream.
The play’s cast includes Columbia College alums Jennifer Ledesma ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre, and Sarah Cohen ’18, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting. The play is described as “an episodic telling of Maria and her family’s migration from Mexico to the United States and what it means to be a woman in her family in the past, present and future. Desperate to change their story, Maria is forced to face the collision of her family and her new home while navigating the definitions of gender and culture that are passed on from one generation to the next.”
In an article published online by American Theatre magazine October 19, 2018, Airos says: “This play is a love letter to my mom and to the other women of color who have come before, folks who have been misnamed women, and for those who have yearned for the name. It’s to uplift my ancestors and the folks who have really done the work. I am able—as a queer, trans, non-binary person of color—to live in Chicago and make art. That’s amazing, and I have so much gratitude.”
Another play on the bill, The Crystal Spider, features Columbia College alumni Alec Silver ’17, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, and Mollyanne Nunn ’14, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance, as cast members.
Haven Theatre’s founder and executive director is former Theatre Department Theatre Design program student Carol Cohen, and the artistic director is Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member Josh Sobel. The production team for Directors Haven 2018 includes former Theatre Department student Abhi Shrestha, who is the literary manager/dramaturg for the show, and Columbia College Chicago Music Department alumnus Jeffrey Levin ’10, a graduate of the Music Department‘s BA Program in Music with a Composition Concentration, who composed the score for Crystal Spider.
Directors Haven 2018 runs through October 31 at the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Admission to all performances is “Pay What You Can.” For more information and tickets, click here.