Religion and science collide in playwright Catherine Trieschmann's How the World Began, a visceral examination of the way in which we navigate interpersonal relationships involving seemingly irreconcilable beliefs - and just how hard it is to truly listen to one another in an increasingly polarized world. How the World Began runs in the Stiemke Studio from January 16 - February 24, and opens on Friday, January 18.
Looking to rebuild her fractured life, high school biology teacher Susan relocates from New York City to a small Kansas town reeling in the aftermath of a devastating tornado. Ready for more than a little culture shock, Susan finds herself unprepared for the firestorm that engulfs the town after she makes an off-hand comment about the origin of the universe. Rep Associate Artistic Director Brent Hazelton, who directed last season's Stackner Cabaret production Song Man Dance Man and wrote and who directed the smash-hit Liberace! the previous season, will direct the play. The production features Rep Associate Artist Deborah Staples and as well as features Ben Charles and Marty Lodge, both making their Rep debuts.
"We live in a society that is growing more stringent in terms of how we express our views," says Artistic Director Mark Clements. "If the play contains a lesson, it is to ask us to listen to the other side - to remember that nothing is ever as black-and-white as we might think, and that we could all become more well-rounded individuals by being more tolerant of those who hold opposing viewpoints."
Director Brent Hazelton had this to add: "How the World Began is a terrific new play that gets right to the heart of one of the problems plaguing our society today - the inability to have meaningful conversations and ultimately come to mutually-beneficial consensus around strongly-held, polarizing beliefs. It's an up-to-the-minute contemporary piece of theater that is fascinating, thought-provoking and ultimately heart-tugging."
The Cast: Ben Charles (Micah Staab) has an MFA from the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program; credits include Figaro (The Pearl Theatre Company), Twelfth Night (New York Classical Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet (Utah Shakespeare Festival) and the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's O Beautiful (University of Delaware's PTTP Resident Ensemble Players); Marty Lodge (Gene Dinkel) has performed extensively in the Washington, D.C. area for 14 years with Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe, Geffen Playhouse, American Repertory Theater, Round House Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Studio Theatre, among many others; TV credits include Mad Men, Grey's Anatomy, The Mob Doctor, Private Practice, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, Gilmore Girls, Cold Case, Numbers and The Wire, to name a few; Deborah Staples (Susan Pierce), a Rep Associate Artist, was recently seen as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Emilia in Othello and Jean Louise in To Kill a Mockingbird, all in the Quadracci Powerhouse; she also recently performed the one-woman show The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead at Writers' Theatre for which she received a Jeff Award nomination
The creative team for How the World Began includes Brent Hazelton (Director) (see bio below); Scott Davis (Scenic Designer) has designed Othello: The Remix at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; Chicago credits includes Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Griffin Theatre, Northwestern University and Goodman Theatre; Rachel Laritz (Costume Designer) returns to The Rep after designing many shows including Gutenberg! The Musical!, Almost, Maine, Happy Now!, Glengarry Glen Ross, Edward Albee's Seascape, Frozen, The Clean House, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and many others; she is a recipient of a 2011 Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan; Jaymi Lee Smith (Lighting Designer) returns to The Rep after previously designing Glengarry Glen Ross; she has been designing across the country for the last 16 years at theaters such as Dallas Theater Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, Goodman Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Court Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Hartford Stage, among others; Barry G. Funderburg (Sound Designer) returns to The Rep after designing many productions including A Christmas Carol, The Mountaintop, Blues in the Night, Othello, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, The 39 Steps, Pride and Prejudice, Armadale, Mary Stuart, Work Song and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, to name a few; he has received four Chicago Equity Jeff Award nominations, the 1996 and 2008 Jeff Awards for Sound Design and an MFA in sound design from Purdue University; Sandy Ernst (Casting Director/Associate Artistic Director) has been casting for over 30 years; she has served as The Rep Casting Director for over a decade, seeing up to a thousand auditions each season; she is also the Artistic Intern Company Director; she was also the Casting Director for the independent feature films, Baraboo and Waterwalk; Richelle Harrington Calin (Stage Manager) has been stage managing at The Rep since 2004; some previous Rep credits include: Pride and Prejudice, Shear Madness, The Lady with All the Answers, Yankee Tavern, Route 66, Cabaret, Bombshells, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Yellowman, Othello and The Mountaintop; Kaitlin Kitzmiller (Stage Management Intern) has a degree in Technical Theatre with an emphasis in Stage Management from the University of Nebraska; Lenny Banovez (Assistant Director) returns to The Rep after being an acting intern; past Rep credits include: King Lear (Fool/Burgundy); Tartuffe (Valere); Hula-Hoop Sha-Boop (Johnny); Dogpark: The Musical (Champ) and They Came from Way out There (Zeff); he received his BA in Theater Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and his MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) at Ohio University; he is also the Artistic Director of TITAN Theatre Company in New York City.