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March 16-27, 2022 at Theatre Exile

Season Sponsorship by Pat Savadove

Show Sponsorship by Drs. Lisa and Glenn George

Director's Notes

In the summer of 2021, it was difficult to dream of what kind of theatre might be possible in the coming year. 

I thought about this play that I had not read in a while, Life Is a Dream. I remembered the decisions prince Segismundo made at the end of the text.  That's where I started. 

I asked Felipe if he was interested in this play. Both Felipe and I like to make worlds with our texts. So we started with sharing photos, stories, and images of our last year. It was a pretty emotional first zoom for me. He agreed that this seemed like a good dream to build together.  And so we began to work on the piece. 

Between August and January, we made a world, then the people in that world, and then the text. 

Much of the script was written after we cast the piece rather than the other way around. 

This is in some ways a very loose adaptation of that Spanish Golden Age masterpiece. There are events missing. But very few events were added. 

 

Even though it has been less than a year since this production and title were in my mind, it still feels like a long time ago. The world last March, and the March before that, and the March before that, all seem like lifetimes ago. Next March, what will the world be? Will we have new and better dreams by then? I hope so.

-Brenna Geffers

CAST

(in alphabetical order)

Keith Conallen*

Anthony Crosby

Jessy Gruver*

Emma Johnson

Kishia Nixon

Rachel O'Hanlon-Rodriguez

Vanessa Sterling*

Lex(i) Thammavong

*Actors appearing by permission of

Actors' Equity Association

TEAM

Adaptor/Director.....................Brenna Geffers

Adaptor.....................................Felipe Vergara

Choreographer.............................Hassan Syed

Set Designers.........................Thom Weaver & 

                                        Alondra Santos-Castillo

Costume Designer.............................Kyra Zapf

Lighting Designer..............J. Dominic Chacon

Sound Designer.........................Chris Sannino

Properties.....................................Dane Eissler

Scene Shop........................Flannel & Hammer

Master Electrician........................Julia Franco

Production Manager....................Dane Eissler

Actor Bios

(in order of appearance)

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Keith Conallen (he/him) is proud to be back at EgoPo after last being seen in The Children's Hour. While currently a company member in the Wilma Theater's HotHouse actor cohort, Keith has been featured on many Philadelphia stages ; Arden, Azuka, Exile, etc. Keith has collaborated with director Brenna Geffers for Die-cast Philly (die-castphilly.org). "It's a true pleasure to perform this role and work with this incredible array of talent. I'm incredibly lucky to be here in this moment, this year, this month, each and every day." 

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Anthony Crosby (he/him) is a theatre artist and a founding company member of Die-Cast. Recent works include Upon Re-Entry at Drexel University; The Demolition Downtown for the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts; and Inter Terrestrial, an immersive installation with a physical element in East Haddam, Connecticut's I-Park outdoor gallery and a digital element online. He also makes candles. anthony-crosby.com | epochcandlestudio.com

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Jessy Gruver (she/her) is thrilled to be telling this story with EgoPo and this phenomenal cast. Jessy is a Philly-based actor and singer last seen in Extreme Home Makeover with Theatre Exile. She has performed with the Walnut Street Theatre (South Pacific), Arden Theatre (Candide), Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre (Hunchback of Notre Dame and Seussical), Teatro del Sol (Oedipus el Rey), PIFA/Kimmel Center (Crystal Palace), Bristol Riverside Theatre (Pride and Prejudice, Pirates of Penzance and various Musicales), and the Venetian Macao Resort, among others. Jessy is also a burlesque artist and producer. Endless thanks and love to P and E. As ever, for J. www.JessicaGruver.com

Emma Johnson (she/her) is a Wilmington-based theatre artist with a BA in Theatre Arts from West Chester University. Her concentration was in Musical Theatre and she studied Commedia dell’Arte with Ombelico Mask Academy in Calabria, Italy. Some of her past credits include: Cecelia in Fefu and Her Friends, Cinderella in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Miranda in Never Have I Ever (West Chester University), Natasha U/S in Three Sisters Two (EgoPo), and Beauty Vlogger in Mad Deep Dish (Die-Cast) . Emma has been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with an Irene Ryan nomination for her performance in My Fair Lady and was a KCACTF Musical Theatre Intensive Finalist. Most recently, she appeared as Sophie in Carnival of Ruin, an interactive art piece seeking to raise awareness for the creation of a more sustainable future. Many thanks to EgoPo for this opportunity, and to her husband, James, for his endless support.

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Kishia Nixon is more than excited to be back on stage and to be a part of EgoPo's Classic Theater Life is a Dream!  Recent digital credits include: Jira in A Twist of Water with Passage Theatre; Ensemble in Blackbestfriend, and Harper in Angels in America with Director’s Gathering Jam; Aya in Settle Down with Interact Theater core playwrights week; Narrator in In Defense against ourselves with Philadelphia Women’s Theater festival; Sammy in Sixteen with Josuka PlayWorks. Recent theatre credits include: Stephie/Ensemble in Fabulation or the re-education of Undine with The Lantern Theater; Ensemble in Re-Entry with Die-cast/Drexel University; Little miss in La ronde with Die-cast; Cath Mcgrath in SPIES: even more spying with Philadelphia Fringe; Emily in Aggy the Adventurer with Act II Playhouse; and Sofjia in Three sisters part two with EgoPo Classic Theatre. Black Lives Matter. Love you, James.

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Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez (she/they) is a Philly based actor, poet, organizer, trauma informed teaching artist and facilitator. They are the Operations Associate of Spiral Q and is a member of the Artistic Squad of Delaware Shakespeare Theater. Rachel has spent the last decade working with theater companies throughout the region such as Power Street Theatre, Die Cast, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Simpatico Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, the Arden Theatre, and the International Performing Arts for Youth. Rachel received her Master’s in Theater in 2017 from Villanova University. Follow Rachel’s creative journey on Instagram @the.inter.section or at www.rachelohanlonrodriguez.com.

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Vanessa Sterling (she/they) Regional Theatre: The 39 Steps (Montgomery Theater), Fun Home, American Hero (The Spot), Tartuffe (Mauckingbird Theatre Company), Wilde Tales (Quintessence Theatre Group), Hamlet (Capital Repertory Theatre), Henry IV: Part 1, Henry IV: Part 2 (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Blood Brothers, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Sleeping Beauty, Snow White (Storybook Musical Theatre), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Year with Frog and Toad (Arkansas Arts Center). Thank you so much to the whole Dream team, and love always to Eli.

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Lexi Thammavong (they/she) is an actor, singer, performing artist, and writer based in Philly, her hometown. She obtained her BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Creative Writing from The University of the Arts, where they were a Student Valedictory Speaker. Whether exploring characters like “Rosalind” in Rosalind X3 at Delaware Shakespeare Company or "Athena" in Trojan Women, Lex loves finding new ways to explore, revitalize, and ultimately decolonize the classics. As a playwright and poet, they also love collaborating on brand new works, whether devising at workshops, performing in new plays at the Philly Fringe Festival, or developing plays for her Playwriting residency with PAPA (Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists). As a child of first and second generation immigrants and a proud Latine, Asian, and queer artist, they strive to tell stories that are genuinely rooted in (and accessible to) the communities who inspire them.

Team Bios

Brenna Geffers (Adaptor/Director) (she/her) is thankful to return to EgoPo where she has directed many pieces, including Anna, Hairy Ape, Woyzeck, and Emily, the series of letters she wrote to many of you during the pandemic. Her work has also been seen locally with the Wilma, Theatre Exile, Revolution Shakespeare, Curio, among many others in Philly and nationally. She is a co-founder of Die-Cast, an immersive performance art collective, with designer Thom Weaver. Her work with Die-Cast has been seen around the country, including Art Week Miami. You can visit her next immersive installation, After The Before Times, all throughout April with the Everyday Futures Festival at the Da Vinci Art Alliance. Learn more at https://www.die-castphilly.org/ 

Much gratitude to this excellent ensemble of Dreamers, both new and beloved old. And to Felipe, my grad school comrade.

Felipe Vergara (Adaptor) is a renowned Colombian Director and Playwright. He is especially known for his devised pieces, site-specific work and experimental performances for public spaces such as Corruptour, país de mierda (2016), a piece performed on a bus ride through Bogotá; Emoteísmo (2018), an anarchist and satiric religion that held “services” and “processions” both in open and indoor spaces, and Aguafuertes (2020), a durational performance piece written and performed live in an art gallery for 7 hours a day. As a playwright he has published and produced plays such as Kilele; Arimbato: el camino del árbol; the trilogy Cómo regresa el humo al tabaco and Coragyps Sapiens (Published and produced also in Mexico and France). Felipe has an MFA in Theater Directing at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA); he was a Fulbright grant recipient in 2006 and worked as a Directing Fellow at the Arena Stage Theater in Washington DC (2011). While in Philly he was a founding member of Found Theater Company where he directed the devised pieces Something with Wings (2010) and Tales (2011); both site-specific works showcased in the Fringe Festival.

Thom Weaver (Scenic Designer) For EgoPo: Three Sisters 2, The Seagull, Machinal, and The Hairy Ape.  His work has been seen at NYSF/Public Theatre, Roundabout Theatre, Primary Stages, Signature Theatre (NY), Arden, Wilma, PTC, Lantern, Azuka, Theatre Exile, New Paradise Laboratories, Walnut, CenterStage, Huntington Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Syracuse Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Shakespeare Theatre, Asolo, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Alliance Theater, Milwaukee Rep, Williamstown, Folger Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Roundhouse Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Hangar, Spoleto Festival, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Yale Rep among others.  6 Barrymore Awards, 2 Jeff Awards, and 2 AUDELCO Awards. Co-Founder of Die-Cast with Brenna Geffers and a member of Wingspace.  Education: Carnegie-Mellon and Yale. he/him.

Alondra Santos-Castillo (Scenic Designer)

 

Hassan Syed (Choreographer)

J. Dominic Chacon (Lighting Designer) is a Philadelphia based Lighting Designer and Production Manager. Regional Credits: Minor Character (Wilma Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher, Little Voice, Proof (Walnut Street Theatre), Anna (EgoPo Theatre Company), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Delaware Theatre Company). To find out more www.domchacon.com

Chris Sannino (Sound Designer) is a Barrymore nominated sound designer, composer, and engineer. Recent works include Is God Is (Wilma Theater/2X2L Programme), Inter Terrestrial (Die-Cast), and A Holy Show (Inis Nua Theatre, US premiere). His design work and music have been featured in part with Theatre Exile, Juniper Productions, Hedgerow Theatre, FringeArts, New Georges, Curio Theatre, BRAT Productions, Orbiter 3, 1812 Productions, and Team Sunshine Performance Corp. among many others. Proud member of TSDCA (Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association) and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). Check out SoundCloud.com/ChrisSannino for more! (he/him)

Flannel & Hammer Scene Shop is a Philadelphia-based business. The company was founded by Lauren Tracy (Flannel) and Joe Daniels (Hammer). With over 10 years’ experience and 100 productions under their (tool) belts they have the knowledge and skills to bring any scenic construction to life. Their work can be seen onstage here and at Inis Nua, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Azuka Theatre. Beyond the stage they also create custom furniture pieces for your home. See more of our work here at www.flannelhammer.com

Tess Mathewson (Production Stage Manager) (she/her) is thrilled to be making her EgoPo debut. A graduate of Goucher College, Tess' previous stage management credits include Place by Tamara Al Saadi (Goucher College), The Skriker by Caryl Churchill (Goucher College) and Le Silence des Chauves-Souris by Anaïs Allais Benbouali (Goucher College). Tess would like to thank her family and incredible roommate for their love and support during this production.