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Spotlight Artist: Laura Stephenson

Laura StephensonLaura Stephenson

Actor in the Alcyone Festival 2012, Artist-in-Residence 2013, Company member/Co- Company Manager 2014

Favorite Halcyon shows:
There's many that I've loved, but I have to say A Lover's Dismantling because that's when I met you guys :)

Worst/most embarrassing stage moment:
Any time I drop a line and it's obvious! Ugh. That's the worst. Or if I am supposed to be legitimately sexy... I'm about as seductive as a house plant.

Favorite Theatre Artist and why:
I never have favorites really, there's too much talent out there. But-- You know who makes me mad because he is so stupid talented? Fin Coe. That guy can write, act, sing- plus he is hilarious and just an awesome person to know.

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...
I'm not good at anything else. Kidding! Theatre is the one thing that someone from every part of the world can understand. Humans have always been story tellers, and I love being part of something that connects all of us.

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
Lincoln Square! There's so much to do, but it feels less urban-- there's still trees and squirrels and bunnies, which makes it feel like home.

What's the strangest thing you've been asked to do onstage?
In a production of A Midsummer Nights Dream--I was cast as Titania (already strange, right?) and she was meant to be this Britney Spears-esque pop star, so I had to perform the whole show in booty shorts and a golden bra. You're welcome, audience.

What does "making it big" mean to you? How do you judge success in a show?
A h, Success...you fickle, weird thing. To be perfectly candid, I judge the success of a show by an audiences reaction or response-- whether positive or negative. Because it's about them. And if they leave feeling indifferent, then we have missed an opportunity.

How do you overcome rejection?
If someone figures out the secret to this, let me know! No, honestly, this business is so subjective-- and a lot of times, you have to fit what someone already had in mind or convince them that what they had in mind was wrong. Rejection usually hurts most when I know I didn't do my best at the audition/callback/ whatever.

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The War Zone is My Bed Trailer

  • Posted on: 13 July 2014
  • By: Tony

The trailer was written and directed by artist-in-residence Ted James, and features company members Laura Stephenson and Fin Coe.

The War Zone is My Bed
By Yasmine Beverly Rana
Directed by Dani Snyder-Young

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 6pm.
August 14 through September  7, 2014
At Christ Lutheran Church, 4541 N Spaulding Ave. in Chicago

In 1994 Sarajevo, in a bedroom brimming with bullet holes, Dahlia and Peter have a whirlwind romance. A famous writer reporting on the Bosnian War, he leaves her to return to his wife. In 2001 Kabul, in a bedroom with blacked out windows, an Afghan prostitute is having affair with a member of the Taliban religious police. Dahlia’s book about Leila, Ash and the aftermath of their affair in Kabul makes her a famous writer in her own right. On her book tour, struggling with how we all profit from telling stories of war from a safe distance, Dahlia and Peter meet again.

Find out more about the show at halcyontheatre.org/warzone

Spotlight Artist: Barbara Charlene

Barbara CharlendBarbara Charlene

2014 Artist-in-Residence

Favorite show you either saw or acted in or both, whatever:
Saw: Hedda Gabler in Dresden, Germany. Acted in: Henry VI parts 1-3.

Worst/most embarrassing stage moment:
My wig fell off during a fight in my thesis show. Thankfully there was no audience!

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...
I create theatre because I love to tell stories.

What does "making it big" mean to you? How do you judge success in a show?
I would like to be able to live comfortably on just a theatre wage, and still be able to travel and pay off my student loan debt. Success in a show to me is where the audience is still talking about it after the curtain has gone down. Good or bad.

What's your first step for tackling a design/role/play/script?
I read the play first, then research, and then talk to the director.

How did your family/friends react to you joining the arts?
My father asked me how I was going to make any money and then quickly realized that I had cast him in his most important role beside father: Angel.

How do you overcome rejection?
With a pole vault.

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Spotlight Artist: Fin Coe

Fin CoeFin Coe

Company Member, first worked with Halcyon in 2011.

Favorite Halcyon shows:
From Every Mountainside / or does it explode?, and Freud Skating on Thin Ice

Favorite show you either saw or acted in or both, whatever:
Bright Room Called Day, dir. Mark Alan Gordon.  I could've cheerfully played my small part in that amazing show for years.

Worst/most embarrassing stage moment:
Any time my ego's gotten in the way of listening to my director.

Favorite Theatre Artist and why:
Rajiv Joseph.  Just an amazing playwright and such a smart guy.

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...:
I create theatre because we need art to make everything else worth it, and theatre's the medium of art in which I have bent my will and energies to understand and grow in.

If you weren't a theatre artist what would you be:
Just another failed hockey player.

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
Rogers Park.  Over 80 languages spoken there, it's nuts.

How did your family/friends react to you joining the arts?
They told me that if I was going to do it, I better be good at it.  Sound advice.

What's the strangest thing you've been asked to do onstage?
Wrestle Tony Adams Sr. in tiny gold shorts.  Was Tony in tiny gold shorts or was I? The answer to that question is "Yes".

Who do you make theatre for?
I make theatre for the people who don't think theatre's for them.

How do you overcome rejection?
Being rejected just means I need to work harder, and be better.  So, I do those things.

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Spotlight Artist: Denise Hoeflich

Denise HoeflichDenise Hoeflich

Joined as Artist-in-Residence in 2012 and became a Company Member and Director of Development in 2013.

Favorite Halcyon shows:
Freud Skating Thin Ice, Mountainside, One Week In Spring

Favorite show you either saw or acted in or both, whatever:
Waiting for Godot in NY

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...:
I love how it makes me feel so alive.

If you weren't a theatre artist what would you be:
Lawyer- wait I already did that and chose to go back to theater!

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
Albany Park, of course! Love the diversity and LOVE the theatre there!

What's your first step for tackling a design/role/play/script?
Read the script for pure enjoyment

What does "making it big" mean to you? How do you judge success in a show?
If I have put forth the best work I can, then I have made it. Everything else will fall into place.

How do you overcome rejection?
After an appropriate amount of sulking and the occasional tear, I take a deep breath and find something else to audition for.

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Spotlight Artist: Caity-Shea Violette

Caity-Shea VioletteCaity-Shea Violette

2014 Artist-in-Residence

Favorite Halcyon shows:
From Every Mountainside, Diana of Dobson's

Favorite show you either saw or acted in or both, whatever:
This is always evolving for me. The last play that absolutely took my breath away was Theater Wit's production of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England.

Worst/most embarrassing stage moment:
My first ever theatrical role was not just a pants role, a dialect role or a singing role, it was also a species role. I played a singing British rooster named "Reginald". And while that might have been adorable for a kindergartener, it was a little sad for a 15 year-old awkward teenager.

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...
I create theatre because I believe live story telling gives audiences the ability to see another perspective in a way that can only be accomplished with an audience/actor empathetic exchange and a willing suspension of disbelief. Audiences create the story with you, forming a kind of community by the end of the play, a whole room of strangers who created art together.

If you weren't a theatre artist what would you be:
I'd love to open a shelter for hard to adopt animals. I still plan on it, somewhere down the line.

What's the strangest thing you've been asked to do onstage?
I played Lane in a really fun production of The Clean House in college (because it was college and a 20 year old could play Lane) where the director saw a stage direction that said something like "an animalistic stare between the sisters" as a moment where we actually turned into wild cats and viciously clawed at each other in a pool of blood red light and jungle drums, and then promptly switched back to doing the scene normally without acknowledging it. It was some of the most fun I've ever had onstage.

How do you overcome rejection?
I take every "no" as a "not yet" and continue to work on my skills and grow as an artist. Reinforce what worked. Analyze what didn't. Build up what I need to. Try again. Eventually it will be a "yes".

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Spotlight Artist: Derrick York

Derrick YorkDerrick York

Company Member/Former Company Manager, joined in 2010

Favorite Halcyon shows:
I like the Alcyone Fest. It is a good opportunity to see several different shows in quick succession.

Worst/most embarrassing stage moment:
I was in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and when I went to present myself as the lion in the play-within-the-play I slipped on some leaves or something. I end up on my back in front of two audiences. Both embarrassing and painful.

Favorite musician:
I have eclectic tastes. One day might be Metallica; the next might be orchestral arrangements of video game music; then maybe Macklemore. It changes all the time.

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...:
...it is a chance to expand some minds.

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
I barely know which neighborhood is which, honestly. I'm pretty sure they overlap and shift on occasion, just to mess with me.

What's the strangest thing you've been asked to do onstage?
"So, I know we were gonna have you in some boxers...but could you try it naked tonight?" That was roughly 5 minutes before the show started.

How do you overcome rejection?
Rejection doesn't really bother me. Never has. You can't win every time, so why worry about it? There is always another chance around the corner.

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Spotlight Artist: Dani Snyder-Young

Dani Snyder-YoungDani Snyder-Young

Company Member since 2014, Artist in Residence 2013. This season, director The War Zone is My Bed

Favorite Halcyon shows:
May 39th

Favorite show you saw:
Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphosis, when I saw it at Lincoln Center as a much younger artist. It's what made me want to be a director and a teacher.

Complete the sentence I create theatre because…
I create theatre because it brings people together, embodied and passionate, to grapple with tough questions in complicated ways.

If you weren't a theatre artist what would you be:
Yoga instructor

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
Lincoln Square. I love eating gelato and watching kids play on the plaza on a summer day.

How did your family/friends react to you joining the arts?
No one was at all surprised I was going to try to earn a living organizing other people to play make believe, but they've been pretty impressed that I've figured out how to earn an actual living doing it.

What does "making it big" mean to you?
Having the power to get the artists I most want to work with paid a real a living wage to collaborate on my projects.

How do you judge success in a show?
I always have questions I want audience members to grapple with when they see my shows. If I overhear people I don't know in heated discussions around those questions, I know I've done what I set out to do.

How do you overcome rejection?
I make my own opportunities.

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Spotlight Artist: Ted James

Ted JamesTed James

2014 Artist in Residence

Favorite Halcyon shows:
The Emperor of the Moon From Every Mountainside

Complete the sentence I create theatre because...
I create theatre because people come ready to be vulnerable. Today there's more storytelling than ever before in the history of humans. We're constantly telling tiny little stories, on Facebook, Twitter, and usually they are fictional. Most often, people try desperately to be the hero of these little stories. Or they try to tell of the heroes they know. No one learns much from these stories, other than the fact that their own lives are dull compared to their friends. Theatre, on the other hand, should be honest. Usually painfully honest. And people should leave feeling closer to other humans, not farther apart. If there's a battle, it should expose us. All of us. And if there's a hero, we should see potential in ourselves through her. I believe theatre is becoming more important, not less.

What's your first step for tackling a design/role/play/script?
I think in depth about the backstory of the character that I'm playing. Often I have to create the backstory and make assumptions, since it's not in the script. Slowly I turn that backstory into a set of baggage -- emotional, physical, material, whatever. Then I live with that baggage as much and as honestly as possible. It's the start of melding my impulses with the impulses of this character. This character should eventually become me (or you could chose to say it the other way around); me, if I had lived life from birth under the experiences of this character.

What is one of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and why:
I love Chicago. I love finding places I've never seen before. My favorite neighborhood is the next one I find.

How did your family/friends react to you joining the arts?
Let's not tell them. For their sake.

What does "making it big" mean to you? How do you judge success in a show?
I would tell stories even if no one heard them. It sounds weird, but it's true. However, it's important to me that others do experience the work. I believe that art is great only when it profoundly connects us on a level that somehow rises above the medium.

Who do you make theatre for?
I make theatre for humans, but if an animal or tree wants to watch, that's cool too.

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