Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank you and come again!!

First off, thank you again to everyone who took time out of their wonderful and busy lives to come see our last production, sweet, half-darkness. As our company grows, and are our process with it, we are so very grateful for all of your continued support. In addition, we would love to hear your feedback on the production. If you have something to say, don't hesitate to e-mail us at Genesis.Ensemble@gmail.com.

Secondly, our company has been selected to perform a small piece at Red Tape Theatre's Chicago Fringe Artist Networking Night (CFANN)!! We will be putting together a small performance piece based on themes from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
There will be lots of great art, wine and food... so please, come and join us:
Sat. February 6th, 2010
hosted by Red Tape Theatre @ 621 W. Belmont.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

what they're saying about sweet, half-darkness...

The reviews are IN!!

"After her husband’s sudden death, Lucy (a grave and compelling Lindsey Barlag) is not “acting like Lucy”; she dons a blue dress for the funeral and confides that she feels almost happy. Like the character in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening—cited as one of the production’s inspirations—Lucy is bound by expectation but longs to forge a new identity in the crucible of her husband’s demise. We see hints of the other characters’ strictures as well; particularly well-conveyed is Sergio Soltero’s Alex, whose wry discomfort as Lucy’s “lunch friend” from work is delightful and unaffected. "-Megan Powell, TimeOut Chicago

“One of the marvelous things about the Chicago theater scene is the large variety we are offered. Some of the newer companies have come to the forefront in the past few years and I am sure there will be more. The Genesis Ensemble is one of these newer groups..."
-Alan Bresloff, Steadstyle Chicago

"You've got to root for Genesis Ensemble as their second full-length production shows them coming into their own... Director Amanda Jane Dunne gets many things right, from the sincere acting to the spot-on sound design."

-Keith Griffith, The Reader

“very intimate...well staged...bringing stories to the audience that deal with very human experiences and develop their own scripts with input from all involved.”
-Alan Bresloff, Steadstyle Chicago

Thanks to everyone who has already made it out to see the show!!! If you haven't seen sweet, half-darkness yet, THERE ARE ONLY TWO WEEKENDS LEFT!! To reserve tickets, e-mail genesis.ensemble@gmail.com!!

Friday & Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 4pm
(No Show on Nov 15, 2009)
The Menomonee Club at 1535 N Dayton St
(off the North/Clybourne Red Line)
$10 suggested donation

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

notes from our production team...

sweet, half-darkness had a successful opening weekend! Here are some notes from the director and designers about the concepts and design elements behind this collaborative creation. Come see it at the Menomonee Club (1535 N Dayton) Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm (no 11/15 performance) through November 22.

Amanda Jane Dunne on Directing sweet, half-darkness:

As Genesis Ensemble embarks on our second production, sweet half-darkness, we find ourselves growing as a company and coming closer to solidifying a process and style uniquely our own. Going from a 5-month creation process for our last venture The Secrets Project, to only 2-months was a huge challenge. But the ensemble and designers trusted me and the mission of Genesis, and what we have here today is truly a collaborative creation.

The idea behind this show has been bubbling in my brain for some time. I had read two texts, The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. And while these books are vastly different from one another, the idea that these two female characters decided to make unconventional choices in eras where convention was the only option was fascinating to me. I wanted to explore if today we are still as greatly influenced by convention and expectation in our choices, or if we are more willing to break free. And does breaking free sound better than it is in practice?

We want to constantly reinvent ourselves, but it is frightening. Can we really take the steps necessary to do so? Are we willing to make all the sacrifices and follow through with the knowledge that we might fall flat on our faces? And are we really reinventing ourselves or running away from our problems? The answers are personal. I ask you, do you think our protagonist Lucy is selfish in her wants or a woman who desires to live a full life? In The Awakening the protagonist is described as such, “She felt like some newborn creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known.” At the crossroads we find ourselves at, when we see the world in a new way, did we change, can we change, will we change?

Annie Perry on her Light & Sound Design:

Have you ever stood at Adler Planetarium and instead of looking up at the stars, turn your face towards the glass, steel and concrete front door that is our city’s skyline? Have you ever done it as the sunrises over Lake Michigan? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it before the weather gets too cold.

In the fall, Chicago is a beautiful mix of amber and steel blue colors offset by warm reds and light purples. In lighting sweet, half-darkness I have attempted to evoke the undulating moments within dawn and dusk each morning and evening in Chicago. These brief instants provide the semi-light parentheses of the day for each of us dwelling within the City of Big Shoulders.

Lucy is merely existing in Chicago at the start of the play and is undergoing an awakening to living life. In discussing Lucy’s development, Amanda and I felt very strongly that not only light, but also water would be the cleansing and renewal mechanism for her. Water plays a large role in both of the novels that inspired this play and we wanted to bring into the theatre the possibilities water exhibits, ranging from serene to cataclysmic. Each time water is introduced into the space sonically it is a little different, reflecting the points along Lucy’s path to her final decision.

Thank you for attending sweet, half-darkness I hope the atmosphere inspires and entertains.

Catherine Turco on her Set Design:

“There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice – patched, retreaded and approved for the road…” –The Bell Jar

There are those moments in life when you know you will never be the same. The plates of life have shifted and you cannot return to the life you previously led. We can make the transition kicking and screaming or accept it and keep moving. In sweet, half-darkness, Lucy sheds her past by ceremoniously giving away objects that, in her mind, cannot be associated with the next phase of her journey. Objects, after all, only carry the importance that we assign to them. While Lucy may no longer want them, they have tremendous value to the other people webbed into her life. When the once familiar becomes unrecognizable and the once precious becomes meaningless, the next phase has begun and she must redesign the future.

Emily Rose Goss on her Costume Design:

Please costume this play. But there is no script... or characters... or setting... yet.

The process of designing costumes for a devised piece of theatre is completely different from that of a "normal" play. To start, there is no script; only inspirational text. There are no characters; only ideas. You must work closely with the director to not only make sure your vision aligns with hers, but to know if the play is still taking place in the arctic tundra or if that idea has been abandoned for an exploration of a sunny farmers market.

So for me, costuming my first show with Genesis Ensemble required a huge amount of communication with the director as well as attending rehearsals within the devising process. This allowed me not only to understand what was required of the costumes, but also how each character was developing. It was a large undertaking, but an exhilarating challenge.

The result of my efforts is a palette of different shades and textures of black and white representing what is expected of each of us in life. The one character who questions these expectations wears blue as a visual representation of her desire to move beyond what is conventional and accepted.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nothing short of thankful....

We would love to thank everyone who came out and supported us at the FunRaiser at the Spot this past Wednesday!! Not only did we meet our goal, but we had such a great time! It is thanks to people like you that we are able to chase after our dreams, for that we are eternally grateful!

If there is anyone out there who could not make it to the FunRaiser and still wishes to make a contribution, you can visit this website for more details: Support

Thanks again with all the love in the world,
Genesis Ensemble

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Join us for our 2009 FUNraiser at The Spot from 8:30-10 on Oct. 7th, 2009!! We have appreciated all your support during our inaugural year as a Chicago theatre company, and as we enter into opening our second ensemble created work, we need your help more than ever!

From 8:30pm-10pm just $15 for ALL YOU CAN DRINK selected beer, well cocktails and house wines... so get there EARLY and drink up!!
There will be music, dancing, booze, raffle prizes, and at 9pm A SPECIAL, SNEAK PEAK AT OUR NEW SHOW sweet, half-darkness.

It's gonna be a blast, so invite your friends and spread the word! We can't wait to see you there!

Where: The Spot, 4437 N. Broadway
When: Wednesday, Oct. 7th 2009 8:30pm - 10:00pm

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

add a half a cup of sugar...

When the founding members of the Genesis Ensemble were in school at Miami University we had the pleasure of working with Sally Harrison-Pepper who likened the process of devising theatre to cooking. Her stance was that much of the success of a new work depended on the right combination of ingredients: a strong ensemble, a good concept and a certain willingness to "go there."

It’s a scary endeavor to try out a new, unfamiliar recipe- much like starting to work with a new ensemble of actors on a completely original, ensemble-created theatre piece…right?

As our third week of rehearsal comes to a close, it is clear that we have a delightful concoction on our hands. Luckily we have put together an ensemble that’s willing to take risks, that’s full of passion and is a delightful mix of personalities with different artistic points of view- and we’d especially like to welcome Jake Carr, Sarah Addison Ely, and Sergio Soltero. As we continue our exploration, we are all looking forward to serving our new piece to Chicago!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Call for Collaborators

We will be holding open auditions on Saturday, August 22 for our currently untitled fall project- an ensemble created work surrounding the theme of finding yourself at odds with the expectations and conventions of society. Actors will be scheduled for half-hour time slots between 2pm-5pm for a performance-based audition. Auditions will be held at 1802 W Berenice in North Center. If you are interested, send your headshot and resume to genesis.auditions@gmail.com. In the body of your email tell us your availability for Saturday, as well as why you are interested in ensemble created theatre and working with our company.

We will be rehearsing 4-nights a week from August 31 until October 28 and performing 4-weekends from October 29 through November 22.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


...That's right, the Genesis Ensemble will be performing The Secrets Project at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival!

Performers: Amanda Jane Dunne, Jen Leininger, Cece Miller, Kat Paddock and Rebecca Ribich. Directed by Lindsey Barlag, assisted by Annie Perry!

You can see us at the New Stage Collective:
Friday, June 5th at 7:15pm
Saturday, June 6th at 7:30pm


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

what YOU thought about Secrets...

Audiences that attended THE SECRETS PROJECT let us know how they felt about the role of secrets in their lives.

Better to know: 73
Better not to know: 60

I should be trusted: 115
I should not be trusted: 45

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reviews Are In!

For those of you that have already come- THANK YOU!

For those of you we have not seen-  Join us this Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. 

The Reader says:
"Few things are better for the continued health of the Chicago theatre scene than bands of recent college grads setting up shop here-- especially when they're creating original, idiosyncratic work.  Not long out of Miami University, Genesis Ensemble debuts with an installation/ performance at the uber-funky Peter Jones Gallery, combining monologues, movement pieces, music, and audience activities. ...director Lindsey Barlag draws disarmingly candid performances from the seven-member troupe."

Time Out says:
"Secrets and its actors demonstrate a refreshingly lively take on their own grave enterprise."

New City Stage says:
"The group's interactive efforts are successful; they include the audience without intimidating it.  ...It's refreshing to see a new troupe try something so ambitious; creating original work can be difficult as a group finds its footing."