Chicago — Rivendell Theatre, as part of the Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative, presents the Chicago premiere of SELF DEFENSE or, death of some salesman by Carson Kreitzer, directed by Edward Sobel. Rivendell opens its 10th Anniversary Season with SELF DEFENSE on Saturday, November 13, 2004, in the Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted Street. A hitchhiking, highway hooker is turned into a nation–wide celebrity when she is arrested for the murder of seven of her johns. Is she the nation's first female serial killer, as the media would like to paint her, or a victim acting in self–defense? Rivendell Theatre Ensemble takes the audience into a world of seedy strip clubs, biker bars, backwoods swamps, and even into death row, as they follow Jolene Palmer's journey through the legal system and beyond. Based on the compelling true story of Aileen Wuornos, this scary, thought–provoking, and highly theatrical tale will haunt audiences long after the play is over. Rivendell Artistic Director Tara Mallen comments, "When I first read the play, I thought it was extremely interesting, but then I watched one of the documentaries about Aileen Wuornos and realized how much of the play came directly from her. And there's something in the truth of that that I find horrifying and riveting and so incredibly compelling. This is a playwright who actually listened to what this woman had to say." She continues, "The project is big in scope, big in its ideas; it's got a real political agenda." The cast of SELF DEFENSE features Rivendell ensemble members Tara Mallen (Jo) and Jane Baxter Miller (Pandora, LeeAnn, etc.), with Brandy McClendon (Lu, Annie), Lily Mojekwu (Chastity, etc.) Lisa Rothschiller (Daytona, etc.), Damani Singleton (Bucket, etc.), Eric Slater (Drums, etc.) and Rick Uecker (Captain Marty etc.). The designers of SELF DEFENSE are Stephanie Nelson (sets), Alison Heryer (costumes), Jaymi Lee Smith (lights), Michael Kraskin (sound). Rebekah Scallet is the dramaturg, Julia Zayas–Melenez is the stage manager and Janet Mullet is the producer. Previews for SELF DEFENSE are November 13–14, and 18–19, 2004. The production opens Saturday, November 20, 2004, at 7:00 p.m., and runs through December 19, 2004. Please note our curtain times: all performances run Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., as well as Sundays at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday matinees on November 28, December 5, 12 and 19, 2004, at 3:00 p.m. There will be no performance on Thursday, November 25, 2004. Ticket prices are $15 for previews and $20 during the regular run. Audience services hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on days with evening performances. The Audience Services number is (312) 335–1650. Real–time online ticketing is available at www.steppenwolf.org. For group sales reservations, contact the Steppenwolf Group Sales Manager at 312–654–5629. Discounts are available for groups of ten or larger. Steppenwolf Theatre Company is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Steppenwolf's Visiting Company Initiative provides space and resources to some of Chicago's finest emerging theater companies in order to present their work to a wider local and national audience. Steppenwolf hosts companies in this initiative by invitation, continuing to celebrate the diversity of the Chicago theater community. The Steppenwolf Garage Theatre is a point of entry for a next generation of theater artists at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The company's most intimate performance space, the Steppenwolf Garage Theatre showcases the work of emerging actors, directors, writers and designers and is dedicated to nurturing the best new voices in the American theater. Steppenwolf Theatre Company dedicates this performance space as the Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre in honor of board member Merle Reskin. Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is a professional Equity company dedicated to pursuing the talents of women artists – writers, actors, directors, technical staff and designers. In addition, it is committed to seeking out plays that explore the unique female experience in an intimate salon environment as well as exposing theater audiences of all backgrounds to a wide variety of perspectives. Founded in 1996, Rivendell has produced 4 world premieres and 10 Midwest premieres, as well as received 7 Jeff awards and nominations for artistic excellence. Fact Sheet: SELF DEFENSE or, death of some salesmen Title: SELF DEFENSE or, death of some salesmen Playwright: Carson Kreitzer Director: Edward Sobel Location: Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted Dates: Previews: November 13, 18–19, 2004, at 8:00 p.m. and November 14, 2004, at 7:00 p.m. Opening: November 20, 2004, at 7:00 p.m. Regular Run: November 21–December 19, 2004 No performance on November 25, 2004 Curtain Times: Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Sunday matinees on November 28, December 5, 12, 19, 2004, at 3:00 p.m. Tickets: $15.00 previews; $20.00 regular run Audience Services: 1650 N Halsted Street (312)335–1650 www.steppenwolf.org 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. everyday 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. on days with evening performances Brief Synopsis A hitchhiking, highway hooker is turned into a nation–wide celebrity when she is arrested for the murder of seven of her johns. Is she the nation's first female serial killer, as the media would like to paint her, or a victim acting in self–defense? Rivendell Theatre Ensemble takes the audience into a world of seedy strip clubs, biker bars, backwoods swamps, and even into death row, as they follow Jolene Palmer's journey through the legal system and beyond. Based on the compelling true story of Aileen Wuornos, this scary, thought–provoking, and highly theatrical tale will haunt audiences long after the play is over. Notes of Interest
- SELF DEFENSE or, death of some salesmen is based on the story of convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, whose trial in Florida was marked by corruption, deception, and the influence of Hollywood. A version of her story was also the basis for the film Monster.
- Now in its 10th Anniversary Season, Rivendell has produced 4 world premieres and 10 midwest premieres, and received 7 Jeff awards and nominations for artistic excellence. Rivendell is the only Equity theater dedicated to providing women theater artists and technical staff a "stage" for their talents––to enable them to practice and hone their professional craft while earning a living wage. Rivendell is the resident theater this season at The Gallery 37 Storefront Theater, sponsored by The Department of Cultural Affairs.
- Director Edward Sobel has previously directed at Steppenwolf, American Theatre Company, WBEZ's Stories on Stage, and at Rivendell, where he directed the acclaimed productions of Faulkner's Bicycle and Be Aggressive.
- Tara Mallen, who plays the role of Jo, is the Artistic Director and a founding member of Rivendell. She won a Joseph Jefferson award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth in Wrens as well as being a part of the Jeff–winning ensemble for that production. She was nominated the following year for Best Actress in a Principal Role for her work in My Simple City.
- Playwright Carson Kreitzer is being produced for the first time in Chicago with SELF DEFENSE or, death of some salesmen. Her play The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer is being produced at Next Theatre in Evanston later this season.