Oscar Wilde

In A World Where Trees Talk And Giants Walk, Why Not A Set That Lives And Breathes?

In Ghostlight Ensemble’s latest production, actors throw their whole selves – literally – into telling the story of a giant who brings on a perpetual winter in an effort to keep his land to himself. The Selfish Giant, which opens June 8, is a physical theatre reimagining of the Oscar Wilde short story of the same name.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, this intimate production tells the tale of an angry giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land, but discovers the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness.

“The themes of this story, originally published in 1888, resonate with modern audiences, tackling issues that we are still very much grappling with,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and a co-director of the production. “The story is almost too relevant.”

This production removes the religious overtones of Wilde’s original short story and replaces it with a morality tale that focuses on character redemption and the power of love. It also moves the story off the page by relying solely on the actors who are telling it, illustrating to the audience another theme of the story – how much better we can be when we all work together.

The adaptation uses a chorus to embody human characters and mythical beasts. The actors build the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies.

“Physical theatre is really much more about, not a singular person, but what a group can provide you. What can we build together as opposed to one person standing and saying ‘Hey I’m a giant’ or ‘I’m a tree’,” said Miona Lee, co-director and movement choreographer for the production. “The story itself is very much about inclusiveness and the way we’re building our world as well is really inclusive.”

The Selfish Giant was part of a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, first published in May 1888. In the story, the selfish giant builds a wall around his beautiful garden to keep children out. By doing so, he creates a perpetual winter in the garden, because no other season wanted to be part of his selfish endeavor. Then one morning, a special child brings spring back, and the giant’s heart melts along with the snow.

The Selfish Giant stars Jean E. Burr as Lydia and Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky as a chorus of characters.

The show was crafted to appeal to all ages and its weekend runs are perfect for families looking for live, daytime entertainment. The Selfish Giant runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago (3914 N. Clark St., 60613) Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, or $25 family of four.

The Selfish Giant is part of Ghostlight’s summer Nightlight series.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audience series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren’t alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You’re never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

Tickets on sale for The Selfish Giant

Actors have begun rehearsals for  The Selfish Giant , which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Actors have begun rehearsals for The Selfish Giant, which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Tickets are on sale now for The Selfish Giant, a physical theatre production that will mesmerize audiences of all ages.

This story of a giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land runs during the month of June at Otherworld Theatre and is geared toward all ages.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and are $5 for children, $10 for adults or $25 for a family of four.

You can also obtain tickets through our Go Fund Me Campaign. The Garden, Ogre, North Wind and Giant levels all come with tickets to the show, along with a host of other goodies. Learn more Becoming a Generous Giant for Children's Theatre here.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

Donate to children, earn a reward!

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Did you know we’ve put together some very special gifts for the donors to our The Selfish Giant fundraiser? From growing your own garden to headshots and more.

Read all about the show here and then go donate here.

By donating you help keep our ticket prices affordable for all families in Chicago.

Levels include:

$25 GARDEN LEVEL: Start your own urban garden with a Grow Your Own Garden Kit and receive a ticket to the show, as well as thanks in our program.

$50 OGRE LEVEL: Join cast members and the director of The Selfish Giant after a performance for apple pie and milk and to learn more about physical storytelling. Bring your kids (or you friends’ kids) so they can learn how to turn everyday objects into props to create their own plays at home. Plus: A ticket to the show, as well thanks in the program

$75 NORTH WIND LEVEL: Get a headshot session with our company photographer who will offer you one look (a.k.a. outfit, but a variety of expressions within that one outfit) and guarantee a photo you’re happy with, or you’ll get a makeup session. You get all the photos from the session on a disc to use as you wish without watermarks. This offer is regardless of whether you’re an actor looking for fresh headshots, one of our business friends looking to spruce up your LinkedIn page or an animal lover looking for a professional photo of your pupper (did we mention, this wasn’t limited to humans!) Plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant, as well as thanks in the program

$100 or more GIANT LEVEL: A Nightlight Gift bag, featuring your choice of a Nightlight T-shirt or tote bag, among other items, plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant as well as thanks in the program.

Meet the cast of The Selfish Giant

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Up next for Ghostlight is The Selfish Giant, part of our Nightlight young audiences series.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a story that illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

We're excited to announce the cast for this ensemble production: Jean E. Burr, Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky.

The show is directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee.

This production will intrigue children and parents alike, not just with its story, but with its method of storytelling. The adaptation uses a chorus of actors to embody human characters and mythical beasts, while building the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies. This physical theater piece relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story.

The show runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Be a Generous Giant for The Selfish Giant, a show for young audiences

Every theatrical production involves a team of artist on the stage and behind the scenes to bring the stories you're seeing to life. Most of these people perform, design and build without ever being paid for their efforts.

At Ghostlight, we strive to provide everyone with an stipend to help offset the costs of traveling to rehearsal and performances or running all over town to gather materials for costume, set and properties construction. That's not always an easy task when trying to provide affordable family-friendly entertainment with rental rates in Chicago at all-time highs.

We hope you'll help up reach our goal by supporting theater for young audiences.

Find out more about The Selfish Giant and our campaign here.  

Production jobs listed for this summer's The Selfish Giant

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Ghostlight is seeking a Stage Manager and a Costume Designer for its production ofThe Selfish Giant, an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short story told through physical theatre. The production is geared toward young audiences.

To apply for any of the jobs listed below, submit a resume and statement of interest to Production Manager, Chad Wise at chad@ghostlightensemble.com. Please put the job you are applying for in the subject line.

Stage Manager
In addition to the usual duties, the stage manager will be required to act as light/sound board operator for performances.

Costume Designer
Sourcing or constructing single costume for a cast of 11, with an emphasis on flexibility for movement, while keeping in mind this is a production for young audiences in which actors take on multiple roles and build the world with their bodies.

Schedule Details
Rehearsals will be held on week day nights and weekends in April and May, with a short tech.

Performances run June 8-30 at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays at Otherworld Theatre in Chicago.

Stipend
$75 per position

Auditions Announced for 'The Selfish Giant'

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Ghostlight Ensemble announces auditions for our summer show The Selfish Giant, written by Maria Burnham, directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee and based on Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name.

The Selfish Giant is part of our Nightlight young audiences series and illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never to late for redemption and for love.

Character Descriptions:
Seeking a strong, ethnically diverse cast of all genders, ages, shapes and sizes, who love a good story and who have an imagination to rival any 5-year-old. Additionally, actors with strong movement backgrounds are encouraged to audition. This production will use a chorus of actors to embody not just the human characters in the story, but the mythical ones, as well as inanimate objects. This is NOT a dance piece. It is physical theater that relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story with their bodies and voices.

Material To Prepare:
Please submit your headshot and resume to Jean, and she will be in touch with sides and an audition appointment. Dress for movement and bring your sense of play.

Performance Dates:
Saturdays at 1 p.m. & Sundays at 11 a.m., June 7 to June 30 at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613.

Auditions:
6-11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13

***Please indicate your availability during this window in your email.***

Callbacks:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16

You MUST be available for callbacks. If you are not available for callbacks, do not submit to this audition. However, you do not need to be available for this entire time.

Auditions and call backs will be held at Otherworld Theatre.

Rehearsals will be scheduled around cast availability taking place 3 to 4 times a week during weeknights and weekends. However, as this is an ensemble production utilizing the entire chorus to tell the story, all actors will be called for all rehearsals. If you have extremely limited availability during April and May, we kindly ask that you do not submit.

To submit:
Send your headshot and resume to Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com.

Steve Martin, Oscar Wilde Part Of Ghostlight Ensemble’s Second Season

Ghostlight Ensemble will tackle the age-old debate of which is more valuable to society: art or science, and will probe the perils of building a wall to keep out unwanted children during its 2018-2019 Season.

Pablo Picasso, 1908

Pablo Picasso, 1908

This fall, Artistic Director Holly Robison directs Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile – an absurdist comedy that imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter sets the art world afire with cubism.

 Ghostlight’s production will explore the struggles and similarities between science and art, but also between genius and fame, big ideas and mere notions and optimism of the new and skepticism of the familiar.

“The play imagines the absurd and mundane in the lives of two men who really did go on to impact the world and alter history,” Robison said. “With Picasso, we are asked to consider the men as much as the myth, to see their flaws, silliness, insecurities, hopes and dreams, as much as their towering legacies. The mythic men are humanized. We can see ourselves in them and understand their desires.

“Even if we are not all geniuses, we all to some degree have the same flicker of desire to create, to inspire, to change the world and leave something behind.”

Picasso at the Lapin Agile runs October 19, 2018, through November 4, 2018, at the Otherworld Theatre’s new home at 3914 N. Clark Street in Chicago. The show will have performances on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon matinees, with an industry night performance on Monday, October 22.

The company will continue its Nightlight young audiences series next summer with a new adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s children’s story The Selfish Giant, written by Ensemble Member Maria Burnham.

The Selfish Giant is a tale of a giant who owns a beautiful garden, in which the village children love to play. The giant has been away for 12 years and upon returning is outraged to see the children enjoying themselves on his land. He builds a wall to keep them out and puts up a notice that reads: “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” But without the children, the garden falls into perpetual winter and the Selfish Giant finds himself isolated and all alone. Despite this bleak beginning, the story ultimately has a happy ending.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audiences series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren’t alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You’re never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

In its second full season, the company will also host a holiday cabaret this December and continue its popular Live Movie Reading Series.

Next up in the Live Movie Reading Series batting order is: You're Killing Me, Smalls: A Live Reading of The Sandlot. The reading, celebrating the 25th anniversary of this coming-of-age story set during the summer of 1962, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 16, at My Buddy's (4416 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640) and is directed by Carolyn Minor.

Thank you for a sold out run of 'An Ideal Husband'

We were so fortunate to have nearly 300 people join us for a sold out run of An Ideal Husband. Thank you to everyone — actors, production team, volunteers, audience members and Saints — who helped make this a phenomenal experience for our new company.

If you'd like to learn more about Ghostlight Ensemble, please visit our website and spend some time poking around. We have company bios, past productions, details on how to volunteer and support us and — coming soon — our Season 2 announcement.

In the meantime, check out the final show in our season, The Princess Without Pots — the story of a princess who has studied every weapon known to human existence and knows how to use them...as long as you don't need to know which knife is best for chopping carrots. The show is tailored to young audiences, but meant to be enjoyed by all.

Closing weekend performances of An Ideal Husband are sold out

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We've had numerous calls, emails and messages asking about tickets for this weekend's performances of An Ideal Husband. Unfortunately, we are completely sold out and we are not able to add seats or performances, nor are we able to extend the production another weekend.

We will have a wait list at each performance. There is no late seating at our shows, so if patrons who have purchased tickets in advance do not show up by curtain then we will release those seats to the wait list.

We are flattered by everyone's interest in the show and we wish we were able to accommodate everyone, but unfortunately we cannot.

An Ideal Husband is a hit!

From left: Alex Ireys (Lord Goring) and Richard Engling (Lord Caversham) in  An Ideal Husband .  (Photo by Maria Burnham/Ghostlight Ensemble)

From left: Alex Ireys (Lord Goring) and Richard Engling (Lord Caversham) in An Ideal Husband. (Photo by Maria Burnham/Ghostlight Ensemble)

Rave reviews from audience members and critics alike are piling up for Ghostlight Ensemble's production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, which has sold out every production (including previews) so far.

Splash Magazine says "it is a delightful show and highly recommended." While the Chicago Reader also recommends this "savvy" production calling it,  "remarkable: a compelling examination of acute moral dilemmas faced by recognizable people with rich inner lives." And Chicago On Stage says of the cast, "the acting is uniformly excellent" and adding this "a first-rate production."

Meanwhile audience members have said, "Perfectly staged in the Berger Park Cultural Center mansion, elegantly costumed, and finely acted, this is a show to see."

It definitely IS a show to see. But you'll need to get your tickets in advance for An Ideal Husband, which runs through April 28, because we've been turning people away at the door. Tickets are available now through Brown Paper Tickets.

Scenic Designer Needed for An Ideal Husband

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Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking a designer to enhance the scenic dressing and practical lighting of our site-specific spring production of An Ideal Husband.

The designer may also be asked to aid in sourcing a small amount of hand props. If so, the stipend will be adjusted accordingly.

The performance space is The North Mansion/ Gunder House in Berger Park (6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, 60660), which provides the perfect backdrop for this production. As such, there will be minimal scenic elements and lighting fixtures for each setting.

Schedule Details
Load-in: April 2, during the day
Tech: Evenings April 2-5
Preview: April 6
Performances: April 7-28 Friday night and Saturday 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., with an additional performance on Monday, April 9

Stipend
Small stipend to be negotiated with experience

To Apply
Please send resume and cover letter to Production Manager Janette Bauer at bauer.janette@gmail.com.

Cast announced for 'An Ideal Husband'

Ghostlight Ensemble announces casting for its spring show, Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.

The cast is: Alex Ireys as Lord Goring, Aaron Wertheim as Robert Chiltern, Maddie Pell as Lady Chiltern, Sam Bianchini as Mrs. Cheveley, Halie Merrill as Mabel Chiltern, Richard Engling as Lord Caversham, Michael Wagman as Phipps/Mason, Song Marshall as Lady Basildon, Allison McCorkle as Mrs. Marchmont, Stephanie Monday as Lady Markby and Sebastian Summers as Nanjac.

The show is directed by Ghostlight Co-Artistic Director Holly Robison. Janette Bauer is the production manager.

An Ideal Husband is Oscar Wilde's comedic masterpiece of blackmail and political corruption. Sir Robert Chiltern, a government minister who built his fortune on a single dishonest act, is blackmailed by Mrs. Cheveley, who wants his assistance in another dishonest scheme. Chiltern asks Lord Goring, the ne'er-do-well son of the Earl of Caversham, for advice, and Lord Goring, familiar (in several ways) with Mrs. Cheveley, ultimately saves Chiltern's marriage and social position. By doing so, he ironically ends up married.

The show takes place Fridays and Saturdays, April 7-28, 2018, at The North Mansion in Berger Park/ Gunder House (6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, 60660).

Thank you for an amazing 2017!

Six Authors in Search of a Character

Six Authors in Search of a Character

Something Has Survived: A  Jurassic Park  Live Reading

Something Has Survived: A Jurassic Park Live Reading

As we approach the end of the year, we at Ghostlight Ensemble are not only celebrating the final days of 2017, but also the final days of our G.E.T. Fundraiser.  We are beyond grateful for the support we've received so far and we hope more of you will join the fun before our fundraiser ends December 31.

In the summer of 2016 we were 10 people gathered in a Northside apartment asking, “What do we want to do?” “What do we want to call ourselves?” and “What sort of theatre company do we want to be?” One main stage production, two holiday shows, five live movie readings, one Fight Night, one short play festival and a year and a half later, we are proud to say Ghostlight Ensemble is the kind of company brave enough and curious enough to do just about anything — to bring you the unexpected. We have accomplished so much in so little time and we couldn’t have done it without you, our audiences, donors, artists, volunteers and subscribers. Thank you!

This is only the beginning, though. As we look to the new year, we have so much more we want to do, so much more entertainment we want to bring you and we hope you’ll join us in bringing it to life.

In the spring we are producing the Oscar Wilde's classic play about political corruption and personal integrity, An Ideal Husbanddirected by Co-Artistic Director Holly Robison. In the summer we inaugurate our Nightlight summer children’s series with our production of Maria Burnham’s original script, The Princess Without Pots, a story about a warrior princess trying to gain her independence and a decidedly un-warrior prince trying to save his kingdom.

Be a part of what's to come. You helped make us the Best New Theatre Company in Chicago in 2017, now help us bring the unexpected to Chicago.
 

Holly Robison & Michael Wagman
Co-Artistic Directors

Overwhelming response to An Ideal Husband auditions

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Thanks to everyone who submitted to our auditions for An Ideal Husband. We received hundreds of resumes and headshots. While we wish we could see you all, we have a limited number of spaces, which at this time have all been filled along with our waitlist.

If you received an audition slot, but cannot attend, please let us know as soon as possible — not just for our sake, but out of professional courtesy to your fellow performers who did not receive an audition because of you. Responding quickly allows us to give others the opportunity. Even if you find out the day before your audition that you cannot attend, there are often actors who are available to take that slot with short notice. Likewise, keep this in mind when you consider not showing up to auditions without letting us know in advance. We do understand that unavoidable situations arise at the last minute, but in this day of smart phones and mobile telephones, it is easy to let people know why you won't be attending. Email cancellations to casting@ghostlightensemble.com or call our offices at (773) 377-5342.

We'll hope you'll keep an eye out for our next round of auditions to be held in the spring of 2018 for our summer show, Princess Without Pots.

Ghostlight announces auditions for Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband"

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Ghostlight Ensemble will hold auditions for its spring production of An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde's comedic masterpiece of blackmail and political corruption, in November.

Auditon Dates: Monday, November 13 & Thursday, November 16, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with callbacks on Sunday, November 19, from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Types/Restrictions: Seeking 11 actors of any ethnicity: 5 male-identifying actors ranging from mid 20s - 60s & 6 female-identifying actors ranging from early 20s - 60s

Audition Location: DePaul Theatre School (2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614)

Pay: Small stipend for all performers

Time Commitment: Rehearsals will begin in late January/early February.

Tech: Monday, April 2 - 5, 2018

Performance Dates: 3 performances/week - Friday evening, Saturday matinee & evening, April 6 - 28, 2018 & Monday, April 9, 2018, at Berger Park North Mansion (Gunder House).

Material to prepare: To request an audition appointment, please email H/R to casting@ghostlightensemble.com. Please note any conflicts with audition dates in your initial request. If assigned an audition appointment, a short side will be emailed to you to prepare.