International Voices Project’s 10th Annual International Plays Festival
International Voices Project (IVP) is proud to announce this year’s five-week celebration of international plays. The 10th anniversary season of play readings by playwrights from around the world takes place at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio, May 2 – June 4. Performances continue on a regular weekly schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. The series is presented in collaboration with consulates and other cultural institutions in Chicago. A reception follows each evening’s reading. The International Voices Project is the largest event of its kind in the country and introduces Chicago audiences to some of the most exciting voices on the international theater scene. Performances are free to the public and reservations are requested. Additional information and updates about the 2019 IVP festival will be available on IVPChicago.org.
IVP 2019 Schedule is below and can also be viewed by clicking here.
*NOTE: Schedule is subject to change, online schedule will be updated first.
Thursday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Cups of Wrath and Legua’s Gynecologist, in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes of Chicago
Written by Romón Griffero
Translated by Adam Versényi
Directed by Jon Dambacher
A dark comedy about a clown from the "unhappiest country in the world", Moldova, who pins her hopes on a US work visa. Chased by Homeland Security, a deportation letter deflates Nadia's enthusiasm and a pair of spike heels might be all it takes to burst her American Dream (or turn it into a nightmare...). New York City, with its special energy, seems like the perfect solution for her problems, but is it really? Luckily, Nadia is not alone in her journey: A Russian illegal immigrant, Borat, her fellow clown, tries to find his own path in the Big Apple, by working as a cab driver. Lupita, her Latina roommate, an exotic dancer and wanna-be actress, shows Nadia the tough side of the city. Meanwhile, Bob, an American washed-up musician finds himself in the relationship with the Moldovan girl. Aliens With Extraordinary Skills is based on true stories of immigration explored and fictionalized by a playwright who tries to understand her own story. The moral of the "fable" might be that - regardless of our passport and native language - we are all "aliens" in search for love, understanding and a place to call "home".
Tuesday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Goliath, in collaboration with Akvavit Theatre
Written by Maria Tryti Vennerød
Translated by May-Brit Akerholt
Directed by Breahan Pautsch
Goliath is the dominant older brother who, once in their childhood, was outshone by his clever, heroic little brother David. Ever since, Goliath has had to live with the myth, the shame and their mother’s favoring of David. Time has come for revenge.
Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m.
The Stranger and The Peephole, in collaboration with Egyptian American Society
Written by Alfred Farag
Translated by Dina Amin
Directed by Anne C. Bahow
.Performance description TBA
Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m.
A Notebook for Winter and Events Horizon, in collaboration with The Italian & American Playwrights Project and Instituto Italiano Chicago
Written by Armando Pirozzi and Elisa Casseri
Translated by Adriana Rossetto
Directed by John Green and Matt Masino
A Notebook for Winter is a two-actor-piece, which is in three acts and tells the story of an introvert professor of literature who finds a burglar on his way back home. The knife-wielding burglar wants something unexpected from him: it is a question of life or death. During the entire night, the two characters talk, exchange ideas, feelings, ask painful questions out of hope and desperation, in a completely new and unexpected atmosphere. They will meet again years later, both affected by that night. Although their personal memory of that night is different, it may have triggered a change in both of them, by offering a further comprehension and awareness of each other. The key idea is based on the power of writing as a way to directly impact reality: the wonder and resilience of poetry are not seen as a literary exercise, but rather as a vibrant force which affects life.
In Events Horizon, Olga is stuck in a studio apartment, which has a wall with many doors and cupboards, a front door which doesn’t open, and no windows. She cannot figure out what has happened. She only knows that she cannot escape. When she tries to open one of the doors on the wall, she immediately comes back from another one and continues to stay there. At some point, however, she realizes that time is messed up and that every time she leaves, she enters a different time of her life.
Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
From United Kingdom
Spun, in collaboration with Rasaka Theatre
Written by Rabiah Hussain
Directed by Alka Nayyar
Spun is the story of best friends, Safa and Aisha, both from working-class British Pakistani families in Newham, London. We meet them as they finish university and, for the first time, are forging different paths. Safa is going off to work at a large organization in central London and Aisha is staying in Newham to become a teacher, but both with the promise that they will meet every Thursday. However, when London is attacked one day in July, Safa and Aisha feel the whole world spinning. As extremes from all sides take hold of the city, they each find themselves on the receiving end of questions. Aisha is asked by her Muslim students why they are all blamed for the actions of a few, and Safa is on the receiving end of microaggressions from her colleagues about where she stands as a British Muslim. As Safa tries to distance herself from her working-class Muslim roots, Aisha embraces her identity in order to defend her own. Safa starts to drink and Aisha starts to wear a headscarf and when police shoot someone in Forest Gate, Aisha takes to the streets to march for an apology but Safa doesn't join her. As they each redefine who they are, cracks in their friendship start to appear and the debates happening in the outside world seep into their day-to-day conversations. When their priorities shift against the backdrop of politics and social change, their friendship ends in a dramatic way.
Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Gardenia, in collaboration with Trap Door Theatre
Written by Elzbieta Chowaniec
Translated by Aleksandra Kneifel
Directed by Monica Payne
Gardenia, by Elzbieta Chowaniec, is a story about four generations of women from one Polish family who are fighting with their belief systems, personal experiences, and heritage. They all exist at the same age simultaneously: great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter are all 33 years old, a pivotal age for a woman, but they are able to easily reach across space and time to encounter one another. Gardenia allows each woman’s personal drama to unfold while viewing those issues in the context of WWII, Communism, and contemporary Polish culture.
Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Written by Frédéric Sonntag
Translated by Samuel Buggeln
Directed by Warner Crocker
George Kaplan, the character is the fictional spy in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. George Kaplan, the play, is at once an anarchic comedy, a spy thriller, and a dizzying exploration into the relationship between reality and fiction. A hall-of-mirrors journey through conspiracy theories, the quality of coffee, and the nature of identity itself, the play forces an uneasy reckoning with the ways in which media narratives drive our politics and shape our understanding of the world. George Kaplan was first produced in Copenhagen in 2013 and since then has become an international phenomenon translated into a dozen languages, receiving countless readings and fifteen full productions throughout Europe as well as North and Latin America.
Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m.
The Balkan Spy, in collaboration with Vitalist Theatre
Written by Dusan Kovacevic
Translated by Dennis Barnett
Directed by Liz Carlin-Metz
The Balkan Spry is Serbian playwright Dušan Kovačević’s classic comedy about the dark side of communism under Tito and its effects on the daily lives of people in Yugoslavia. One of Kovačević’s most popular plays, both hilarious and disturbing, The Balkan Spy is a cogent exploration of the persistence of violence and the damage it does to the human psyche.
Thursday, May 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Aliens With Extraordinary Skills
Written by Saviana Stanescu
Directed by Patrizia Acerra
Performance description TBA
Tuesday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m.
From South Korea
Inching Towards Yeolha, in collaboration with Token Theatre
Written by Sam-Shik Pai
Translated by Walter Byongsok Chon
Directed by David Rhee
A nearly-fossilized village in a desert suddenly goes into turmoil when Yeon-Ahm, a “four-legged beast,” starts talking about the world outside. When an inspector from the Emperor arrives, her talking makes her the scapegoat to save the village from being “erased.”
*All performances, participants, and locations are subject to change.