We are thrilled to announce that our next original performance, Ofrenda, is being written by Chicago playwright Isaac Gomez and directed by longtime APTP artistic leaders Stephanie Paul and Maggie Popadiak. Ofrenda will be performed by APTP’s largest ever ensemble, 33 teens ranging in age from 13 to 18, all of whom are co-creators on the show. Ofrenda begins performances April 25 at our home theater in Albany Park.
Ofrenda marks the first time in APTP’s 21 years of devising original theater that we’ve collaborated with a playwright. As the project’s writer, Isaac Gomez has shaped and distilled and imagined into a script the volumes of interviews, writing, scenes and ideas that the APTP youth ensemble has gathered and devised since it began work on Ofrenda in Summer 2017.
We invited Isaac into this process so we could more deeply explore the language of theater, much in the way we explored space in new ways with Learning Curve, our site-specific collaboration with Third Rail Projects. Isaac’s writing for Ofrenda is at once natural and poeticized. His script includes both richly evocative storytelling and lightning-paced language duels. He’s also written choral scenes that allow our company to explore through text the kind of rhythmic ensemble work that has become a signature of APTP’s choreography. It’s been especially inspiring to have Isaac with us in workshops and rehearsals, sitting around the table with APTP youth artists, devising and revising scenes together.
Isaac Gomez has two other big Chicago premieres this year: The Displaced premieres at Haven Theatre later this spring, and La Ruta has its world premiere at Steppenwolf starting in December. Isaac’s other plays include Wally World, PerKup Elkhorn, The Way She Spoke: A docu-mythologia, Throwaway Kids and The Alchemist. He’s on the faculty at the Theatre School at DePaul and worked for several years at Victory Gardens.
APTP has become known for bringing together outstanding directing, design and production teams to craft the worlds of our shows. Stay tuned for future posts including interviews with Ofrenda directors Stephanie Paul and Maggie Popadiak, profiles of youth ensemble members – and introductions to other members of the team, including Mikhail Fiksel (Composer & Sound Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer), Elizabeth Mak (Lighting Designer), Scott C. Neale (Scenic Designer) Ellie Terrell (Objects Designer), Monica M. Brown (Stage Manager) and Trina McGee (Production Manager).