A Twist of Water

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Theater In Chicago feature article and interview!

Posted by A Twist of Water on April 26, 2011

Lawrence Bommer of TheatreInChicago.Com interviewed playwright (and Route 66’s newest Company Member!) Caitlin Montanye Parrish and director/co-creator Erica Weiss about A Twist of Water as a distinctly Chicago play and the process of creating this world premiere production.

“A huge hit when it opened at Theater Wit as a vibrnat world premiere by Caitlin Montayne Parrish, A Twist of Water has made a major move. This just triumph reopens at Lakeview’s Mercury Theater on May 1 to deliver even more shocks of recognition to appreciative audiences. The biggest one is that cities and families are just a matter of degree.
A Twist of Water
The success is no surprise: It’s appropriate that, shortly after his election, Mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel saw and praised this very Chicago piece, a play that goes beyond the genre of domestic drama to make connections with the city that shapes its story. Perfectly shaped by Erica Weiss, Route 66 Theatre Company’s staging is as much a labor of love as the script that inspires it… Few plays become their own civic commentary, let alone redefine how we feel the place where we live…Like two other Chicago icons, The Front Page in the 1920s or A Raisin in the Sun in the 1950s, A Twist of Water is the right story in the right place at the right time.”



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The AV Club Chicago features “TWIST” in their Cheap Seats Theatre Section

Posted by A Twist of Water on February 17, 2011

The AV Club’s Oliver Sava interviewed playwright Caitlin Montanye Parrish and co-creator/director Erica Weiss for their “Cheap Seats” Theatre Section. Here’s an excerpt! Read the whole article HERE.

Best reason to try it: While the play’s subject matter is heavy, its two passionate creators use the Chicago setting to help bring the audience into the world of the play, creating characters and situations that should be familiar to anyone living in the city. Parrish’s script impressively captures the complicated family dynamic—especially in an emotionally devastating scene when Jira meets her birth mother—but there are also moments of intimacy and humor that keep the play from becoming overbearing. “I feel really strongly that when presenting a play that has ‘issues’ attached to it, if you want to move people, the best way to do so is just to present them through the lens of characters people can love and relate to, to the point where they don’t see the issues anymore,” says Weiss. “The best reason ultimately is that this is a play for Chicago. I think anyone who lives here has a feeling of Chicago pride, and the whole element of Chicago identity that runs through the play will make them feel like there is a play for them.”

“And the cast is really attractive,” Parrish adds.

Weiss concludes, “If you like boys kissing, you’ll love A Twist Of Water.”


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What’s so funny? The First Week of Rehearsal.

Posted by Erica Weiss on January 21, 2011

No matter what the play, no matter how deep or difficult the subject matter… theatre should be fun. And we are having a blast.

Now, A Twist of Water, for all it’s heaviness, actually has plenty of comedy. Caitlin sometimes receives complains that she hasn’t written a comedy, at least not since A View from Tall. I disagree. In a way, all of her plays are comedies. She’s too funny a writer and too funny a person to leave her sense of humor out of a scene for too long. Add that dynamic to the wicked senses of humor that round out the rest of this room, and we wind up with a pretty wonderful balance of good times and hard work. I’m now going to embarrass the cast by both singing their praises and telling you why they crack me up.

Lili-Anne Brown, or Lil (who plays Tia), is a sassy-pants. She is so damn smart and always has a brilliant insight to share. She’s really only in one scene in the play (oh man, but what a scene), but she brings her piercing intelligence and wit to the room whenever she’s with us.

Alex Hugh Brown (playing the role of Liam), aside from being ridiculously cute (seriously, you could sell tickets to your face, Alex), has an incredible method of verbalizing his acting thought process when he hits a line or a moment that needs work. Out of nowhere, he’ll start saying the same line over and over again, with different inflection, talking to himself, trying to figure out the best way to say it, and it’s kind of like watching Rain Man. I admire the hell out of it, actually, and it really works for him, but the first time, it came so completely out of nowhere and went on for so long that I wound up crumpled on the floor, convulsing with laughter, tears streaming down my face, gasping for air. And for the record, he kept going. And going. And going. We all witnessed something magical that night.

Stef Tovar (our illustrious Artistic Director, playing the role of Noah) is fully and hilariously inappropriate. So am I… and really, so is everyone else, so we do encourage him. His recent valiant attempts to understand youth culture and speak the language of the street are reminiscent not so much of Marky Mark and more of Michael Steele. Stef is by no means old or out of touch… but it is pretty fun to make him feel that way. And last night, when we were discussing Lauryn Hill, and he said “who’s that?” it was open season.

When we first met Falashay Pearson (playing the role of Jira), Caitlin and I struggled to find the best way to describe her. We settled upon: “If Christopher Walken and a black Unicorn had a baby.” But Falashay is so adorable and lovely that no one believed me when I described how weird and funny she is, and at first, no one could understand why I started giggling every time she opened her mouth to speak. But now they all understand, especially after seeing her impression of a man she calls “Houndog,” a karaoke regular who sings Elvis songs while wriggling his hips nonstop and barely opening his lips to get the words out of his mouth.

I’m writing this and thinking to myself, “maybe you just had to be there.” To be honest, that’s one of the things that makes rehearsal processes so wonderful and precious – the only people who will really be able to understand what it was like are the people who were in the room. In that way, it’s not unlike theatre itself. The experience of live theatre can never be replicated. Every performance, with a different audience, will be a different show, and those moments are shared only by the artists and the patrons in the room, together, on a shared journey for 2 hours or so.

We’re getting into heavy stuff with this show, but that doesn’t mean we should be crushed by the weight. You don’t have to punish people in order to move them. As long as we are able to laugh together and slowly, organically, become a show-family, we will find the balance between light and dark, and when you come to see this group onstage, we hope you will feel that balance, too.

We miss you, Caitlin. Even though you’re in Los Angeles, you’re in the room with us in spirit.

Onward! We have so much still to do.

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Braving the cold with Scenic Designer Stephen H Carmody

Posted by A Twist of Water on January 8, 2011

Stephen H Carmody, Scenic Designer for A Twist of Water, adds his first post to the blog. Enjoy!
I love Chicago.

I hate the cold.

Chicago’s cold taunts and bites.  It frustrates and persists.  It surprises and is forever constant causing delays, fevers, headaches, wet socks, numb fingers, and reasons to never leave the cozy comforts of your bed.

But we do leave our beds.  And yes, it is uncomfortable and yes, no one smiles when waiting for the bus, but no, I don’t hate Chicago.

I don’t know why.  If you look at it logically, based on the information I gave at the top of the blog, I should hate Chicago 9 months out the year.  That is 75% of the time!  I had to figure that out with a calculator, which leads me to my next point.   I’m the scenic designer for A Twist of Water.  I look at things aesthetically and rarely do I convert fractions.  And as much as I think I should hate Chicago and its awful cold, my affection towards its weather condition is a major contradiction.   Chicago winter is beautiful and I’m able to deal and adapt to difficult situations out of a genuine love for the city.   (Allusion??? I think so.)

When researching for this show, I came across a picture that represented the text of the show and my feelings towards Chicago’s winter.  The picture is freezing, the lake is ice, the air is crisp, the trees are bare, and there is a twist in the water.  Literally, there is.  That was it.  I knew what I wanted to make the space and how I wanted the audience to feel.  Thank you google!

Scenic Design "Inspiration Photo"

I’m very excited about this show and more than happy to put on a double layer of clothes to face the cold and work on this project.

Stay warm, and I hope to see you at A Twist of Water and around Chicago!


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