Monday, December 14, 2015

Krampus! isn't done yet!

You still have two more chances to see Krampus! beginning tonight, December 14, at Underground Wonder Bar in River North. But seating is limited at this location and tickets are going fast, so buy in advance and get there early!

Krampus! is a "hilarious" tongue-in-cheek Christmas horror story (that "amassed riotous laughs from the crowd"...but don't take our word for it. Click the link for a review...) about what happens when family bickers too much and holidays too little while a Christmas demon is on the prowl.

The original story, written for the stage by Jaclyn Jensen and Mike Wozniak, follows the the Murray family as they get together for one last Midwestern cabin Christmas before the eldest daughter and her boyfriend move to New York. But it isn't enough they have to deal with the usual drama that comes with Christmas. The Murray family has to do it in the isolation of a cabin in the woods, during a snow storm, with a holiday devil running amok and only some peppermint schnaps to get them through it.

Directed by Maria Burnham, the full cast includes: Jean E. Burr, Justin Fill, Sean Harklerode, Stefanie Johnsen, Allison McCorkle, Christopher Paul Mueller, Paul Tinsley, Michael Wagman and Chad Wise.

Who is Krampus? In European folklore, Krampus is the hell-bound companion of Saint Nicholas. With cloven hooves, a long tongue and goat-like horns, Krampus (also known as Black Peter) punishes the naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good.


Thanks to everyone who attended Krampus! at Mary's Attic last week, and to everyone who came out to Christkindlmarket Chicago earlier this month, as part of the League of Chicago Theatres' Theatre Tag.

The final two performances of Krampus! take place tonight, December 14, and Tuesday, December 15, at Underground Wonder Bar in River North (710 N. Clark St., Chicago 60654). Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. More information is available on our website.

Tickets are $10 in advance via Brown Paper Tickets or $12 at the door.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

And a happy opening was had by alll....Merry Krampus! from the Murray Family

Thanks to everyone who came out to opening night for Krampus! last night. We had a packed house and shared many laughs and had fun. Everything that the holidays should be.

Here's the Murray Family Photo from last night's show:



If you missed it, don't worry. We have three more opportunities for you to catch Krampus! starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance via Brown Paper Tickets or $12 at the door. 

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. On Tuesday, December 8, you can find Krampus! at Mary's Attic in Andersonville (5400 N. Clark St., Chicago, 60640). And on Monday, December 14, and Tuesday, December 15, Krampus! will be at Underground Wonder Bar in River North (710 N. Clark St., Chicago 60654). 

Krampus! featured in The Columbia Chronicle

If you've been eager to read more on our production of Krampus! you can find an interview with one of the playwrights, the director and members of the cast in this article in The Columbia Chronicle.
Instead of receiving coal, naughty kids this Christmas season will face being terrorized by the monster Krampus, thanks to a holiday production the Strangeloop Theatre is scheduled to run Dec. 7–8 and Dec. 14–15.
Read the entire article here

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Krampus!: Cast and Crew Bios

Cast:

Jack/Older Priest                     Paul Tinsley+
Chase/Younger Priest              Michael Wagman*
Anne                                        Allison McCorkle+
Ralph                                       Sean Harklerode
Lauren                                     Jean E. Burr+
Nicole                                      Stefanie Johnsen
Kyle                                         Christopher Paul Mueller
Chet                                         Chad Wise
Krampus                                  Justin Fill+
Radio Newscaster                   Alan Goulding

Production Team:

Playwrights                             Jaclyn Jensen*
                                                Mike Wozniak
Director                                   Maria Burnham*
Stage Manager                       Keith Gatchel*
Props                                      Maria Burnham*, Letitia Guillaud*, Holly Robison*,
                                               Chad Wise
Krampus/Ugly Christmas
  Sweater Costume Design     Stefanie Johnsen
Fight Choreographer               Justin Fill+
Fight Captain                           Christopher Paul Mueller
Sound                                      Maria Burnham*, Mike Wozniak
Graphic Design                       Mike Wozniak
Marketing                                Maria Burnham*, Jean E. Burr+

*Denotes a Strangeloop Company Member
+Denotes a Strangeloop Associate Company Member 

Krampus! Bio: Allison McCorkle


Allison McCorkle (Anne) studied theatre at Texas Wesleyan University and stuck around the Fort Worth/Dallas theatre scene for a years before being lured to Chicago in 2007. Her credits include Piccolo Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Polarity, Red Tape and GreatWorks Theatre, among others. Having just completed her first year as an associate company member, Allison has joined Strangeloop onstage for The Robbers, Loopshop, Nutcracker Nightmare and Christmas Clue-seau.

Krampus! Bio: Sean Harklerode

Sean Harklerode (Ralph) is happy to be working with Strangeloop Theatre for the first time. He most recently appeared in The Artistic Home's The Time of Your Life, and is also currently appearing in their Miracle on 34th Street: A Radio Play. He is a former member of New Millennium Theatre Company, where he most recently appeared as Mario in The Princess Peach Conspiracy, and also wrote and directed Silent Night of the Living Dead and Plans One Through Eight from Outer Space. Favorite roles include Max in Lend Me a Tenor, Asa in Our American Cousin and Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey. Hedy Weiss also once said nice things about his Lumbergh in Cubicle!: An Office Space Musical. So he's got that goin' for him. Which is nice. Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

Krampus! Bio: Jean E. Burr

 

Jean E. Burr (Lauren) is very excited to be a part of this wonderful show! She moved to Chicago in the midst of the 2014 Polar Vortex after graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she studied Film and Japanese. Since her arrival, she has performed with Nothing Special Productions, Gorilla Tango Burlesque, Vaudezilla Burlesque, Plan 9 Burlesque, Indie Boots Theatre, Open Door Rep, and, of course, Strangeloop Theatre, where she is an Artistic Associate. Love to her friends, family, co-workers, her cat, and the awesome cast & crew! Check out her upcoming projects at www.jeaneburr.com.

Krampus! Bio: Stefanie Johnsen


Stefanie Johnsen (Nicole) Not only does Stefanie believe in Krampus, Krampus believes in her. She is currently interning to be the newest Krampus minion and looks forward to punishing little boys and girls around the world. So so naughty... Stefanie was Queen Aggravain in Once Upon a Mattress this past summer at the Wallace Bowl, has helped with various readings (staged and not) and costumed a few shows and peoples. Be NICE!

Krampus! Bio: Chad Wise



Chad Wise (Chet) is 2 for 3 in playing the mysterious guy that knows what’s really going on in Strangeloop Christmas plays, having previously spouted vague warnings & sported one-eyed looks of dread as Drosselmeyer in 2013’s Nutcracker Nightmare. He also appeared as the Police Chief in 2014’s Christmas Clue-seau and has directed for the occasional Loopshop and worn a toga for the occasional Fight Night entry. Chad founded and ran New Millennium Theatre Company for 12 years bringing the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Musical, MIYAGI! A Karate Kid Musical and Silent Night of the Living Dead to the Chicago stage. When not performing, Chad splits his time between doing the director’s dishes (not a euphemism) and keeping track of all the LEGOs his 6-year-old Boy Wonder can build. Love to Carlos.

Krampus! Bio: Christopher Paul Mueller


Christopher Paul Mueller (Kyle) is honored to working with Strangeloop again after appearing in this summer's Loopshop series. He graduated from Roosevelt's Theater Conservatory and has been seen all over town working with companies like Red Theater, Collaboraction, Red Tape, Red Moon, Scooty and JoJo, and many more. Chris also co-founded the former clown troupe Les Enfants Terribles.

Krampus! Bio: Paul Tinsley

Paul Tinsley (Jack/Older Priest) has been performing on stage since 1963. Some of his favorite roles have been Vladimir in Waiting For Godot, the Cypress Ambassador in An Affair of State for Set Gourmet Theatre, Father Tom in Strangeloop’s Living Quarters, Farnum in Both Your Houses for Remy Bumppo and Joe in The Shadow Box for the Rebekah Theatre Project. He has worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Northlight, Organic, Stage Left and many storefront theatres. Paul is extremely proud to be a founding member and co-artistic director of the Rebekah Theatre Project.

Krampus! Bio: Justin Fill


Justin Fill (Krampus/Fight Choreographer) is excited to be possessed/cast as Krampus this Holiday Season. Justin is an Associate Company Member of Strangeloop Theatre and an Actor Combatant in the Society of American Fight Directors. He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake, and support Chicago Theatre! Justin has worked with Strangeloop Theatre, Theatre-Hikes, Forget-me-not Theatre Co., and the Chicago Swordplay Guild. His Fight Choreography has been featured in Strangeloop's French With Me, and Nothing Special's Fight Night. Enjoy the show!

Krampus! Bio: Michael Wagman




Michael Wagman (Chase/Younger Priest) is very excited to once more act with Strangeloop where he has been a company member since 2010. Previous Strangeloop acting credits include The Millionaire Farmer, The Maid of Orleans, As You Like It and his personal favorite, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other favorite acting credits include Cash on Delivery (Saint Sebastian Players), Some Air (Nothing Without a Company) and The Contract (Janus Theatre Company). In addition to Michael’s acting credits, he has also written Santa Claus vs. the Easter Bunny for both Strangeloop and Donny’s Skybox Theatre (also director), Shadows and Lust for Strangeloop at the 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival, and Crisco vs. Olive Oil for Loopshop3. Big thanks to Maria, Lisa, and all my wonderful Strangeloop peeps.

Krampus! Bio: Jaclyn Jensen




Jaclyn Jensen (Playwright) is originally from Sandy, Utah, and received her BFA in Theatre Performance form the University of Central Missouri. She has been a member of Strangeloop since 2013. Other credits include productions with James Downing Theatre, Consortium Project, Chicago Park District, Saint Sebastian Players and Shapeshifter’s Theatre. Outside of theatre she likes to travel, watch horror movies and volunteer in support of young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Krampus! Bio: Mike Wozniak

Mike Wozniak (Playwright). Born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Mike is a Chicago-based graphic designer and illustrator. He is a graduate of Mercyhurst College and has thoroughly enjoyed working with Strangeloop this season.

Krampus Bio: Maria Burnham



Maria Burnham (Director) is a director, writer, sometimes stage manager, full-time theater monkey and all around jack-of-all-trades. Storefront theater, ho! She studied creative writing and theater at Louisiana State University and has worked in Chicago with such companies as Appetite Theatre Co., New Millennium Theatre Co., Stockyards Theatre Project, TUTA and Red Theater, where she is also a company member. Maria is thrilled to be a member of Strangeloop. She loves pursuing the undiscovered, though mostly she’s just in it for the chicken. She wishes she could stuff this cast in a basket and keep them with her forever because they make her laugh every day.

Krampus! Bio: Keith Gatchel


Keith Gatchel (Stage Manager) comes to us from Rockford, IL, by way of Southern Illinois University (with a few stops in Florida). Since 2005, Keith has worked tech at a number of theatres, including The Goodman Theatre, Collaboraction, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens, Pegasus Players and most recently Blue Man Group. He was also a writer for Big News at IO and Second City, and contributor to several Loopshop productions, as well as Strangeloop's Our Perfect Holiday 2012 with the cast, and just recently, Thinking Caps. Along with being the co-literary manager for Strangeloop, he is a stage manager for The Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Brass Chuckles Comedy, Uptown Live with James VanOsdol and other shows at the Uptown Underground.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New trailer for Krampus!


Ready to be spooked? Here's a little bit of scary to start your day:


This holiday season Strangeloop Theatre presents Krampus! written by Company Member Jacyln Jensen and Mike Wozniak and directed by Company Member Maria Burnham.

Krampus! is a Christmas horror stage production (with nothing, but the eponymous Christmas demon, in common with the movie of the same name). The plot follows the Murray family as they get together for a final Midwestern cabin Christmas before the eldest daughter and her boyfriend move to New York. But it isn't enough that they have to deal with the usual drama that comes with Christmas. The Murray family has to do it in the isolation of a cabin in the woods, during a snow storm with a holiday devil running amok and only some peppermint schnaps to get them through it. 

The Krampus! schedule is below. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.:
  • Monday, December 7, at Mary's Attic in Andersonville
  • Tuesday, December 8, at Mary's Attic in Andersonville 
  • Monday, December 14, at Underground Wonder Bar in River North
  • Tuesday, December 15, at Underground Wonder Bar in River North
Mary's Attic is located at 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago. The Underground Wonder Bar is located at 710 N. Clark St. in Chicago.
 
Tickets are $10 in advance via Brown Paper Tickets or $12 at the door. There's also a secret discount code available via WelcomeToTannenWald over on Instagram...if you're brave enough to face Krampus and win.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Danke schön!

Thanks to everyone who came out Tuesday to the Christkindlmarket, as part of the League of Chicago Theatres' Theatre Tag! We loved being there and having you with us!

If you missed our excerpt from Krampus!, you can check out these photos of our audience with Krampus and these from our performance. Catch the real thing beginning Monday at Mary's Attic in Andersonville.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Join Strangeloop at Krampus Fest

Strangeloop will be joining Krampus and a host of local artists, makers and bakers at the third annual Krampus Fest at Martyrs on Saturday, December 5.

The creepy holiday market, featuring everything from handmade, wicked cool holiday cards to delightfully dark figurines and re-purposed art, begins at noon. Krampuslauf begins at 6 p.m. and the celebration will go late, so grab your horns and join us!

You can learn more about our show, Krampus!, chat with the playwrights; get your photo taken with Krampus; do your holiday shopping; fill up on German street food, glühwein and beer; and take part in the Krampuslauf parade.

Click here for more information about Krampus Fest.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome to the World of Krampus

The sign in the middle of the woods welcomes you to TannenWald — a campground whose cabins were once popular with German immigrants at the turn-of-the-century, filled with their celebrations and traditions.

But now it sits unused for most of the year, quietly waiting for the few folks who trickle up from the big cities, visiting on vacations, weekend getaways, Midwestern Cabin Christmases. Sometimes they stay for a few days, sometimes they never leave.

Why don't you come and visit? It may feel like something is watching you from those woods, but surely it's just your imagination...

Strangeloop presents a choose-your-own-adventure style immersive experience into the world of Krampus! at WelcomeToTannenWald on Instagram. If you survive, you might even find yourself with some discount tickets to our production.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Krampus! at Christkindlmarket


Strangeloop Theatre will be one of eight companies performing throughout the day at Christkindlmarket, as part of the League of Chicago Theatres' Theatre Tag.

Grab a warm beverage and join us after work at 5:30 p.m. with a scene from our upcoming holiday production, Krampus!.

Krampus! is a tongue-in-cheek Christmas horror stage production (with nothing, but the eponymous Christmas demon, in common with the movie of the same name). The plot follows the Murray family as they get together for a final Midwestern cabin Christmas before the eldest daughter and her boyfriend move to New York. But it isn't enough that they have to deal with the usual drama that comes with Christmas. The Murray family has to do it in the isolation of a cabin in the woods, during a snow storm with a holiday devil running amok and only some peppermint schnaps to get them through it. 

For a full list of Theatre Tag performances and more information visit the event page.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Krampus! is already creeping out Chicago...

Krampus! is featured in The Chicago Creepout on Chicago Now. 
Strangeloop Theatre presents a delightfully frightful way to start out December properly with four nights of KRAMPUS! While based on the darker side of history, this play will ensure enough humor to keep any fears of Christmas devils at bay. As long as children are good, the cloven-hoofed, long-tongued, horned Krampus won't make an appearance to beat them with a stick, stuff them inside his bag, and kidnap them.
 Read the whole article here. And then get your tickets here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Strangeloop announces casting, details for 'Krampus!' holiday show

He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good...or he'll beat you with switches and rusty chains, stuff you in a basket and drag you to the fiery depths below...

...Oh yes, boys and girls, Krampus is coming.

It isn't enough that a family has to deal with the usual drama that comes with Christmas, but the Murray family has to do it in the isolation of a cabin in the woods, during a snow storm with a holiday devil running amok and only some peppermint schnaps to get them through it. Will there be enough Christmas spirit for all to survive?
 
This holiday season Strangeloop Theatre presents Krampus! written by Company Member Jacyln Jensen and Mike Wozniak and directed by Company Member Maria Burnham.

The cast includes: Jean E. Burr, Justin Fill, Sean Harklerode, Stefanie Johnsen, Allison McCorkle, Christopher Paul Mueller, Paul Tinsley, Michael Wagman and Chad Wise.

Who is Krampus? In European folklore, Krampus is the hell-bound companion of Saint Nicholas. With cloven hooves, a long tongue and goat-like horns, Krampus (also known as Black Peter) punishes the naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good. 

This year Strangeloop expands its annual holiday show from two nights in one location to four nights in two locations. Krampus will be all around.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. On Monday, December 7, and Tuesday, December 8, you can find Krampus! at Mary's Attic in Andersonville (5400 N. Clark St., Chicago, 60640). And on Monday, December 14, and Tuesday, December 15, Krampus! will be at Underground Wonder Bar in River North (710 N. Clark St., Chicago 60654).

Tickets are $10 in advance via Brown Paper Tickets or $12 at the door.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Season 8 fundraiser wrapping up

We are winding up our fundraising campaign for Season 8 next week. This entire season we are focused only on new works, which while exciting are always a challenge to produce and market effectively. Known plays come with a built-in audience, but new plays by unknown or lesser-known playwrights require a bigger leap of faith on the part of companies to produces. But if no one produces these new works, how will your next new favorite play ever be seen?

Help us uncover these hidden gems by supporting their productions. Learn more about our season here and more about our development process here. We chatted with playwright Maria Burnham last weeks to learn more about her play Mitera, which will be our spring mainstage show. Read her interview here and watch a video about her inspiration for the show below.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Thanks to all who attended our 7th Anniversary Party & Karaoke Fundraiser! (There's still time to donate)

A big thank you to everyone who attended our 7th Anniversary Party and Karaoke Fundraiser on Saturday, October 17. We packed the basement of Matilda's in Lakeview and a rockin' time was had by all!

Santa and Krampus were there, as well as a Greek fortune teller reading coffee grounds. There were raffle gifts galore, readings of a few of our 5-Minute Plays written for donors, a preview of our holiday show Krampus! and, of course, karaoke including a rousing rendition of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun by our co-Artistic Director Brad Gunter and Company Member Michael Wagman.

If you missed the fun, or just want to relive the evening, a photo gallery of the happenings can be found here. Tag yourself or add your own photos to our Facebook page.

If you weren't able to attend, but still want to help support Strangeloop's 8th Season, there's still time to donate to our Kickstarter campaign. Maybe you attended, saw the 5-Minute Plays or had some biscotti and want more. Both are rewards for donors. Enjoyed that sneak peek at Krampus! and want to pick the brains of its creators over drinks? That's a reward too.

In addition, we have a matching donation challenge from a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. Our donor is matching every dollar we receive up to $600 beginning now. Help us double your dollars by donating through October 28. And Strangeloop is a 401(c)3 non-profit organization, so your donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Let's carry the fun throughout the 2015-2016 season!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mother always knows best...even after she's dead

Strangeloop is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise funds for our 8th Season. Your donations will help support new and exciting works like Mitera  Strangeloop's mainstage production, which will go up in the spring of 2016. We recently sat down with playwright Maria Burnham to chat about her inspiration for the play.

What is Mitera about? Mitera is the story of three, single adult sisters who live at home and have their lives turned upside down when they find out their mother is still micromanaging their lives from beyond the grave. As the play begins, they discover their mother has left their entire inheritance contingent on the youngest sister marrying within a year of her death, otherwise everything goes to their oldest male relative in Greece. But the youngest sister is an unattached romantic who believes in marrying for love.

What does Mitera mean? Mitera, or (ἡ) Mητέρα, means mother in Greek.

Where did you get the idea for this story? There were several different things going on when I decided to write this piece. One was simply that I wanted to write roles for Greek-American actresses because that’s not something that exists. We play a lot of other ethnic groups that are more prevalent in theater – Italian, French, various Middle Eastern nationalities. I have no idea if Greek-American actresses will be cast in these roles, but I wanted to create that opportunity. Then when I started thinking about the actual story that I wanted to write, I kept coming back to my own mother and her desperate desire that my brother or I get married and produce some grandchildren. I wanted to explore how far a mother might go to force that desire onto her children.

Is this a story that will be relatable to people who aren’t Greek? Ultimately it is a story about love. Love between family members, the things people do for love, the bad choices people make in the name of love, the ridiculous lengths we go to out of love. That’s what makes all stories relatable regardless of setting. Audiences relate to Les Miserables despite having no firsthand experience with the French Revolution. It’s not the trappings of a play that make a story compelling or interesting to an audience, it’s the heart of the story being told.  


Can a Greek story be told without a wedding? Ha ha ha! Yes. I’m sure it’s possible, but ceremony and celebrations are a huge part of Greek life, and so it feels like there is always a wedding on the horizon. It seems like for most of my life there’s been talk of someone getting married or babies being baptized or someone’s funeral or memorial service…every time I talk to my parents I get the update on all these points from back home. 

And back home is? Jackson, Mississippi. It’s probably not the first place that pops to mind when people think of Greek-American communities, but there is a small Greek community there with ties to the larger Greek communities in Memphis and New Orleans. You can find us everywhere. 

Because everywhere needs diners? You joke, but that’s pretty true. 

So is this play influenced by your own life? In some ways, yes. I’d say the larger world I’ve set this in is most influence by my own life. The sisters in this play grew up in an insular community, like we have in Jackson, where everyone knows everyone else’s business – where people can be friendly to you, even as they are gossiping about you behind your backs. They are half Greek, like me, which makes you an outsider to two difference communities. Character-wise, Sharon, the youngest sister’s godmother, is definitely modeled on my own godmother, and the Greek cousin has shades of my oldest male cousin back in Greece – though Adonis is not quite as nefarious as Demitrios. The sisters, though, are not based on anyone. They just sort of sprung to life on their own.

Do you want to explain the photograph that is accompanying this interview? That is the playwright at the tender young age of 4 being forced to recite something at a Greek Independence Day celebration at my church. It’s probably the least humiliating of the things Maria was made to do as a child to celebrate her Greek heritage. Most of the others involved funny hats.   

What can people do to support this production? We can always use help raising awareness of the productions we mount. More immediately we have a fundraising campaign going on that will help pay for rehearsal and performance space rentals and costuming, set and prop needs. It’s not a play with a lot of spectacle, but it still costs money to produce. We have a karaoke fundraising party coming up on Saturday, October 17, at Matilda’s in Lakeview. It’ll be a lot of fun and I’ll be there reading futures in coffee grounds if you want a glimpse into one of the more bizarre Greek customs. Plus, of course, karaoke. But if people can’t make that, we also have a Kickstarter campaign going on through October. You can help us out from the comfort of your own home.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Come a little closer...The Krampus is waiting for you

October is a spooky time of year. Ghouls and goblins come out to play. Cold winds blow in. Drunk football fans spill out of bars. And Strangeloop is deep into planning for our upcoming production, Krampus! But this devil isn't meant for Halloween. Oh no. This Christmas demon is as old as Saint Nick himself.

Strangeloop recently sat down with playwrights Jaclyn Jensen and Mike Wozniak to learn a little more about Krampus — the tradition and the script.

Who is Krampus?

Mike: Krampus is the bad cop to St. Nicholas' good cop. He began as an Austrian-German folk tale to frighten children into being good.

Jaclyn: As far as being Santa’s counterpart - You don’t get coal in your stocking if you’ve been naughty. Krampus comes for you if you’ve been naughty. From the lore, he would chain up the naughty children and beat them with reeds. Or put them in a burlap sack to toss in a river and drown them. It’s pretty dark.

Why Krampus and why now?

M: It started with the Christmas song It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. A few years ago I noticed the lyric: “There'll be scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of the Christmases long, long ago”. Since we love ghost stories, I wanted to know where that came from, and how we could incorporate it into our holidays. Turns out it was a Victorian tradition to tell ghost stories. But when looking for that, I rediscovered Krampus.

J: I seriously didn’t know that until now. That’s awesome.

Where did you get the idea for this script?

J: Mike is the one who introduced me to Krampus. He’s a natural storyteller and always has ideas for great stories. He actually had several other possible Krampus plotlines in mind, including some really complicated period pieces. But we decided we wanted to explore the idea of Krampus terrorizing one family that could be just like ours.

M: We combined a lot of ideas. A story my third grade teacher Sister Clarissa told me, and a lot of campy horror movies, like the Evil Dead series.

Tell us about your love of horror?

J: Some of my earliest movie memories are horror movies. I was raised on it. And I actually find that the older I get, the more horror movies scare me. I love being scared. Haunted places, ghost stories, all of it.

M: I’ve always watched horror movies on Halloween as far back as I can remember. And much to my mother’s chagrin, my grandmother told me ghost stories growing up.

What was the most difficult part about writing this script?

M: For me, it was paring down ideas. I kept bombarding Jackie with ideas, and she’d have to edit me so that we could have a manageable number of things happening.

J: There were lots of difficult parts. But I would say writing actual scary moments was the hardest part. We had a lot of funny ideas, but we hope to actually scare people.

What other writing have you done? 

J: I had a few random projects from when I was a student in high school and college. And I did a bit of sketch writing when I first moved out to Chicago, to try to bring some of my own ideas in to a troupe I was performing with. But my writing projects prior to Krampus! were always “assignments”, and not something I wanted to do for me. I really enjoyed writing this, and Mike was a great writing partner. 

M: Other than helping out a bit on TV and web spots for work, I haven’t done much.

Is this a play that non-horror fans would enjoy?

J: I think so! There is a lot of humor as well, and I think everyone will be able to find characters and moments to identify with.

M: It has something from everyone. To paraphrase Bill Murray, it’s a meatloaf of a play.

What can people do to support this production?

J: So many things – We’ve got a fundraiser party coming up at Matilda’s on October 17th, and a Kickstarter campaign going on right now. Helping fund this project would be a huge help to make sure we can afford to give audiences a proper scare.

M: Come see it as many times as you can, and tell your friends.

What else would you like people to know about this play?

J: There is so much more to know about Krampus than can fit in one play. There is SO much lore that is very interesting. So learn more about Krampus. There are tons of Krampus stories, books, and movies – and every story will be unique.

M: It’s the dark side of Christmas, and we want you to discover it.

Help support Krampus! and all of the unique and original programming that will make up Strangeloop's 8th Season. Come party with us at our Seventh Anniversary Party and Fundraiser, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, at babyATLAS (Matilda’s downstairs room), located at 3101 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. Admission is $10. OR, consider a donation of any amount here, and take home some sweet or scary gifts.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Strangeloop adds two veterans of Chicago theatre to its Artistic Associate lineup

Strangeloop Theatre is thrilled to announce the addition of two new Artistic Associates to our company. Both are veterans of past Strangeloop productions.

The new members are:

Patricia Tinsley holds a BFA is performing arts from Rockford University, an MA in speech from Northeastern Illinois University and serves as co-artistic director of the Rebekah Theatre Project. Favorite Chicago-area acting credits include The Gin Game (Bowen Park Theatre and Rebekah Theatre Project); Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lightninghead); The Shadow Box (Rebekah Theatre Project); The Tempest (Theatre-Hikes and Performing Arts at Oakton); The Sandbox (InnateVolution); the web series, Ped Crossing and the happiest acting job in the world: playing Mrs. Santa Claus at Navy Pier! Her directing credits include work with the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago, Stockyards Theatre Project and NUFAN. She has greatly enjoyed performing with Strangeloop over the past few years and is excited to begin her journey as an artistic associate.

Paul Tinsley has been doing theatre since 1963 and has amassed a long list of acting credits with such theatres as Remy Bumppo, Organic Theater Company, Piven Theatre Workshop, Theatre-Hikes and Strawdog Theatre Company. For Strangeloop, Paul has performed in Living Quarters, Maid of Orleans, R.U.R. and several Loopshops. A prolific director and writer, Paul was delighted to have his short play, Here’s My Card, performed as part of Loopshop 2015. On the small screen, you can see Paul in the pilot episode of the comedy series Family Values, now available on Amazon Studios. Paul is looking forward to joining Strangeloop as an artistic associate and continuing his role of co-artistic director for the Rebekah Theatre Project.

With the addition of Patricia and Paul, there are nine Company Members and eight Associate Company Members in Strangeloop.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Kickstart Your Heart with our karaoke fundraiser!

Come and sing your hearts out on Saturday, October 17, as Strangeloop hosts a karaoke fundraiser in honor of our seventh anniversary in the downstairs room at Matilda’s.

Your $10 gets you into the event at babyAtlas where you can wow us all with your singing talent and get discovered by The Voice and American Idol!* Karaoke is free with entry, but all the money, including tips, goes to support Strangeloop’s 8th Season. So tip freely! Don’t want to sing, but enjoy the public humiliation of others? For an additional $10 you can select a Strangeloop Company Member to sing a song of your choosing.

Karaoke not your thing? That’s OK, we’ve got a lot more to tempt you to a not-at-all creepy basement in Lakeview where, for example, you can get your photo taken with Krampus or Santa. Like we said, NOT AT ALL CREEPY.

In addition to Krampus (representing our holiday show of the same name), we’ll have a Greek fortune teller reading your coffee grounds (representing our spring show Mitera) and a whole lot of raffle love (representing our Valentine’s Day show – OK that was a bit of a stretch, but it’s a party, just roll with it). Come and mingle with our company members and our artistic collaborators, enjoy drink specials and learn more about our upcoming season.

Our Seventh Anniversary Party and Fundraiser takes place 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at babyATLAS (Matilda’s downstairs room), located at 3101 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. Admission is $10.

Along with the fundraising party we are running a Kickstarter campaign. Anyone donating more than $10 before October 17 will get free admission to the party. Anyone donating $100 or more will have a five-minute play written about them. And if you donate before October 17, that play will also get a staged reading at the party. There are a ton of other reward levels filled with a variety of season-related gifts.

This online fundraiser runs through the end of October, so if you can’t make the in-person event, you can still help us in our pursuit of the undiscovered.

*These statements are completely fabricated and not likely to happen, and also do not reflect the opinions of Strangeloop Theatre or its individual company members.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Strangeloop Season 8 Announced

For those of you who missed the announcement during this summer's Loopshop, Strangeloop has announced our 8th Season lineup. See below for details. And keep your eye out for our fall fundraiser fete.


The 2015-2016 Strangeloop Season

July
Loopshop 8: The company’s annual short play and new works series, with five pieces from up-and-coming playwrights, each performed both nights of this two-night run. This year's production features an array of bite-sized plays on topics ranging from Swedish furniture to time travel.



December

Krampus!: A holiday-themed show written by Company Member Jaclyn Jensen and resident graphic designer Mike Wozniak. It's not enough that a family has to deal with the usual drama that comes with Christmas, but the Murray family has to do it in the isolation of a cabin in the woods, during a snow storm with a holiday devil running amok and only some peppermint schnaps to get them through it.

 
 

February

French With Me: Our popular gala affair returns, revamped and refilled with love — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

 Spring 2016

Mήτερα (Mitera): Three, single sisters have their lives turned upside down when they find out their Greek mother is still micromanaging their lives from beyond the grave. Written by Company Member Maria Burnham, Mitera pokes and prods the boundaries of family loyalty and examines the idea that sometimes the people we’ve known our entire lives are the people we know the least.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Strangeloop gets all Dolled up for Fight Night: X this Friday!


This Friday at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park, Strangeloop brings it darkly humorous tale of violent sex and silicone to Nothing Special Production's Fight Night: X.


A collector of sex dolls brings his new acquisition home, but too late finds out she isn't quite like the rest. With the help of her glassy-eyed sisters, she exacts her revenge on the man who would keep her on a shelf.  


Doll, written and directed by Company Member Maria Burnham, stars Artistic Associates Jean E. Burr and Miona Lee, as well as guest artists Grace DeSant and Nora Lise Ulrey as the Dolls and Mark Edward Penzien as the collector. The piece is co-directed by Artistic Associate John Morrison. Violence is designed by Artistic Associate Justin Martin Fill. The fight captain is Mark Edward Penzien.


Fight Night is a one-night, violent cabaret celebrating the art of stage combat through original storytelling and violence design. Fight Night: X is a night of theatrical violence. No theme, no rules, just fights. 

The event takes place on Friday, September 4. Music by Barker begins at 8 p.m. Fights begin at 8:30 p.m. 
Tickets are $15 online, and $18 at the door. Purchasing in advance is highly recommended as this show always sells out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Strangeloop returns to Fight Night in September


Strangeloop is excited to once again be part of Nothing Special Productions' Fight Night!

This go round, the 10th installment of the evening of short plays and punches, Strangeloop brings you Doll, written and directed by Company Member Maria Burnham, co-directed by Artistic Associate John Morrison. Violence is designed by Artistic Associate Justin Martin Fill. The fight captain is Mark Edward Penzien.

A collector of sex dolls brings his new acquisition home, but too late finds out she isn't quite like the rest. With the help of her glassy-eyed sisters, she exacts her revenge on the man who would keep her on a shelf. Doll stars Artistic Associates Jean E. Burr and Miona Lee, as well as guest artists Grace DeSant and Nora Lise Ulrey as the Dolls and Mark Edward Penzien as the collector. 

Fight Night is a one-night, violent cabaret celebrating the art of stage combat through original storytelling and violence design.

Fight Night: X challenges eight Chicago theater companies to each create a 10-minute play focusing on violence. No theme, no rules, just fights.
The event takes place at 8 p.m. Friday, September 4, 2015, at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park.

In addition to Strangeloop and Nothing Special, other companies are: Babes With Blades, Honest Theatre, Live Action Theatre, Otherworld Theatre Company, Reutan Collective and Robert Frosty.

Tickets are $15 online, and $18 at the door.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things To Do in Chicago Today: Loopshop 8


Loopshop 8 is one of the Red Eye's Things To Do in Chicago Today. And let's be honest, you really DO want to see a play about a potato-powered time machine, don't you?

This is your last chance to catch these five plays! Loopshop 8 begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at The Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago. Tickets for the show are $10 at the door or online at Brown Paper Tickets.