Friday, April 22, 2016

Strangeloop proud to help support Center on Halsted

Strangeloop Theatre is proud to support Center on Halsted, the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland.

We will be collecting donations during the run of Mitera to support this important organization that provide a safe and welcoming environment with programs and services for the entire community.

Programs range from volleyball, dance performances and cooking classes to rapid HIV testing, group therapy and vocational training. Center on Halsted also serves as an incubator for a number of smaller LGBTQ non-profit organizations. The Center provides operational support, space and resources for organizations that may otherwise find it difficult to interact and grow.

Please email us at, visit our box office, or talk with any Strangeloop member to learn how you can give. ‪

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reviews for Mitera are coming in

Reviews are in for Mitera, an examination of love set amongst a small Greek community in Mississippi, and both audiences and critics are responding favorably to this new work.

According to the Chicago Reader, playwright Maria Burnham "creates a compelling, layered world where ossified ethnic traditions provide comfort and trauma."

Windy City Times calls Mitera "an appealing play" and " a nice production, as directed by Letitia Guillaud in the extremely cozy living room of Berger Park's Gunderson Mansion, which we share with the actors in fly-on-the-wall intimacy."

And audience members have written to say they enjoyed "the production and the plot and the twists and the ACTING!"

Mitera runs through May 14 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All performances for this site-specific production take place at 7:30 p.m. at the North Mansion in Berger Park (6219 N. Sheridan Road) in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.

Set during the months preceding the Supreme Court's landmark decision on gay marriage, Mitera tells the story of the Sheridan sisters who discover their mother, upon her death, has left their entire inheritance contingent on the youngest sister marrying within a year. If she fails to do so everything goes to their oldest male cousin in Greece. Mitera examines the idea that sometimes the people we’ve known our entire lives are the people we know the least.

Mitera stars Allison McCorkle as Olga Sheridan, Holly Robison as Nitsa Sheridan, Lilly Apostolou as Dimitra Sheridan, Patricia Tinsley as Sharon Kaskalis and Michael Wagman as Dimitris Kokkinakis.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mitera: Note from the Playwright

For most of my life, I thought my mom was an ordinary, boring mom who embarrassed me on a regular basis in front of all the upper class Southern white girls with whom I was forced to go to private school. Yes, the photos of her from her youth were mesmerizing. She had an early 60s movie star beauty like you wouldn’t believe. But she had been just a girl working in a shop, waiting for her placement papers at a hospital in Athens when she met my dad, an American military man stationed overseas. Boring.

Then one night, out with my family in Greece, I heard my aunt say to my mom, “I saw your movie on TV the other night. It still gives me nightmares seeing you die in the ditch.” We were stunned. Mom? In movies? My dad looked at me and said, as if the biggest mystery in the world had been solved, “Well, I guess that’s where you get it from.”

 Only the mystery wasn’t solved. It just led to more mysteries. She had been a dancer. She was discovered in Italy. She left home when she was 16 to live in the city with an aunt. Her father went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. WHO WAS THIS WOMAN? I still don’t know who she is, my mother. She is a mystery to me. She keeps her stories to herself. And it makes me feel like I don’t know my own story any more. It was the realization that this woman I had known my entire life was actually the person I knew the least that first inspired the story of Mitera. We can spend every day of our lives with someone, share the same biology, the same home, but not know them at all.

People often tell me they can see my mother in me. I wish I knew who we were all looking at.

—    Maria Burnham

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mitera: Cast and Crew Bios


Olga Sheridan:             Allison McCorkle+
Nitsa Sheridan:            Holly Robison^
Dimitra Sheridan:         Lilly Apostolou
Sharon Kaskalis:          Patricia Tinsley+
Dimitris Kokkinakis:      Michael Wagman^

Production Team

Playwright:                   Maria Burnham^
Director:                       Letitia Guillaud^
Production Manager:   Keith Gatchel^
Stage Manager:           Lisa Uhlig^
Production Designer:   Brad Gunter^
Dialect Coach:             Kate Jordan*
Costume Design:         Molly Mason
Marketing:                   Jean Burr+, Maria Burnham^
Graphic Design:           Mike Wozniak
Photographs:               Austin D. Oie

^Denotes a Strangeloop Company Member
+Denotes a Strangeloop Associate Company Member 
*Member of Actors Equity Association.

Mitera Bio: Allison McCorkle

Allison McCorkle (Olga) studied theatre at Texas Wesleyan University and stuck around the Fort Worth/Dallas theatre scene for years before being lured to Chicago in 2007. Her credits include Piccolo Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Polarity, Red Tape and GreatWorks Theatre, among others. Allison has joined Strangeloop onstage for The Robbers, Loopshop, Nutcracker Nightmare, Christmas Clueseau and Krampus! Much love to her newly bound theatre widow.

Mitera Bio: Holly Robison

Holly Robison (Nitsa) is thrilled to be appearing in the world premiere of Mitera. As a Company Member with Strangeloop Theatre, she has performed in a number of the Strangeloop's productions, including Rossum's Universal Robots, As You Like It and The Robbers, as well as directing the mainstage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and several other short productions. Holly regularly exercises her comedy chops as a member of Improvised Jane Austen. Other favorite roles include Ellen in In the Wake, Jo in Independence, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Martha in The Children’s Hour. She has studied with Chicago organizations including Remy Bumppo, TUTA Theatre, Victory Gardens, Second City and First Folio Technique with Susan Hart and Jeffrey Carlson. When not acting or directing, she can probably be found reading, watching British costume dramas, eating too much Indian food and talking to her cat (don't judge, OK?).

Mitera Bio: Lilly Apostolou

Lilly Apostolou (Dimitra Sheridan) is so excited to be making her debut with Strangeloop in her very first production. She is in the advanced student program at The Second City studying improv, acting and sketch comedy writing. She is the host of Wards, a show filmed in Evanston, IL. She is also a vocalist with experience with musical theatre. She is an avid volunteer, most notably being a part of the SitStayRead literacy program serving low-income elementary schools in Chicago. She has a B.A. in Criminology from the University of New Mexico (Go Lobos!). Born on the Northside of Chicago, Lilly hails from a big Greek family and speaks the language fluently. She wants to thank her family, especially her Dad, her super supportive friends and her amazing boyfriend Shane.

Mitera Bio: Patricia Tinsley

Patricia Tinsley (Sharon Kaskalis) holds a BFA in performing arts from Rockford University and an MA in speech from Northeastern Illinois University. Favorite Chicago area acting credits include, The Gin Game (Bowen Park Theatre and Rebekah Theatre Project); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lightninghead); The Shadow Box (Rebekah Theatre Project); The Tempest (TheatreHikes 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 is a proud Strangeloop artistic associate, serves as co-artistic director of the Rebekah Theatre Project and is very excited to be part of this wonderful production.

Mitera Bio: Michael Wagman

Michael Wagman (Dimitris Kokkinakis) is thrilled 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). Michael would like to thank Lisa, Ticha, this wonderful cast, his amazing teachers at Second City, iO and Acting Studio Chicago, and Maria for her brilliant script and for helping him get in touch with his inner Greek.

Mitera Bio: Maria Burnham

Maria Burnham (Playwright) grew up Greek in Mississippi where one makes their baklava with pecans instead of walnuts and never wears white before all of the Easters, just to be on the safe side. Opa, y'all! A writer, director, sometimes stage manager, full-time theater monkey and all around jack-of-all-trades, Burnham studied creative writing and theater at Louisiana State University and now makes her home in Chicago where she has worked with such companies as Appetite Theatre Co., New Millennium Theatre Co., Stockyards Theatre Project, Nothing Special Productions, TUTA and Red Theater, where she is also a company member and the literary manager. Her mother remains very much alive and disappointed in her ongoing childlessness.

Mitera Bio: Letitia Guillaud

Letitia Guillaud (Director) is an Artistic Associate of TUTA and one of the Co-Artistic Directors and founders of Strangeloop Theatre.  This is the second production she has directed for Strangeloop. Previous credits include props design for Bo Thomas and the Case of the Sky Pirates (Babes with Blades), The Edge of Our Bodies and The Jewels (TUTA), directing The Sound of a Yellow Flower (Strangeloop) and acting in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Robbers (Strangeloop).  She would like to thank her family (in-law and out-law), husband and little Felix for allowing her to continue in her theatrical experiments.

Mitera Bio: Kate Jordan

Kate Jordan (Dialect Coach)* happily reunites with Strangeloop Theatre, after coaching dialects for Living Quarters and The Sound of a Yellow Flower. Kate is an actor, director and acting/voice coach who has performed/worked with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Second City ETC, Heartland Theatre Company, Zebra Crossing Theatre and Equity Library Theatre. She has taught acting and voice at Illinois State and Ball State Universities. Favorite roles include Mother in How I Learned to Drive, Joanne in Company and her multiple roles in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. Congratulations to the entire company!

Mitera Bio: Brad Gunter

Brad Gunter (Production Designer) is Co-Artistic Director of Strangeloop Theatre, where he is most often directing or production managing, as well as doing a whole bunch of other stuff. With his other theatre family, TUTA, Brad serves as Grants Manager, as well as doing a whole bunch of other stuff. He shares both of these groups with his actual family, where he is husband to Ticha and father to Felix, as well as doing a whole bunch of other stuff. You should also check out a TUTA show they are a pretty amazing theatre company and you should say hi to his family they are a pretty amazing family.

Mitera Bio: Lisa Uhlig

Lisa Uhlig (Stage Manager) has been a company member with Strangeloop Theatre for nearly 5 years. She loves her artistic family, and some of the very cool work she has been a part of while working with them. She stage manages and directs in the Chicago area, and is also a company member with Muse of Fire Theatre Company in Evanston. Other work has included companies such as Project 891, The Gift Theatre and more. This show is a wonderful slice of life, and it is fantastic you've come to be a part of it! Go you! Enjoy the show :)

Mitera Bio: Mike Wozniak

Mike Wozniak (Graphic Design). Born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Mike is a Chicago-based graphic designer and illustrator. He is a graduate of Mercyhurst College. He co-wrote Strangeloop's 2015 holiday show, Krampus! and has thoroughly enjoyed working with Strangeloop this season.

Mitera Bio: Molly Mason

Molly Mason (Costume Design) is so excited to be working with Strangeloop Theater again! Previously working as the costume designer on last season’s Thinking Caps she is excited to return and work on such a great show. She is a graduate of Carthage College majoring in theatre with an emphasis in costume design. Most recently Molly worked at the Shawnee Summer Theatre in Bloomfield, Ind., as costume designer for their annual Shawnee Melodrama and The Boys Next Door. While at Carthage she worked as the designer of The Inn, a new student work as well as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead on the main stage. She has also participated with Carthage Theatre in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as assistant designer and head of wardrobe. Molly thanks Strangeloop for this opportunity and her friends and family for their support!

Mitera Bio: Jean E. Burr

Jean E. Burr (Marketing) is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, but moved to Chicago in the midst of the 2013 polar vortex. Although always in pursuit of theatrical endeavors, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a major in Film Studies and a minor in Japanese. She is an actress, singer and dancer, but she also enjoys costuming and set design/construction. You can find her under the alias Harley Darling, performing with burlesque companies like Gorilla Tango, Vaudezilla! and Plan 9. When not performing or solving problems at her muggle job, Jean loves superheroes, her cat, mozzarella sticks and trying to live every day like she’s Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mitera Bio: Keith Gatchel

Keith Gatchel (Production 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 various theatres, including The Goodman, Collaboraction, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens, Pegasus Players, Blue Man Group and most recently, the Kiss Kiss Cabaret at the newly opened Uptown Underground. 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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

McCorkle plays the long game in her latest role — onstage and off

It’s rare that an actress gets to spend years developing a character, but Edgewater actress Allison McCorkle has done just that in her latest role as Olga in Strangeloop Theatre’s Mitera.

“I am so excited to take part in the sharing of this wonderful story,” McCorkle said. “I've watched this script develop for a while and it has been really cool to watch it evolve.”

Read more about Allison and her character development in the Lincoln Park Patch.