By ensemble member Mercedes White Directed by Alana Arenas
Genesis will stand as the first production of Definition Theatre Company’s 2014/15 season, also launching its new play program, which focuses on stories of today, inspired by the classics. High Concept Labs has given the theatre a place to call home which will serve as the incubator for this world premiere during its development. Genesis, written by ensemble member Mercedes White, is inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. In this play, the audience meets the character holding the strongest male presence, whose narrative of origin, however, is curiously absent in Hansberry’s original work. We meet Walter Younger Sr. in the midst of his pursuit of the American dream with his pregnant wife, Lena. Audiences are offered a peek into the sphere of this couple in their late twenties, surrounded by their closest friends, surviving in early 20th-century Chicago. The world of this play takes its first steps, speaks its first words, coming to life within the space that has been given to Definition Theatre by HCL. This residency allows all Definition Theatre’s ensemble members to collaborate, elevating the company’s artistic vision into the oncoming theatrical realm. Genesis is a tale of love, family, loss, and the intricacies of the existential roles we play in the lives of one another, absent of our full awareness.
Definition Theatre is thrilled to have Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member Alana Arenas making her directorial debut. After its time with HCL, Genesis will make its world premiere in September. Their time with HCL will allow them to invite many members of the community and supporters alike to be part of the plays’ developmental process while experiencing what a safe, creative environment feels like.
Definition Theatre Company is Chicago’s newest ensemble-based theatre company founded by six graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Definition Theatre Company strives to create art reflective of the ever-changing American life, inspiring our communities through contemporary and classical theatrical works featuring a multi-ethnic core companionship of actors. Definition aims to leave its mark on the Chicago theater scene by producing plays that tell language-driven, relationship-oriented, thought provoking and socially relevant stories. The perception of the American identity is constantly changing and Definition Theatre’s credence maintains American theater’s adherence to that precedent. The upcoming generation exists in a nation where the lines of race, gender, partisanship, socioeconomic class, and culture are blurred, our individualized stories interwoven, and our national pride must be rooted in its multiculturalism.
At the forefront of the company are founding Artistic Director and Executive Director Tyrone Phillips and Julian Parker, respectively, joined by newly appointed Managing Director, Neel McNeill. Ensemble members include Aurora Adachi-Winter, Kelson Michael McAuliffe, Jessica Dean Turner, Julian Parker, Tyrone Phillips and Mercedes White.