IRT begins New Year with surprising comedy about loss and love in the golden years
Nothing is what it seems in this thoughtful look at Baby Boomers aging in America
Indianapolis, Ind.—The Indiana Repertory Theatre begins 2020 with Morning After Grace, a modern comedy with heart written by Carey Crim. The story explores an aging generation as they cope with change and loss through laughter, love and some unexpected twists. Directed by IRT’s Executive Artistic Director Janet Allen, Morning After Grace will run January 14 - February 9 on the OneAmerica Mainstage.
“There aren’t many plays that focus solely on retired and retiring Baby Boomers in a meaningful way,” Executive Artistic Director Janet Allen said. “Morning After Grace was selected to give our older audiences a play that captures some big realities about aging in America: struggling with widowhood, needing to mend familial relationships, and summoning the courage to move forward through change with the challenge of establishing new relationships.”
Morning After Grace is not your typical look at aging or retirement. The three retirees wake up one morning to find their lives unexpectedly tangled together and unforeseen complications force the trio to confront old demons and new revelations. This surprising, thoughtful, and funny story proves that retirement and aging doesn’t mean the end of living and learning.
“This play is a rare and delightful instance of serving a community of folks who somehow never thought they would age, but are now elders,” Allen said. “As one of them, I feel a real kinship to this material that blends humor and real heart-felt insight, creating a lovely and loving theatrical event.”
The cast consists of Chicago-based actors Laura T. Fisher and Joseph Primes, and returning IRT actor Henry Woronicz. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Woronicz most recently took to the stage in the suspenseful drama Twelve Angry Men earlier this season.
In addition to Director Janet Allen, the production’s creative team is made up of many long-time IRT professionals, including Costume Designer Guy Clark and Sound Designer Todd Mack Reischman.
Warm up this winter with a trip to Florida via the IRT! Tickets for Morning After Grace, as well as Build Your Own 3 season ticket packages, are available now.
WHERE: Indiana Repertory Theatre, 140 W Washington Street, OneAmerica Mainstage
RUN DATES: January 14 - February 9, various times. Morning After Grace is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Tickets and performance schedule available at IRTlive.com.
TICKETS: Tickets start at $25. Click to buy.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM:
LAURA T. FISHER | Abigail
JOSEPH PRIMES | Ollie
HENRY WORONICZ | Angus
JANET ALLEN | Director
BILL CLARKE | Scenic Design
GUY CLARK | Costume Design
BETSY COOPRIDER-BERNSTEIN | Lighting Design
TODD MACK REISCHMAN | Sound Design
Friday, January 17, 2020 | Performance at 7:30 PM
Raise a glass and cheers to the cast and crew at IRT’s Opening Night! After the show, delight in a champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres, and a one-time-only chance to explore the set with IRT Artisans.
COOKIES & COFFEE
Thursday, January 23, 2020 | Performance at 2 PM
Before the 2 PM performance, sweeten your afternoon at the IRT with complimentary cookies, coffee and tea served in the lobby.
Saturday, January 25, 2020 | Following the 5 PM performance
Immediately following this performance, join IRT staff for an explorative and informative backstage tour. Tours typically last 30 minutes.
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | Performance at 2 PM
Stay after the performance to take part in a post-show discussion led by actors, staff and special guests. Learn behind-the-scenes details and additional information about the show and its themes while enjoying tea and cookies courtesy of the IRT.
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | Performance at 2 PM
The IRT offers ASL/AD services to our patrons with vision and hearing needs. Patrons with hearing needs are encouraged to sit in the interpretation zone and meet with the interpreter before the show. We also offer Assisted Listening Devices free of charge at each performance. To learn more visit irtlive.com/accessibility.
Saturday, February 1, 2020 | Following the 4 PM performance
Join IRT staff and cast immediately after the performance for a post-show discussion that covers a variety of interesting topics related to the show. Post-show discussions typically last for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | Happy Hour starts at 5:30 PM | Performance at 6:30 PM
Start your evening at the Theatre with IRT’s Happy Hour! Beginning at 5:30 PM, sample appetizers and drinks from local distilleries, breweries and more before the performance. Sip, savor, and save with half-price drinks at the bar available throughout the evening.
For more information contact Kerry Barmann, Marketing Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.916.4824.
ABOUT THE IRT
Founded in 1971, the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) is the largest professional not-for-profit theatre in the state and one of the leading regional theatres in the country. The mission of the Indiana Repertory Theatre is to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that will engage, surprise, challenge, and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, helping us build a vital and vibrant community.
Linda Pisano has designed some 15 productions for the IRT, including Miranda, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Little Night Music, and Romeo and Juliet. This year she is designing new costumes for the IRT's annual production of A Christmas Carol. Linda is the Chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University in Bloomington. Read on to learn about her!
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN THEATRE?
I was born in northern Utah, up in the height of the Rocky Mountains. We had a children’s theatre in town, and I remember seeing a production about a doll house. And the doll house they created was designed after my parents’ 22-room Queen Anne—my parents were antique dealers and had restored this house. So I remember watching the show and thinking, that’s my house on stage, and I was so intrigued with how my house had joined this story.
But what got me actively engaged with theatre was drama therapy. I didn’t really speak as a child. My mother met the woman who ran this children’s theatre, who was a drama therapist. I took a class, and sure enough I got involved, and that became my life. Eventually I earned my B.F.A. in acting from Utah State University, and I started to earn my Equity weeks at smaller regional companies. Then I decided that I really wanted to research, so I got an M.A. in theatre theory and criticism at Utah State on my way to getting a Ph.D.
But while I was doing that master’s, one of my friends who was doing an independent project said, “Hey Linda, you dress really well. Do you want to design costumes for me?” I’ve always loved clothing. So I did the research and the renderings and I found that it was really amazingly fun. It was everything I loved about the theatre. I was doing character analysis, studying the play, the time period, doing the dramaturgical work. And yet I was also drawing and bringing things to life and working with the director to build the world. I loved being able to immerse myself in the history, the biography of clothing.
So then I changed courses and I went to the Ohio State University for an M.F.A. in costuming. And while there I was able to take some Ph.D. courses, and it was exciting to learn to think about theatre from that direction as well. So I wasn’t just a practitioner, but I was also researching. And that’s where I was introduced to ballet, and started designing for the Ballet Met, and that was amazing.
WHAT WAS YOUR ROUTE FROM THERE TO INDIANA UNIVERSITY AND THE IRT?
I started working professionally in my third year of grad school, getting professional contracts for ballet and musicals and contemporary dance. In the year after graduation I think I did 14 jobs in 12 months. I was 26 and I just dived in and started working and working and working, and at that time I had the freedom to do it. But then I also knew that I was interested in higher education. I have always loved being a teacher and I love academia. So I spent two years teaching at Kenyon College in Ohio, and three years at Iowa State, and then I came to Indiana in 2002.
Janet Allen hired me to do a Romeo and Juliet that Priscilla Lindsay was directing—and then I found out that I was pregnant. So I delivered my son by C-section, and five days later I was released from the hospital, and four days later my son and I came up to the IRT for final fittings. Priscilla stood in all of the fittings and held my son while I did my job. She said, “Nope, he’s too new, no one else can hold him, only me.” It was great!
WHAT IS IT ABOUT DESIGNING COSTUMES THAT FULFILLS YOU?
I love people. I love meeting people, I love hearing about people’s lives. I have good instincts about it, but also I just love diving into how a person thinks, how a character thinks. And so when I read a playwright’s words to describe a character, and then I listen to the director talking about the world of the play, I wonder: when they put this on, what is that person thinking? I guess it’s me living vicariously through the characters, through the analysis of both the world and the individual. And one thing that I love about opera and ballet or a show like A Christmas Carol is creating these big pictures with a lot of people on stage. It’s like you’re creating a canvas of color and texture. I think there’s a great challenge in trying to serve a character and a story and to help the artistic team and the director tell that story. I’m fascinated by how even though people may not know much about clothing, everyone takes it very personally because it’s the one thing that you put on every day. Everyone has an opinion about clothing.
WHAT’S IT LIKE DESIGNING NEW COSTUMES FOR A SHOW THAT’S BEEN RUNNING FOR 29 YEARS?
One, it’s daunting. There are so many people who know this production so well because they’ve grown up with it—they’ve seen it all their lives. To change something that’s a tradition for so many people—they’ve got expectations, and you want to meet their expectations of excitement, but at the same time you want to introduce them to a new way of looking at the story. So that is daunting. Two, I’m very humbled to be entrusted with such an important event. IRT clearly values this play because they realize that the community values it, and so I’m really humbled to be asked to participate in it. Three, it’s a challenge because it is such a big undertaking. The show is so big, it will take two or three years to phase in the entire vision completely. So it is going to be a little thrilling each year. I’ve re-designed many things—Nutcrackers and operas and ballets—but to have it phased in over three years is new for me, and kind of exciting. I’m excited to watch it, see how it works, and then go into the next phase next year.
WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING AT THE IRT?
I enjoy working with the IRT Costume Shop because there’s real skill. I love to collaborate with the makers, and if I ask them for something special, it’s always, oh that would be fun. I’ll never forget Julius Caesar when Brenda Taylor was so excited to make all these embroidered Caesar patches and logos. She was so proud of them, and it was terrific to work with her. The shop takes pride in their work, and they really embrace opportunities to do the detail work that designers ask for because they know it’ll pay off with a beautiful product. And I love that IRT puts up those costumes around the mezzanine. I think it demonstrates a real respect for that shop and those makers and what they do.
This might sound superficial, but because I’ve done so many shows here, I do feel a sense of belonging, a sense of professional family here. I love that I’m always introduced to someone new, whether it’s a new actor, a new director, another member of the design team I haven’t previously met. And it’s an opportunity to come together with some very sophisticated artisans and craftspeople. I mean, I love working with Michael Lincoln. What a treasure! And this is my first time working with Ben Hanna; he’s so energetic, and that’s exciting. Yet I also love having been in all these design meetings with Janet Allen, because she has such wisdom and experience to learn from. So every experience at IRT is very different and very exciting. I work for a lot of theatres around the country, opera and ballet especially, and one thing about IRT is that it truly lives up to the mission of a regional theatre. It is clearly here to serve, and embraces that service to the community.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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