Recommended Theater: THE SMUGGLER (Jackalope Theatre)

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by Lamont Williams on January 2, 2024

in Theater-Chicago

Jackalope Theatre Company launches its 16th season February 16, 2024 at its new home in Edgewater’s Berger Park with the Chicago premiere of the solo performance The Smuggler by Ronán Noone, directed by Gus Menary.

The Smuggler is a thriller in rhyme. It is 2023. Tim Finnegan is a clever and enterprising Irish immigrant tending bar on the island of Amity, an affluent summer enclave off the coast of Massachusetts. When his child falls ill and he loses his job, Finnegan is drawn into the dark world that exists only in the shadows of the wealthy island. One part Breaking Bad, one part BeowulfThe Smuggler is a modern tale of corruption, morality and giant rats that asks what it means to call yourself a “citizen.”

Andrew Swanson stars as “Tim Finnegan” (Joel Maisonet of Maisonet Photography)

The production team includes Gus Menary (director); Amal Salem (stage manager); Ryan Emens (scenic/props designer); Ben Stacy (production manager); Claire Sangster (lighting designer); Isaac J. Pineda (costume designer); Michael Huey (sound designer) and Sammi Grant (dialect coach).

Artistic Director Kaiser Ahmed states, “The Smuggler is a hypnotic and lyrical feat that’s been making its way around the country in recent seasons. I know our audiences will be charmed and challenged by the questions of citizenship this one-man show explores.”

The Smuggler
Jackalope Theatre Company
Edgewater’s Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd.
Fri, Sat and Mon at 7:30
previews February 16 & 17; regular run Feb. 20 (press night) to March 16, 2024
for tickets ($15-25), call 773-340-2543 or visit Jackalope

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

Ronán Noone and Gus Menary

Ronán Noone believes in playing with a myriad of elements to find the right way to tell a good story; a necessary story that tells us who we are, where we have been and where we are going. He believes in stories that resonate beyond the theatre’s door and that add ideas to the national conversation. He believes in the playwright as a thinker traveling in the direction of their fear. His play The Smuggler won the Best Playwright award at the 1st Irish Festival of New York in January of 2019. The Second Girl (Thirst) was the inaugural winner of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Excellence in Playwriting Award (2015) and an Edgerton Award winner in 2014. Additional plays include The Atheist, Brendan, Scenes from an Adultery, The Lepers of Baile Baiste, The Blowin of Baile Gall, The Gigolo of Baile Breag (The Baile Trilogy), The Compass Rose, Little Black Dress and A Small Death.

Most recently, Gus Menary directed David Greig’s adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris at Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle, where he served as Artistic Director. While there, he oversaw the pivot to audio plays during the COVID shutdown and produced world-premiere audio adaptations of authors such as Octavia E. Butler, N.K. Jemisin, and Oscar Wilde. As part of Book-It’s return to the stage, he produced world-premiere stage adaptations of Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter and Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, as well as many other modern adaptations. As director, he led the productions of Julian Glover’s Beowulf and Bilal Dardai’s world-premiere adaptation of Jamyang Norbu’s The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes. Previously, he served as the Artistic Director of Jackalope Theatre. Under his leadership, Jackalope produced world-premieres by Ike Holter (Prowess and The Light Fantastic), Lloyd Suh (Franklinland), Idris Goodwin (The Raid), and Calamity West (In the Canyon, Rolling), among many other national and regional premieres. Onstage, he directed Aaron Loeb’s Ideation, Kenneth Lin’s Life On Paper, Shawn Reddy’s My Name is Mudd, Andrew Swanson’s Lunacy! and Moonshiner, and Ike Holter’s The Light Fantastic and Exit Strategy.

Jackalope Theatre Company expands the definition of American Identity by engaging with communities to produce works that celebrate diverse perspectives. Jackalope is a premier home for new and exciting Off-Loop Theatre based in Chicago’s Edgewater and Rogers Park neighborhoods. They are committed to cultivating new voices that contribute to an expanding American culture and mythology. Each season, Jackalope produces full-length plays, new play development programming and provides free classes in partnership with the Chicago Park District.

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