Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12 Days of Christmas... Updated!!

We've heard them all before - 11 Maids a Milking. 5 Golden Rings. And that damn partridge.

This year, get ready for the 12 days of Christmas- Instant Theatre style!!

Each playwright will be assigned "a day of Christmas". Their job is to create a new spin on it.

Instead of A Partridge in a Pear Tree, think Danny Bonaduce Climbs a
. And then, a scene about Danny Bonaduce in a tree. Disgustingly delicious, no?

Have a Christmas celebration like you've never experienced with Instant Theatre on Wednesday, December 19th.

This month's writers are:
1 Kerri Mangold
2 Amy Binns-Calvey
3 Nick Izzo
4 Anita Chandwaney
5 Conrad Lawrence
6 Andre Hogan II
7 Corinne Kawecki
8 Mike Avella
9 a possible appearance by Larry Carpenter
10 Aaron
11 Chris
12 (who could this be??)

Instant Theater
Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Wednesday, December 19th
Participating writers @ 7pm
Audience @ 8pm.
Everybody applauds @ 9pm.

Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ripped from the HEADLINES!!

For November's Instant Theatre, our playwrights have been asked to choose a headline from the past week and write a scene inspired by it...

"Hollywood Writers on Strike: Day 22"
"Hulk Hogan Divorces Wife"
"Did Peterson Kill His Spouse?"
"Pakistan's Political Problems"

Those are just a few of this weeks headlines.

Which news stories make the cut? Find out on Wednesday night!!

Get some news- Instant Theatre style!

This month's playwrights are:
Chelsea Marcantel
Michael Rychlewski
Ray Mees
Anita Chandwaney
Jenni Lamb
Sarah Gubbins
David Benarie
*plus a guest playwright

Instant Theater
Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Wednesday, November 28th
Participating writers @ 7pm
Audience @ 8pm.
Everybody applauds @ 9pm.

Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Under The Big Top

Step right up! Witness the Greatest Show On Earth!

In this month's Instant Theater you will see high flying aerobatics, death defying lion tamers, and side-splitting clown antics. That's right, Instant Theater is going to the circus!

Each writer has been assigned a classic circus act. They must write a short scene that embodies that act.

The assignments are below.

Also, we have a guest host for this event. Your Ringmaster will be Zach Zulauf!

Instant Theater
Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Participating writers @ 7pm
Audience @ 8pm.
Everybody applauds @ 9pm.

Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep

Martyna Majok - Trapeeze
Walt McGough - Clown Car
Kerri Mangold - High Wire Act
Amy Binns-Calvey - Teeter Board
Ray Mees - Lion Tamer
Amy Whittenberger - Hand Balancer
Chelsea M. Marcantel - Equestrian
Noreen C. Kelly - Wheel Act
Nick Izzo - Juggling
Beatriz Badikian Gartler - Hair Hang

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 24th Instant Theatre Recap

"Alice in Wonderland" was the theme. And if you missed September's installment of Instant Theatre last night, boy, did you miss out. Our playwrights did an outstanding job of updating the characters from the Lewis Carroll novel. Here's some highlights:

The Caterpillar manifested itself as a plastic surgeon hooked on Red Bull...
The King and Queen of Hearts were talk show hosts passing judgement on O.J.'s latest arrest...
The March Hare and tea party guests ran a bar in the middle of nowhere...
Alice was a war protester executed for her crimes against humanity...
The Turtle attempted to dance with a chair...?!

...just to name a few.

Our audience took part in the madcap mayhem by guessing which character from the novel was given a present-day update in each scene. Congratulations to Howard who got 8 out of 10 characters correct and won himself a brand-spankin new copy of "Alice in Wonderland"!! ...Courtesy of Penguin Classics, I believe!!

Thank you again to our wonderful actors who participated: Lindsay, Casey, Darren, Lynda and Katie!! We can't do Instant Theatre without talented actors and every month our actors raise the bar.

Thank you also to our guest playwright, Ashley. What was that Turtle eating?!

Next month we're back on our usual day of the week- Wednesday- October 24th, to be exact. So keep an eye out for us and tell your friends!!
We'll see you next month...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alice in Wonderland

Announcing the theme for September 24th's instant theater: Alice in Wonderland.

Christopher has really cooked up a challenge for this one. Each writer has been assigned a character from Alice in Wonderland. Their task? To present to the audience the contemporary manifestation of that character. It's a little like answering the question: "What if Alice grew up, married well and lived on the Gold Coast?"

There's fun for the audience too. The audience will be filling out a little survey guessing which character is in which scene. The person who gets them all right, wins a prize! If more than one audience member is that brilliant, we'll draw from a hat. Provided by the Mad Hatter, of course.

Also, our very own Ashley Mace will be this week's guest writer. Many of you know her as that stunning blonde running lights - but she's also a talented writer. You'll get to see how talented on:

Monday, September 24th (remember we're on Monday this month!)
Participating Writers @ 7pm
Audience @ 8pm
Applause @ 9pm

Instant Theatre
Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September 2007 Instant Theater Participants

Announcing the participants for Septmeber's Instant Theater

1) Zan Skolnick
2) Ray Mees
3) Conrad Lawrence
4) Trina Kakacek
5) Beatriz Badikian-Gartler
6) Noreen C. Kelly
7) Nancy Schaefer
8) Barbara Kaplan
9) Larry Capenter

This month's special guest will be announced soon. Subscribe or check back for updates!

The theme will be announced one week prior to the event.

Remember, this month's Instant Theatre is on a Monday. Monday September 24th to be exact. Writer's be there at 7pm. Audience at 8pm.

Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, Il 60622

Friday, August 31, 2007

Aaron Carter is a Chicago playwright, originally from Ohio. He is currently Literary Manager at the Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater. His paternal grandfather was a black Baptist preacher, his maternal grandparents were white vaudeville performers. The influence of his ancestors is seen Carter’s focus on race, faith, and obscure performance skills.

Carter’s play PANTHER BURN was produced in October 2006 by MPAACT at Victory Gardens Greenhouse. His short play KEGGER was part of Collaboraction’s Sketchbook 2006. FIRST WORDS was presented at Around the Coyote reading series. SWAMP BABY was read in the Side Project’s Harvest Series in Chicago, as well as the Soho Think Tank Sixth Floor Reading Series in New York. His play IF CONDITION was produced as part of Manhattan Rep’s Winterfest, also in New York.

Carter’s work has also been read at Victory Garden’s Theater and Chicago Dramatists, where he is a resident playwright. His latest play, IOWA AKHBAR, was read at Chicago Dramatists, and further developed at Grinnell College.

Carter was a Minority Scholar in Residence / Playwright in Residence at Grinnell College in the Spring of 2007.

Carter’s teaching work includes theater and writing courses at Grinnell College, Indiana University NW, Northwestern Business College, as well as outreach work with Steppenwolf Theater, Congo Square, American Theater Company and After School Matters.

Call For Writers - September 2007

It's that time again! Resident and Network writers can mail Aaron at adCarter [at] if you want to participate in the next installation of Instant Theatre. Other writers can email Aaron with the subject "Guest Writer."

The next Instant Theater is happening Monday September 24th. Please note the different the day of the week. As always, you'll need to be available from 7pm to 9pm.

We're back to first come first serve. So if you've participated before, come on back again!

Instant Theatre
Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep
Monday September 24th
Participating Writers @ 7pm
Audience @ 8pm
Applause @ 9pm

Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Ave

How do I Participate? - Other Artists

Instant Theatre is purposely low-tech. Still, we're open to contributions of visual artists, musicians, and more. If you've got an idea about how your work might fit into Instant Theatre, contact Chris or Aaron at

How Do I Participate? - Actors

Interested in bringing these micro-plays to life? We are always looking for Equity and non-Equity actors to add to our roster. Interested actors can email us at for more information.

How Do I Participate? - Playwrights

Most slots are reserved for Resident and Network Playwrights at Chicago Dramatists. However, we do have a guest slot every month. Interested playwrights can email Aaron at for more information.

What is Instant Theatre?

Instant Theatre is hosted by Christopher De Paola and Aaron Carter, and is a project of Chicago Dramatists.

Selected playwrights have one week to experiment with a theme. They show up the night of performance with a five-minute script in hand, cast from a pool of actors, rehearse in just a few minutes... and the pieces are performed that very night!

That's why we say: Maximum Impact, Minimum Prep.

Christopher De Paola is an Emmy Award nominated actor, as well as a playwright. As a writer, Christopher is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where he also co-produces and co-hosts Instant Theatre, a monthly evening of new work. Most recently, his play THE IMAGINE MAN was presented in the Victory Gardens’ festival Ignition: Emerging Playwrights of Color. He spent all of 2007 as head writer on a television series produced and taped in Chicago. His two plays MORNING TRAFFIC and DREAM WATER were commissioned and published by Pearson Education/Scott Foresman. His plays STREETS COME KNOCKING and RECOVERED were in Chicago Dramatists 2006 & 2007 Many Voices Project. Productions include: WHAT I KNEW THEN (Doppelgang Productions, NYC); THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN MEN & WOMEN (Intar Theater & The Theater Studio, NYC).

Acting Credits include: JON (Collaboraction); EYE OF THE STORM (Vittum Theater); AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Collaboraction: Sketchbook 7); CYNICAL WEATHERS (Victory Gardens); HORTENSIA AND THE MUSEUM OF DREAMS (Victory Gardens); NYC premiere of A.R. Gurney’s THE GUEST LECTURER; BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE; KING JOHN; DON JUAN IN HELL; A CHORUS LINE; CHARLEY’S AUNT; A FEW GOOD MEN; TEN LITTLE INDIANS with Gordon Jump; ONCE UPON A MATRESS; WAIT UNTIL DARK; HARVEY; ROMEO AND JULIET; and the world premiere of Kia Corthron’s CATNAP ALLEGIANCE. On television, you can see Christopher in repeat episodes of his one year stint on a children’s show taped here in Chicago. You can also catch him as a murdering boyfriend on an episode of ANIMAL WITNESS on Animal Planet!

Christopher’s teaching credits include classes at Ohio University, Marietta College, Steppenwolf Theater, After School Matters, John Casablancas and through Chicago Dramatists’ Playwright Residency Program.

Christopher holds a BFA in Acting from Otterbein College, and an MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University.

Why Subscribe?

The posts to this blog will be clustered around each month's installation of Instant Theatre, but that date will vary month to month. If you subscribe to the feed, you'll get the latest posts without having to check the site.