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A businessman and his prominent family are on a destructive stampede, and recruiting others to join in their annihilation of their own town. Will the town #resist, or fall victim to the crush of a hostile takeover disguised as a social movement? Terrifying isolation meets explosive laughter in this cautionary comedy about the dangers of impending populism, mob mentality, and complacency in the face of a totalitarian takeover. This unfortunately timely dark comedy takes place in a world very similar to our own.
Performing August 28th – September 16th at the Lincoln Loft in Chicago!
Director: Aaron Henrickson**
Berenger: Andy Blaustein*
Jean: Justin Tsatsa
Daisy: Nicola Rinow
Dudard/Waiter: Chris Fowler
Grocer’s Wife/Mrs. Boeuf: Anna Donnell
Mrs. Papillon/Ensemble: Melissa Reeves
Old Gentleman/Musician: Joshua Paul Seeger
Grocer/Fireman: Michael C. Hyatt
Logician/Old Woman: Jennifer Mickleson
Botard/Cook: Elliot Plowman
Housewife/Ensemble: Margo Chervony
Proprietor/Old Man: David Servillo
Stage Manager: Becky Robbins
Assistant Director: David Servillo**
Scenic Designer: Laura Carney*
Lighting Designer: Rachel Lake*
Costume Designer: Allison Smith
Sound Designer: Eric Backus
Assistant Sound Designer: Ron Hale
Fight Choreographer: Alex Farrington
Marketing: Katie Hunter*
*Denotes Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company Member
** Denotes THEatre HEIST Company Member
Wilmette Center for the Arts
The play will run two hours with one intermission.
The cast and crew in rehearsal (L to R: Laura Carney, Margo Chervony, Nicola Rinow, Andy Blaustein, Justin Tsatsa, Joshua Seeger, Jennifer Mickleson)
In the aftermath of the 2016 campaign and election I felt a daily sense of tremendous disbelief and disillusionment. Rhinoceros became the show that was screaming out to be told in reaction. In a time where we are constantly pointing fingers it is all the more important to remind each other to look at ourselves, to be vigilant of our own humanity, as our choices, our biases, and our anger ultimately determine our condition and our character.
The tragic events and head-spinning reaction to the Charlottesville tragedy — normalizing bigotry and hatred — have all the more reinforced the need for presenting this production in this moment, which we have dubbed “unfortunately timely”. Now it is more important than ever that we as a people not just #resist what is wrong but take steps to change the minds of others, who seek to convince us that up is now down and that it is necessary to tolerate intolerance. Nor can we descend into social media, plug our ears hold our breath, and wait for things to blow over. We have to ask ourselves how we got here while declaring this is unacceptable. As a new father I feel it all the more important to remind one and other not to move on with the times but instead to shape the times we are born into.
Founder, THEatre HEIST
Michael C. Hyatt (Grocer/Fireman), Anna Donnell (Grocer’s Wife/Mrs. Boeuf), and Nicola Rinow (Daisy) in rehearsal.
Andy Blaustein (Berenger) Chicago theater credits include: Dog Sees God , The Shape of Things, Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre), In the Heat of the Night (Shattered Globe), and El Stories 17: New in Town (Waltzing Mechanics). Other regional credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Real Inspector Hound (Theater at Monmouth), Terezin: Children of the Holocaust (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and The Corn is Green (Huntington Theatre Company). Andy is a graduate of iO improv and Shattered Globe’s Protege Program. He is represented by Big Mouth Talent. Andy would also like to give a shout out and thanks to Noni and her chinchilla Fiona for all their love and support.
Margo Chervony (Housewife/Ensembles)’s Chicago credits include Bad Jews (Theater Wit), Peacebook—both the first and soon-to-be second—and Sketchbook 15 (Collaboraction), The Birds (Hell in a Handbag Productions), Never the Bridesmaid (u/s, Polarity Ensemble Theater), The Robbers (Strangeloop Theatre), and various collaborations with Jabberwocky Marionnettes. Regional credits include Richard III (Riverside Theatre), Fever/Dream (Cleveland Public Theatre), Othello and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Cleveland Shakespeare Festival), and A Girl’s Guide to Coffee (Actors’ Summit). Margo has trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Case Western Reserve University. www.margochervony.com
Anna Donnell (Grocer’s Wife/Mrs. Boeuf) is a founding member of Chimera Ensemble. She has performed with Chimera as “Dallas” in Sister Cities and “Wren” in Saguaro, and with her folk music duo “Chauncey and The Beast” in Spread. Chicago credits include Black Market Pawn Shop Romp (Yippie Fest), Jenni “with a heart over the i” Lee Sweetwater (Women’s Theatre Alliance), Pay 2 Slay (The Public House Theatre), Happy Ever After (Whiskey Rebellion Theatre), and Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It (The Ruckus). Film credits include Little President, Con Cada Pasa, The Show Must Go On, Archery, The Ninth Floor, and Current. She is a graduate of The Academy at Black Box Acting and The University of Mississippi.
Chris Fowler (Dudard/Waiter) is thrilled to be making his debut with THEatre HEIST and Eclectic Full Contact Theatre and is delighted to collaborate with such impassioned creators. Chris is the playwright outreach manager for The New Colony, TNC credits include: KinFolk, The Terrible, Goodbye Night, Twain’s World, and reWILDing Genius. He has worked with First Floor Theatre, Red Theatre Chicago, Strange Bedfellows, and Forget Me Not Theatre and plays as a lead ensemble member in Revry TV’s original series Gayborhood. Chris graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism & mass communication and, when he’s not frolicking in jubilation with his dog, works as a copywriter and marketing consultant. In his free time Chris designs pro bono marketing for musicians, artists, and the like.
Michael C. Hyatt (Grocer/Fireman) is a Chicago based actor who received his BFA in acting from Western Michigan University. Some of his favorite credits from WMU include Bean in Love Song, Freddie Fellows in Noises Off, as well as Jared in Badfic Love with QTK theatre in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is Michael’s second Chicago performance appearing previously in Boneshaker as an ensemble member with Redmoon Theatre Company.
Jennifer L. Mickelson (Logician) was most recently seen in Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s production of Henry V (Canterbury/Scroop/Gower). She is an ensemble member at BWBTC, as well as an alum of Illinois State University (2005), an SAFD Actor-Combatant (2014), and occasionally a playwright (The Last Daughter of Oedipus, Rites and Sacrifices, Patchwork Drifter). She thanks Brendan for keeping her supplied with jam and clean socks.
Elliott Plowman (Dudard/Cook) is happy to return to the stage after a brief hiatus. He was last seen in PVPN’s production of The Laramie Project. He is currently studying improv at the world renowned Second City and is an Illinois Wesleyan graduate. Elliott is thankful for his family and friends for getting him back out there and performing.
Melissa Reeves (Papillon) has worked with numerous Chicago companies over the years, including Adapt Theatre Productions, The Plagiarists, Akvavit Theatre, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Saint Sebastian Players, and Chicago Dramatists. In Cincinnati, she appeared in award-winning shows including The Master Builder (Hilda), The Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolyn), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Bobbie), and her absolute favorite, Proof (Catherine). Melissa has a BFA in acting from Ohio University and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. She thanks her parents for their continuous support: one from Earth and one from the sky.
Nicola Rinow (Daisy) is thrilled to work with Theatre Heist and Eclectic Full Contact Theatre for the first time. Recent credits include work with Commission Theatre, Arc Theatre, Theatre Above the Law, American Blues Theatre, Polarity Theatre and others. She is originally from Atlanta, GA and is a proud graduate of Northwestern University. Infinite love and gratitude to Mom, Dad, Mich, and Jimmy.
Joshua Seeger (Old Gentleman) After years of acting classes, most recently at Acting Studio Chicago, this orchestral bassoonist, mathematician, and former New Yorker is thrilled to be working with THEatre HEIST and Eclectic Full Contact Theatre on this show, only his second full-length production in Chicago. He is fresh off a run of Galaxy Theater Company’s You Can’t Take it With You in which he played Anthony Kirby.
David Servillo (Proprietor/Old Man) is happy to have a chance to help make this wonderful production come to life. He serves as a company member of THEatre HEIST. He hails from Evanston, Illinois As an actor he has performed Otherworld Theatre Company, Wayward Productions, a as well as countless others. He has also served as director of The Foundling’s Season One production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He has been working as an actor and combatant in Chicago for six years.
Justin Tsatsa (Jean) is stoked to be a part of Rhinoceros. An Idaho native, Justin moved to Chicago after receiving his BFA from the University of Utah. He was most recently seen in Falling, as Josh (Joseph Jefferson Award), with Interrobang Theatre Project. He has also been seen in The Irish Curse (U/S Joseph), Aero-Plane (Raul) at The Chicago Fringe Festival, Metamorphoses (Midas/Vertumnus), ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Giovanni), and A Few Good Men (Corporal Dunn). Thank you Mom, Pap & Bekah; to you I owe the world.
Andy Blaustin (Berenger) and Justin Tsatsa (Jean) in rehearsal.
Aaron Henrickson (Director) has been directing in Chicago and the surrounding area since 2009. A proud graduate of the Columbia College Chicago directing program, Aaron’s directing credits include: The Joseph Jefferson Nominated Scissortail (Adapt Theatre Productions in association with Redtwist Theatre), Badfic Love, Inventing Van Gogh (Strange Bedfellows Theatre) Moon Over Buffalo, Rumors (Brightside Theatre), Red Light Winter, Autobahn, Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Fairlane Theatre Co.), Emma, Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (New Suit Theatre Company) And Time Runs On (Shapeshifters Theatre), Lemon Head (the side project theatre)and Sandalwood, Folk Fire, Orange Orbs, Gospel Hour with Tympanic Theatre Company. Additional credits include work with American Theatre Company, City Lit Theatre and Writers’ Theatre, where he served as Assistant Director for David Cromer’s Joseph Jefferson nominated Picnic. Aaron makes his home in Jefferson park with his incredible wife Gina and their equally incredible son Lincoln.
Laura Carney (Set Designer) is stoked to have been a part of this rock and roll production of an unfortunately timely play. Shout out to Aaron and the crew for making relevant, weird art with her. She is an Eclectic Full Contact company member, and the Charge Artist at Means of Production. Laura appeared as an actor in Dog Sees God and The Seagull (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Other design credits include The History Boys, The Shape of Things, Moon Over Buffalo and Spinning into Butter (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Laura painted Don Chipotle (terraNOVA), Clybourne Park (Harper College), among many others.
Katie Hunter (Marketing) joined Eclectic Full Contact as the marketing guru in 2016, where she has created campaigns for The History Boys, Gidion’s Knot, and Ordinary Days (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Favorite Chicago acting credits include Madagascar (Chicago Shakespeare) The Producers (Mercury Theatre Chicago), Badfic Love (Strange Bedfellows), A Musical Tribute to the Andrews Sisters (Theo Ubique) Dog Sees God and Moon Over Buffalo (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Check out Katie‘s web series RideShare on The Internet. Katie graduated from the University of Chicago and is a proud member of the 25th Generation of Off Off Campus. When she’s not acting, Katie is dozens of meatballs zipped into a human suit and couldn’t do it without Ian and her family. www.katie–hunter.com.
Rachel Lake (Lighting Design) is happy to be working with Theater Heist! She is a company member of Eclectic Full Contact Theater and a graduate of West Virginia University. Other Design works include: Gidion’s Knot (Eclectic Full Contact Theater); Lady X: The Musical (Hell in a Handbag); Deep in the Heart of Tuna (New American Folk Theater); The Ben Hecht Show (Grippo Stage Company); The People’s Passion Play (Quest Theatre Ensemble); Botanic Garden (Canamac Productions); Oliver! (Citadel Theatre); and Arsenic and Old Lace (WVU School of Theatre and Dance).
Becky Robbins (Stage Manager) is excited to join the Theatre Heist and Eclectic Full Contact Theatre for Rhinoceros. Becky also works with BrightSide Theatre as their resident stage manager. Becky has previously worked with BrightSide on such shows as Run For Your Wife, Rent, Company, Rumors, Cabaret, Spamalot, and most recently, Guys & Dolls. She has also stage managed such shows as Lend Me a Tenor (Summer Place Theatre), Let it Be Christmas (Epic Theatre) and A Voice of Her Own (Evergreen Theatre Ensemble) . Becky holds a degree in theatre from Carthage College. She lives in Aurora, IL with her husband, Turner, and their two cats.
Allison Smith Hahn (Costume Design) is delighted to join Theatre Heist in this collaboration with Eclectic Full Contact Theatre. Most recently she designed Multitudes (Vitalist Theatre), Good People, The American Clock, Red, I and You, and Another Bone (Redtwist Theater, resident designer). Her other Chicago designs include Miles Away, Mike and Seth, Hello Failure, and F.X. Kroetz’s Through the Leaves and Request Concert (Side Project Theatre), as well as Pool(no water) (Vitalist Theatre), All Shook Up, How to Succeed in Business […], and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Wilmette Center for the Arts). She studied costume design and artistry at Knox College, where she was also a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow (2010-11). She is grateful to so many, but especially to Margo. Get in touch at AllisonStitch.com.
Chris Fowler (Dudard/Waiter), Justin Tsatsa (Jean) and Michael C. Hyatt (Grocer/Fireman) in rehearsal.
Up next for Eclectic Full Contact Theatre is The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis.
It’s the biggest trial in Purgatory, and Judas is on the stand—surrounded by a Fellini-esque cast of character witnesses, from Satan to Sigmund Freud. Is he merely fallen or beyond forgiveness? In this far cry from any church pageant, you’ll laugh out loud while you reassess one of the most reviled names in history.
Performing September 22nd – October 19th at The Athenaeum Theatre!
Directed by Eclectic Artistic Director David Belew