The Midwest Premiere


by Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter | directed by Joanie Schultz
September 12 – October 12, 2014

From the writer/director team who brought you The Whale.

A retirement home in northern Idaho is being shut down, and only three residents and a bare-bones staff remain. When a record breaking blizzard blows into town and an elderly resident disappears into the storm, everyone is brought to face their own mortality. Samuel D. Hunter and Joanie Schultz return with a tender and heartbreakingly funny play about life’s unexpected beginnings and endings.

Production Sponsors

Steven H. and Pamela B. Adelman
William M. Weiss Foundation
Golden Country Oriental Food

40th Anniversary
Season Sponsors

Diane and Steve Miller

Travel Sponsor

Southwest Airlines

“Highly recommended… [A] delicate balance of tragedy, comedy, hysteria and desperation… A master class in acting, should not be missed”
Chicago Sun-Times

“[A] warmhearted drama… unsentimental compassion for ordinary folk and their various approaches to mortality and other scary inevitabilities. The results are both tender and unsparing.”
Chicago Reader

“Riveting and beautiful…I found both final moments in Act 1 and 2 spine tingling for the emotional reality of each of the situations.”
Katy Walsh

“A great play and production that I would recommend to practically anyone.”
Chicago Stage Standard

“Recommended! Heart-wrenching and… hilarious.”

“A deeply compassionate writer… Hunter’s play does traffic in life’s realities, of which Alzheimer’s is among the most painful. The main questions of this play — can we ever find peace in our old age, and is such a quest even desirable? — are crucially important, and “Rest” also hints at the complexities that flow from the way we outsource elder care to for-profit businesses, who find themselves caught between profit and compassion.”
Chicago Tribune

“A superior production. An uncommonly rich and nuanced play… by a dramatist with a faultless ear for dialogue and a wonderful sense of compassion for his characters.”
Chicagoland Theater Reviews

“Joanie Schultz’s production is an interesting view of those few individuals refusing to go gently into this good night”
Chicago Theatre Review

“[A] bracing look at love and loss.”
Stage and Cinema Theatre

“There is a very touching moment in the final scene that … illustrates how people should respect those that they care about and or love. Aging is a process that affects us all. In our parents, our grandparents and as we age, ourselves and our loved ones.”
Around the Town Chicago

“[A] gorgeously-written new play by Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter, explores the process of loss… this is an engaging study of human relationships under duress”
Theatre by Numbers

“[A] rich, unblinking view of a small, contained world that is populated by harsh yet quiet endings of lives, stability, and all that is known and familiar… Hunter paints the sorrow surrounding his characters with aching effectiveness, making it the heartbeat of the production.”
Theater Mania

“[A] touching story of a group of people at life’s crossroads… full of quirky humor and textured drama.”
Sheridan Road Magazine

“[A] worthy entry in newly-minted MacArthur “Genius” Samuel D. Hunter’s growing body of work”
Time Out Chicago

The Chicago Sun Times announced Samuel D. Hunter has been named MacArthur Fellow.

Rest is on the Chicago Tribune’s list of 50 heavy hitters for Fall!

Rest is one of Time Out Chicago’s shows to see this Fall.


After every performance of Rest (unless otherwise noted)

Join us for one of our intimate post show conversations. Lead by members from all around the Victory Gardens community–subscribers, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, and community partners–after the show we sit together, reflect on what we’ve seen and share our response.


Sun, Sept 14, 2014| 6:00pm | Free Town Hall

An aging nation that’s living longer but with growing rates of mental and physical health complications points to an emerging health care crisis. With nearly 8 in 10 seniors living with at least one chronic health condition today, are senior citizens left in the shadows of a national cry for healthcare reformation? Join us for this town hall discussion as we explore the various effects of aging in conversation with access to healthcare.


Mon, Sept 15, 2014| 7:30pm | Free Play Reading

“There’s just nothing left to discover.” Two young men working the night shift in Clarkston, Washington find this might be true of America, but not necessarily of each other. In association with Pavement Group’s Crush Play Series, join us for a reading of playwright Sam Hunter’s new play Clarkston.


Wed, Sept 17, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail hour | Special Afterwords

The generation that fought tirelessly during the gay rights movement is going back in the closet to survive. With homophobia and discrimination present among many caregiving institutions, how can we support our LGBT senior citizens in need of assisted living? Join our friends from Center on Halsted’s Senior Program along with other LGBT activists for a pre-show cocktail hour, and a special Afterwords discussion addressing senior care within the LGBT community.


Thurs, Sept 18, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail hour | Special Afterwords

For Latinos living with Alzheimer’s disease, social stigmas and language barriers cause major rifts in proper mental health care. In a community where above-average risks of Alzheimer’s exist, what initiatives are in place to support them? Hosted by Amor Montes de Oca of Arte Y Vida, enjoy pre-show cocktails and then stick around for a special Afterwords discussion giving voice to mental health within Latina/o communities.


Wed, Sept 24, 2014 | Thurs, Oct 2, 2014 | | Tues, Oct 7, 2014 | 7:00pm | Pre-Show Performances

One mic. Three poets. Listen to the poetry of spoken word artists at select pre-show performances throughout the run of Rest. Responding to themes of the show, these cross generational emerging spoken word artists are unafraid to take the mic and share their truths.


Thurs, Sept 25, 2014 | Special Afterwords

More than 5 million Americans are suffering from Dementia today — many of whom are living in assisted living facilities. With thousands of reported cases of disappearances and deaths throughout the country, is assisted living the best option for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s and Dementia? In this riveting post-show discussion, join caregivers and residents as they explore the relationship between assisted living and memory care in America.


Sun, Sept 28, 2014 | 1:30pm | Pre-show performance

From stories reminiscent of days past, to enticing tales of present-day struggles, our elders often have the most to say. Responding to themes in Rest and in collaboration with Goodman Theatre’s GeNarrations writing workshop, join us for this special pre-show performance as senior citizens take the mic and share their stories.


Sat, Sept 27, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail hour | Special Afterwords

Chicago has a deep and complex history of civil rights and segregation. Though more than forty years have past since the Chicago Freedom Movement, how much has changed? Hear from the lips of those who lived it and join us for our most gripping Tuxedo Junction to date. Hosted by Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit’s Sydney Chatman, enjoy pre-show cocktails and stick around for a special Afterwords discussion shedding light to senior citizens who braved Chicago’s civil rights movement.


Mon, Sept 29, 2014 | 7:00pm | Free Film Screening

Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — many of them alone in nursing and assisted living facilities. This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. The recipient of the “Audience Award” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.


Sat, Oct 4, 2014 |Special Afterwords: Evening Performance

For the “Google generation”, statistic show that millennials are less interested in “intrinsic” goals and more interested in “extrinsic” ones. Although individualism has its upsides, its downsides are vast: civic disengagement, entitlement, and unrealistic expectations. With anxiety, depression, and loneliness as leading factors in mental health issues for millennials, how can this younger generation be supported? Stick around for this special Afterwords conversation addressing the “me-centric” value system of “Generation Me.”


Tue, Oct 7, 2014 | Special Afterwords

Caring for relatives with advancing dementia/Alzheimer’s is always challenging, but when an elderly person is a Holocaust survivor, terrible memories may come back to haunt. In this crucial post-show discussion, David Chack (artistic director of ShPIeL), Susan Buchbinder (CJE Senior Life) and others will explore the the ramifications of living with Dementia as a survivor of the largest genocide in history.


Sat, Oct 11, 2014 | 2:00pm | Pre-show roundtable discussion

For communities with disabilities, human services and assisted living is often a necessary part of day-to-day life. But when paired with the effects of aging, how are these resources at risk? As part of our ACCESS Project, join this mixed-ability roundtable discussion exploring the intersections within assisted living, aging, and disability. ASL interpretation will be provided for this event.

Several nonprofit organizations both in the city and on a national level are dedicated to advocacy for older adults and the medical conditions they face through educational workshops, community projects, and civic awareness. To participate, learn and to donate to these organizations, please visit the links below.

Reports that matter:
2013 AHCA Quality Report
AARP Scorecard for Illinois Long Term Services and Supports 2011
Congressional Budget Office Report: Rising Demand for Long Term Services and Supports for Elderly People

Public Policy Advocates, Trade Associations, Foundations & Researchers:
AARP Public Policy Institute
National Council on Aging
National Senior Citizens Law Center
The SCAN Foundation

REST community partners and organizations:
Center on Halsted
Alzheimer’s Association
Latino Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Alliance
Kahn Health Care Consulting, LLC
​CJE SeniorLife

McKenzie Headshot McKenzie Chinn | Ginny
You may have seen her at Steppenwolf in Hushabye or Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Bud, Not Buddy (Chicago Children’s Theatre), and Idomeneus (Sideshow, Jeff Award best ensemble). 
Amanda Headshot Amanda Drinkall | Faye
was most recently seen in Venus in Fur at Goodman Theatre. You may have also caught her in Measure for Measure (Goodman Theatre), Great Expectations (Strawdog), and Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline).
Matt Farabee Headshot Matt Farabee | Ken
Matt’s Chicago credits include Mud Blue Sky (Red Orchid), punkplay (Steppenwolf Garage), Skylight (Court), MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group), Elizabeth Rex (Chicago Shakespeare), and Tigers Be Still (Theater Wit).
Steve Key Headshot Steve Key | Jeremy
Steve has worked at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, A Red Orchid, American Blues, Northlight, and Victory Gardens Theaters. Steve has received 6 Jeff Awards and 4 nominations for Principal and Supporting Actor and Ensemble (equity and non-equity).
William J Norris Headshot William J. Norris | Gerald
William has performed many times at the Goodman, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, and Chicago Shakespeare. He has been honored with an Emmy, a Joseph Jefferson, five Artisan and L.A. Critics Circle Awards.
Ernest Perry Headshot Ernest Perry Jr. | Tom
Ernest’s prior Victory Gardens Theater credits include The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Ceremonies in Dark, and Old Men. Other Chicago credits: Goodman, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, and Northlight Theatres.
Mary Ann Thebus Headshot MaryAnn Thebus | Etta
MaryAnn returns to Victory Gardens as a recurrent Jeff Award nominee. You’ll remember her from Eleemosynary and Four Places. Recently she was in The Three Sisters at Steppenwolf and 4000 Miles at Northlight.

Production Photos


First Rehearsal



Rest Rehearsal Photos

Set Progression