by Lauren Yee | directed by Seth Bockley
February 6 – March 8, 2015
Americans Katie and Craig are having a baby with Suraiya, a surrogate from India. As all three “parents” anxiously await the baby’s due date, Katie and Suraiya are attacked by flights of their imagination: a seductive Frenchman and a sharp-tongued fetus. Originally developed at Victory Gardens’ IGNITION New Play Festival in 2012, this smart world premiere comedy takes us on a hilarious and highly theatrical journey into 21st century parenthood.
“A Lithe and Very Funny New Play.”
Read the Time Out Chicago Review
Playwright Lauren Yee at her Sparkling Best.”
Read the Chicago Sun-Times Review
Read the Chicago Tribune Review
Read this New York Times article that first inspired Samsara.
Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring the themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ Productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.
After every performance of SAMSARA (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, subscribers, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.
Town Hall | Sun Feb 8th, 2015
For American couples seeking a surrogate, the process is tricky – to say the least. Due to federal regulations and costs upwards of $100,000, American couples are seeking alternatives from developing countries across the globe. With surrogate mothers needing financial stability, this lower-cost agreement is a way to keep both parties happy. But at whose expense? Join us for this timely town hall conversation addressing globalization and the surrogacy trend.
THE NEW NORMAL
Wednesday Night Out | Wed Feb 11th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail get together at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords following performance
With same-sex marriage legalized in almost three-fourths of the country, the definition of a “normal” American home is fast-changing. But when homophobia and discrimination enable adoption and surrogacy restrictions, how do same-sex couples combat adversity? Join us for a pre-show reception at Victory Gardens, then stick around for this special Afterwords discussion giving voice to the challenges and triumphs of “the new normal.”
SILENCE, STEREOTYPES, & AMERICAN SURROGATES OF COLOR
Encuentros | Thurs Feb 12th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail hour at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords following performance
Statistically, women of color face greater obstacles protecting reproductive rights, are less likely to seek fertility treatment, and are most often pressured into becoming surrogates themselves. How might stereotypes of class, race, and gender contribute to these rising trends? Hosted by Amor Montes de Oca, join us for a pre-show reception at Victory Gardens then stick around for this special Afterwords discussion exploring the complexities surrounding stereotypes, surrogacy and women of color.
THE PLAYWRIGHT’S VOICE: THE HATMAKER’S WIFE
Staged Reading | Mon Feb 16th, 2015 | 7:30 PM
Can’t get enough Lauren Yee? Join Victory Gardens in association with Dog & Pony Theatre Co. for a staged reading of Lauren Yee’s play, The Hatmaker’s Wife. This imaginative new play tells the story of a young woman who moves in with her boyfriend expecting domestic bliss, but instead has trouble getting comfortable. This sweet and surreal story bends time and space to redefine the idea of family, home, and true love itself.
THE PLAYWRIGHT’S VOICE: THE TIGER AMONG US
February 17th, 2015 | Timeline Theater Company
Continue the journey into Lauren Yee’s fantastical worlds by joining Timeline Theatre Company for a reading of The Tiger Among Us. For Lia and her ghetto wannabe brother Pao, being the only Hmong kids in town is tough; it’s even tougher when that town happens to be in outstate Minnesota. And when a stranger’s arrival in the midst of hunting season threatens their tenuous existence, Lia finds herself caught between her family and her dreams in this modern-day midwestern folktale about a Hmong American family and the tenuous bonds that tie us together.
THE HANDS THAT MADE ME
Pre Show Spoken Word Performance Series | Wed Feb 18th, Fri Feb 27th & Tues March 3rd | 7:00pm
Every family has a story. Whether we come from immigrants or adoption, a second marriage or a single-parent home, our identities are shaped by the hands that make us. Hear Chicago’s most dynamic slam poets riff on families near and far, nuclear and nontraditional, in this pre-show spoken word series.
ARTIST TALK: THE MANY CYCLES OF SAMSARA
Special Afterwords | Wed Feb 18th, 2015
A new play in process is very much like the Hindu definition of Samsara: an endless series of births, deaths, and rebirths. With its first appearance at Victory Gardens at the Ignition Festival of New Plays in 2012, Samsara has evolved tremendously since its inception. Moderated by Isaac Gomez (Literary Manager, Samsara dramaturg), join Lauren Yee (playwright), Seth Bockley (director), and members of the cast as they discuss the themes and ideas in Samsara and the circuitous process of bringing this imaginative world premiere to life.
A CHANGING FACE: SURROGACY IN INDIA
Special Afterwords | Fri Feb 20th, 2015
Surrogacy clinics in India are on the rise, and the challenges of international surrogacy are more apparent than ever. Inconsistent regulations, potential dangers for Indian surrogates, and cultural divisions all pose challenges to both the characters in Samsara and real-life parents-to-be. As more Americans look to India as a cheaper option for alternative reproduction, are both parties really benefitting from this arrangement? Join us for this crucial Afterwords discussion on old views and new ways.
COLLEGE NIGHT: HOMELANDS
Pre-show Performance | Special Afterwords | Thurs Feb 26th, 2015
The years during and following college are a turbulent time of first apartments, moving boxes, and friends that become family. In the wake of transition, what does it mean to form a new family? What does it mean to leave family behind? Hear young local artists respond in a pre-show performance, then stick around for a special Afterwords conversation investigating the true nature of family at a time of rebirth – at a time of Samsara.
THE MODERN AMERICAN FAMILY
Special Afterwords | Sat Feb 28th, 2015
In the 21st century, the definition of family is constantly changing. From interracial to same-sex couples, from adoption to In Vitro Fertilization, how do we create a family? Join us for this special Afterwords discussion exploring all areas of collaborative reproduction, the modern American family, and the many ways families are created.
BREAKING THE BARRIER: SOUTH ASIA SPEAKS
Special Afterwords | Tue March 3rd, 2015
Western pop culture is filled with riffs on South Asian stereotypes. But the voices of South Asian leaders in the arts and humanities are among the most under represented in the American cultural and artistic landscape. Some artists turn to culturally-specific institutions to make their voices heard – but how can we further increase visibility and sustainability for South Asian stories? Join a panel of Chicago’s top South Asian artists and community leaders as they navigate cultural bias and fight to be heard in this crucial post-show discussion.
HOW NOT TO SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE
Special Afterwords | Wed March 4th, 2015
Studies show that having children increases stability within a marriage… but at the expense of a couple’s happiness. Between maintaining childcare, providing education, and managing finances, many couples find themselves at a crossroads where they must choose between their own needs and the needs of their child. With all the pressures and complexities that come with having children, is starting a family an obligation? A dream? A solution to a conflict? Join families and social workers for this special Afterwords discussion exploring the realities of wedded bliss.