...and the whole train was like...
by The VG Poets Conservatory
directed by Sean Kelly and Rachel Claff
June 28 - July 1
Richard Christiansen Theater
“…and the whole train was like…” reveals the inner musings of seven poets who board a train bound for the heart of Chicago. Along their journey their stories of cultural pride, prejudice, truth and humor collide resulting in a thought provoking, witty and always candid dialogue about who we are, and perhaps more importantly, where we’re going.
The Poets Conservatory
The Poets Conservatory, developed in collaboration with Victory Gardens Theater and Young Chicago Authors, aims to engage, nurture and develop a new generation of theater artists through an extensive mentorship and professional development program for Louder Than a Bomb alumni. Through the exploration of fundamentals in performance and storytelling, the ensemble gains a greater awareness of how poetic voice can be broadened, forging a new trajectory for language in performance. The Poets Conservatory provides Victory Gardens Theater with a unique opportunity to further its commitment to fostering and producing the work of new playwrights. Through new and original initiatives in arts education Victory Gardens Theater reaffirms its mission of providing a platform for the voices of emerging artists to be heard in theater’s most vivid and varied forms.
Eazy Burnett grew up on the Westside of Chicago and first discovered writing as a creative outlet when he was in 4th grade through an educational story-writing program for children. Since then he has participated in several writing programs and competitions. Since 2009 he has been active with Young Chicago Authors where he currently teaches and participates in workshops. He currently is in a rap duo, called Two4Fifteen, along with “Be” Williams, and they will be dropping an EP July 2012 entitled “…As A Kite”. The duo has performed at various open mics and other live shows around Chicago, most notably at the Who’s The Boss Concert. As a poet, Eazy has performed at The Art Institute of Chicago and shared the stage with prominent artists in the spoken word industry like M’Reld Green and Kevin Coval.
Annalissia-Kiana “KeeKey” Itson grew up on the Southside of Chicago and discovered poetry as a positive outlet in 7th grade. She quickly developed a passion for writing and performance and participated in Louder Than a Bomb in 2004. Her first publication soon followed in an anthology entitled, Hands On Stanzas. She began attending Saturday writing classes at YCA her sophomore year of high school. After experiencing several Kuumba Lynx performances, she joined the Hip-Hop theatre ensemble in 2006. Further establishing her art with Kuumba Lynx ultimately lead to an LTAB victory resulting in a starring role in a play at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2008, as well as opportunities to share the stage with Kanye West, KRS One, Lupe Fiasco, Angela Davis, Saul Williams, Marc Bamuti Joseph, Danny Hoch, Kevin Coval, Patricia Smith, Poppin’ Chuck, Chicago FootworKINGz, and Rebel Diaz
Rachel “Raych” Jackson is a Chicago native who is currently studying Elementary Education at DePaul University. She has performed across
the nation in cities such as New York, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rachel will teach in a school of need in the near future following the completion of her degree in 2013, and plans to build her own school for youth in the future. She prides herself in her current weaving of teaching poetry and social justice in schools throughout Chicago. The subject matter surrounding her works is varied and ranges from poetic verse exploring her personal struggles to character driven fiction.
Dominique James will graduate from Walter Payton College Prep in 2013. A former Louder Than a Bomb champion, and current Golden Gloves champion, Dominique has a diverse array of interests. In 2012 she pioneered a poetry and literacy class at Reavis Elementary School teaching middle-schoolers. The Poets Conservatory at Victory Gardens Theater has been her first experience with theatre. In addition to athletics and spoken word, she also likes ice cream and flowers (if you ever wonder about the key to her heart).
Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a teaching artist, writer, performance poet, and playwright based out of Chicago. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University. She is a member of the Not Enough Mics collective. She has been an ensemble member, turned teaching artist for Kuumba Lynx since 1998. She has also been a participant, graduate turned teaching artist of Young Chicago Authors since 2003. Britteney was a representative of Young Chicago Authors at the National Poetry Slam in 2009 and has performed at the Chicago Hip Hop Theater Festival, the Taste of Chicago, The Encyclopedia Show, The Writer’s Guild’s Palbra Pura and WBEZs Word Across the Generations. Two of her works were featured in the Victory Garden’s 2012 One Minute Play Festival. She has her first solo book project due for release in 2013. Britteney is a co-founder of DMC Slam and the Who’s the Boss Benefit Concert.
Maurice Meawayis a ‘renaissance man’ whose work is based in the scope of literature. Maurice is a writer, poet, emcee and teaching artist associated with The Board of the Young Chicago Authors who’s performed alongside acts such as Bop Alloy (Substantial & Marcus D), Ill-Literacy (including Aja Monet), Kevin Coval, Saul Williams, Manny Garcia, as well as the 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival and Printer's Row. Maurice is the f ront man for the Jazz/Hip Hop band As Told by Heroes, member of the Terra 5 artist collective and its subgroup InAniMate. Meaway’s publications include articles written for Chi-Tea Magazine and reviews for AllHipHop.com. Blending jazz inspired narratives in his body of work, while delivering a smooth, yet ecstatic aura in his performances, Maurice continues to write with the motif of a Space Cowboy- or even a Gangster of Love.
Rachel Claffis a member of the solo performance ensemble BoyGirlBoyGirl, most recently appearing in The American Drink Book as part of the 2012 Rhino Fest. She is an alumnus of the Neo-Futurists, appearing in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind from 1996 to 2003, and co-creating such original works as Curious Beautiful (2000), The Sycamore Story (2001), and Fear (2009). She is the creator of It Came from the Neo-Futurarium! (2002–2011), a festival of staged readings of the “best worst movies ever made.” She has debuted spoken-word pieces around Chicago at Write Club, The Encyclopedia Show, The Paper Machete, The Partly Dave Show, The Dollar Store Show, and Live Bait’s Fillet of Solo festival. She has also served as a coach for Louder Than A Bomb. Claff received her MA in Cultural Performance from the University of Bristol in 2007.
Sean KellyDirecting credits include The Fantasticks (Porchlight), English Class Heretics (Victory Gardens), Psychonaut Librarians (Collaboraction Sketchbook), Literally Sexy (Victory Gardens), Pancake Breakfast (The New Colony), The Glass Menagerie (Old World), Aesop and Icarus (Manhattan Rep), Master Harold and the Boys (Old World). Sean is a company member of The New Colony and an artistic associate of Porchlight Music Theatre.