BREACH: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate

February 9 – March 11, 2018
By Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Lisa Portes

In Antoinette Nwandu’s “love letter to black women,” Margaret uproots her life, including her dead-end job and fizzling relationship, after finding out that she is unexpectedly expecting. She finds support and humor from her sassy and sharp Aunt Sylvia and her new friendship with Carolina, a pregnant cleaning lady at her office. BREACH is a smart comedy about friendship, motherhood, and family, and tackles the mother of all challenges: learning to love yourself.

Antoinette Nwandu (Playwright)

Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. In June 2017, Steppenwolf presented the World Premiere of her Jeff Award-winning play Pass Over, a mashup of Waiting for Godot and the biblical Exodus story in a modern urban setting. Antoinette is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, and Audible; her plays have been supported by MacDowell, the Sundance Theater Lab, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project (mentor: Katori Hall), the Kennedy Center, Page73, Ars Nova, PlayPenn, Space on Ryder Farm, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Antoinette is an alum of the Ars Nova Play Group, the Naked Angels Issues PlayLab, and the Dramatists Guild Fellowship.  Education: Harvard, The University of Edinburgh, Tisch School of the Arts.

Lisa Portes (Director)

Lisa Portes: Victory Gardens Ignition: Slingshot by Kia Korthron and Undone by Andrea Thome. Steppenwolf: This is Modern Art by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, Goodman: Ghostwritten by Naomi Iizuka; Northlight: Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons; Timeline: Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West by Naomi Iizuka; Next Theatre: In the Blood by Suzan- Lori Parks and Far Away by Caryl Churchill. Recent regional credits: Disgraced (Cincinnati Playhouse), Glass Menagerie (CalShakes). NYC credits: Wilder (Playwrights Horizons). Upcoming: Native Gardens (Denver Center). Awards: 2016 SDC Zelda Fichandler Directors Award. Lisa heads the MFA Directing program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Caren Blackmore (Margaret)

Caren Blackmore (Margaret) makes her Victory Gardens debut. Chicago Credits; Beyond Caring (Lookingglass Theatre), Electra and Jitney! (Court Theatre), The MLK Project: The Fight For Civil Rights (Writers Theatre), SPILL (TimeLine Theatre) and The Joe Tex Story (Black Ensemble Theater). Also has worked with; Pegasus Players, Stockyards Theatre Project, Theatre Wit, Loop Players, Congo Square Theatre Company, ETA Creative Arts and MPAACT. Attended Freedom Theatre of Philadelphia and is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Eugene O’Neill National Theatre Institute.

Linda Bright Clay (Aunt Sylvia)

Linda Bright Clay, native Chicagoan, member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA, has been a professional actor for over 30 years. Her theatre credits include A Wonder in My SoulThe House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens); the BTAA and Jeff Award winning production of The Project(S) at the American Theatre Co, also reprising her roles this year in The Project(S) with American Theatre Co.’s American Mosaic education program, and touring with the production; For My brothers…(Writers Theatre Commissioned work); Having Our Say and Permanent Collection at Madison Rep; Home (BTAA Best Actress Award), Having Our Say, Top Hat all at Chicago Theatre Co; Joe Turner’s Come And Gone at the Goodman, Dame Lorraine at Victory Gardens; The Gold Shop, Crossing Against the Red Light at Chicago Cultural Center’s “People’s Choice Award,” Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death, Checkmates at eta. Linda’s film and TV work include Nothing Like Thanksgiving, Halfway garnering critical acclaim in festivals, and Seven Psychopaths. Her short films include, 3 04 am, Flickering Blue, Just Married, and The Night Before The Morning After. Linda also recently appeared in the television series, “Empire”.

Karen Rodriguez (Carolina)

Karen Rodriguez (Carolina) makes her Victory Gardens debut. Chicago credits: The Rembrandt (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Way She Spoke (Greenhouse Theater Center), Hookman (Steep Theatre), good friday (Oracle), Blue Skies Process (Goodman Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista). Film & TV: “Chicago Justice.”

Al'Jaleel McGhee (Rasheed)

Al’Jaleel McGhee is amped to be making his Victory Gardens debut in the World-Premiere of Breach. Chicago credits: Paradise Blue (Timeline); Blues for an Alabama Sky (Court); which recently won a Jeff Award for Best Production. Film/Television credits: “Chicago P.D.,” APB, “The Chi,” Proud Mary (2018), Sex Weather (2018). Al’Jaleel is a Marine Corps veteran, an alumnus the Gately/Poole Drama Convervatory and currently a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Performance). You can follow him on social media @ThatsJustAJ. Al’Jaleel is represented by the A-team at Gray Talent Group.

Keith D. Gallagher (Nate)

Keith D. Gallagher (Nate): VGT debut. Chicago: Beyond Caring (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Mary Page MarloweMarie Antoinette (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); The Gospel of Franklin, Man in Love (Steppenwolf First Look); Awake and Sing, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Northlight Theatre Company); Shining City (Goodman Theatre); Tracks (TUTA Chicago); Arcadia (Court Theatre); The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company). Regional: Macbeth (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); A Raisin in the Sun (Geva Theatre Center); The Gospel According to James (Indiana Repertory Theatre); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Shining City (Huntington Theatre Company). T.V.: “Empire”; “Chicago Fire”; “Chicago P.D.”; “Detroit 187”Love to Caitlin.

* Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers. Those designers and scenic artists identified by USA are members of United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local 829, AFL-CIO

Production Team

Linda Buchanan, Set Design
Samantha C. Jones, Costume Design
Heather Gilbert, Lighting Design
Thomas Dixon, Sound Design
Alec Long, Props Design
Skyler Gray, Dramaturg
Majel Cuza, Production Manager
Tom Albright, Master Electrician
Tina M. Jach*, Production Stage Manager

Backstage at the Biograph:
A Manifesto on You

Wednesday, January 24, 7:00pm


How many roles do you play throughout the day? Who are you with your family and friends? With your co-workers? Online? Jeff Award-winning playwright Antoinette Nwandu’s world-premiere play BREACH explores these very questions. Join us for an exclusive glimpse into the rehearsal process as the cast shares a scene from the production during one of their very first rehearsals. Then, participate in an interactive workshop on performing stories from your own life, facilitated by performance scholar and artist Dr. Raquel Monroe. Afterwards, celebrate with appetizers from Olive Mediterranean Grill!

Black Beauty Fest

Saturday & Sunday, February 24-25, 12:00-7:30pm

Victory Gardens is your shopping destination for the finest products from the best Black-owned and operated beauty companies in Chicago. Join Victory Gardens and Black Women’s Expo at the Second Annual Black Beauty Festival. Your ticket includes entrance into the Black Beauty festival, a champagne cocktail to sip while you peruse local beauty products, a Victory Gardens Theater swag bag, and a ticket to a performance of acclaimed playwright Antoinette Nwandu’s BREACH: a manifesto on race in america told through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate.

Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.

Public Programs are free and open to the public and do not require an RSVP. Come to one or come to all. We’d love to have you!

Public programs for BREACH will be announced soon.

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