Ridley play premieres free online at Goodman Theater

Ridley play premieres free online at Goodman Theater
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Ridley play premieres free online at Goodman Theater

GHOST GUN BY OLIVIA RIDLEY MAKES ITS DIGITAL PREMIERE AS PART OF “#ENOUGH: PLAYS TO END GUN VIOLENCE,” SHORT PLAY COMPETITION FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, DECEMBER 14 – 20 ON BROADWAYONDEMAND.COM. RIDLEY JOINS PULITZER PRIZE NOMINEE DAEL ORLANDER SMITH, TONY AWARD WINNER DAVID HENRY HWANG AND DANCE THE VOTE FOUNDER JOAN APPELL LIPKIN FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT ART/ACTIVISM ON DECEMBER 11 AT 5PM ON GOODMANTHEATRE.ORG

Goodman Theatre is proud to participate in the Digital Premiere of seven winning 10-minute plays of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence—a national short play competition for middle and high school students. The Goodman produces Ghost Gun by Olivia Ridley, a New Jersey-based writer and high school senior whose play was selected from nearly 200 submissions from 23 states (and three countries) in #ENOUGH’s call for teens to write short plays that confront the issue of gun violence. Goodman Associate Producer Ken-Matt Martin directs.

Beginning December 14—the eight-year remembrance of the shootings at Sandy Hook—and running through December 20, the winning titles will be available on the online platform, BroadwayOnDemand.com, streaming free of charge. Watch the trailer for #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence on YouTube.

Prior to the Digital Premiere, the Goodman has created space for community dialogue on the issues of gun violence, art and activism. On December 11 at 5pm, Ridley joins Goodman Artistic Associate Dael Orlandersmith (Until the Flood), playwright David Henry Hwang (Chinglish) and Dance the Vote founder Joan Appell Lipkin for a live online conversation moderated by Goodman Walter Director of Education and Engagement Willa J. Taylor. Orlandersmith’s play Until the Flood, which explores the aftermath of Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting in Ferguson, MO, is currently streaming on GoodmanTheatre.org, free. (Note: An earlier version of this press release misnamed the victim of the Ferguson shooting. Goodman Communications apologizes for the error.)

Goodman Theater in Chicago, Photo courtesy of the Goodman Theater

Goodman Theater in Chicago, Photo courtesy of the Goodman Theater

“To be brought to the forefront of this nationwide dialogue in this way is, for me, a wonderful opportunity and an incredible honor. It’s all still a little surreal and I can’t express my gratitude enough,” said Playwright Olivia Ridley. “I am beyond excited to share Ghost Gun with audiences in Chicago, across the country and around the world, to help advance this complex and incredibly necessary conversation.”

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Ghost Gun centers on the character of BLACK BOY (performed by Chicago-based actor Jayson Lee). Propelled by the urgency of his own decay and desperate to be heard, BLACK BOY delivers his “villain’s monologue”—a parting speech typically delivered to a hero before their death—to his audience, held at gunpoint.

“It is a great honor to participate in #ENOUGH, an incredible initiative at a critical moment in our times,” said Goodman Associate Producer Ken-Matt Martin, who directs Ghost Gun with a creative team including Yee Eun Nam (Video/Projection Design), Twi McCallum (Sound Design) and Cody Nieset (Video Editing). “It has been a joy to collaborate with Olivia, a distinctive emerging voice and singular talent, whose work will make an indelible impact.”

The selection process of #ENOUGH’s winning plays included a panel of nationally-recognized dramatists: Lauren Gunderson, David Henry Hwang, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Robert Schenkkan and Karen Zacarías. Each theater pre-records their short play and all will be presented together in a single program, bringing youth voices from four different time zones together to speak out about gun violence to a national audience. The six other winning plays and producing theater partners include Ms. Martin’s Malaise by Adelaide Fisher (Orlando Repertory Theatre); Guns in Dragonland by Eislinn Gracen (Orlando Repertory Theatre); Togetha by Azya Lyons (Alliance Theatre); Malcolm by Debkanya Mitra (Arizona Theatre Company); Hullabaloo by Sarah Schecter (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); and Loaded Language by Elizabeth Shannon (South Coast Repertory). 

Olivia RidleyPlaywright Olivia Ridley is a New Jersey-based writer and a current senior. In 2018, her play Slush, which explored the similarly topical issue of assisted suicide, was selected to be performed at Luna Stage in NJ. Though she is deeply passionate about playwriting, she has a more extensive background as a performer, working primarily with Vanguard Theater Company in NJ, and most recently with Seth Rudetsky’s Plays in the House (Teen Edition). Her passions extend beyond theater; she loves writing/performing slam poetry when she can, and enjoys political science and debate as well. In her art, Ridley hopes to expose the nuance of “taboo” topics and spark much-needed conversation, seeking to educate not only the audience, but herself, as well, in the process.

Ken-Matt MartinKen-Matt Martin (Director of Ghost Gun and Goodman Theatre Associate Producer) served as Producing Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) from 2018-2019. Martin is the co-founder of Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa where he served as Executive Director for five seasons. During his tenure at WTF, Martin produced the world premiere productions of Grand Horizons, Selling Kabul and Before The Meeting in addition to revivals of Ibsen’s Ghostsstarring Uma Thurman, and A Raisin in the Sun directed by Robert O’Hara. He received two undergraduate degrees from Drake University and his M.F.A. in Directing from Brown University. In addition to his producing credits, Martin has numerous directing/acting credits. More info can be found at KenMatt.com

ABOUT #ENOUGH: PLAYS TO END GUN VIOLENCE

#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence is a theater activism campaign launched by Michael Cotey in 2019. #ENOUGH strives to spark critical conversations and incite meaningful action in communities across the country on the issue of gun violence through the creation of new works of theatre by teens. #ENOUGH’s mission is to promote playwriting as a tool of self-expression and social change, harnessing this generation’s spirit of activism and providing a platform for America’s playwrights of tomorrow to discover and develop their voices today. EnoughPlays.com

ABOUT BROADWAY ON DEMAND

Broadway On Demand is the premiere streaming service offering an extensive and wide-ranging library of video on demand content, exclusive livestream events, interactive platforms, and educational resources. It is designed as a virtual performing arts complex offering not only Broadway shows and movie musicals but also, individual artists, concert series, performance venues, and theatres around the world. BroadwayOnDemand.com

ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE

Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fourth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Jeff Hesse is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Fran Del Boca is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayesis President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Ray Hanania

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