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Theatre Fri Jul 17 2015

Tellin' Tales Theatre Takes on Phobias @ Prop Thtr

Tekki (560x532).jpg

Tekki Lomnicki is both the art director and an actor in her upcoming show Phobias, A Solo Performance Complex, which runs for the next two weekends, July 17 through July 26, at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. Tekki seems comfortable switching gears from playwright to director, then hopping on stage to tell us about her phobias and hang-ups. Perhaps she is brave because she has a mission, one that is stated clearly on the Tellin' Tales website, and which she happily shares: The mission is to shatter barriers between the disabled and able-bodied worlds through the transformative power of personal story.

Can you explain your mission and how it works?

We believe that by sharing our stories, we close the gaps between people. Once an able-bodied person hears that a person with a disability goes through some of the same things he or she does-- such as loss, love and insecurity--there is more of a connection and not so much "otherness."

Tell me about the title of your show Phobias, A Solo Performance Complex...

A Solo Performance Complex is just the tagline to "Phobias." Because a "complex" is " a related group of emotionally significant ideas that are completely or partly repressed and that cause psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behavior." So the show is made up of solo performances about being neurotic.

Was it hard to find a neurotic cast for this show? Do you always pick such dark themes?

Actually, we treat it in a fun way. If you think about it everyone has some sort of phobia, so when I asked about it everyone jumped at the chance to do it. All three pieces are hilarious! Last year, we did Food for Thought, which was about our relationship with food, and in the past we did bad vacations, and baseball as a theme.

How did you start your theater company?

I started it with two friends after a successful show we wrote and produced called "When Heck Was a Puppy" which was based on a folk artist's personal stories. We wanted to create a company that was devoted to the personal story but we also wanted these stories staged--not just read. We ended up also teaching a middle school drama program for Gallery 37, so then I got the idea for our mentoring program called "Six Stories Up" which pairs 6 middle school students with six adult theater professionals with and without disabilities. You can read about the program on our website Tellintales.org. So we do adult solo performance shows as well as the one with kids.

How did you get started in theater?

I got started in high school and after graduating from college reinvented the Elmhurst Community Theater with some friends from high school. In 1987, I went freelance from the ad world (I'm an advertising copywriter) and took a workshop with Donna Blue Lachman at the Blue Rider Theater. Donna was doing a lot of personal story work, so that's how I really got interested in that genre.

What can we look forward to in Phobias?

You can look forward to three solo performances in which people talk about their phobias complete with lights and sound as well as a different person from the live lit world for each show. Here is a little preview; In They're Everywhere!, Michael Herzovi admits his aversion to crawly things. In Just Kill Me Now Rosemary Postula spends a paralyzing 15 minutes trapped in an elevator with her fears and the unwitting audience of another passenger. Baggage Handler is my testament to the terrors of performing to an audience of texters, snackers and critics. The rotating live lit cast includes Jill Howe, Amy Eaton, Mike Ervin, James Sweeny, Trice Turner and Mark Schab.

Do you prefer working with adults or kids?

I think I prefer working with kids because they are so open and creative.

~*~

Tickets are now available online. There is an Opening Night Performance and Frighteningly Fabulous After Party at 8pm tonight. Tickets are $40. Regular ticket prices are $20, or $15 for students/disabled. Regular show dates are Saturdays, July 18 and 25, at 8pm, Sundays, July 19 and 26, at 7pm. and Friday, July 24 at 8pm.

Sign language interpretation and audio description will be provided at the Sunday, July 19, performance.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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