Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
Adventure Stage Chicago’s “New Kid”
Explores Immigration and Related Issues
During Runs at Vittum and North Park Theaters
Adventure Stage Chicago Collaborates with North Park University for its Fall Production (limited run)
While politicians argue, banter and opine about immigration, Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC) tackles the issue from a child’s perspective in its newest production. Presented in collaboration with North Park University Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, ASC, a program of Northwestern University Settlement House, is pleased to present New Kid, written by Dennis Foon. The program runs October 29 – 31 at North Park University Theatre, 3225 W. Foster Ave. and November 7, 14, 20 and 21 at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble Street, Chicago.
New Kid follows sixth-grader Nick and his family as they depart their Homeland for a new future in America, battling bullies, making friends and learning a strange new language. While trying to fit in, Nick and his family also don’t want to lose their own values and culture.
“If you look at what’s going on in the world, immigration stories are more important than ever. Whether it’s the current crisis making news in Europe or the ongoing debate about our own border with Mexico. And young people are paying attention to this stuff. In fact, some of the students in our audience are directly affected by these events,” says Tom Arvetis, producing artistic director. “They’re just like Nick.”
Per the script, Nick speaks English, while those in his new home in America speak “gibberish.” This allows the audience to fully experience the difficulties and frustrations trying to function in a world where you can’t converse or understand conversations and others can’t understand you. Nick and his new classmates eventually discover that friendship speaks every language. All shows are presented with Spanish subtitles.
“With New Kid, we’re exploring the immigrant experience from the inside out. It’s a play that will give the audience a different perspective on what it means to leave the familiar and make a life in a new place. We’ve all been new to something at some point in our lives. New Kid offers an important reminder that, no matter where you come from, friendship and tolerance are vital to feeling like you belong,” adds Arvetis.
Each performance is framed by Curtain Conversations, pre- and post-show discussions with the audience members moderated by ASC that encourage interaction between the audience and curiosity and reflection long after leaving the theater.
This production is a collaboration between ASC and North Park University Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. This is the company’s first collaboration of this sort, and is being spearheaded by Brandon Wardell (scenic design) and Jessica Kuehnau Wardell (costume design), who are ASC ensemble members as well as professors at North Park.
“Adventure Stage Chicago is thrilled to be partnering with North Park University on this production. For the first time, we’ll be bringing together professional and university student actors and designers to collaborate on an important story for Chicago’s youth,” says Chad Eric Bergman, professor and department chair. “NPU has a long tradition of teaching the values of service through education and ASC, as a program of the Northwestern Settlement, creates and tells heroic stories intended to nurture, educate and inspire our neighbors to overcome obstacles in their lives. It feels good to be offering a meaningful artistic experience to NPU students that synthesizes artistic practice with social service.”
New Kid Dates, Times and Ticket Information:
North Park Theatre show dates: Oct. 29 and 30 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 30 at 10 p.m. and Oct. 31 at 2 p.m.
Adventure Stage Chicago at Vittum Theater show dates: Nov. 7 and 14 at 4 p.m.; Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. (closing night).
Tickets for all shows are $17 for adults; $12 for children aged 14 and under; $10 previews and $7 for school groups. A special $10 ticket is available to neighbors in the 60622 and 60642 zip codes. For more information, call 773-342-4141 or visit www.adventurestage.org.
About Adventure Stage Chicago:
Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC), a program of Northwestern University Settlement House, is a professional theatre production company that creates new work and tells heroic stories about young people. They do this to engage the community and inspire people to be heroes in their own lives. Housed in the historic Vittum Theater in Noble Square, Adventure Stage Chicago produces fall and spring shows. The Vittum Theater also hosts other public performances and educational programming throughout the year.
About North Park University Department of Theatre and Performance Studies:
North Park University’s Theatre and Performance Studies program is developed around a storefront model of production. Utilizing small venues—like converted storefronts—companies create intimate spaces that require innovation and creativity to put on a show. Working alongside of professional theatre artists from the community, students have the opportunity to learn the full spectrum of what it takes to put on a production: building sets, writing scripts, stage managing, operating sound and light boards, designing props, writing grants, and all that goes into becoming a well-rounded theater artist. North Park Theatre aims to: ask good questions and seek answers through dialogue; look beyond our experiences to understand our own; encourage students to act truthfully with each performance, and recognize the responsibility and power of live theatre.