Haven Theatre Announces Full Line-Up for DIRECTORS HAVEN 2017

Source: Broadway World / www.broadwayworld.com / By BWW News Desk /

Haven Theatre is pleased to announce the line-up for its third DIRECTORS HAVEN, the company’s ever-growing initiative showcasing the talents of three early career directors. This season, Kristen Johnson directs Vaclav Havel’s riveting political satire THE PROTEST, Ian Martin helms Amiri Baraka’s THE TOILET, a powerful look at love and empathy, and Lexi Saunders directs Rachel Dubose’s sharply funny and biting new play THE DEPARTURE. The three fully-produced productions will run back-to-back in one program. DIRECTOR’S HAVEN 2017 will play October 16 – November 1, 2017 at Haven Theatre’s resident home, The Den Theatre (2A), 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. All performances are pay-what-you-can. Tickets are currently available at haventheatrechicago.com.

Comments Artistic Director Josh Sobel, “The continued growth of the Director’s Haven program is a fulfillment of one of my greatest hopes – to provide institutional support and hands-on production opportunity for directors at the very earliest stages of their professional journeys. The past two years have been a testament to the talent and imagination of the newest generation of professional theatermakers, and this season’s cohort of artists will only build upon and continue this momentum. These directors have selected pieces that are truly uniquely personal to each of them, and share an immediacy, a relevancy and a consciousness that serves to reinforce my faith in the next wave of artistic leaders.”

DIRECTORS HAVEN 2017 includes:


By Vaclav Havel

Directed by Kristen Johnson

Renowned activist Vanek pays a visit to the lavish home of a former colleague, Stanek, who has invited Vanek to help secure the release of a jailed radical musician, fiancée to Stanek’s daughter. Vanek also has a favor to request: getting the Stanek’s signature in a far-reaching protest.


By Amiri Baraka

Directed by Ian Martin

Set in a high school lavatory in the early 1960’s, LeRoi Jones’ The Toilet is an exploration of love, race and masculinity. The play is one of several known colloquially as Revolutionary theatre, which aimed to force change in the social order by exposing, accusing, and attacking. The Toilet exposes love, accuses race, and attacks masculinity, in hopes that we can imagine a new social order; One in which a boy could love another, despite their colors.


By Rachel Dubose

Directed by Lexi Saunders

Friendships are tested when a group of women reunites for an Escape Room themed Bachelorette Party. Loosely based on Sartre’s No Exit and developed collaboratively, what was supposed to bring the women together actually begins to tear them apart. As the clock winds down, tensions build and old secrets are revealed.

The production team for DIRECTOR’S HAVEN 2017 includes Rachel Rauscher (scenic design), Sara Torres (lighting design), Antonio Gracias (sound design), Devon Green (props design) and Corbin Paulino and Merle Palmer (stage managers).

Kristen Johnson (Director – The Protest) is honored to be a part of the 2017 Directors’ Haven. Most recently she directed new plays Options at Broken Nose Theatre and Clearing at Commission Theatre. Previously, she assisted Josh Sobel in Steep Theatre’s Bobbie Clearly, assisted Erica Weiss in Gift Theatre’s Grapes of Wrath, directed A Long Arduous Journey for Gift’s TEN Festival, assisted Anna Bahow for Rasaka Theatre’s A Nice Indian Boy, directed Christmas Armaments for Step Up Productions’ Holidaze Festival, assisted Erica Weiss on The Downpour for Route 66 Theatre and Jonathan Berry on Look Back in Anger at Redtwist Theatre. She has also directed readings of Dana Formby’s American Beauty Shop and David Auburn’s Fifth Planet for Sankofa Theatre and Caridad Svich’s Archipelago for No Passport’s 30/30 Festival. Kristen is a graduate of Carleton College, School at Steppenwolf, NTI, and BADA. When she is not directing, Kristen is working as an actor in Chicago.

Václav Havel (Playwright – The Protest) is a playwright who in 1989 became the president of Czechoslovakia, continuing on after the country became the Czech Republic until 2003. Havel was a prominent participant in the liberal reforms of 1968, and, after the Soviet clampdown on Czechoslovakia, his plays, which explore the self-delusions and moral compromises that characterize life under a totalitarian system, were banned. Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia in July 1990, becoming the country’s first noncommunist leader since 1948.

Ian Martin (Director – The Toilet) is an upcoming creative: writer, director, producer. He is a recent transplant to the city of Chicago and currently serving as the Artistic Producing Apprentice at Goodman Theatre. He graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Indiana University, but has studied in the arts from a young age, attending the Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts during his formative years. Ian is glad to make his Chicago directorial debut with Director’s Haven 2017. Recent directing credits include an independent production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and assisting on an academic production of The Colored Museum. He is originally from Cincinnati, OH.

Amiri Baraka (Playwright – The Toilet) was born LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, on October 7, 1934. After three years in the U.S. Air Force, Jones joined the Beat movement in Greenwich Village. After the assassination of Malcolm X, he took the name Amiri Baraka and became involved in the Black Nationalist poetry and literature movements, with his work focusing on confronting racial politics. He later identified himself as a Marxist. Some of his notable plays and poems include Dutchman, Slave Ship and The Baptism. A prolific writer over his nearly 50 year career, Baraka penned more than 50 books, including fiction, music criticism, essays, short stories, poetry and plays. Baraka died on January 9, 2014 at the age of 79.

Lexi Saunders (Director – The Departure) is a director, performer and teaching artist originally from Los Angeles with her BA in Theatre and Psychology from UC San Diego. Her Chicago directing credits include Grounded with Theater of Thought, the youth devised SUPER at Mudlark, Bye, Chuck at The Gift, in your own backyard by Kristiana Rae Colón at Victory Gardens, I Have It by Bekah Brunstetter with Madkap, LezFest and Missed Connections at Pride Films and Plays. She has assistant directed The Burials at Steppenwolf, The Few at Steep, The Snare at Jackalope, good friday at Oracle and Cocked at Victory Gardens, where she was in the 2016 Directors Inclusion Initiative. Lexi is also a recurring director for the One Minute Play Festival and 2nd Story’s storytelling series.

Rachel DuBose (Playwright – The Departure) is a Chicago-based playwright. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University Writing for the Screen + Stage and her B.A. from Spelman College. Her plays have been staged at Unbound, the Fade to Black Festival, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Living Room Playmakers, Mercy Street Theatre Company, Black Lives Black Words, The Future is Female and Jadesmash. Rachel is an associate artist at Pegasus Theatre Chicago, a Black Lives Black Words Associate Artist, a resident playwright at Mercy Street Theatre, a guest contributor at Black Girl Fly Magazine and is one of the inaugural Russ Tutterow Fellows at Chicago Dramatists.

We exist to be a Haven for The Future. We achieve this through championing the next generation of playwrights, directors and actors by producing and promoting plays and performances that are staking their claim as the immediate future of this art form, and by investing in those at the very beginning of their professional journeys. Through this inspiration, we seek to ignite in each audience member a hope for the Future – the Future of theatre and performance, the Future of each other, the Future of our community.