12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs)


12 ophelias hero image
Event Status
Oct. 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5, 2019, 2 p.m.
Oct. 6, 2019, 2 p.m.
Oct. 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 10, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12, 2019, 2 p.m.
Oct. 12, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 13, 2019, 2 p.m.
Oscar G. Brockett Theatre

By Caridad Svich

Directed by Jess Shoemaker

Shakespeare's Ophelia rises up out of the water, dreaming of Pop-Tarts and other sweet things. She finds herself in a neo-Elizabethan Appalachian setting where Gertrude runs a brothel, Hamlet is called a Rude Boy and nothing is what it seems. In this mirrored world of word-scraps and cold sex, Ophelia cuts a new path for herself.

Praised by the Chicago Stage Review as a piece "both aesthetically beguiling and emotionally ravaging," 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs) combines original music with lyrical poetry and colloquial language in an exploration of broken ambition and liberated desire.

12 Ophelias contains adult content and some instances of violence. Recommended for ages 18+. Guests should be advised that water is used as part of the show and there is a possibility of splashing, particularly in the rows closest to the stage.

View the 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs) playbill.


Preview: October 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening: October 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Additional Performances: October 4–5, 8–12 at 7:30 p.m. and October 5–6, 12–13 at 2:00 p.m.

Reviews and Inside Look

About the Playwright 

Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based Isabel Allende’s novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the US and abroad, among them Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle Series, Denver Center Theatre, 59E59, The Women’s Project, Woodshed Collective @ McCarren Park Pool, Repertorio Espanol, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lighthouse Poole UK, Teatro Mori (Chile), Artheater-Cologne (Germany), Ilkhom Theater (Uzbekistan), Teatro Espressivo (Costa Rica), Welsh Fargo Stage (Wales), Homotopia Festival UK, SummerWorks festival in Toronto and Edinburgh Fringe Festival/UK.

Key works in her repertoire include 12 Ophelias, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart, The Booth Variations, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, Any Place But Here, Archipelago, The Way of Water and JARMAN (all this maddening beauty). She has also adapted for the stage novels by Mario Vargas Llosa, Julia Alvarez and Jose Leon Sanchez, and has radically reconfigured works from Wedekind, Euripides, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. Her plays have been directed by Annie Castledine, Maria Irene Fornes, Lisa Peterson, Neel Keller, William Carden, Nick Philippou, Annie Dorsen, Katie Pearl, Stephen Wrentmore, Daniella Topol and Jose Zayas, among many others.

As founder of theatre alliance & press NoPassport (www.nopassport.org) her work has intersected with communities of multiple diversities with works responding to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US Gulf region, veterans and their families, survivors of trauma and those committed to artistic expression of precarity, advocacy for US Latin@ writing voices, and engagement with representations of the “fragile shores” in our lives. She is co-organizer and curator of After Orlandotheatre action in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting with Missing Bolts Productions at DR2 Theatre in New York City, Finborough Theatre in London, Chaskis Theatre in London in association with Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Vaults and over sixty venues across the US; and Climate Change Theatre Action with The Arctic Cycle and Theatre Without Borders. She has also published over twenty titles with NoPassport Press by authors as diverse as Todd London, John Jesurun, David Greenspan, Carson Kreitzer, Rinde Eckert, Lenora Champagne and Octavio Solis.

Her works are published by TCG, Smith & Kraus, Playscripts, Broadway Play Publishing and more. Three collections of her works for live performance are published as follows: JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) and other plays (Intellect UK, 2016); Instructions for Breathing and other plays (Seagull Books UK, 2014); Blasted Heavens (Eyecorner Press, Denmark, 2012). She has edited several books on theatre including Audience Revolution: Dispatches from the Field (TCG, 2016), Innovation in Five Acts (TCG, 2015), Out of Silence: Censorship in Theatre & Performance and Trans-Global Readings: Crossing Theatrical Boundaries and Theatre in Crisis? (the latter two for Manchester University Press, UK). She is currently editing a book on playwriting for Methuen UK. She serves as associate editor at Taylor & Francis’ Contemporary Theatre Review, where she also edits their Backpages section.

She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca as well as works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Julio Cortazar, Victor Rascon Banda, Antonio Buero Vallejo and contemporary works from Mexico, Cuba and Spain. She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists. She has received fellowships from Harvard/Radcliffe, NEA/TCG, PEW Charitable Trust, and California Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from UCSD, and she also trained for four consecutive years with Maria Irene Fornes in INTAR’s legendary HPRL Lab. She teaches creative writing and playwriting at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts. She has taught playwriting at Bard, Barnard, Bennington, Denison, Ohio State, ScriptWorks, UCSD, and Yale School of Drama. Website: caridadsvich.com

About the Director

Jess Shoemaker is a director/playwright currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Directing at The University of Texas at Austin. Her recent directing credits include Flora Circular and Loverboy as part of UTNT (UT New Theatre), as well as Venus is Fur (Great River Shakespeare Festival) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Grandstreet Theatre). Before coming to graduate school and falling madly in love with new work, Shoemaker spent 10 years acting, coaching and teaching classical text. Her own plays have enjoyed extended runs in Chicago and Los Angeles. 

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