Next Season Announcement: Fornes ‘What of the Night?’ directed by Carlos Murillo a Co-Production with Stage Left

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.50.49 PMIn the winter, Stage Left and Cor Theatre present a co-production of What of the Night? by María Irene Fornés, directed by Carlos Murillo. This epic meditation on poverty in America was a Pultizer finalist in 1990. Cor Theatre Artistic Director Tosha Fowler says of the partnership, “With admiration for Stage Left’s longevity and the exciting opportunities they provide to artists through their strong commitment to mission, we at Cor are thrilled to announce a collaboration of theatre that is bound to leave you breathless. Combining Stage Left’s strength with our fearless aesthetic, Fornés’ poetically primal voice, and Carlos Murillo’s passionate vision, What of the Night is going to be our biggest leap yet.” Finally, the company will present LeapFest, its annual developmental festival featuring workshop productions of new plays, at a time to be announced later.

What of the Night?

by María Irene Fornés

directed by Carlos Murillo

January 7 – February 12, 2017

a co-production with Cor Theatre

The celebrated Cuban-American writer María Irene Fornés’s play, What of the Night?, is about sex, power, institutional failure, human frailty, betrayal, dreams and madness. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, it follows an extended family whose lives are intertwined even as they try to escape the ties that bind them. When the just-married 14-year-old Birdie leaves her impoverished home to seek a better life, she unwittingly sets in motion a sprawling epic told in intimate vignettes that spans across time and geography. Rainbow finds love. Charlie finds solace in loyalty. Ray finds the trappings of success. Though their yearnings are briefly rewarded, the lyrical story lays bare the difference between the hunger of the soul and the hunger of the ego.

Cor Theatre (cortheater.org) debuted in September 2012 with a vision to create theatrical experiences that are rarely presented in Chicago by artists who seek to defy expectation. Cor’s mission is to explore the inner truth of the human experience through storytelling that defies convention, and to engage audiences by telling stories that take courage to tell. Cor Theatre derives its name from the Latin root of courage – meaning heart.

María Irene Fornés (Playwright) is a Cuban-American avant garde playwright and director who was a leading figure of the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s. Fornés’ themes frequently focused on poverty and feminism. Moreover, on personal and artistic levels, her lesbian identity has been central to her art. Her family moved to the United States in 1945, and she became a painter before beginning to write plays in the early 1960s. The Widow, Fornés’ first professionally produced play, was staged in 1961. Fornés acted as the director for many of her subsequent works, including There! You Died (1963; later retitled Tango Palace, 1964), The Successful Life Of 3: A Skit In Vaudeville (1965), and Molly’s Dream (1968), among others. In 1973 she founded the New York Theatre Strategy, which was devoted to the production of stylistically innovative theatrical works. Fornés has held teaching and advisory positions at several universities and theatrical festivals, such as the Theatre for the New City, the Padua Hills Festival, and the INTAR (International Arts Relations) program in New York City. She has received eight Obie awards — in such categories as distinguished playwriting and direction and best new play — for Promenade (1965), The Successful Life Of 3Fefu And Her FriendsThe Danube (1982), MudSarita (1984), The Conduct Of Life, and Abingdon Square (1987). Fornés has also received numerous other awards and grants for her oeuvre, including Rockefeller Foundation Grants in 1971 and 1984, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1974, 1984, and 1985, an American Academy and Institute of Letters and Arts Award in Literature in 1986, and a Playwrights U.S.A. Award in 1986. She has also produced several original translations and adaptations of such plays as Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding (1980), Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life Is A Dream (1981), Virgilio Piñera’s Cold Air (1985), and Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (1987).


Carlos Murillo 
(Director) is a Chicago-based, internationally produced and award winning playwright as well as a director and teacher, of Colombian and Puerto Rican descent. As a director, he has staged the Chicago premiere of Julia Cho’s Durango at Silk Road, as well as productions and workshops of his own work in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. He has also staged plays at The Walker Arts Center/Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, The Public Theatre New Work Now! Festival, the Mazer Theatre and Makor in NY. For DePaul University, he directed the world premiere of Ike Holter’s Good Worker for the New Playwrights Series, for which he has staged two previous productions (Andie Arthur’s In Common Hours and Alex Perry’s eikon). As a playwright, his body of work has been widely produced throughout the United States and Europe. His best known play Dark Play or Stories for Boys premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and has been performed throughout the US, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania. His plays have been commissioned by The Goodman, the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf, and Adventure Stage and developed by The Sundance Theatre Lab, The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New Dramatists and others. Carlos Murillo is the recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award and a Mellon Foundation National Resident Playwright Program grant funding a three year residency at Adventure Stage. From 1993 to 1995, Carlos served as the Associate Literary Manager at The Public Theater in New York. Carlos heads the BFA Playwriting Program at The Theatre School of DePaul University, and is a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. Carlos lives in the south side of Chicago with his wife, the director, Lisa Portes, and their two children Eva and Carlitos.


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