A Drink With…Chas Vrba

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Bartender, I’ll have a… Mojito, but if you aren’t muddling, probably an Amstel.

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as… Toast of the Town, 1985, Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago and many others as either an actor or sound designer.

I got involved with the Factory because…a finer bunch of down-to-earth, extremely funny, and immensely talented people simply doesn’t exist. The Factory gives me so much of what I love about theater and so little of what I dislike. Finding people who create art and entertainment who are also able to leave pretension out of the equation are rare. The Factory does that and does it well.

My current/next gig is…appearing as a DJing Baphomet in Redmoon’s Devil’s Cabaret.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…having a space we can call our own is something that has been desired since I started working with the Factory some 16 years ago. To see it finally happen is beyond exciting.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…probably the first one you ever purchased with your own money (you really should go back and listen to it, that was the first thing you felt strongly about when developing your tastes) and maybe “Birth of the Cool” by Miles Davis.

My favourite Factory memory is…there are many. The Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago experience ranks high on the list. Performing as Roger Ebert in front of Roger Ebert was very cool. Having Gene Siskel’s widow buy out the house for a veritable who’s who of Chicago celebrities was also pretty great. Taking 1985 from the page to the stage was rewarding. Having my childhood friend, Brian Jackson join us for 2 shows (Poppin’ and Lockdown 1 & 2) on stage as a DJ was very special as well.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Stiegl Radler.

Chas Vrba - the coolest PR Man/DJ Pro/Actor/Swell cat on the planet.

Chas Vrba – the coolest PR Man/DJ Pro/Actor/Swell cat on the planet.

A Drink With…Scott OKen

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A Drink With…Scott OKen, Factory Theater Artistic Director and Master of Guitars

Bartender, I’ll have a…Miller Lite, bottle (Don’t judge, it keeps me from hitting on you) .

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Toast of the Town (Actor/Co-Writer) , GIs In Europe (Actor/Co-Writer), Siskel and Ebert Save Chicago (Director), Ren Faire! A Fistful of Ducats (Actor), Mop Top Festival (Writer/Director), ‘Namosaur! (Writer). Quite a bit more, but I don’t want you to think I own the joint! (I may.)

I got involved with the Factory because…I understudied for Alive and I immediately felt at home. I wanted to be a part of it. The prospect of creating something from scratch – sometimes even from a drunken bar conversation – and to follow that through from the writing process to rehearsals to opening night is intoxicating. It NEVER gets old.

My current/next gig is…I will be the director of our last show of Season 23, Dating and Dragons.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…It’s where we started. It was the last time we had our own home. It’s time for us to have our own space again. We are strong enough to take this on. We want to write more shows. We want to entertain more people. We want to beat ass with funny. We want to beat ass with beating ass. This will give us the opportunity.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…Montrose, by MONTROSE, and Captain Beyond, by CAPTAIN BEYOND!!!!!

My favorite Factory memory is…I have two. The first is when we did our initial run of Toast of the Town. The first time we did the show in front of an audience, I sat backstage and heard them laugh at all the things they were supposed to. It wasn’t my first co-written show, but the first with the full weight of the Factory behind it, and it was a great feeling. The second is when Roger Ebert showed up to our Press Opening of Siskel and Ebert Save Chicago. We had quite a hectic tech week and previews, and he showed up out of the blue under a different name. He and his wife entered right as the actors got “places” and I was working box office. I shit a brick, directed him to a seat, then found Roach (ED: Eric Roach, Playwright) and told him to not shit his pants. I think he did anyway. I sat off to the side and watched Ebert laugh throughout the show. After the show was over, he and his wife went to the car, pulled back in front of the theater, rolled down the window and gave us a “thumbs up”. Awesome.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Guinness. Make it three!

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