A Drink With…Rachel Sypniewski

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Bartender, I’ll have a…White Russian.

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Janice Dutts Goes to Life Camp, Siskel and Ebert Save Chicago, Dirty Diamonds, Shameless Shamusues, Ren Faire! A Fistful of Ducats, Ceres, Mop Top Festival, Dead Wrong, 1985, Hey! Dancin!, The League of Awesome, 1985 (DCA remount), Easy Six, White Trash Wedding and a Funeral (remount), Toast of the Town (remount), Incident on Run #1217, ‘Namosaur!, Street Justice: Condition Red, Hey! Dancin! Hey! Musical!, Hotel Aphrodite, The Guardians Of Rock (Abbie Hoffman), and 30 Days in the Rabbit Hole (Abbie Hoffman). BUT YOU HAVE PROBABLY NEVER ACTUALLY SEEN ME.

(Editor’s Note: Rachel was the costume designer for all of these shows, which is why you’ve never seen her. She’s also a ninja who works on 70,000 shows simultaneously.)

I got involved with the Factory because…[Factory Emeritus and former Executive Director Allison] Cain asked me to come on board for Operation Infiltration and I couldn’t and was pretty sad about it. So the next opportunity came along, Janice Dutts. LMACK, POMPA, ROACH, SHANNON, CISSY, and ENGLE sealed the deal for me. Beside the awesome people, it’s all new work. New work created by these crazy people I admire and respect. So yeah, who needs to do another production of “OKLAHOMA!”.

My current/next gig is…how much space do I have? And when does this get posted? Seriously though, ones immediately coming up: Universal Wolf at Trap Door, Merchild at 16th Street Theater, Fugue for a Particle Accelerator with 20% Theater and ZOMBIE BROADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park becauseIT’S A REALLY BIG DEAL. There’s a certain validation and recognition that comes with having a permanent home that is yours. It’s a foundation, it’s roots and it screams WE ARE HERE. To have a theater company hang in for as long as the Factory has and only produce ORIGINAL WORK written by its ENSEMBLE MEMBERS. That’s an artistic force.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…I dread this question. Rusted Root’s “When I Woke” and Jimmy Buffet’s “Songs You Know By Heart.”

My favourite Factory memory is…the laughing. All the laughing. There isn’t some epic story I have, but whether it is at an ensemble meeting, performance, production meeting, load-in, strike, read through, rehearsal, hanging out at a bar or whatever, I call them the “Factory Laughs.” You cannot mistake them for anything else. It’s the laugh that vibrates through a room and is infectious. It’s the blend of those distinctive big laughs and the support of the quiet wheezing gut shakers. It is joy in its purest form and it happens every time.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Caucasian

A Drink With…Johnny Moran

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Bartender, I’ll have a…A Half Acre Daisy Cutter

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Ren Faire: A Fistful of Ducats and the subsequent remount, Black and Blue, Easy Six, and the New Adventures of Popeye.

I got involved with the Factory because… I was working on a show at Strawdog directed by Kyle Hamman. He invited me to audition for a Factory show he was working on next called Ren Faire: AFoD. I had seen Factory shows before and was totally looking for an opportunity to work there. I haven’t looked back since. (Editor’s Note: Only the coolest of kids make that into an acronym. Nice work, Johnny Mo.) 

My current/next gig is… I’m going in to Body and Blood at the Gift Theater this Thursday (7/23) and Friday (7/24). I am also on the wildly popular radio show “The Game Show Show and Stuff” on Tuesdays from 6 to 8pm on 88.7 WLUW.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…Our own place! We’re able to build it to our specs, work on material, and use our funds more efficiently. Also, we get to be a part of a diverse arts community in a cool part of town.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be… AC/DC’s “Razor’s Edge” (totally underrated album) and The Gaslight Anthem’s “Handwritten.”

My favourite Factory memory is… Watching Jen Pompa improv as Tammy in Ren Faire. So weird, wonderful and hilarious.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a… Bulleit bourbon Manhattan

A Drink With…Colin Milroy

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Bartender, I’ll have a… Vodka tonic with a splash of lime

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as… Writer & performer: Street Justice: Condition Red, The Gray Girl, The New Adventures of Popeye
Strictly actor: Toast of the Town (remount), Bustin’ Out of The Hell, Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago, Operation Infiltration, GIs in Europe
Production Manager: Easy Six, Hey! Dancin’! 
Assistant Director: Mop Top Festival

I got involved with the Factory because…They gave me the nicest rejection ever. My first audition for the company was in 2005. The ensemble people leading it were so happy and welcoming that they made me feel special just because I showed up. The audition was so fun. When I wasn’t cast, I was told that my time at the audition was greatly appreciated and I was thanked excessively for coming out to play. The company exuded respect for people who wanted to work with them. When I got cast in my first Factory show, the company showed the same respect and appreciation to everyone in the cast and crew for their time. It was good, hard work. It was also a joyful process. Professional and artistic with the occasional potty humor bit thrown in. The Factory loves their work and loves those who work with them. The Factory is a family. They support and nurture artists while encouraging daring original works. The Factory is a haven and a home. I’m very grateful for every moment with the Factory Theater.

My current/next gig is…Continuing to manage the Factory Writer’s Workshop. Setting up a new house in Jefferson Park and trying to squeeze a bit of writing in.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…We’re back home but out of our parent’s basement. We now have our own independent space to play with as we will. It’s back in the neighborhood where the company started over 20 years ago. The Factory invests itself in the community around it. Rogers Park wants to grow its arts scene and we’re ready to do our part.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…Boston’s self-titled album from 1976. Timeless, non-stop jams. Also the first album I ever heard on vinyl. The Top Gun soundtrack. Some of the finest 80s cheese lumped together in dramatic, swishy packaging. A perfect encapsulation of the decade.

My favourite Factory memory is…There’s so many. Cliff notes version:
– OKen trying to break Corri Pasko onstage by asking her to the Bingus Tournament, missing his next line and cracking himself up.
– Our stage manager frantically whispered that Roger Ebert was in the audience right before a performance of Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago. I thought she was joking but found out during the performance she wasn’t. Feeling spine-tingling glee that we were performing for him and having my heart burst with joy when Ebert gave us a thumbs up.
– The wonderful mood & setting of The Gray Girl.
– Writing and performing Street Justice: Condition Red with Tournis.
I got lots more but I need   to shut up now. Buy me a drink sometime and we’ll talk some more.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. Extra chilled to stab your insides a little harder.

A Drink With…Laura McKenzie

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Bartender, I’ll have a… Carafe of wine.

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as..Chicagostyle, Being At Choice, Ménage à Trailer, Toast of the Town, Top Shelf, The Willing Participant, Operation Infiltration, Janice Dutts Goes to Life Camp, 1985, ‘Namosaur!, Take the Cake, Shameless Shamuses (director), Jenny & Jenni (director), Hey! Dancin’! Hey! Musical! (composer/lyricist)

I got involved with the Factory because…I was so mad that I wasn’t in the funniest show I had ever seen, Factory’s Poppin’ and Lockdown (to be fair I didn’t audition because I HAD NO IDEA THERE WAS EVEN SUCH A SHOW – HOW DID I MISS THAT AUDITION NOTICE?!?!?!?!), that I made sure to make myself available (not an innuendo) for the next Factory show (total innuendo).

My current/next gig is… music directing Soon I Will Be Invincible at Lifeline Theater and writing music and lyrics for Sparky, an adaptation of the children’s book to be produced at Lifeline Theater as well.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because… it’s an opportunity to reboot in a brand new community that is super excited to have us. I am excited about expanding the Factory’s audience and artists to reflect the diversity of Rogers Park.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…”Dust” by Van Hunt and “Grace” by Jeff Buckley.

My favourite Factory memory is…making the play. The blood, sweat and tears (YOU MAKE ME SO VERY HAPPY) of working so hard on something. You want specifics? All right. During Top Shelf, I wanted to do a particular bit and Nick Digilio, the director, wasn’t so keen on it. So he said “Try it” and I did. And damn, did sliding down a stripper pole onto a whoopee cushion pay off.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Carafe of Kalimotxo aka red wine and Coca-Cola aka “The Warren Moon”. Yes, it DOES sound disgusting. Who cares what it sounds like, I’m only interested in how it tastes. WHICH IS DELICIOUS.

A Drink With…Jason Moody

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Bartender, I’ll have a…White Russian at Marie’s Riptide Lounge! (2002)
Sazerac at The Pump Room! (2008)
5 Rabbit Gringolandia at Chief’s! (2014)
Veggie Smoothie…at home. (2015)

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…You actually wouldn’t but I’ve designed various artwork for shows from Hey! Dancin’! (2010) through Hotel Aphrodite and everything in between and probably beyond. I’ve also been messing around with video and writing music for shows. I brought the pig out at the end of Hotel Aphrodite once. Remember that?

I got involved with the Factory because…Fellow ensemble member Colin Milroy and I worked together at the same day job. Colin used to bring in handbills promoting various Factory shows to the office. I always thought it would be cool to design one but I never brought it up. Once Milman got unceremoniously and unfairly canned, he reached out to me and a couple other designers asking if one of us were interested in designing for the Factory. I’m the one who said yes, and of course the others regret their decision to this day.

My current/next gig is…Graphically designing for Zombie Broads, the first show in our new space.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…It’s exciting right? It’s creatively fulfilling to be part of this bunch of crazies, especially now when there’s so much at stake. Keeps it interesting yes? There’s a ton of support community wise; Peckish Pig and Gullivers are good. Oh, and it’s REALLY CLOSE TO MY HOUSE!

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…I couldn’t tell you what you should listen to, certain music you have to catch up to in your own time. I mean, I could say, “Hey go out and get Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel” but you might hear it and say, “You know what? This is garbage, Moody! I’m nervous even at the prospect of enjoying this.” Or then I could be like, “Hey you know what’s amazing? Muddy Waters Folk Singer!” But you might be all, “Bllluuuuhhlllooooze? C’mon man, that’s like from olden times or something.” I’d have ruined it for you just like I ruined the original manuscript of Delius’s Florida Suite by smearing Pizza Pockets all over it that one time. I did, it was delicious. Like I said, you just need to discover this sort of thing on your own. That being said, here are two albums both of which have stuck with me a long time.
Robyn Hitchcock – Eye
Kristen Hersh – Hips and Makers

My favourite Factory memory is…Hard to choose but here’s two, and congratulations for making it this far.

1. At the build for Take The Cake (I wanna say), either I did a shitty job of measuring 2 x 4s or Greg Caldwell did a shitty job of cutting them but we either rendered a lot of wood useless or the set was a little shorter than it was supposed to be. I never had so much fun making idiot mistakes. Thanks Greg, let’s do it again next season! (Editor’s note: STOP HELPING.)
2. Right before rehearsals for Tony Tournis’s nude scene in Street Justice, Tony was talking to OKen and nonchalantly mentioned he did in fact have shorts on under his towel. He didn’t. Hilarity ensued.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Saltwater gargle and prune juice (2070)