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)

A Drink With…Eric Roach

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Bartender, I’ll have a…Bloody Mary, Stiegl chaser

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Top Shelf, Ménage a Trailer, Operation Infiltration, The Willing Participant, Dead Wrong, ‘Namosaur!, Shameless Shamuses, and I wrote Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago.

I got involved with the Factory because…They needed a guy to dress in a big rat suit for a sketch show called Lab Rats. Not one of our greatest, but I was transformed. I had never gotten away with being on stage with just my own rules to guide me and it was a revelation.

My current/next gig is…I’m cast in The Last Big Mistake coming up after Zombie Broads. I’m also thinking of using my Twitter handle more frequently, maybe, it sure is a lot of responsibility! (Editor’s Note: It’s @roachmun. Send him your love and invitations to Spring Awakening)

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…
A) It’s my neighborhood! Seriously, our space is a 5 minute walk from my house, I couldn’t be more pumped for that!
B) We deserve it. We’re finally coming home to the place where we made our bones. I think it will allow us to be more creative and really let everyone in the company shine.
C) We are across the street from Fat Boys Soul Food. I want some goddamned 24/7 TIPS.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…Willie Nelson’s “Stardust”, preferably on a pontoon boat with some ice cold Busch.
Van Halen, debut, loud as hell.

My favourite Factory memory is…We had just struck Janice Dutts Goes to Life Camp and it had gone slicker than shit, we were done by noon. So, the cooler came out and we sat outside with the music on and it was a gorgeous day! Carrie Sullivan had not showed yet and it was already around 3. I drunkenly asked out loud, “Hey! Where’s Sully?” Our Artistic Director, Scott OKen, drunkenly replied, “I dunno, is the Navy in town?” At that exact moment Carrie walked through the door and happily shouted “Hey guys!!”
I laughed so hard I had an out of body experience. And that is why I love the Factory.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Stiegl, Bloody Mary chaser.

A Drink With…Mandy Walsh

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Bartender, I’ll have a…Scrumpy’s Hard Cider, please and thank you.

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Incident on Run #1217, Street Justice: Condition Red, and Hotel Aphrodite.

I got involved with the Factory because…Jeez, I don’t even know where to start. I remember seeing Vinyl Shop back in the day and thinking how cool this company is. Years later when I saw the original production of Ren Faire and was getting back into theatre, I so wanted to be a part of this but was scared that I wasn’t funny enough, wasn’t fast enough and would just be lost. Then I was cast in Incident and instantly felt like part of the family. Factory feels like home.

My current/next gig is…You can see some of my handiwork as Assistant Director in WildClaw Theatre’s upcoming production of Motel 666 opening in June (Editor’s Note: it’s open now, but closes on June 28th. Hurry!) , then you can see me onstage in Factory’s brand new home as Lexie in Zombie Broads.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…IT’S OURS! MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Seriously though, it’s really damn exciting. Having our own space is going to allow us to bring you our usual Factory awesomeness, but like with a +3 Awesome. So much more awesome. Plus, I’m super jazzed that we’re going to be a contributing factor to the super cool arts scene already going on in Rogers Park.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…1. “Gentlemen” by Afghan Whigs 2. “In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up” by Ministry. I can pretty much always listen to either of these two. Anytime. Anywhere.

My favourite Factory memory is…Can I have 2? Pleeeeeeeeease? My first is watching Matt Engle trying to compliment my “chest work” during a rehearsal of Hotel Aphrodite. My second is Manny Tamayo’s acceptance speech for Best New Work at the 2014 Jeff Awards.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Manhattan. Let’s do this.

Makers_Mandy_001

A Drink With…Ernie Deak

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Bartender, I’ll have a…Smithwick’s

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Surface Dwellers, Toast of the Town, Top Shelf …, The Willing Participant, G.I.’s in Europe, Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago, Bustin’ Out of the Hell, Mop Top Festival, 1985 and Black & Blue.

I got involved with the Factory because…it was just crazy enough to work.

My current/next gig is…The Last Big Mistake, the second show in our upcoming All-Rogers-Park-All-the-Time season. I wrote it. Adjust your schedules accordingly.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…it’s a big fucking deal. Tell me it’s not!

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…“Steppenwolf the Second” by Steppenwolf (Editor’s note: EXCELLENT!) and “Traveller” by The Lord Weird Slough Feg, because I’m feeling merciful.

My favourite Factory memory is…quite an amusing story. You should ask me to tell it to you sometime. You what?

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…Negro Modelo. And for you?

A Drink With…Blake Dalzin

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Bartender, I’ll have a…very spicy Bloody Mary with a beer back (I can’t stress the beer back enough, people).

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…Hunky Dory, Easy Six, Black and Blue, White Trash Wedding and a Funeral (remount), Incident on Run #1217, and Assistant Director on ‘Namosaur! I am also guilty of providing the preshow announcements for each show.

I got involved with the Factory because…[Emeritus Member] Joe Gehr heard of me from a coworker of mine (Emeritus Factory member, Josh Graves). I ran into Joe at the Long Room after a piano lesson and he mentioned a show he had written being directed by Josh. Well, after quite a few PBR’s and whiskey shots, he mentioned he was going to talk to Josh about getting me on board. I was blown away by the talent in the cast and could not believe how funny these people were.

My current/next gig is…playing Jake in The Last Big Mistake and Assistant Director for Dating and Dragons.

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…It is important to have our own space. We are going back to the Factory Theater’s old stomping grounds and to a community that is excited to have us be a part of it. Having this type of community support and creative control of our own space is something I am very excited about.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones). This album should be owned by EVERYONE! Also, Bob Dylan’s first album. It’s raw and you can hear the sounds of youthful rage and an old man’s wisdom.

My favourite Factory memory is…Being a part of the Easy Six cast and having the opening night party. It was late and I was tipsy having been dancing and drinking with Robyn Coffin, Johnny Mo and the rest of the cast. I noticed Manny Tamayo and Allison Cain holding hands and talking and was like “Nice, you guys hooking up?” There was quite a bit of laughter and “you idiot” looks from everyone. I was then informed they were actually married.

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a…shot of Jameson and a beer back (I can’t stress the beer back enough, people)

A Drink With…Angelina Martinez

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Bartender, I’ll have a…Strongbow Cider or maybe a nice Spanish red of some sort.

I’m SURE you remember me from such Factory shows as…As an actor: Shameless Shamuses, Mop Top Festival, and The League of Awesome. Director of Ceres and AD for Dead Wrong. Designed sets for: Bustin’ Out of the Hell, Hey! Dancin’!, 1985 (original & DCA remount), White Trash Wedding & a Funeral (20th Anniversary remount), and Street Justice: Condition Red. Most recently as the writer of Hotel Aphrodite

I got involved with the Factory because…I was taking a break from theater and was recruited (heavily) by Allison Cain. I am glad and thankful she did.

My current/next gig is…Helping Factory move into the new space and managing a four-year-old (and, no, I don’t mean Roach…)

I give a shit about our move to Rogers Park because…If you’re fortunate to get an opportunity to have your own space to create — with the people you love like family, for others to enjoy — you should do absolutely everything you can to make that happen. Rogers Park is an awesomely diverse neighborhood and it’s great to see all of the great things developing and being a part of it. And, I have to admit that I appreciate that it’s near my house.

If I had to force you to listen to 2 albums, they would be…I don’t know that I would force anyone to listen to anything, but I have yet to get tired of PJ Harvey: Rid of Me and Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas

My favourite Factory memory is…Like most of us, I have a hard time picking one, but it might be a tie between (hold on, I’m breaking out the bullet points):

• Eric Roach as the Doctor in Top Shelf: ‘Check out this muther fuckin’ scene change’ OR
• Being in the audience of Hey! Dancin’! when a drunk audience member loudly questioned ‘Who wrote this shit?’ right before being escorted out OR
• During auditions for Hotel Aphrodite, after we asked people to make out with each other like out-of-control, sex- crazed loons in the most bizarre way they could think of, Matt Engle (the director) turns to me and says gleefully ‘Look at what you wrote!’

I’m switching drinks, I’ll have a… glass bottle of Veuve Clicquot