Premier Sci-Fi and Fantasy Theatre in North America Warps Back from Pandemic
CHICAGO, Illinois -- Otherworld Theatre Company, the premier science fiction and fantasy production company in North America, today announced its 10th season in 2022-23, including original works, classic stories, immersive live-action role playing weekends, special events, and the continuation of fan favorites.
Otherworld Theatre’s annual gala returns Friday October 14 after a pandemic hiatus with GOTHIC GALAWEEN, celebrating 10 years of genre performance in Chicago. Patrons will delight in a fully immersive themed dinner while interacting with ghostly gothic characters at Michelle’s Ballroom, 2800 W. Belmont Ave., with an afterparty at Otherworld’s space. Tickets will go on sale July 15.
“To celebrate our tenth birthday, we’re definitely going big and bold with six plays, three continuing late night or comedy shows, a podcast, and two weekend-long immersive LARPs,” said Artistic Director Tiffany Keane Schaefer. “Throughout the pandemic, we heard from our community. People want productions that build fellowship, elevate new voices, and bring new perspectives to the world we live in. It’s that spirit of exploration that our tenth season comes to life.”
The season opens with A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCREAM: A Devised Shakespearean Nightmare, running September 30 - November 13, 2022. The show, directed by Otherworld Theatre Artistic Director Tiffany Keane Schaefer, gives Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy an 80’s slasher twist full of mistaken identities, transformations, and blood.
Other season highlights include the Chicago premiere of PUFFS (June 15 - July 23, 2023), Matt Cox’s unauthorized tale about a certain school of magic from the perspective of the Puffs, the otherwise overlooked students; LAST SHIP TO PROXIMA CENTAURI (January 27 - February 28, 2023), directed by Jeff Award-winner Carla Stillwell and written by Greg Lam, in which the last escape ship leaving Earth arrives at their new celestial home centuries after its predecessors and are surprised to find a planet inhabited by unimpressed people of color who are not happy to see them; 20,000 LEAGUES, A FEMINIST ADAPTATION (April 1 - May 15, 2023), Bella Poynton’s adaptation of the Jules Verne classic, featuring a female Captain Nemo and Nautilus crew; and a trip back to magic school with the weekend-long fully immersive live action role playing (LARP) event ALBION SCHOOL OF SORCERY: OSTARA(March 16 - 19, 2023), the next installment in the popular fantasy series held at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin in partnership with Moonrise Games.
Capping off the season is the entirely immersive weekend-long adventure CHRONICLES OF THE REALM: LIAISONS & LEGIONS OF NEW LYSTAR, the next installment in Otherworld and Moonrise Games’ popular CHRONICLES OF THE REALM live action role playing game. After working with Otherworld’s Game Master to develop their character, players set out on a two-night, three-day adventure, where they will experience high fantasy, political intrigue, a beautiful ball, and an epic battle set amongst exquisite costumes and the historic opulence of the Allerton Park and Retreats in Monticello, Illinois as they complete quests to help defend Amelor against the invading Ingvohl.
Ongoing comedy and late-night shows include PORTAL-PROV!, Otherworld Theatre’s weekly improv show dedicated to a new fandom every Sunday at 7 p.m.; STARSHIP EDSEL, an improvised Star Trek satire; and OTHERWORLD(LY) KARAOKE, a monthly nerdy sing-a-long featuring rotating special guests and performances. Also continuing for the 2022-23 season is THE NERD THERAPY PODCAST with hosts Eric Koll and Natalie Jeung, exploring mental health topics through the lens of genre stories, with new episodes releasing the fourth Friday of every month.
The full 2022-23 season’s shows are as follows:
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCREAM: A Devised Shakespearean Nightmare Writer and Director: Tiffany Keane Schaefer Adapted from: William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Running September 30 - November 13, 2022 Deep in the magical forest, dark forces are at play when a feuding fae King and Queen cross paths with four runaway lovers. As their dispute grows, a contemptuous play of chess arises as they meddle with teen mortal lives that result in dark consequences. Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy gets an 80’s slasher twist full of mistaken identities, transformations, and blood.
THE TALE OF THE NUTCRACKER: An Immersive Retelling of the Holiday Fairytale Running December 2, 2022 - January 8, 2023 Walk into this holiday dream with this family-friendly walkthrough experience of the most beloved holiday adventures, accompanied by Tchaikovski’s timeless music. Follow Clara as she teams up with the Nutcracker, enters the land of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and fights the Mouse King!
LAST SHIP TO PROXIMA CENTAURI Director: Carla Stillwell Written By: Greg Lam with translations by Livian Yeh, Jecenia Isis Figueroa, and Kayode Soyemi Running January 27 - March 5, 2023 The Earth has become uninhabitable. The last escape ship from Earth (Seattle, to be exact) arrives to its new home planet centuries after all the others. The pilots are not prepared for what they find there: A planet full of unimpressed people of color who are not happy to see them.
ALBION SCHOOL OF SORCERY: OSTARA One Weekend Only, March 16 - 19, 2023 A year ago, students unknowingly participated in a ritual that summoned the Primordial Beasts and became hosts to the most ancient of magics. Now divided in their vision for the future they wish to pursue, the students must unite to fight a common, and powerful, enemy. Players will journey to DeKoven Center in Wisconsin for a weekend-long immersive Live Action Role Playing game, where they will attend the Albion School of Sorcery, learning how to wield their magic powers and participating in quests to gain the skills and camaraderie that will be key to the fight ahead. More information can be found at the LARP’s website at www.AlbionSchoolofSorcery.com.
20,000 LEAGUES, A FEMINIST ADAPTATION Written By: Bella Poynton, adapted from Jules Verne’s 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA Running April 1 - May 15, 2023 A feminist adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel, with a female Nemo and a brand new exciting cast of strong female Nautilus crew members. When Professor Pierre Aronnax, his assistant Victoria Conseil, and the great harpooner Netti Lande are invited on a dangerous journey to find a mysterious sea creature that seems to be sinking war ships, the trio find themselves not only stranded at sea, but at the mercy of the mesmerizing captain Nemo and her ship of fierce female sailors.
THE TRADE FEDERATION, or, Let’s Explore Globalization Through the STAR WARS Prequels Written By: Andy Boyd Running April 28 - May 14, 2023 A young experimental playwright named Andy Boyd pitches George Lucas his screenplay for a new Star Wars film. The concept: a prequel to the prequels that fleshes out the economic and social implications of the mysterious intergalactic organization known as The Trade Federation. Replacing the veiled references to colonialism in the original films, Andy’s script is a full-on allegory where The Trade Federation is The International Monetary Fund, the Gungans are the Zapatistas, and the Jedi are an international community reluctant to push for any real structural change – the UN, basically. Lucas thinks the movie sounds really boring and unceremoniously kicks Andy out of his office. Then things really get weird.
PUFFS, or, SEVEN INCREASINGLY EVENTFUL YEARS AT A CERTAIN SCHOOL OF MAGIC AND MAGIC Written By: Matt Cox Running June 15 - July 23, 2023 For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.
CHRONICLES OF THE REALM: LIAISONS & LEGIONS OF NEW LYSTAR One Weekend Only, July 21 - 23, 2023 The forces of Amelor are preparing to defend its shores against the encroaching armies of Ingvohl in this follow-up to Otherworld and Moonrise Games’ CHRONICLES OF THE REALM live action role playing fantasy (LARP) game. Players travel to Amelor for a two-night, three-day all-inclusive adventure full of high fantasy, exquisite costumes, political intrigue, a royal ball, and the ultimate battle, held at the Allerton Park and Retreats in Monticello, Illinois. More information is available at the LARP’s website at www.ChroniclesoftheRealm.com.
PORTAL-PROV! Created and directed by: Bryce Read Ongoing; Sundays at 7 p.m. Each week, PORTAL-PROV! Transports audiences to a different genre-informed world of comedy, from “Star Trek” to “Pokémon”, “The Terminator” to the works of Jane Austen. The show is improvised on the spot by our performers along with input from the nerdiest, geekiest, most fun audiences in Chicago. OTHERWORLD(LY) KARAOKE Created and Directed by: Steffen Garcia Ongoing; Every third Friday at 9 p.m. beginning July 15 Ever want to sing the “Firefly” opening credits song at the top of your lungs? The theme song to “Sailor Moon” and “Pokémon”? What about belting a classic from the 70s? Otherworld Theatre says: “Yes, and!” to karaoke, adding some of your favorite nostalgic hits highlighted with cosplay and entertainment.
STARSHIP EDSEL Created by: Brandon Brylawski Directed by: Jack Bronis Ongoing; Saturdays at 10 p.m. beginning Late Summer 2022 In this weekly farce, the Federation starship Edsel, largely regarded as a failure in ship design, is considered a dumping ground for crew members who were too disruptive or incompetent for front-line service but couldn’t be discharged. With its malfunctioning technology and semi functional crew, the Edsel now remains parked above the vacation planet Atlantis where it hosts vapid and overbearing VIPs and forever doomed to boldly give tours of an authentic Federation starship
THE NERD THERAPY PODCAST Hosted by: Eric Koll and Natalie Jeung New episodes the fourth Friday of the month; available wherever you get your podcasts A monthly series exploring mental health themes through the lens of popular science fiction and fantasy stories, and hosted by licensed clinical social worker Eric Koll and licensed professional counselor Natalie Jeung.