Unwilling and Hostile Instruments | Theatre Seven of Chicago

What Happens:

As Chicago women lobbied legislators for the right to vote in 1913, one opponent declared the entire female sex ‘unwilling and hostile instruments.’ 100 years later, we celebrate women’s suffrage in Illinois by weaving together eight new short plays about extraordinary Chicago women from the last century to tell one story about equality in Chicago - then and now.

Why Now?:

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of women being granted full voting rights in Illinois, when our state became the first east of the Mississippi to grant full suffrage to women. A century later, countless Chicago women have left their mark from Wabash Ave to the world. From household names to new discoveries, we share with you the stories of some of Chicago's most extraordinary women. But we do it in the way only Theatre Seven can - by showing you a play of ten Chicago actors trying to put on these eight plays, and negotiating the challenges of casting, the limitations of theatre and the weight of history. Unwilling and Hostile Instruments is Theatre Seven doing what it does best - creatively, collaboratively exploring the Chicago story.

Ticket Info:

Tickets are now on sale for this production here! For information on reserving tickets before they go on sale, or to inquire about group sales, please call us at 773-853-3158.

Premium Tickets: $30  (includes festival book with full text of every play)
Individual: $20
Senior/Student: $16
Industry: $16
Group: $14 (10 or more, can only be purchased over the phone)

Brian Golden Playwright
T7 Credits: Is Chicago, Killing Women, The Sand Castle, Diversey Harbor, Hunting and Gathering, The Water Engine: An American Fable, In the Heart of America, American Storm (Director); Yes This Really Happened to Me, We Live Here, Cooperstown (Writer), Mimesophobia (Man Who Speaks...), Boys & Girls (Frank - Never Swim Alone), The Chicago Landmark Project (Co-Coordinator; Writer - 63rd & Woodlawn: Robust Coffee Lounge; Director - 63rd & Kedzie: Arab American Community Center)

Brian Golden is the Managing Artistic Director and a founding member of Theatre Seven of Chicago. During his leadership, Theatre Seven’s work has been seen by 14,000+ patrons and the company has been nominated for four Jeff Awards, two Black Theatre Alliance Awards, been a three-time finalist and the 2012 winner of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theatre Award, and paid over 300 artists for their work. Brian was the conceiver of a writer for Unwilling and Hostile Instruments: 100 Years of Extraordinary Chicago Women and Co-Coordinator of Theatre Seven’s 2011 The Chicago Landmark Project, 12 World Premiere short plays about 12 specific Chicago landmarks. His play Cooperstown was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award and an Ovation Award (LA), and he was one of eight co-authors of We Live Here, which was nominated for 2 Jeff Awards, including Best New Work. Brian works for Catharsis Productions as the company’s Literary Manager, developing new artistic programs with an emphasis on social justice and violence reduction. Brian is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, a two-time winner of the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Contest, recipient of the Leota Diesel Ashton Playwriting Prize and John J. Jutkowitz Award, and sits on the Board of the League of Chicago Theatres. 

updated october 2013
Travis Williams Playwright
T7 Credits: ShikaakwaThe Water Engine (Actor), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Writer - Circle Be Unbroken)

Travis Williams is very excited and honored to be working along side such a talented group of artists! As a proud a Company Member of Theatre Seven, and also a member of Theatre Seven's 7P Literary Circle, Travis has appeared in past productions of The Water Engine and Shikaakwa. He has been an active artists in the city of Chicago for over six years and is currently in the production of Million Dollar Quartet as the understudy of Johnny Cash and Sam Phillips, at the Apollo Theatre. Much love to my beautiful and inspiring wife Elizabeth! Enjoy the show folks!

updated july 2013
Nick Ward Playwright
T7 Credits: Yes, This Really Happened to Me (Ensemble), Lies & Liars (Ensemble), The Chicago Landmark Project (Casting Coordinator, Production Manager), We Live Here (Writer), In the Heart of America (Production Manager), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Writer).

Nick Ward is a proud company member with Theatre Seven of Chicago, whose previous productions with the company include Yes, This Really Happened to Me, Lies and Liars, The Chicago Landmark Project and We Live Here. He is a producer and storyteller for the local storytelling series 2nd Story. He works at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he is the Casting and School at Steppenwolf Associate.

updated july 2013


Lauren Yee Playwright
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Writer)

Lauren Yee is a playwright from San Francisco, currently living in New York City. Credits include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian Rep, Mu Performing Arts, SIS Productions), Crevice (Impact Theatre), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, The Hub, Moxie, AlterTheater, PlayPenn), Hookman (Company One workshop), in a word (Hangar and Williamstown workshops), Samsara (O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund grant, Mu). Current fellowships: Women’s Project Lab, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Second Stage playwright-in-residence, Playwrights Realm Page One resident playwright, and Playwrights' Center Core Writer. Current commissions: Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, and Encore Theatre (supported by the Gerbode Foundation). BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

updated july 2013
Seth Bockley Playwright
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Writer - Murder, Grand and Gorgeous)

Seth Bockley is a Chicago-based playwright and director. His writing credits include The Elephant & The Whale (Redmoon with Chicago Children’s Theatre); February House, a collaboration with lyricist and composer Gabriel Kahane (New York’s Public Theater); Ask Aunt Susan, premiering at the Goodman in May 2014; adaptations of two George Saunders short stories, CommComm and Jon; as well as The Twins Would Like To Say (Dog & Pony) and Laika’s Coffin and Winter Pageant 2010 (Redmoon Theater). As a director, his credits include Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story, Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) and 1001, Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, as well as numerous Redmoon events and spectacles. He was a recipient of Theater Communication Group’s “New Generations” grant, and is Playwright in Residence at the Goodman Theater.

updated july 2013
Ike Holter Playwright
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Writer - Maverick)

Ike Holter’s plays have been produced with The Steppenwolf Garage, LiveWire, City Lit, Nothing Without a Company, Route 66, Theater on The Lake and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. His show "Hit The Wall" played Off-Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater in New York.  The New Colony and The Inconvenience will present his live-sitcom "B Side Studio" (co-written with Evan Linder) this fall at University of Chicago's Theater, and Jackalope will produce his new play "Exit Strategy" in the spring. 

updated july 2013
Emily Schwartz Playwright
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Playwright)

Emily Schwartz is the Artistic Director of, and Resident Playwright for, The Strange Tree Group. For the Trees she has penned the Jeff Award-winning The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen, as well as the critically acclaimed The Dastardly Ficus and Other Comedic Tales of Woe and Misery, Mr. Spacky, the Man Who Was Continuously Followed by Wolves, and The Mysterious Elephant, among many others. Emily is also a Resident Playwright of Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate of Collaboraction, one of New City's Top 50 people who really perform in Chicago 21012, and the Chicago Reader’s best playwright of 2008. You can see her next full length work The Dead Prince at the DCASE Theater this November.

updated august 2013
Carla Stillwell Playwright
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Playwright)

Carla Stillwell is a native of Chicago, working for 3 decades as an actor and director, and as the Managing Producer for MPAACT Theatre in Chicago.  

As a playwright, some of her credits include the Joseph Jefferson Award/BTA award nominated play The Divine Order of Becoming (2005), the Blaxploitation series (4 BTA Awards), Tad in 5th City – Joseph Jefferson Nominated (2010), which was noted in the “Top 25 Plays of 2010” by the Chicago Theatre Blog and Bodies (2012), which won a BTA award for Best Play and was nominated for Best New Work with Joseph Jefferson Nominated (2012). She has also written a number of children’s plays and the DuSable Museum of African American Art will produce her show, When Good Broccoli Goes Bad, in the fall 2013.

updated august 2013
Elly Green Director
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Director)

Elly is a British theatre director living in Chicago. She recently directed Rabbit (Stage Left Theatre) and was assistant-director on Proof (Court Theatre). Her production of The TomKat Project (Playground Theatre & Upstairs Gallery) will be featured at this year’s NY Fringe. Elly’s UK directing credits include: Our Country’s Good (Royal & Derngate), My Balloon Beats Your Astronaut (Tristan Bates), About Tommy (Southwark Playhouse), Copenhagen (Tabard), Skylight (Stephen Joseph Theatre), The Beach (Theatre 503) and The Zoo Story (Etcetera). She spent a year at the Royal National Theatre as a staff-director, assisting on Oedipus, Her Naked Skin and Mrs Affleck. She has also directed several productions for educational institutions including: The Coast of Utopia, Pillars of the Community, Summerfolk and Three Sisters. Elly is currently a reader for Steppenwolf and was formerly a senior reader at The Royal Court Theatre, London. She trained on the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck College, University of London.

updated june 2013
Tracey Kaplan Performer
T7 Credits: Is Chicago (Stephanie - Diversey Harbor, Deborah - Sexual Perversity in Chicago), Killing Women (Gwen), Yes, This Really Happened To Me (Megan & Ensemble), The Sand Castle (Sasha), Diversey Harbor (Stephanie), Cooperstown (Dylan), Hunting and Gathering (Ruth), The Chicago Landmark Project (Irene - State & Madison: The Chicago Grid System), Exit, Pursued by a Bear (Nan), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Tracey Kaplan is a proud founding member of Theatre Seven of Chicago.  Other Theatre Seven credits include: Exit, Pursed by a Bear; The Chicago Landmark Project; Hunting and Gathering; Cooperstown; Diversey Harbor; Sexual Perversity in Chicago; Killing Women; The Sand Castle; and Yes, This Really Happened to Me. She has also worked with Chicago Dramatists (The Invasion of Skokie), Diamante Productions (Lucid), The Bailiwick Director’s Festival (Open), Collaboraction (Runner Up, Best Actress for Treadmills in Sketchbook 8),  (re)discover theatre (Hamlet and As You Like It), Strawdog Theatre, and American Theatre Company. Multiple times a year, you can see her in the apartment hopping performances of Craig Wright’s The Pavillion with Living Room Theatre. Up next, she will be the female understudy in Remy Bumppo's Our Class. Tracey is represented by Big Mouth Talent and is an Associate Artist with Chicago Dramatists and (re)discover theatre.

Website: http://www.traceylaurenkaplan.com
updated june 2013


Joe Zarrow Performer
T7 Credits: Lies & Liars (Ensemble), The Chicago Landmark Project (Edward - State & Madison: The Chicago Grid System), Principal Principle (Playwright), Shikaakwa: Principal Principle (Playwright), Shikaakwa: Swimming in the Shallows (Stage Directions)

Joe Zarrow has also performed with Adventure Stage, Collaboraction, Cabaret Vagabond, Pavement Group, and the State. T7’s Cassy Sanders directed Joe’s site-specific farce The Pigeons for Walkabout. Joe has performed his original solo shows Dead White Men in Bed and Hold Me, Drill Me, Kiss Me in Chicago, New York, Washington, Providence, and Winnipeg. 

Website: www.joezarrow.com 
updated september 2012
Jessica London-Shields Performer
T7 Credits: We Live Here (Molly, Ensemble), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Jessica London-Shields is a Theatre Seven artistic associate and is so thrilled to be returning to T7 for Unwilling and Hostile Instruments!  Jess last performed with T7 in We Live Here, and most recently shared the Steppenwolf Garage stage alongside T7, with Buzz22's midwest premier of She Kills Monsters. In this production she learned to cast magic missiles even though paladins aren't allowed to do that.  Other theatre credits include: MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group), CherrySmoke (the side project), Class Dismissed (Victory Gardens), and Spring Awakening (Promethean Theatre).  Jess also starred in the locally filmed, lezzie-rom-com Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together, available on amazon dot com. Jess likes doing shows about ladies, because she's a feminist, duh.

Website: http://jessicalondon-shields.com/  
updated july 2013
Kate Healy Performer, Understudy
T7 Credits: Shikaakwa: Harbor (Lottie); Shikaakwa: The Devil May Take You (Faith), Shikaakwa: Harbor (Stage Directions)

Kate is an actor and writer in Chicago. She recently finished a solo show in the Chicago Fringe Festival, Let Me Count, and is looking to remount it for a longer run. She enjoys meeting and connecting with artists of all kinds to develop theatre, visual art, and community. She has experience in development, marketing, event-planning, literary management, graphic design, sales, team-building, data entry, box office, bar tending, waitressing and child-care. Kate is also a member of 7P, Theatre 7's Literary Circle. 




updated september 2012
Marsha Harman Performer
T7 Credits: Shikaakwa, Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Marsha Harman is an actor and storyteller in Chicago. She was a member of New Leaf Theatre, where she appeared in nine productions, including Brian Golden's Burying Miss America, the Jeff-nominated ensemble of The Dining Room, and the company's final production, Arcadia. She has worked with WNEP, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, and The Plagiarists, and will soon be performing with Lifeline Theatre. She has told stories at The Moth StorySlams, SKALD, and This Much Is True.

updated june 2013
Jaclyn Hennell Performer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Chicago credits: Metamorphoses [u/s] (Lookingglass); Bachelorette [u/s] (Profiles Theatre). Film: Baby Crazy and Stephen Cone's Black Box (premieres later this month at The Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama). She also performs with The Back Room Shakespeare Project. She studied musical theatre at Ball State University and is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.

updated july 2013
BrittneyLove Smith Performer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

BrittneyLove Smith is a Chicago-based actor with a B.F.A in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago. She has performed at various Chicago venues including The Viaduct, Strawdog, and American Theatre Company. Some of her productions include Doubt and Agnes of God. She was last seen in Crowded Tub's production of Romeo and Juliet as the Nurse. She has also been a series regular on the television show Chicagolicious and the voice of WBEZ's Cane Narrative Series. She is thrilled to be working with Theatre Seven on this project.

updated july 2013
Adithi Chandrashekar Performer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

As a Chicagoan and a proud feminist Adithi Chandrashekar is thrilled to work with the talented cast and crew at Theater Seven.  Adithi recently appeared in Kate’s Dates and Newlyweds through Three Cat Production’s New Works Festival, has written and performed in several sketch revues at the Second City’s Training Center, was a founding member of Orphan Bikini Party, and performed at the Chicago Improv Festival with It’s A Party.  Adithi trained at the Second City’s Training Center, the iO Theater and Green Shirt Studios in Chicago. Adithi thanks LC, BNC, SC and her family and friends for their unfailing support.

updated july 2013
Jake Szczepaniak Performer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Jake is so happy to finally get to work with Theater Seven. His Chicago credits include Burn This (Shattered Globe), Changes of Heart (Remy Bummpo), As You Like It ((re)discover), and Hair at the Hideout. He's been so lucky as to also work with Red Tape Theater, Pavement Group, Circle theater, Black Elephant, Baliwick Chicago, Pride Films and Plays, the Delaware Shakespeare Festival, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Jake is a proud 2009 graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Acting program and a proud artistic associate for Pavement Group.

updated july 2013
Echaka Agba Performer
T7 Credits:  Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Ensemble)

Some of Echaka's most recent credits include Goat Song Theatre's The Ruling Class and Pride Films and Plays' The All American Genderf*ck Cabaret.  Echaka is a proud student of Black Box Acting Studio.

updated july 2013
Kerith Parashak Scenic Designer
T7 Credits: American Storm (Props Designer), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Sceneic Designer)

This is Kerith's second show with Theatre Seven. Last year she designed the props for American Storm  She received her MFA in Scenic Design in 2012 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City under the mentorship of John Ezell. She received her BA in Art History from Washington University in St. Louis (2008). She has worked with a number of other professional companies in St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago. Her St. Louis And Kansas City credits include Muddy Waters Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Kansas City Actor’s Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, and Coterie Theatre. Since she moved to Chicago last year, she has worked with several local theaters and commercial shops including Paramount Theater in Aurora,  A Red Orchid Theater, Theater Wit, Ravenswood Studios, RedBox Workshop. Also look for her design of The Wiz currently on tour. www.kerithparashak.com.

updated july 2013
Mac Vaughey Lighting Designer
T7 Credits: Exit, Pursued By A Bear (Lighting Designer), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Lighting Designer)

Mac Vaughey is a Chicago-based lighting designer. Mr. Vaughey is a 2-time Jeff Award Nominee for his work. Recent credits include work with, Teatro Vista, Urban Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, Premiere Theartre & Performance, Teatro Luna, Porchlight Music Theatre, Collaboraction, The Next Theatre Company, Walkabout Theatre, Steppenwolf, and Chicago Shakespeare. Mr. Vaughey is the resident lighting designer at the 16th Street Theatre in Berwyn and an associate artist with Teatro Luna and Premiere Theatre and Performance. Mr. Vaughey is also the Master Electrician at American Theatre Company as well as Timeline Theatre, and Light Opera Works. Additionally, Mr. Vaughey is the Outreach Director and Development Director for Studio BE, a non-profit performing arts center in Lakeview. 

updated august 2013
Emma Deane Lighting Designer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (ADL/Master Electrician)

Emma Deane is a freelance lighting and scenic designer around Chicago. Recently she designed lighting for Stage Left's Leapfest X, Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs a Christmas Carol, Again at The Building Stage and assisted on lighting for Steppenwolf's Garage Rep. Other credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The House Theatre, Next Theatre Company, Silk Road Rising, The Artistic Home, Gannon Center for Women and Leadership and Oracle Theatre. View her portfolio at emmadeane.com.

updated august 2013
Brenda Winstead Costume Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky, American Storm, Killing WomenThe Water Engine, Boys & GirlsThe Sand CastleDiversey HarborCooperstownHunting & GatheringWe Live HereIn the Heart of AmericaExit, Pursued by a Bear (Costume Designer), The Chicago Landmark Project (Supervising Costume Designer)

Brenda Winstead loves Theatre Seven! She is a company member with T7 and has designed numerous shows there. Other Chicago area design credits include Making God Laugh, Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Man of La Mancha, Crazy for You, Leading Ladies, The Producers, Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof (Theatre at the Center); Ragtime (Drury Lane); It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Noble Fool); Kingsville (Stage Left); and The Price (Shattered Globe). Regional Credits include Born Yesterday, Rumors and Mousetrap (Peninsula Players); All Shook Up, High School Musical (Forestburgh Playhouse). Brenda holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. 

updated october 2012
Joe Court Sound Designer
T7 Credits: Hunting & GatheringThe Chicago Landmark Project (Sound Designer), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Sound Designer)

Joe is excited to work with Theatre Seven again.  Previous designs include Hunting and Gathering am The Chicago Landmark Project. He is a professional sound designer based in Chicago and and Adjunct Instructor of Sound Design at Ball State University. He is also a proud company member of Mary Arrchie Theatre Company, where he has designed many productions, including The Homecoming, The Caretaker, Saved, How to Disapear... He received a Jeff nomination for his design for The Unseen at A Red Orchid Theatre, where he has also designed several shows. He has designed for many companies in Chicago including TUTA, Seanachi, The Gift, Lifeline, Infamous Commonwealth, Backstage, Emerald City Theatre Company, The Clarence Brown Theatre (Knoxville, TN.) and The Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

updated august 2013
Joshua Hurley Props Designer
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Prop Master)

Josh has been very busy in the Chicago area since moving here last September, his credits include “Bard Fiction”, “Rent”, “Detours”, “Sizzle”, and “Mark Twain”.  Josh has also served as Props master/supervisor for Stagedoor Manor performing arts camp in New York some of his major shows include Spring Awakening, The Wild Party, Joseph..., and The world premiere of the new FAME one act musical. He has also worked at Jenny Wiley theatre in Ky.

updated august 2013
Emmaline Keddy-Hector Stage Manager
T7 Credits: Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Stage Manager)

Emmaline Keddy-Hector is working with Stage Left for the first time. Theatre Seven credits include Stage Manager for Unwilling and Hostile Instruments. Other Chicago credits include Animal Wrangler for Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Stage Manager for  Hansel und Gretel (The Building Stage) and Far Away (Winterfall Chicago). Emmaline is the Associate Production Manager at Chicago Children's Theatre, and spent two years as the Production Management Apprentice at Chicago Shakespeare. Emmaline is originally from Texas and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Drama and a minor in Hispanic Studies.

updated april 2014
Toya Turner Understudy

Toya Turner (Understudy) is excited to be working with the Theatre Seven family for the first time. She was cast as Susana in Sony Pictures' America, Entertainment Reporter Nadine Bryant for The Onion News Network and won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Vonda Johnston in horror film Slices of Life. Toya also performs her own stunts in her starring role for action film True Grace.

updated October 2013