"Devil Land": Get To Know Our Crew - Amy Couey (Props)


From now until the end of the run, we will highlight the talented individuals involved in the Midwest Premiere of Devil Land by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by Hank Hilbert. Here’s a brief questionnaire with Amy Couey. Enjoy!
1. What made you want to pursue a career in live theater?

I love to help create a believable environment to help increase the audience’s experience. Also, I’m a big kid and I love to play dress up and make believe.

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Evil’s gotta go somewhere, right? - “Devil Land” by Desi Moreno-Penson
Photo by Carolyn Reynolds
Buy tickets today! - www.UrbanTheaterChicago.org

Evil’s gotta go somewhere, right? - “Devil Land” by Desi Moreno-Penson

Photo by Carolyn Reynolds

Buy tickets today! - www.UrbanTheaterChicago.org

"Devil Land": Get To Know Our Crew - Carolyn Reynolds (Stage Manager)

From now until the end of the run, we will highlight the talented individuals involved in the Midwest Premiere of Devil Land by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by Hank Hilbert. Here’s a brief questionnaire with Carolyn Reynolds. Enjoy!
1. What made you want to pursue a career in live theater?

My grandmother introduced me to theater at a very young age and it just stuck. There is simply nothing like the power of a good story told well. 

2. What is your role in Devil Land

I’m the stage manager. It’s a different hat for me but I’ve really enjoyed being on this side of the table for a change. 

3. What are you looking forward the most of the summer?

The sun! I’m from California and this winter has been very rough for me. I will be outside playing and exploring as much as possible!

4. What is the most significant message you would take away form Devil Land

We are all susceptible to corruption but we also have the power to choose to overcome it. 

5. If you could choose one quote that means something to you, what would it be?

Beatriz’s line at the beginning “Evil’s gotta go somewhere, right?” It sticks out to me every time I hear it. It’s eerie and I think a very good tagline for the play itself. 

6. Which character in Devil Land can you most relate to personally and in which ways can you relate to this character?

I love watching the journey Destiny takes throughout the play. The idea that someone so young and fragile ends up being strong and powerful beyond her years is beautiful to me. She is in a horrible situation but she knows who she is and what she wants and never loses sight of that. 

7. What do you want the audience members to take away from this show?

Again, I think the idea that we are all potentially vulnerable to corruption and power is a scary idea but it’s important to be aware of. This is obviously an extreme version of that but still very relatable. 

8. What play would you love to star in and what role would you want to play?

My background is in Shakespeare so his fabulous women are always at the top of my list. Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Rosalind, Desdemona… You get the idea.  

9. What is your favorite cartoon character?

Mickey Mouse. I love that Walt Disney had a phobia of mice until he drew Mickey and it ended up bringing joy to millions of people. He definitely makes me smile. 

10. Out of all the theaters in the city of Chicago, what is the one part about UrbanTheater that makes it so unique to its audience members?

UTC is directly involved with its patrons and so accessible to them the way a lot of theater isn’t. They do work that means something to the community and people are excited to come see what’s next. I know I am! 

Purchase Your Tickets Today! - Take me to Devil Land

ivanvega:

Taken from today’s anti-deportation protest rally at federal plaza.

ivanvega:

Taken from today’s anti-deportation protest rally at federal plaza.

Happy World Theatre Day! 

Happy World Theatre Day! 

"Devil Land": Get To Know Our Crew - Christian Castro (Americo)

From now until the end of the run, we will highlight the talented individuals involved in the Midwest Premiere of Devil Land by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by Hank Hilbert. Here’s a brief questionnaire with Christian Castro. Enjoy!
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1. What made you want to pursue a career in live theater?

I initially got into theatre back in high school. I didn’t really think I could make a career of it when I was 16 but it was a lot of fun, no less. As I took theater up in college as my major, I knew I would be able to make a career of it or at least attempt it. There is never a boring moment while doing this. You are constantly collaborating with different teams of people, constantly learning and making new friends and relationships. There are new experiences to be made and new shows to jump in to. It’s an ongoing process that never gets old for me.

2. What is your role in Devil Land

Americo is a man who feels that he is in charge and takes care of his wife and ultimately his marriage to Bea. He is hard working but always, out of respect, bows down to his wife. He tries hard to do the right thing but is easily influenced by her. If you were to see him going about his business, he will be quiet and perhaps shy but upon getting to know him, he is a fun loving man who unfortunately does not have many friends.

3. What are you looking forward the most of the summer?

I look forward to camping far up north throughout the summer and my cruise which is set for mid june.

4. What is the most significant message you would take away form Devil Land

Mental illness is disease that is swept under the carpet in a lot of cases. And the way that a lot of people disregard it is to just feed sick people pills and that will make things all better but as you will see in this show, it is not the right way of going about things and what is supposed to help you ends up being ineffective or abused.

5. If you could choose one quote that means something to you, what would it be?

‘A book doesn’t need you. People need you. You’re supposed to love people.’

6. Which character in Devil Land can you most relate to personally and in which ways can you relate to this character?

Clearly Americo. He is a hardworking but down on his luck latino man who feels as if he has had an uphill battle his whole life. He, like myself, is not overly religious but still feels like there is a higher power. He wants to do the right thing but can get easily influenced to do otherwise but once he finds his ground underneath him, he is strong and powerful.

7. What do you want the audience members to take away from this show?
This is by no means an easy show to watch because of its subject matter but this is real. Situations like this have happened before and while it’s a story, it’s a story that must be told since it happens in our world. Desi is able to tell this horrifying story with her beautiful words and poetry. I learned a lot about the different ways that various cultures have a similar belief system and ideals but different final destinations. It’s about learning from one another and acceptance. 

8. What play would you love to star in and what role would you want to play?

Years ago, I would have said True West or Streetcar Named Desire or even The Tempest but these opportunities will not arrive here in Chicago. On a more realistic level, I would love to try my hand at anything David Mamet. Even in school, I never was able to be in a Mamet play or do any pieces in classes. I’ll cross my fingers if that chance came about.

9. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Bugs Bunny

10. Out of all the theaters in the city of Chicago, what is the one part about UrbanTheater that makes it so unique to its audience members?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again here, this company has balls. This company wants to tell stories that many other theaters in this city don’t want to put up because of subject matter or because the others feel that its not gonna be a cash cow and they can’t extend it for 2 more months. With UTC, you will see shows that you may have never heard of before and end up walking away wanting to check out more pieces by the same playwright because it affected you. You will walk away from Devil Land still talking about it on the way home, the next day, the day after that. And great theater is capable of that.

Purchase Your Tickets Today! - Take me to Devil Land

"Devil Land": Get To Know Our Crew - Mike Cherry (UTC Ensemble Member/Narrator)

From now until the end of the run, we will highlight the talented individuals involved in the Midwest Premiere of Devil Land by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by Hank Hilbert. Here’s a brief questionnaire with Mike Cherry, UTC’s newest ensemble member. Enjoy! 
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1. What made you want to pursue a career in live theater?

I wanted to create social/political change in my community. I thought that, through storytelling, I could make a difference. Fight the power…

2. What is your role in Devil Land

I’m the narrator.

3. What are you looking forward the most of the summer?

Playing “Apache” in Cándido Triado’s First Class with Ivan Vega…but, I can’t tell you where and when. Will keep you posted!

4. What is the most significant message you would take away form Devil Land?

Don’t forget where you come from!

5. If you could choose one quote that means something to you, what would it be?

 ”Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one. And they all Stink!!!!” Oh…from the show…ahhh….IDK… “I don’t think my mommy laid still like a dove”.

6. Which character in Devil Land can you most relate to personally and in which ways can you relate to this character?

I think i relate most to the Grinch. I hate Christmas! Loved it as a kid, hate it as an adult. Christmas music, people going shopping, the stupid decorations, all that shit makes me sick.

7. What do you want the audience members to take away from this show?

ART. I want them to feel something. I hope they enjoy it. Anything that they may/or may not take away, is ok with me.

8. What play would you love to star in and what role would you want to play?

Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar. Or anything written by Conor McPherson.

9. What is your favorite cartoon character?

It’s a toss up: Eric Cartman/Homer Simpson. Honorable mention: Jerry.

10. Out of all the theaters in the city of Chicago, what is the one part about UrbanTheater that makes it so unique to its audience members?

UTC is the only theatre company dedicated to the community in Humboldt Park. “From the Streets to the Stage”. That’s it. 

Purchase Your Tickets Today! - Take me to Devil Land

"Devil Land": Get To Know Our Crew - Tricia Rodriguez (Destiny)

From now until the end of the run, we will highlight the talented individuals involved in the Midwest Premiere of Devil Land by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by Hank Hilbert. Enjoy our brief questionnaire!

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1. What made you want to pursue a career in live theater?

Passion. I was lucky enough to grow up in an extremely artistic family. My mom was a singer in a wedding band who married the drummer. My aunt is a visual artist, who instilled a love for esthetic beauty as well as a need to be nourished emotionally through the unconventional splendor that surrounds us each day. My families passion for various forms of expression was ingrained within me from a very young age and continues to grow and evolve through live theater.

2. What is your role in Devil Land

Destiny

3. What are you looking forward the most of the summer?

The sense of freedom and exploration that comes alive within the city….as well as the freedom to explore.

4. What is the most significant message you would take away form Devil Land?

As dark as this play can be perceived to be at times, I honestly believe that love, compassion and faith are at the core of each character.

5. If you could choose one quote that means something to you, what would it be?

Not in the play:

“The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf” –Shakti Gawain

In the play:

Destiny: “You have your own light…Just close your eyes”

Americo: “I can’t it hurts”

Destiny: “It’s suppose to hurt. It’s ok, just close your eyes”

6. Which character in Devil Land can you most relate to personally and in which ways can you relate to this character?

Honestly, The Narrator. As much as I wish I could find myself within the passion of Destiny, the support of Americo or the faith in Bea, it wouldn’t be my truth. At present I tend to find myself on the sidelines, observing and documenting the life of others.

7. What do you want the audience members to take away from this show?

Those who are perceived to be weak or victimized can and do have a “light inside of them.” There is a strength that emanates from all of us, we just need to be strong enough to close our eyes and see it.

8. What play would you love to star in and what role would you want to play?

Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

9. What is your favorite cartoon character?

I grew up on the X-Men cartoon. My favorite character was always Rouge

10. Out of all the theaters in the city of Chicago, what is the one part about UrbanTheater that makes it so unique to its audience members?

UrbanTheater has a unique way of bringing to life stories that embody the community that support them. I absolutely love that people are at the heart and soul of Urban. This spirit shines through in all of the work produced by this company.

Purchase Your Tickets Today! - Take me to Devil Land

Great to see Matt Dreier! He’s the one on the left. He was our company manager before leaving to attend grad school in Wisconsin. We miss you Matt! Thanks for stopping by to see us!

Great to see Matt Dreier! He’s the one on the left. He was our company manager before leaving to attend grad school in Wisconsin. We miss you Matt! Thanks for stopping by to see us!

Get To Know Devil Land’s Playwright

DESI MORENO-PENSON (Playwright): Desi’s new play, Comida de Puta (F**king Lousy Food) is the recipient of the 2013 MultiStages New Works Contest and will receive its world premiere production in New York in fall 2014 produced by MultiStages Theater Company. The same play has been selected as a semifinalist by the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in consideration for their 2014 National Playwrights Conference. MFA in Dramaturgy and Theatre/Literary Criticism from Brooklyn College; recipient of 2004 Samuel Levenson Memorial Scholarship for academic and creative achievement. Three-time recipient of the BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Fellowships for playwriting/live performance, finalist for the 2007 Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, and a semifinalist for the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Selected plays: Devil Land (Urban Stages, world premiere @2007 Summer Play Festival, directed by Jose Zayas), Ghost Light (59E59 Theatre, directed by Jose Zayas), 3 To a Session: A Monster’s Tale (Teatro Coribantes, San Juan, PR, Best Play at 2005 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival @Cherry Lane, 2004 New Works Lab @INTAR); Lazarus Disposed (14th Annual Int’l Women’s Playwriting Festival @Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI), Spirit Sex &Comida de Puta (Both short plays presented as part of the 2009 and 2011 The River Crosses Rivers/Going To The River Festival @Ensemble Studio Theatre), Reconcile, Bitch (Ugly Rhino Theatre Company, 1st Annual Red Shirt Rooftop Reading Series), Dead Wives Dance The Mambo In Hell (Decision 2012 Short Play Reading Series). Performance monologues include A Latina Prepares(Best Performance Short at 2004 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival @Henry Street Settlement), Don’t Knock It ‘Til You Try It (BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Barrow Group Theatre). This past May, these same performance monologues were presented in a solo show, Dos Mujeres, as part of the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival produced by terraNOVA Collective. She’s been a featured playwright in the bilingual theatre arts publication, OLLANTAY. Her plays Devil Land,Ghost LightLazarus Disposed3 To a Session: A Monster’s Tale are published through Broadway Play Publishing and Spirit Sex was selected as part of the short plays anthology THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS OF 2010 published by Smith and Kraus. She is thrilled to have her play, Devil Land receive its Midwest premiere by UrbanTheater Company as part of their dynamic 8th Season. Desi is represented by Bruce Ostler at Bret Adams, Ltd., http://www.bretadamsltd.net/content/client/plays/.