Saturday, August 31, 2013


Tomorrow...they come...eyes flashing...teeth sharp...

WildClaw in the Wild is back tomorrow, Sunday, September 1, huddled around the dwindling fire in the refuge at 3031.  The apocalypse is upon us.  The final WildClaw in the Wild is here. Sarah Saltwick will be joining us, from both Minnesota and Texas.  She hails from many borders and many lands.  She is adaptable to many climes.  She is formidable and resilient.  She is like nothing we've seen before.  Keep the fire low...

The WILDCLAW IN THE WILD series takes place on the first Sunday evening of the months of July, August, and September.

Tomorrow's reading begins at 7:30pm at 3031 (3031 N. Honore); doors open at 7:00pm and there will be a special musical guest each month performing before and after the reading.  Suggested donation $5.

September 1
by Sarah Saltwick
directed by Carolyn Hoerdemann
Featuring Diego Colon, Steve Herson, Sadie Rogers, and Lisandra Tena
After the collapse of the civilized world, people are struggling to survive. Technology has failed. Food is scarce. Rabbits have grown huge in size and frightening in strength. Cass has fled a compound to hunt for a better life. Her journey leads her to the isolated home of Jackson and his daughter Dove. After these three days, nothing is the same.
Musical guest Sadie and the stark!

SARAH SALTWICK is a graduate of the Michener Center at the University of Texas in Austin and Hampshire College, and is a 2013-2014 Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights' Center.  Recently her adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was seen on UT Austin's mainstage. She writes new love stories between people, places, and things. Her plays are built of hope and danger; fantasy and history; that which is impossible and that which is necessary. Her work has been presented, developed or produced by the University of Texas at Austin, Nouveau 47, Westmont College, paper chairs theatre company, TheatreMasters, Scriptworks, WordBRIDGE, Bristol Riverside Theater, Shrewd Productions, and Last Frontier Theatre Conference. She has been a finalist for the Heideman Award and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and was twice nominated for Best New Play by the Austin Critics Table. She's written plays inspired by giant rabbits, Texas, guacamole, Dolly Parton and more. Her fiction has been published by Escape Into Life and is forthcoming in Timber Magazine.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Ring Meets Baseball

Who else would you get to throw the first pitch at your baseball game?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

WildClaw Visits Awesomemonster! and AWSM Radio

WildClaw's lit monster Scott and casting mistress Casey took to the airwaves, visiting podcast Awesomemonster! recently to talk horror, babies, horror babies, and all things WildClaw.  Many thanks to Logan, Manny, and Nick (the fine folks at Awesomemonster!) for a great time.  Take a listen, and be sure to check out their weeekly podcast at!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

HUGE Birthday shout-out!

Happy Birthday to the one & only H.P. Lovecraft! (August 20, 1890) Your work continues to slither and creep into the psyche of those in this realm and inspires many beyond even what your wild imagination can dream up.

Sadly, from what I know, there is no proper translation for Happy Birthday in R'lyehian. I feel that if I even tried to piece one together, I'd be stating something like "I invite you to meet in a shared space to eat the dreams of the worthless people of the Earth realm"... Either that or I'd wind up opening a gateway to another dimension.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Goblin and The Massacre

I received notice on my basefook page from Lady Morlock with just a single word: "DUDE."

And this image:

Yes, our friends at Terror in the Aisles (no longer at the late lamented Portage Theater, note), have somehow managed to align the stars and shift the tectonic plates so that the Massacre, the 24 hour horror movie marathon to end all marathons, ends just in time for you to have a nap and a blood transfusion and see the first ever North American tour of the prog rock legends that scored Suspiria and Profondo Rosso.

 Aly Amidei, can I get a "Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya Amen"? Oh my effing goodness.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

WildClaw Theatre and Friends are Abbie Festering This Weekend!

Chicago Storefront Elder God Mary Arrchie Theatre is celebrating its 25th year of mad science onstage at Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival, and this year it's bigger and better than ever, with a NEW VENUE and multiple stages! This is an all day, all night theatre festival that runs from Friday at 7 pm until Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight...ish, so spike some coffee and stay up late with WildClaw this weekend, won't you? There are too many fiends and familiars involved to mention them all, but here's a little taste of what our company members and collaborators will have brewing this weekend at the beautiful Den Theatre. Listed in order of performance, to help you plan your trip:

Friday Night August 9, 2013, on Stage 1, at 9:15 PM
Sunday August 11 at
5:00 pm 


3 Macabrities by Dave Skvarla

This horror triptych features GONE FISHING,  Directed by Jen Poulin; and DREAM CATCHERS &  MAGIC LOVE POTION, Directed by Dave Skvarla. And after the Main Course of Macabrity, they may have a little something special for you for dessert. Featuring WildClaw company member Mandy Walsh, plus Catherine Dughi, Kristin Morris, Brian Pastor, & Dave Skvarla.


Friday Night/Saturday Morning, on Stage 1, at 1:40 am


It's late and though the shop is closed, the Owner is always willing to let you in to see what little knick knacks he has in the basement.  In the style of Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow, WildClaw invites you to sample its horror anthology series: BITS AND PIECES. Join our host, Brian Amidei, as Michaela Petro and Josh Zagoren perform three assorted devious little deadtime stories including WildClaw Artistic Associate Christopher Hainsworth's radio play TWO FLAT for those brave enough to enter the Old Curiosity Shoppe. Directed by guest artist Katy Collins.

Friday Night/Saturday Morning, on Stage 1, at 12:55 am 

Factory Theater has been a supporter of Mary Arrchie Theater and Rich Cotovsky for a long time, and we always love kickin' ass at the Abbie. This year is no exception:  we're bringing "Guardians of Rock" by Managing Director Carrie Sullivan to the Den. Directed by Robyn Coffin, rock stars Courtney Love, Meg White of the White Stripes, D'arcy from the Smashing Pumpkins, and Ann Wilson from Heart are called on by a powerful Shadowy Figure to protect the world against shitty music. Their target: Taylor Swift!
Starring Laura McKenzie, Jill Oliver, Jen Pompa, Christine Jennings, Kristen King, Blake Dalzin, Johnny Moran, Tim Ballard

Saturday Night on Stage 2B, at 6:30 pm

Sadie and the stark is a chicago based rock group with lyrics based out of fantastical worlds and music with a 90′s influence.  At least thats where we are now folks…Hear Sadie and her haunting tunes at Abbie, then catch her again as our special musical guest in our September installment of WildClaw in the Wild!


Saturday Night on Stage Not 2B (no, really!) at 10:30 pm

Looking for Love is the only live dating game show and cabaret in the Universe! Each month we feature special musical and comical guests and your co-hosts slather you with dating advice and good ol' Dean and Jerry antics, with the welcome addition of cleavage. With special guest co-host Mallory Nees and creator and co-host Carolyn Hoerdemann, and of course super sexy bachelors and a bachelorette with magic powers! Music provided by half a snark aka the Grappling Snark! 


Sunday Night on Stage 1 at 8:00 pm 

Join Hobo Junction as they attempt, once again, to catch lightning in a bottle (or maybe just chew open some glow sticks), in this sort-of sequel to last year's Abbie Fest sensation, "An Awful Night of Crap." This year's entry, "An Awful Night of Crap: Miami (Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire)," will explore the world of underground crime in the city - kind of.  Trust us, you don't know horror until you've seen Hobo Junction's comedy. Featuring WildClaw company member Josh Zagoren, plus Hannah Alcorn, Tom Daily, Spenser Davis, Sydney Davis, Emily Demko, Ben Hertel, Dan Krall, Isaac Samuelson, Betsy Shirey, and Chris Waldron


That's just a tiny sample of what will be going on all weekend, starting at 7 p.m. Friday, August 9th! Check out the Full festival schedule here:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Get your 'con on... this weekend!

Any Chicago-area DIE-hard fans just chomping at the bits to get up close and personal with your favorite horror celebrities?

Flashback Weekend (August 9-11) and Wizard World (August 8-11)are offering fans the chance to come face to face with their favorite stars this weekend. Flashback's headliner is George Romero and cast members from Dawn of the Dead. In addition to many pop culture icons, sci-fi and action stars, Wizard World features stars like Linda Blair and Buffy's James Marsters and cast-members of tThe Walking Dead. You can even purchase tickets for some professional photo ops at both shows via Celeb Photo Ops for both shows -- most stars at Wizard World and one night only with George Romero

The 2 conventions are literally right across the street from each other in Rosemont, IL this weekend, and can be tons of fun during and after the shows, as you are bound to bump into some of the stars at the hotel bars and restaurants as the night progresses. None of this comes cheap though, so if you get starstruck very easily, you may need to break open the piggy bank soon.

Carolyn Defrin's Special Report from The Monster Weekly

Carolyn Defrin is a multidisciplined artist currently based in London, England. She is probably best known to Chicago audiences for her work with The House Theatre of Chicago, where she originated the roles of Wendy in The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, Emily Book in their bi-coastal hit The Sparrow, and is currently playing Bess in their critically-acclaimed Death and Harry Houdini. We're talking to her today about her work with Chicago artists John Francisco and Kyle Bice on their website, The Monster Weekly, their upcoming gallery show, how monsters can show us at our most human, and What Scares Her.

Why monsters? In what ways are monsters uniquely accessible?

Monsters feel like a great and playful way for us to talk about human trials and tribulations without being wholly literal. It's a kind of mask that lets us play with big ideas but from a new and exaggerated angle.  It's also a particularly fun challenge to create what the monster version of human wonders and problems are. Also, lately we've been thinking a lot about why monsters are important--why things that scare us are important…what are we trying to teach kids about being afraid…is it preparation for the fact that there are actual scary times in life…and that it's okay to be afraid and confront that?  Or  that maybe the thing that scares us also has the power to delight and care for us, or that the thing that scares us might be just as scared of us.

How did you and John get involved with Kyle Bice? What is the division of creativity? Do any of you ever trade hats? Do you ever feature guest collaborators?

Kyle was suggested to us by our dear friend, the very talented comic book illustrator, Chris Burnham. It was a lucky find and worked immediately. Typically John and I write the story and then send it to Kyle to draw, but on a few occasions Kyle has drawn something first and then we'll write off of it.  We really enjoy this back and forth relationship. John and I are horrible at drawing, so we probably won't switch hats anytime soon, but we've talked about getting guest writers and visual artists and are particularly interested in opening up to writing stories in other languages, inviting international artists to collaborate in order to make ourselves more accessible and dynamic.

The gallery showing is to renovate the website to make it more interactive for kids and families--can you explain what that means? Are there plans for a book, or to explore additional mediums, at some point?

Ultimately we want to build a site that is more interactive, a platform for kids and families to engage in our model of collaboration by writing and drawing their own monsters. We'll start small with submissions and then eventually we want to develop a cross global and intergenerational collaboration, where a child from one country can draw a monster based on another child's story from somewhere else. A platform where each and every story and drawing can become a catalyst for further collaboration and creativity. And yes, we want a book deal and a tv series and a movie! The dream is to get full time about this.

Do you and John use Monsters Weekly in current work with children? How? Are monsters ever a hard sell, or are kids pretty willing to jump in and play in this world? What are your favorite discoveries the monsters have allowed kids to make?

John and I have taught several children's programs together, though we have yet to use the monsters for material, but we plan to! In fact to start this new website, we'll be working with a small group of students to demonstrate the interactive collaboration model. The hope is that the content of monsters encourages kids to be just as unique as the monster they create. And that the art of collaboration is about one unique person getting together with another unique person to make something even more unique.  The kids that we've spoken to about The Monster Weekly are all really engaged in the material. We like to vary the materials so that there are all types of monster--scary monsters, silly monsters, girl monsters, boy monsters, etc.--something to appeal to everyone.

Monster Weekly is pretty all-ages friendly--was that always the plan? Have you gotten more of a following with adults than you had expected? If so, how has that steered the project differently?
Yes it was always the plan to appeal to all ages. It's our goal with all of our work, but especially when we're focused on children we feel it is absolutely essential not to talk down to kids and to appeal to their parents--because parents need entertaining and playful material just as much as kids. I actually think our following is more adult right now. We feel good about that. But it's important to us that we reach all generations and work on how they can enjoy the material together. 

Do you have a favorite monster so far? Which one do you identify most with? Which monster scares you the most?

My favorite monster is a duo: "Extraordinary Pair" --it's just so beautiful and was inspired by a picture of two deers that I saw in a National Geographic magazine– one deer had a big pile of hay on its head. But Kyle's interpretation was just so much more beautiful from what I originally imagined as a silly pair,  and it made me think about how we love people who uniquely complement us.  John's favorite is Crandall.  He likes the whimsy and weirdness of this "Thanksgiving Scrooge". I fear that I am a bit like "Judgy Judy"--but "Gemini" is definitely me.

What scares you?

I fear my parents' deaths. Always have. Working on being more eastern about it.  I'm also scared of having too much time on my hands and in those times not knowing what my purpose is.

Is there a monster that has helped you deal with those fears, or are there plans for one?

Yes, actually-John and I are just starting work on a play that strings some of our monsters together, but specifically explores the relationship between a young human girl and an older monster and how they both experience the delights and dilemmas they face in the world.

They mostly rock out at night. Mostly.

Carolyn and artist Kyle Bice will be in attendance at the opening of The Monster Weekly art exhibit this Tuesday evening at the Grind in Lincoln Square. There will be snacks, drinks and music, and artwork will be available for purchase, as well! This is a mini fundraiser for them to make some very exciting upgrades to their website. If you can't make it Tuesday, the art will be on display for the next two months.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Interview: Director Casey Cunningham In The Wild

Company member Casey Cunningham is the director for our next installment of WildClaw in the Wild, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer, by Brian Watkins.  Casey has worked extensively with WildClaw as a performer; she recently received rave reviews for her work in our The Life of Death as well as in Facing Angela with The Ruckus Theatre. She has recently directed THE PRICE, a hybrid play/radio play by WC artistic associate Chris Hainsworth, for the late night spooky cabaret Strangers and Strangerers, produced at Hugen Hall in association with WildClaw; assistant directed for Anna Bahow on Scott T. Barsotti's play BREWED, produced by the Ruckus and Tympanic Theatre companies; and directed Hainsworth's radio play TWO FLAT, for a future episode of Blood Radio. We'll be talking with Casey about what drew her to "Hammer," how directing horror is different from other genres, and What Scares Her.

What attracted you to direct this script in particular for WIW? What frightens you most in this piece? What resonates most with you?

I think the relationship between the sisters is what initially drew me in.  I have a sister, a year younger than I am, and though we're very close, we're very different.  And I understand how family obligation and personal perceptions of the value of the other siblings' contributions to the family can create a sense of division in the relationship and affects family dynamic.  What keeps me interested in the story is the notion that one critical decision can have a staggering affect on the outcome of not only that moment, but also your life.  The idea that you can get caught in the momentum of that decision, for better or worse, and find yourself drowning in the continued consequences of it is scary to me.

Blogger's rendering. May be totally inappropriate.

What challenges does a reading present versus a full production? What is the biggest challenge for this particular piece?

In this piece, the staging is very, very simple, but also very specific.  3031 is actually a fantastic venue for it, as will be the gradual setting of the sun.  But the script also calls for some effects that we won't have the capability to pull off in a reading setting, so I'm working now on figuring out that balance.

What was the most exciting discovery you and your actors made while rehearsing or table-working this piece? What is your favorite insight you hope to take away from this process, about directing as well as horror?

The more I learn about directing, the more I understand just how much of a collaborative process it is.  Every person who contributes to a production, no matter the scale or their role in it, helps to shape what an audience ultimately sees, or in our case, hears.  My favorite part is thinking I've got something really nailed down and then having that idea turned completely on its ear by a collaborator with an entirely different perspective.  The text, the actors, the designers all contribute to making directors look good. 

How is directing horror different from directing other genres of theatre, both good and bad?

I think the best horror is that that focuses on the people at the center of the stories.  I think you have to care about them before you can care about what happens to them or what they do.  Which is not unlike directing any other genre, however the extenuating circumstances no doubt will be.  So, in directing horror, part of the challenge may be to cut through the extraordinary elements of the story and get at the heart of the characters.  I can't personally relate to monsters and ghosts and vampires, but I can relate to heartbreak and fear and anxiety. 

What do you like about horror in theatre versus other mediums?

I love to be surprised by horror onstage.  As someone who's created and seen a lot of theater, and someone with a curious mind, I'm often pulled out of the action of a play because my brain tries to figure out how the tech elements are contributing to what I'm seeing.  With horror, I love the feeling of "I have no idea how they pulled that off."  I think WildClaw is particularly good at that element of surprise. 

What's the scariest thing you've ever seen and/or had to do on stage?

The WildClaw productions I've been a part of as an actor have been exceptionally challenging and scary in different ways.  KILL ME (written by Barsotti, directed by artistic associate Jeff Christian) required extraordinary mental focus, precision, and heightened listening skills.  The text was relentless in structure and it was mighty easy to zone out for half a second and miss 14 cues, jump three pages, something that could derail the show for the entire cast.  That show was terrifying every night (and I loved it).

Join us this Sunday, August 4th, at 3031 for My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer, featuring Baize Buzan, Dennis Frymire, Sarah Gitenstein, and extra special musical guest Jessie Fisher.