BITTERSWEET DRAMA “CHILL” MARKS MASSACHUSETTS HOMECOMING FOR NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED PLAYWRIGHT
Brookline-based play gets World Premiere in Lowell
March 22–April 16, 2017
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) continues its 2016-17 Season with “Chill,” the new bittersweet drama about all life throws you between 18 and 28. The play follows four Massachusetts teens across a decade of change in America, and is inspired by the real-life experiences of playwright (and Brookline native) Eleanor Burgess. Megan Sandberg-Zakian directs.
The 2-hour performance will include one intermission. Performances are March 22–April 16. Press performances are at 8:00 pm on Saturday, March 25 (Opening Night), and 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 26. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $70 – $26 and are on sale now at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.
A True Massachusetts Homecoming
Eleanor Burgess attended Brookline High School, just like the characters in her play. With “Chill,” Burgess returns to the Boston scene as she aims to capture the spirit of a generation of New Englander: young people thrust into adulthood at the start of the 21st century, who quickly found their country, their prospects, and even their own ideals swept by change.
MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels was drawn to the work by Burgess’ sharp ear for dialogue and astute insights into a generational and regional mindset. “I can’t think of a better play for us to be doing in this exact moment,” he says. “It’s about who we all are—as New Englanders, as Americans, and as humans in relationships that are both vulnerable and resilient. Eleanor is truly the Chekhov of the Millennial generation.”
More About the Play
MRT audiences who loved the quick, modern banter of last season’s “I and You” will be right at home in the world of “Chill,” which boldly captures the joy and heartache of becoming a grownup in the 21st century.
Act I takes place in 2001, where four teens—Jenn, Alli, Ethan, and Stu—have gathered for an epic hangout in a Brookline basement. Graduation is on the horizon, and the tight-knit foursome prepares to face college and the world beyond. As they lay bare their dreams for life ahead, emotions run high: exuberance, anxiety, joy, love, heartbreak.
Act II opens ten years later. It’s the same foursome. It’s the same basement. But their world is fundamentally different: September 11, the Iraq War, the Great Recession, the smartphone—these developments and more have turned them into 28-year-olds who are strikingly different from their teenage selves in the first act. Can their friendship survive in the America that no one saw coming?
Cast and Creative Team
For the first time in company history, MRT is thrilled to announce an an all-female creative and design team on a play by a female playwright: Megan Sandberg-Zakian (Director), Christina Todesco (Sets), Miranda Giurleo (Costumes), Wen-Ling Liao (Lights), and Elisheba Ittoop (Sound).
The 4-person cast includes Danny Bryck (Ethan), Kim Fischer (Stu), Monica Giordano (Alli), and Maria Jung (Jenn).
Playwright Eleanor Burgess’ other work includes “These Dying Generations,” “Mocha,” and “Start Down,” which was covered by American Theatre magazine in February 2016. Her plays have been produced at Alliance Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, and more. Eleanor is the recipient of the EST/Sloan Commission, the 2016 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award, the Susan Glaspell Award for Women Playwrights, and a Playwriting Fellowship at Boston’s Huntington Theatre.
“Chill” was developed with workshops as part of MRT’s partnerships with UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College over the past year, where students became part of the process of the play’s development.
Tickets range from $70 – $26 and are available at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person. Lowell Night: Wednesday, March 29 at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person. A Military Discount of $10 off per ticket (up to four tickets per production) applies to any performance for active duty, retired, veteran, and reservist members of the military.
On Wine Down Friday (March 24), the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the 8:00 pm performance with the cast and crew, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby. Ask the Artists Post-Show Discussions will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the actors and other artists who created the show.
“Chill” has received support from production sponsor UMass Lowell and media sponsor HOWL Magazine. Circle Health is the 2016-17 Season Sponsor. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).
MRT 2016-17 SEASON
“45 Plays for 45 Presidents” by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg, Directed by Sean Daniels
September 7 – October 2, 2016
“Abigail/1702” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Directed by Tlaloc Rivas
October 12 – November 6, 2016
“Going to See the Kid” by Steven Drukman, Directed by Alexander Greenfield
November 30 – December 24, 2016
“The Making of a Great Moment” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Directed by Sean Daniels
January 4 – 29, 2017
“Women in Jeopardy!” by Wendy MacLeod, Directed by Sean Daniels
February 15 – March 12, 2017
“Chill” by Eleanor Burgess, Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
March 22 – April 16, 2017
“My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend” Conceived and performed by Charissa Bertels, Book and lyrics by Christian Duhamel, Music and lyrics by Edward Bell, Directed by Sean Daniels
April 26 – May 21, 2017
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678