Written by Blake Hackler
Directed by Kara-Lynn Vaeni
DALLAS (May 23, 2018) – Second Thought Theatre’s 2018 season continues this June with the world premiere of Enemies/People by Dallas-based playwright and artist Blake Hackler. Making her Second Thought directorial debut is Kara-Lynn Vaeni, a theatre and opera director and educator at Southern Methodist University. Second Thought Artistic Director Alex Organ returns to the STT stage for the first time since The Great God Pan in 2016 to star as Tom Stockmann. Loosely adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, the play is “a timely world-premiere about the search for truth in the age of alternative facts.” Enemies/People begins with previews on Wednesday, June 13 and runs through Saturday, July 7. All performances of Enemies/People will take place at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Campus; 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets to Enemies/People can be purchased here.
Asked about his inspiration for adapting An Enemy of the People, Hackler said he “found an excitement in and a curiosity about how Ibsen might have written the play had he been alive today. How would he speak to the deeply divisive, charged atmosphere, the 24-hour news cycle, the proliferation of ‘alternative facts’?” Hackler continued, “I’ve tried to let not only the content, but more so the spirit of Ibsen’s original guide my new adaptation.”
“Ibsen’s original play asks its audience to wrestle with questions that are forever relevant, but perhaps more so now than in recent memory,” added Alex Organ. “What does it mean to participate in a Democracy? Is the majority always right? What happens when the majority makes a terrible decision? By relocating the action from 19th century Norway to present-day America – Texas, no less – Blake encourages us to ask those questions – not of a group of strangers from another culture and time – but of ourselves. Today. Now.”
Tom, an intrepid urban planner, suspects that a new city-sponsored hot springs project may be more dangerous than the local government is willing to admit. But when Tom speaks out against the project, he is met with resistance from several unexpected sources. The divide between right and wrong proves to be anything but black and white, and Tom finds himself risking everything for a town that doesn’t seem to want his help.
Allison Pistorius (Kat Stockmann) and Christie Vela (Mercedes Arranda) return to Second Thought after both appeared in last season’s critically acclaimed world premiere of The Necessities, also by Hackler. Playing Tom’s brother Peter Stockmann, Gregory Lush takes the Second Thought stage for the first time since the 2010 production of Hunter Gatherers. Rounding out the cast and making their Second Thought debuts are Jovane Caamaño (Michael) and Sasha Maya Ada (Billie).
Aaron Johansen (Hillary and Clinton, The Necessities, Grounded) will design lights, and Melissa Panzarello (The Necessities, Hillary and Clinton) returns to design costumes. Making their Second Thought debuts are scenic designer Jocelyn Girigorie and Sound Designer Jason Biggs.
Enemies/People opens with previews on Wednesday, June 13 and Thursday, June 14 at 7:30pm. Opening and press night is Friday, June 15 at 8:00pm. The PWYC performances of Enemies/People will take place on Wednesday, June 13; Thursday, June 14; Monday, June 18; Monday, June 25; and Monday, July 2 at 7:30p. PWYC tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to the start of the performance and are subject to availability. Enemies/People runs through July 7. Tickets to Enemies/People are on sale now at secondthoughttheatre.com and can be purchased for $25.
Alex Organ (Tom) is the Artistic Director for Second Thought Theatre. At STT he has appeared in The Great God Pan (Jamie), Othello (Iago), and Red Light Winter (Davis), and he directed Grounded, Cock, and A Behanding in Spokane. He is a member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center, where his credits include The Trials of Sam Houston, Frankenstein, Miller, Mississippi, Inherit the Wind, Public Works: The Tempest, Constellations, All The Way, A Christmas Carol, Sense and Sensibility, The Rocky Horror Show, Fortress of Solitude, and Fly By Night. Elsewhere in DFW, Alex has been seen at Undermain Theater (The Droll; The Flick; Profanity), Trinity Shakespeare (Julius Caesar; Macbeth; Taming of the Shrew; As You Like It), Theater Three (The Farnsworth Invention), WaterTower Theater (Putting It Together; Little Shop of Horrors), Lyric Stage (The Most Happy Fella), and Shakespeare Dallas (Coriolanus; Hamlet, Two Gentlemen of Verona; As You Like It). Regionally he has appeared at the Alley Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Elm Shakespeare Festival, and New York’s Epic Theater Ensemble. Alex is a proud member of Actors Equity and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Allison Pistorius (Kat) returns to the Second Thought stage having previously been seen in The Necessities and Martyr. Regional acting credits include: Constellations, Sense and Sensibility, Clybourne Park (Dallas Theater Center); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Westword’s “Best Actress in a Shakespeare Production”), Othello, The House of the Spirits, When We Are Married (Denver Center Theatre Company); Constellations (TheaterWorks Hartford). Local credits include: The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Trinity Shakespeare Festival); Adding Machine: A Musical (Theatre Three); The Taming of the Shrew, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, The Nether, Bedroom Farce (Stage West); Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre/WaterTower Theatre); The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Three); Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Dallas); Macbeth, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare Dallas Complete Works Series). Allison was a recipient of the D/FW Critics’ Forum Award for Best Performance/Best Actress every year from 2013 – 2016. Education: MFA, The National Theatre Conservatory; BA, The University of Texas at Austin.
Gregory Lush (Peter) is excited to be back at Second Thought after a long absence! He was last seen as Richard in Hunter Gatherers. He has appeared on stages all over Dallas, including Theatre Three, Dallas Theater Center, Shakespeare Dallas, Undermain Theatre, Uptown Players, and WaterTower Theatre. He has appeared in many films, including The Colonel, I Become Gilgamesh, Arbor Day, The Jogger, Earthrise, and the soon-to-be-released mockumentary, Hidden in the Heart of Texas. Also a longtime voiceover artist, Gregory voices numerous anime characters on shows including Fairy Tail, Dances with Devils, Darker the Black, One Piece, and Drifters. He teaches Theatre at Richland College as well as Verse and Fitzmaurice Voicework as Director of Training for Shakespeare Dallas. He is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. He makes his home in Oak Cliff with his talented wife, Maryam.
Jovane Caamaño (Michael) is thrilled and honored to be making his Second Thought Theatre debut! DFW credits include: Susan and God (Theatre Three); This Random World (Circle Theatre); As We Lie Still (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas); Measure for Measure, Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Trinity Shakespeare Festival). Jovane holds a BFA from Texas Christian University, teaches with Story Stage in Fort Worth, and is immensely grateful to his family and his friends for all of their love and generous support.
Sasha Maya Ada (Billie) is a graduate of SMU’s BFA theatre program. Her select DFW credits include: All the Way, A Christmas Carol (Dallas Theater Center); Brutus in Julius Caesar (House Party Theater); Marisol, Aunt Dan and Lemon (Southern Methodist University). Sasha is also a teaching artist for Big Thought’s Creative Solutions, The August Wilson Monologue Competition, and Dallas Theater Center. She would like to thank her mentors and teachers, family and friends, and her mother for her insightful and incredible support.
Christie Vela (Mercedes) has previously been seen in A Kid Like Jake and The Necessities and directed Bull and Straight White Men for Second Thought. She is a former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at Dallas Theater Center where her acting credits include Inherit The Wind; Deferred Action; Romeo & Juliet; Sense & Sensibility; Medea; The Book Club Play; A Christmas Carol; Les Misérables; Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure; King Lear; God of Carnage; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat; and The Beauty Plays. At DTC she directed A Christmas Carol (2015), Gloria, and Fade. Christie is also a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater where she was last seen in Paper Flowers and where she has directed Se Llama Cristina; The Turn of the Screw; Boom; and The Pillowman. You’ve also seen her work as director/actor in the Metroplex at Echo Theatre, Amphibian Stage, Undermain Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Teatro Dallas, and Theatre Three. Most recently she directed Native Gardens at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, RI. Next, she’ll be making her Stage West directing debut with Don’t Dress for Dinner.
Blake Hackler (Playwright) is a writer and actor originally from Texas. As an actor, Blake has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country as well as in TV and film. His play What We Were is a finalist for the O’Neill, a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, and was named a winner of the 2017 Ashland New Play Festival. His play The Necessities was named Best Play of 2017 by the Dallas Theatre Critics Association, and was nominated for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award. Other plays include This Sweet Affliction – Yale Cabaret, Primary Stages workshop; The Boss in the Satin Kimono – New York International Fringe Festival; 10 Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You (lyrics) – Midtown Theatre Festival, Best of Fest winner; The Lady in Red – Gene Frankel Theatre; Mother Courage of Westchester – NYTE; Barry Horowitz: A Jewish Fantasia on Catholic Themes – Prospect Theatre; and The Wasp Woman – a musical written with Phillip Chernyak.
Blake was the runner up for the ATHE Playwriting award in 2015 and in 2017. He is a member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Program, and is the recipient of the Harrington Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Writing. He holds an MFA in Acting from the Yale School of Drama, is a Fulbright Senior Scholar, and a 2018 MacDowell Fellow.
Kara-Lynn Vaeni (Director) is a theatre and opera director who focuses on highly theatrical, impossible-to-stage works by diverse and interesting writers. Her work has been seen at HERE, BAM, the Irondale, The National Theatre of Prague, Guggenheim Works & Process, New Georges, 2G, NYC Fringe, The Flea, The Wild Project, Dallas Theatre Center, Yale Rep, and Montana Rep. She has taught and directed productions at SMU, Seton Hall, Mount Holyoke College, Stony Brook University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Virginia, Yale School of Drama, Westminster Choir College, and New York University. She is the Resident Stage Director for Opera Slavica in NYC, a founding member of The Director Collective and a proud member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers. She holds faculty positions at Yale University and Southern Methodist University. She received her MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.
Jocelyn Girigorie (Scenic Designer) is pleased to join the creative team at Second Thought Theatre for the first time. She graduated with an MFA in Stage Design at Southern Methodist University in May 2018. Recent design credits include A Funny Thing Happened… at Stage West Theatre, Adding Machine: A Musical at the Theatre Three, and Iphigenia at SMU. She also served as the Associate Scenic Designer for Electra with the Dallas Theater Center. jocelyngirigorie.com
Aaron Johansen (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be returning to Second Thought for Enemies/People. Aaron spent eight years with the Dallas Theater Center starting as the lighting intern in 2007. In 2015 he amicably departed the company as their Lighting Supervisor to pursue a career as a full time lighting designer. Aaron has been designing with Second Thought Theatre since 2014 and is very proud to be named an Artistic Associate for the 2018 season. You might have seen his work at Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theater (Artistic Company Member), Cry Havoc Theater co., Uptown Players, Dallas Baptist University, Trinity Shakespeare Festival, and Cara Mía Theatre. I hope you enjoy the show!
Jason Biggs (Sound Designer) is the Sound Designer and Composer at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, where he has designed over 100 theatre productions. He began his career as an Audio Mixer under the guidance of Sound Designer, Curtis Craig. Regional Design credits include Resident Sound Designer for Bruce Wood Dance and guest designs for Theatre Three and Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. In addition to his theatre design, he serves as the recordist for the Dallas Winds, Voices of Change, and numerous classical ensembles throughout the Metroplex. He was also the Assistant Recording Engineer for two Dallas Symphony CD releases on the Hyperion Label.
Melissa Panzarello (Costume Designer) has designed costumes around Dallas, regionally, and in NYC. Selected career highlights include: The Necessities, Hillary and Clinton (STT); Fade, Constellations (DTC); Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Theatre Three); Trevor, Feathers and Teeth, Wilde/Earnest (Kitchen Dog Theater); Alcina (SMU); Ears on a Beatle (world premiere directed by Mark St. Germain) (Barrington Stage Company); Signals of Distress (SoHo Rep.); I Do! I Do! (New Harmony Theatre); Forever Plaid, The Wizard of Oz, Hello, Dolly!, Annie, Get Your Gun!, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Marvelous Wondrettes, Pumpboys and Dinettes, Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Post Playhouse); The Visit (Randolph College); The Rocky Horror Show, Godspell, The Threepenny Opera, The Underpants, Our Town, Eurydice, Little Shop of Horrors, Othello, The Grapes of Wrath, Dracula, The Adding Machine, Closer (various venues in Virginia).
Drew Wall (Him) is the Director of Operations for Second Thought Theatre. DFW (select) credits include: Empathitrax, Straight White Men, Nocturne, Belleville, The Great God Pan, Booth, Red Light Winter, Lobby Hero (Second Thought Theatre); Long Way Go Down, Beauty Queen of Leenane, Totalitarians (Kitchen Dog Theater); On The Eve, Defiance (Theater Three); The Dog Problem (Undermain Theatre); Royal Society of Antarctica (Stage West). Drew holds a BFA from Baylor University, is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency, and is a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater. He would like to thank Abbey Magill, his friends, and family for their constant love and support.
Jenny Ledel (Her) is an actor living in Dallas, TX. She is an artistic associate at Second Thought Theatre and a company member at Kitchen Dog Theater. Theatrical credits include Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Undermain Theatre, Theatre Three, Texas Shakespeare Festival, The Dallas Museum of Art, Shakespeare in the Bar, Shakespeare Dallas, and WaterTower Theatre. Past Second Thought credits include Empathitrax, Anton in Show Business, The Glory of Living, Pluck The Day, Belleville, Othello, A Kid Like Jake, and Grounded. She is a multiple recipient of the DFW Critics Forum Award for Best Actress. She is also a playwright, commercial actor, and voiceover artist. Her television and film credits include One Tree Hill, Spider Veins, and Karma Police. She is represented by The Mary Collins Agency.