With all of the current advances allowing us to watch our favorite shows and movies or read books, newspapers and magazines on increasingly smaller devices anywhere we want, where do we find increasingly original ways to be entertained? Well, Polarity Ensemble Theatre is introducing a whole new way to experience theater through The Afterlife Trilogy.
This new-style trilogy begins with the simultaneous release of two novels (available through local bookstores and Amazon). Visions of Anna by Richard Engling and She Plays in Darkness by Fern Chertkow debut at a book release party on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 7:00 pm at Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago). The event will include dramatic presentations of scenes from the two novels, a book signing, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. This is the first of many events that will tour a series of bookstores, coffee shops and pubs around Chicago with dramatic readings from the publications. All events will be free of charge.
These novels provide the foundation for the trilogy that will be completed by the third piece of this multimedia event, Richard Engling’s play Anna in the Afterlife, which opens in the spring of 2015.
The Afterlife Trilogy was inspired by author Fern Chertkow, who wrote She Plays in Darkness in the early ’80s and took her own life in 1988. She was a dear friend of Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s Artistic Director, Richard Engling, who says of the writing of his novel: “In the ’90s I wrote Visions of Anna with the character of Anna inspired by Fern. I think I didn’t want to allow her to be dead. I couldn’t really understand her death, so I invented a reason in the book. Also a fictional version of Fern seemed to me to be a perfect tribute…We believed in a truth that reveals itself in fiction. So for people like us, to be realized in a fictional character, I felt would be a high honor.”
Years later in 2010, Engling had a new idea about how to approach this material and began writing the play, Anna in the Afterlife. “It wasn’t long into writing the play that the Trilogy occurred to me: What a fascinating experience it would be to read Visions of Anna, see the play, and read a novel by Fern Chertkow.” The works span 35 years of creation and operate in both literary and performance modes. They have utilized the talents of 40 to 50 Chicago-area artists in developing, performing, publishing and presenting the works. It appears that no other theatre or publishing company has attempted a project of this scope.
So be sure to get in on this exciting new theatrical happening with The Afterlife Trilogy.
Other free book launch events:
City Lit Books – Thursday, Oct 16 at 6:30 pm – 2523 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago;
Uncommon Ground – Wednesday, Oct 29 at 8:00 pm – 1401 West Devon Ave, Chicago;
Celtic Knot Public House – Wednesday, Nov 5 at 7:00 pm – 626 Church Street, Evanston;
The Book Cellar – Friday, Jan 30, 2015, at 7:00 pm, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago;
The Gumbo Fiction Salon – Thursday, Feb 19, 2015, at The Galway Arms (upstairs), 2442 N. Clark Street, Chicago.
Polarity Ensemble Theatre provides special services for book clubs and even provides its own local and online book clubs for those without a club who would like to participate. For more information, visit www.petheatre.com.