CHICAGO: The Gift Theatre has announced its 2018 season, featuring three productions. The season also welcomes four new members to the company’s ensemble, Evan Michael Lee, Chika Ike, Martel Manning, Gregory Fenner, and Hannah Toriumi.
“The 2018 season lives under the aesthetical canopy of absurdism, wherein characters who struggle to find meaning in life nevertheless continue to pursue meaning,” said artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton in a statement. “Today, we are also deeply honored and excited to announce an enrichment of our ensemble. Evan, Chika, Martel, Gregory, and Hannah are artists of virtuosic talents with whom we have collaborated over the years in joy and awe. In short, we love them. They have each played a defining role in the Gift’s history and now, as ensemble members, our future.”
The season will start with the world premiere of Hang Man (Feb. 9-April 8, 2018), by Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour, about a Southern community grappling with the murder of a black man who is found hanging in a tree. Erica Weiss will direct.
Next up will be Shakespeare’s Hamlet (June 1-July 29, 2018), a retelling of the tragedy through the lens of a young black man grieving after his father’s untimely death. Monty Cole will direct.
Following will be Cosmologies (Oct. 12-Dec. 9, 2018), by David Rabe, an existential absurdist comedy about a young man whose negotiation for a date goes awry.
The Gift Theatre, founded in 2001*, is an ensemble of actors, directors, writers, and improvisers that presents new and classic plays.
*An earlier version of this article stated the Gift was founded in 1997. It was actually founded in 2001.