137 Richard Engling, Chicago Playwright


Manage episode 178586246 series 1430144
By Theatre Geeks. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Chicago playwright Richard Engling remembers friend Fern Chertkow with the Afterlife Trilogy Playwright talks with the Geeks about his friend, his play and his process. It has been almost 30 years since award-winning author Fern Chertkow ended her own life, but her legacy lives on through the Afterlife Trilogy, a unique undertaking that fuses her writing with the work of novelist, playwright Richard Engling and his creative team at Chicago’s Polarity Ensemble Theatre. Paying tribute to the late author, the trilogy combines two novels – “Visions of Anna” by Engling and “She Plays in Darkness” by Chertkow (October 7, 2014, Polarity Ensemble Theatre Books) – with a powerful play written by Engling, “Anna in the Afterlife,” which will run April 23 to May 24, 2015. The three works span 35 years of creation, offering a multi-sensory experience when taken as a whole. In addition to a book release event, Polarity will present a number of readings throughout October and November at bookstores, libraries and book groups. “The Afterlife Trilogy is about honoring our lives, our loved ones and our heroes even as they pass out of this world,” Engling says. “It is about the sacred qualities of our memories. It is about the wounds that become the sources of our greatest gifts. It is about making sense of that which cannot be understood.” Engling and Chertkow became close friends in graduate school studying fiction writing. They had each come from other disciplines: music for Chertkow and theatre for Engling. The two spent a year in Europe after graduate school and experienced a particularly magical time living as novelists in Paris. Deeply affected by Chertkow’s death in 1988, Engling used his friend as inspiration to pen his novel “Visions of Anna” and play “Anna in the Afterlife,” both touching on friendship, death and self-destruction. “Anna in the Afterlife” went through an in-depth development process with Polarity Ensemble since first appearing in the theatre company’s 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. Disturbingly prophetic and brimming with lyrical prose, “She Plays in Darkness” is the earliest of the trilogy’s works, written by Chertkow just a few years before her death. Chertkow infused much of herself in the lead characters, twins Cynthia and Rosemary, slowly revealing a self-destructiveness that echoes the mystery of her suicide explored in “Visions of Anna” and “Anna in the Afterlife.” Engling is the co-founder and artistic director of Polarity Ensemble Theatre in the Windy City. He is an actor, director, playwright, novelist and musician. Links: JKSCommunications - Literary Publicity Polarity Ensemble Theatre Polarity on Facebook Richard Engling's Personal Website

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