Our mission: The Plagiarists steal from literature, visual art, history, and the culture at large to create new theatre that finds the familiar in the strange, the unique in the commonplace and ultimately enlarges the world.
The Plagiarists, December 2018 - Photograph by Jeff Duhigg
Greg is proud to be part of The Plagiarists, for whom he writes, directs, and makes annual appearances as The Professor. He’s an Air Force brat, which means he has trouble answering even basic questions like “Where are you from?” without essay-length explanations and qualifications. For The Plagiarists, he directed Living the Dream and Promiscuous Stories, and co-wrote/adapted The One About The Green Detective, Promiscuous Stories, American Stage Sessions, The Wreck of the Medusa, and Caesura: A Butchery. Other Chicago credits include directing Girl in the Goldfish Bowl for New Leaf Theatre and assistant directing/co-adapting The Alchemist for Nothing Special Productions. As Artistic Director of Lincoln, Nebraska’s Rough Magic Productions, he directed Fool for Love, Sick: A Love Story, Lobster Alice, Tape, Private Eyes, Touch, Matt & Ben, and a number of shorter pieces, wrote Description of a Struggle, The Epic of Gilgamesh as Told By Mr. George Smith, Associate Curator For The British Museum (Deceased), and co-wrote Pure Anima. He also directed As You Like It, Murder in the Cathedral, and The Baltimore Waltz for other local companies.
Jack is a director and actor who has worked with theatre companies across Chicago. He has collaborated with The Plagiarists on a number of productions, including directing Münsterspiel, Some Like It Red, Gilgamesh, these saints will burn, War Song, Matryoshka and Caesura: A Butchery (for which he was also a co-adapter) and assistant directing The Wreck of the Medusa. He's also been seen in the company's productions of The Feast of Saint McGonagall and King Ubu. Elsewhere in Chicago, Jack directed The Woman in Black, Measure for Measure and Figments with Saint Sebastian Players, The Alchemist and The Armageddon Dance Party with Nothing Special Productions and staged readings of The Shape of Things and Sight Unseen with Black Cloud Gallery, as well as a workshop and staged reading of Hammer for The Right Brain Project. Other regional credits include assistant directing at Writers Theatre in Glencoe (The Old Settler, under the incomparable Ron OJ Parson), Scapin at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (assistant to Karen Kessler of A Red Orchid Theatre) and creating the new commedia dell'arte greenshow The Journey to Egypt at ISF. He directed Equus, Julius Caesar, 4.48 Psychosis, The Dumb Waiter, The Fan, The Memorandum, and Nobody Here But Us Chickens, all at ISU where Jack received his MFA in directing. And as a member of Lincoln Nebraska’s Rough Magic Productions, he directed Description of a Struggle, The Epic of Gilgamesh as Told By Mr. George Smith, Associate Curator For The British Museum (Deceased), Pure Anima, Mr. Marmalade, The Mutants and Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh.
Emma was born in Missouri, fell in love with fireflies in the cornfields of Iowa, learned to say y'all and do the Texas 2-Step in the South, climbed to the top of a mountain in Utah, and took Amtrak across the country because she could. Driftless after her adventures, she declared Chicago her home in 2011, and hasn't looked back. She is incredibly grateful for the cup of coffee that led to her first invitation to play with the Plagiarists, and for the continued opportunities to create with this amazing group of people. Emma holds an MFA from the University of Tuscaloosa- Alabama, and proudly declares Roll Tide.
Sara Jean McCarthy grew up in northern Minnesota swimming in the lake and being bewitched by the northern lights. Since that is clearly not a viable career choice, she decided to go to Acting School. Sara moved to Chicago to attend the Theatre School at DePaul University a lot of years ago and has been happily playing around in the vibrant and uber-supportive Chicago community ever since. She has worked with The Griffin, The Hypocrites, Caffeine Theatre, The House, Boho Theatre Ensemble, and Run-a-Muck productions, among others, and has dabbled in some tv and film work as well. Sara also has been fortunate to be a part of writing and devising some pieces here and there, which has made her very happy. Some of these collaborations, along with a bazillion other reasons, are why she is THRILLED to be a new company member of The Plagiarists, where she feels very at home.
Becky's first productions with the Plagiarists were as stage manager for Circle House and Some Like it Red. Other companies she has worked for include: Lifeline Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Strange Tree Group, Steep, Caffeine Theatre, and the Gift. She has been a non-equity stage manager since 2006. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she spent 4 years in Minnesota earning her BA in Theatre and English from Winona State University before returning to the city she loves. Having been a traveling nomad around Chicago storefronts for the majority of her career, she is pleased the Plagiarists have given her a place to call home.
Bryan Breau is happy to be welcomed into The Plagiarist family! You may have last seen him on stage as Arthie in Circle House and George Smith in their production of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Bryan has been in Chicago since graduating from Virginia Tech in '06 and relocating Andersonville. In his time here Bryan has worked with the likes of Polarity Ensemble Theatre, The Side Project, Oracle Productions, and Halcyon Theatre among others. He is also an Artistic Associate ensemble member of Abraham Werewolf as well as a founding company member of the local independent mixed-media production company Broad Shoulders Productions. Bryan's motto is to keep it weird, and he thinks he has found an outlet for that here with The Plagiarists.
Art in the Time of Plagiarism 10, June 2017
Christina Casano is a director and actor based in Chicago. She earned a BA in Theatre from Miami University and completed the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Summer Professional Training Program. Selected works include: Some Like It Red, Circle House, and The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc. (The Plagiarists), The Light Fantastic (Jackalope), Bury Me (Dandelion Theatre), Milk Like Sugar (The Yard+Raven Theatre), Falling and Owners (Interrobang Theatre Project). She is the Literary Manager for The Plagiarists.
Photo by Joe Mazza - Bravelux
Graham, a BFA graduate of the University of Colorado, has been seen on stage in Chicago with The Plagiarists, The Windy City Playhouse, The Raven Theater, Prologue Theatre, Stage 773, St. Sebastian Players, & Great Works Touring Co. Regionally he's worked at theaters in Indiana, Maine and Colorado. You can also see him in the indie horror films An American Terror and Apartment 212. Graham also takes great joy in producing and directing and has done so for a small handful of shows in Colorado and Chicago. He enjoys biking, graphic design, bartending, hiking, and in the parallel universe in his brain he is a snowboard bum. He doesn't enjoy getting stuck in the comment section online and in life.
Check out his graphic design here: http://behance.net/grahamemmons
Nick grew up in the lead flats of southeast Missouri in a modest home built by his father. The youngest of three sons, Nick learned to fight and psychologically barter with the best of them for survival. He attended college at a small liberal arts university in northern Missouri, as young wannabe revolutionaries are want to do. Upon graduation, he traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, before settling in Chicago in 2008. Since then he has acted as Christian leaders, town ruffians, fey German ringmasters, crusty seamen, and brain dead man children, with companies like The Factory Theater, A Red Orchid, Right Brain Project, Chicago dell'Arte, Interrobang Theatre Ensemble, Eclipse Theatre Company, and Raven Theatre among others. With The Plagiarists he's acted in King Ubu, belladonna luna sonata, American Stage Sessions, and Season Pass, and directed and co-written Ubu II: Electric Boog-Ubu and the upcoming Season Pass: Deux Over. He also serves as host and creator of the original game show, Your Time is Up!. He gives me word that the 30+ winters he has survived should be explanation enough for what kind of person he is, and to keep the coffee hot and the whiskey neat.
Jyreika Guest boldly made Chicago home performing her one-woman show 'Arn't I Still: Lessons of Her for the Solo Chicago Festival four years ago along with her debut role in Chicago as Sara Fleetwood in the Plagiarist's War Song. She's an active performer in the Chicago area and house ensemble member of Chicago Slam Works where she starred in three of their debut season of original shows, Redlined and Have a Great Summer and Incendium. She's featured for several festivals in the Chicago-land area including Ravenswood Art Walk and was a RAW Artist in Spoken Word in Cincinnati, OH. She’s obtained her Master’s in Public History and a BFA in Musical Theatre. Other theater credits include: The Wiz (Addeperle U/S, Dance Captain), The Adventures of Robin Hood (Robin Hood), Piece of My Heart (Steele) Strong Women (Woman Two), Rhinoceros (Boss of Cafe/ Fireman), 2009 YES Festival World Premiere of Shock and Awe (Captain Martinez), Once on This Island (Peasant/Storyteller),Children of Eden (Storyteller), Freedom Speaks (Rosetta), and for colored girls (Lady in Blue). She is proudly represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent!
Tony was lucky enough to be introduced to The Plagiaristsin in 2008, when they gave him his first stage role in Chicago in Promiscuous Stories (Directed by artistic director Gregory Peters.) After that he fell in with The New Colony, where he originated the role of Bennett in their original work, FRAT. He then went on to work with Collaboraction, appearing in Play by Play (by Play) as part of Sketchbook X. Then, after playing David in Point of Contention's Chaos Festival V, he appeared as Dwight in their production of Apocalyspo at the cozy BoHo Theater. He had another chance to work in that intimate space when he was cast as Dapper in Nothing Special's production of The Alchemist, directed by managing director Jack Dugan Carpenter. He played Orlando in Strangeloop's As You Like it (A New Adaptation) and the villainous Roy in The Factory's Toast of the Town. He was directed once again by Jack Dugan Carpenter when he tackled the role of Duke Vicentio in Measure for Measure with the St. Sebastian Players and was most recently seen in Burning Rubber and Some Things Stick with the Vivarium Theater Company, where he is an Artistic Associate.
Tony is honored to be counted among the Plagiarists.
Art in the time of Plagiarism 9 - May 2016. Photo by GracePisula
Paul Kastner grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where they say things like, "take highway farty-far," and, "eat your carn with a fark." He has been laughed at by many people for the way he says things like "war" and "Laura." As a carpenter and stagehand he has worked for Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, and dozens of other theaters in Chicago. He served as technical director of the Drury Lane Water Tower Theater for two years and did a stint with the first national tour of Xanadu which is arguably the finest musical based on a film starring Olivia Newton John. In addition to writing, directing and technical directing with the Plagiarists, Paul currently works as the deck chief for Million Dollar Quartet.
With his never diminishing impostor syndrome, Stephen McClure is still amazed he has yet to be exposed as a fraud. Plagiarist appearances include Matthewson, the pith helmet wearing expedition guy who yelled, in The Epic of Gilgamesh; Captain Sweet Pea, the entitled militia guy in shorty-shorts, cowboy boots and a boy scout uniform who yelled, in Ubu II; Malush, the military guy who got drugged, freaked out and yelled, in Some Like it Red; Nips, the guy with a limp and infatuation for rules who yelled,in Munsterspiel; and Colonel Majors, of course there will be yelling, in the upcoming Season Pass: Deux Over. Other Chicago credits include Timms in The History Boys (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre) and Tate in the midwest premiere of finding grafenberg (trip.). He would like to thank and recognize both his experience and biologically acquired families for their continual love and support.
In addition to performing with the Plagiarists, Stephen is also a member of the company's Literary Committee. If you are a playwright interested in what the Plagiarists do and have a full script, partial script, or even just an idea, he highly encourages you to contact the Lit Committee. More info on the dedicated Literary Committee page!
You know Jessica. She’s the one you saw play Olivia in The Plagiarists production of I Am Saying This Right Now. Didn’t see the show? Ok, she’s the one that’s tall-ish with the red-ish hair and she wears glasses but not all the time. Not helping? She was also in What Dreams May Come, American Visions Through Jewish Eyes at The Piven Workshop Theatre a while ago, and she’s starred in two films with Eye Sprocket Productions. No? Alright, let’s see. Um, she plays the mandolin and sings in this band, called The Cablecars. She is fascinated with dance and movement, especially in its connection to theatre. She graduated from Illinois State University, so she has developed a great palate for corn and cheap beer. She’s from Libertyville, Il, originally, and loves to take the short drive home to spend time with her parents. They are very cool. Her favorite band is The Hollows, not just because her brother is a member, but because they are incredible artists. What else, what else? Due to some childhood dreams coming wildly true, she now lives with three dogs and a wonderful man, and goes to a Bears game at least once a year. And now, she is a new company member with The Plagiarists, and she has little bruises everywhere from pinching herself. Seriously, nothing? Well please, just keep an eye out for her, will you? She just ate the entire cheesecake I bought for this party and she needs to go buy me a replacement.
Melissa "13andit" Schlesinger is a multi-disciplinary creative mercenary specializing in MacGyvering and magic. She has loved the Plagiarists since working on sound for Matryoshka. Then there was King Ubu, War Song, Season Pass, these saints will burn, belladonna luna sonata, Ulysses, & Münsterspiel where she juggled scenic, sound, and even scent designs.Melissa creates worlds for the stage, galleries, events, haunts, room escape games, and on screen. Melissa is the Lead Designer and a founding member of Escape Artistry, home to a showcase of her sonic, scenic, and puzzling interactive environments. A third generation artist, Melissa studied Theatre Production and Studio Art at Bradley University. www.melissaschlesinger.com
James Snyder is a fake and he doesn't know the territory.
Julia has spent the last few years flirting with the great talents of The Plagiarists, playing multiple characters at a time all starting with Matryoshka (followed by King Ubu and these saints will burn). If only she'd known all it took was throwing around rocks while singing an aria (in Belladonna Luna Sonata) to get to be one of them...well...she'd have pulled out her old rock collection ages ago. But that's neither here nor there, instead live in the now! Julia brings to the group a BA at a crunchy granola college (Macalester), several years navigating the red tape and theater scenes of Washington, DC while coordinating a daily free show (The Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center) and an MFA from Scotland (the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, yep she was a Glaswegian for awhile). A Chicagoan since 2010 she's worked with many companies around town, taught some yoga and founded a touring Shakespeare company (Stone Soup Shakespeare). She also makes pie.
Jessica Wright Buha’s writings have been performed by The Plagiarists (I Am Saying This Right Now) of which she is a company member, Wildclaw Theatre (Alabama Mermaid, winner of Deathscribe 2011:The Fourth Annual Festival of Horror Radio Plays), the Whiskey Rebellion (Sign of Rain, Tennyson Spade), and Tooth and Nail Ensemble (Under Ground, directed by Marti Lyons). Locally, she is a solo performer (2011 Fillet of Solo Festival), a props designer (Lifeline Theatre’s Treasure Island), and a dramaturg (Lookingglass Theatre's Our Future Metropolis). She has been the resident assistant stage manager at Lifeline Theatre since 2008, and is also a founding member of the Lifeline Storytelling Project, a spoken word group performing weekly in Rogers Park. Jessica is a proud graduate of the University of Chicago, where she received the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize for her play Under Ground. Upcoming writing projects include Wake: A Folk Opera, performed by the Whiskey Rebellion in October 2012, and The Feast of St. McGonagall, performed by the Plagiarists this past November 2012.
John Jacobsen is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University’s BFA Theatre Design & Technology program. Prior to Penn State, John spent two years at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Credits in Chicago include the lighting designs for Living Canvas RX, War Song, Matryoshka, The Feast of St. McGonagall, Figments, I Am Saying This Right Now, Caesura: A Butchery, The Alchemist, and The Armageddon Dance Party. Awards include USITT’s 2007 Lighting Design Award for Young Designers & Technicians. John is also an architectural lighting designer with the Chicago office of Schuler Shook, where his recent projects include the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, NY.
Robert Stewart creates work w/ the ‘wet rats’ theatre collective in Lincoln, NE. In addition to writing, he has served in various & sundry other capacities (including performance, props, direction & lighting). Notable works include ‘the living room’- a 9-month-long serialized play at the Tugboat Gallery in Lincoln, ‘glass jaw fragments’- a puppet musical w/ live accompaniment performed at multiple homes & bars in Lincoln & Omaha, ‘these saints will burn-’ at the Lincoln Bike Kitchen& most recently, pizzazz (unincorporated)- performed at SP CE Commons in Lincoln. His play ‘the mutants’ was given a reading at the Great Plains Theater Conference in 2008 & in 2010 he was granted an artist’s residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. In 2014, he received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council. He has been a happy member of the Plagiarists’ Artistic Ensemble since 2014.
Plagiarists At Large:
Chad Brown James Dunn (co-founder) Charlesanne Rabensburg Katie Ritchie Jack Tamburri
Casey Adams Kaitlin Byrd (co-founder) Layne Manzer (co-founder) 2007-2014 Ian Miller (original image and branding creator) Kim Miller Justine Turner (co-founder) Lindsay Verstegen (co-founder)
The Plagiarists' Board of Directors
Bridget Barclay-Peters Jack Dugan Carpenter, Treasurer Samantha Decker, President Dawn Kippes Gregory Peters, Secretary Elaine Small
The Plagiarists' Advisory Board
David Cromer Holly Lecorchick, CPA Larry Neumann Jr Jennifer Shook Bill Siegel