director | dramaturg | producer


by Bilal Dardai

New Leaf Theatre | Winter 2010

When New Leaf learned that we would be out of our home for the 2010-2011 season, I knew I wanted us to challenge ourselves to explore different kinds of venues and expand our comfort zones as individual artists and as a collaborative team. With Redeemers, not only did I get to play with the most site-specific of our company's stagings to date, the challenges for my actors were also different.

This text is almost exclusively direct-address storytelling. The conceit of the piece was that these characters - these people - are unfolding their story to you right now, in real time. To find the authenticity in the performance of that voice, we had to strip away the training and craft that keeps actors "in the moment" no matter what the audience brings. The actors needed to by hyper-aware of the audience so that the responses to whatever they found in that room night after night were authentic and honest and of that instant.
Photos by Tom McGrath
Joel Ewing
Marsha Harman
Patrick King
Trey Maclin

Assistant Director: Josh Sobel
Stage Manager: Tara Malpass
Dramaturg: Emily Dendinger
Sound Designer: Nick Keenan
Production Manager: Marni Keenan
Lighting Designer: Jared Moore
Scenic Designer: Michelle Lilly
Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski
Video trailer by Nick Keenan
"Hutchinson makes adept use of the unusual space; from the piece’s subtle, almost offhand opening to its somber close, she gives it the vitality of a real event."
- John Beer | Time Out Chicago
"...Jessica Hutchinson's sharp, site-specific staging for New Leaf Theatre has the trio telling their story--part confession, part self-justification--to their fellow patrons (us) at a pizzeria. A clever reversal of a classic becomes a shrewd and probing exploration of the corrosive effects of withholding forgiveness."
- Zac Thompson | Chicago Reader
"...[Dardai] and director Jessica Hutchinson have pulled together a nice little piece that captures the off-kilter relationships..."
- Nina Metz | Chicago Tribune