director | dramaturg | producer

The Man Who Was Thursday

by Bilal Dardai | adapted from the novel by G.K. Chesterton

New Leaf Theatre | Fall 2009

Thursday was my first experiment with promenade, immersive staging, and remains a primary example of the kind of work achievable through focused, shared vision. My collaborators and I - from designers to playwright to actors to front of house - were all striving for the same outcome. The production thrived because of all that focused energy.

The team worked together to find ways of communicating with and even physically moving the audience that were holistic, playful, engaging, and inventive.
photos by Marni Keenan
"TOP TEN PLAYS OF 2009 ... New Leaf’s new adaptation of G.K. Chesterton’s 1908 satire about a man who finds himself tapped by Scotland Yard to infiltrate a council of anarchists was blessed by playwright Bilal Dardai’s deft touch and the shrewd, apparently endless inventiveness of director Jessica Hutchinson."
- Kris Vire | Time Out Chicago
"RECOMMENDED... Jessica Hutchinson’s directing is hip, astute and responsive, with a semi-promenade that makes brilliant use of space and has actors circulating amongst the audience without any sense of clumsy attempts at “interactivity.”
- Monica Weston | New City
"MUST SEE ... a smorgasbord of theatrical delights: from intelligent, often hilarious acting from the entire ensemble to director Jessica Hutchinson's delightful, innovative staging and Nick Keenan's ingenious sound design ... Dan Granata's delivery and timing are a marvel ... a beautifully coordinated, versatile and very talented cast ... Bilal Dardai has wisely retained the complexity and richness of Chesterton's literary prose."
- Laura Kolb | Centerstage

Nate Burger
Ted Evans
Joel Ewing
Sean Patrick Fawcett
Dan Granata
Andy Hager
Patrick Halley
Nick Mikula
Austin Ole
Brian Rooney

Stage Manager: Amanda Frechette
Sound Designer: Nick Keenan
Production Coordinator: Marni Keenan
Lighting Designer: Jared Moore
Scenic Designer: Michelle Lilly
Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski
Dramaturg: Jacob Juntunen
Fight Choreographer: Greg Poljacik
Dialect Coach: Lindsay Bartlett
video trailer created
by Very Clever Media.
"FOUR STARS ... a piece that flirts with the spectacular ... Dardai has structured his tale deftly ... the director and her designers ... compel us onto our toes"

- Christopher Shea | Time Out Chicago
"RECOMMENDED ... a whip-smart adaptation ... Jessica Hutchinson's inventive staging and an agile ensemble find the right balance between the ridiculous masquerades of the anarchists (one in full Cyrano regalia) and the chilling realization that, once unmasked by the world, none of us knows what our next step should be."

- Kerry Reid | Chicago Reader