What we do
Theatre Y is dedicated to the international laboratory to investigative theatrical work with an ever-diversifying group of collaborators from many lands. These partnerships serve two invaluable functions.
First, they filter out work of peripheral merit: automatically, they get to the core of the human experience. Believing that the truth lies between two contradictions, we seek out our human contradiction and together we tell the truth.
The partnership also forces a new form -- an authentically theatrical language -- to bridge the gap between languages, cultures and traditions. International collaboration removes all security, all notions of expertise, all rules, for both parties, and the loftiest ideals of the theater suddenly become real again.
To put it succinctly, we seek formidable allies worldwide and we produce work with them.
Theatre Y was founded in 2006, by actor Melissa Lorraine and director Christopher Markle. The company is steeped in the theatrical traditions of Eastern Europe, which Chris Markle advanced until his death in 2008. Chris had a long artistic partnership with the Romanian director Liviu Culei and worked with other primal masters of the Eastern European theatre, including Lucian Pintilie and Tadeusz Kantor. These collaborations - in addition to the traditions and work of Romanian-Hungarian playwright András Visky - influenced the companyʼs founding, with Viskyʼs play Juliet as its first production. Written about his mother, the play centers around Andrásʼ first memories in a communist gulag. Theatre Y toured Chris Markle's production of Juliet internationally for four years, over 250 performances in Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Canada, Israel, Palestine and across the United States.
In the winter of 2010, Theatre Y produced its first play in Chicago: the world premiere of Andras Visky's I Killed My Mother. Written for Lorraine and directed by New York director Karin Coonrod (who was also shaped by Liviu Ciulei), I Killed My Mother played to sold-out houses at Chicagoʼs Greenhouse Theater and garnered critical acclaim. It also attracted long-time collaborator Kevin V. Smith to the company, who would go on to create 14 productions with Lorraine.
Discovering that there was an audience for this kind of work, Theatre Y decided to produce a second version of Juliet for Chicago, also directed by Karin Coonrod, and presented at the Royal Georges Theater. From here Theatre Y has continued to find spaces across Chicago, collaborators across the world, brought productions to New York, Italy, Serbia...