Piven Theatre Workshop Young People’s Company production of “100 Kisses” runs Wednesday, Feb. 20 ,through Sunday, Feb. 24.

Highlighting improvisation and story theatre form, the Young People’s Company includes Piven’s most advanced high school students who work as an ensemble over the course of six months to create original adaptations of stories.

The company will perform for one week at the Piven Theatre Workshop, located in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston.

This year’s line-up of stories celebrates the company’s long history of unique adaptations and includes an adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s The Standard of Living.

The story, adapted by Joyce Piven and directed by Mikalina Rabinsky, follows two young stenographers who joyfully, and fiercely play a game which stems from the question, “what would you do if someone left you a million dollars?”

Also featured is The Blue Rose, directed by YPC Director and longtime instructor and theatre artist Rebecca Kling. The piece is an adaptation of a folktale which follows the journey to discover how a blue rose can help win the heart of a princess.

The production concludes with the adaptation of The Swineheard, directed by Joanne Underwood and Arachne adapted and directed by Ethan Ucker.

Swineheard is a classic retelling of the Hans Christen Anderson story of a poor prince who seeks the hand in marriage of the Emperor’s daughter. Many princesses would say, “Yes, please!” in a heartbeat, but whether the daughter of the Emperor does remains to be seen.

Arachne is an adaptation of the Greek myth about a boastful weaver who dared to attest that her skills exceeded that of the Goddess Athena. In retaliation, Athena turns Arachne into a spider, doomed to weave for eternity.

Piven Theatre Workshop has adapted texts ranging from Dorothy Parker and Kurt Vonnegut to Greek myths for several decades.

With a strong foundation in story theatre training, students are given a professional experience exploring the levels and depths within not only the characters but the narrative as well.

Actors and artists including award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, Steppenwolf ensemble member, and current star of Chicago’s Book of Mormon James Vincent Meredith, director Jessica Thebus, and actors Joan and John Cusack, and Jeremy Piven all developed their talents while studying at Piven Theatre Workshop.

Tickets, available online, are $15 or $10 for students with ID. The Saturday matinee is “pay what you can.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Top: Cast members of the Young People’s Company playing a theatre game called “Stage Portraits.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *