Archive for March 8, 2020

Meet the CRAVE Cast and Musicians

ISABELLE KRALJ [Director and “C”] is the Founder, and Artistic Co-Director, of THEATRE GIGANTE and works as an auteur, director, choreographer, and performer.  Besides Gigante, she has directed and/or choreographed for, among others, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, First Stage, DBUS (Ballet Assn. of Slovenia) and Door Shakespeare.  Abroad, she has performed in Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Austria, and Germany.  Kralj received a New Choreography Award from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the award of High Artistic Achievement from UWM’s Slovenian Arts Council, and grants from the US State Department, U.S. Embassy in Slovenia, and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture.  She has written/created over forty works, many of them in collaboration with Mark Anderson, who also happens to be her life’s collaborator.

MARK ANDERSON [“A”]  is Theatre Gigante’s Artistic Co-Director, and an artist whose work as a monologist and playwright has been seen in over thirty cities around the country, including three years touring with New York’s PS122 Field Trips.  In 1996, Anderson began working with Gigante founder Isabelle Kralj, and since then they have co-created over forty original productions.  He has worked with the JM Kohler Art Center, Theatre X, Present Music, Grinnell College, and the Pabst Theater, among others, and currently teaches at MIAD.  He has received numerous grants and commissions, including two Wisconsin Arts Board Interdisciplinary Arts Fellowships.  Mark is delighted to be onstage with such a wonderful group of performers, including my beloved Isabelle, longtime friend Jane, the wise and talented David, and the brilliant Aaron, Steve, and Sam.

JANE KACZMAREK [“M”] is best known for playing Lois on MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE for 7 award winning seasons.  Her television career began with THE PAPER CHASE and HILL STREET BLUES after graduating from the University of Wisconsin and the Yale School of Drama. In New York she’s  appeared both on and off Broadway and for 6 seasons at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, most recently with Alfred Molina in AND NO MORE SHALL WE PART.  L.A.credits include KINDERTRANSPORT,( Ovation Award ) RAISED IN CAPTIVITY ( LA Drama Critics Award) ,GOOD PEOPLE ( Ovation nom) , The Stage Manager in OUR TOWN with Deaf West Theatre and again with Mr Molina in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE for BBC radio and  LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. Ms. Kaczmarek’s foundation Clothes Off Our Back raised over 4 million dollars for children’s charities by auctioning celebrity apparel. A mother of 3 ,she serves on the Board of The Pasadena Conservatory of Music ,Pasadena Educational Foundation , Pasadena Playhouse and Theatre Gigante. A native Milwaukean,  Jane is delighted to be back where she belongs.

DAVID FLORES [“B”] has performed extensively with many Milwaukee theater, music, and dance companies including Alchemist, Boulevard, Cornerstone, First Stage, In Tandem, Milwaukee Chamber, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Off The Wall, Optimist, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight, Theatre X, Theatre Gigante, Windfall, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and Wild Space Dance.  Credits include everything from Albee to DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and Shakespeare to Sondheim.  He has also served as stage director for well-received productions with Boulevard, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and Windfall.  He was last seen with Gigante as the Mayor in ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.

AARON GARDNER [Saxophone] is a graduate of Berklee College of Music.  He spent ten years in New York playing, recording and touring with the band Ulu before moving back to his hometown of Milwaukee.  He now teaches at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and plays with local bands such as the Willy Porter Band, Milwaukee Hot Club, De la Buena, Strangelander, The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken and The Paul Spencer Band.  Aaron works on an ongoing basis with Theatre Gigante and is the “one-man band” in Gigante’s PETER & THE WOLF & THE ONE MAN BAND.

SAM WINTERNHEIMER [Bass] is a recent addition to the Milwaukee scene and is a bassist hailing from Indianapolis.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University where he studied with world-renowned bassist, Rodney Whitaker, and received his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Florida State University.  Sam then immersed himself in the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans.  While there, he performed at many of the premier venues and festivals, including the Jazz Playhouse and the Bayou Boogaloo Festival.  He performs professionally in a wide variety of musical styles, as a leader and as a sideman, on upright bass and electric bass.  This is Sam’s first performance with Theatre Gigante.

STEVE PEPLIN [Guitar] is an eclectic composer/guitarist/singer from Milwaukee who can’t limit himself to a few bands or genres.  Consequently, he can be heard/seen in too many bands such as his own Strangelander and Dinosaur Rocket.  He is also a member of Matchstick, the De La Buena Quintet and Sextet, Amanda Huff, Choir Fight, Carlos Adames Trio, Invocation Trio, the Hush Ensemble, the Lawrence University Faculty Band, and others.  Steve serves as adjunct professor of jazz guitar at Lawrence University and is a full-time faculty member of the MATC music department.  This is Steve’s first appearance with Gigante.

About Sarah Kane and CRAVE

About the Playwright

Sarah Kane (3 February 1971 – 20 February 1999) was an English playwright who is known for her plays that deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, and death—both physical and psychological.  They are characterized by a poetic intensity, pared-down language, and exploration of theatrical form.  Kane herself, as well as scholars of her work, identify some of her inspirations as expressionist theatre and Jacobean tragedy.  The critic Aleks Sierz has seen her work as part of what he has termed In-Yer-Face theatre, a form of drama which broke away from the conventions of naturalist theatre.  Kane’s published work consists of five plays, one short film (Skin), and two newspaper articles for The Guardian.

Born in Brentwood, Essex, and raised by evangelical parents, Kane was a committed Christian in adolescence. Later, however, she rejected those beliefs.  She studied drama at Bristol University, graduating in 1992, and went on to take an MA course in play writing at the University of Birmingham, led by the playwright David Edgar.  Kane struggled with severe depression for many years.  However, she wrote consistently throughout her adult life. For a year she was writer-in-residence for Paines Plough, a theatre company promoting new writing, where she actively encouraged other writers.  Before that, she had worked briefly as literary associate for the Bush Theatre, London. Kane died in 1999; taking her own life.

Kane originally wanted to be a poet, but decided that she was unable to convey her thoughts and feelings through poetry.  She wrote that she was attracted to the stage because “theatre has no memory, which makes it the most existential of the arts.  No doubt that is why I keep coming back in the hope that someone in a dark room somewhere will show me an image that burns itself into my mind.”


A change in critical opinion of her work occurred with Kane’s fourth play, Crave, which was presented by in Edinburgh in 1998.  The play was performed under the pseudonym of Marie Kelvedon, partly because the notion amused Kane, but also so that the play could be viewed without the taint of its author’s notorious reputation.  Crave marks a break from the on-stage violence of Kane’s previous works and a move to a freer, sometimes lyrical writing style, at times inspired by her reading of the Bible and T.S. Eliot.  It has four characters, each identified only by a letter of the alphabet.  It dispenses with plot and unlike her earlier work, with its highly specific stage directions, gives no indication what actions, if any, the actors should perform on stage, nor does it give any setting for the play.  The work is highly intertextual.  At the time, Kane regarded it as the “most despairing” of her plays, written when she had lost “faith in love”.



$30 General; $25 Senior; $15 Student