Archive for September 15, 2020


Selena Milewski watched a run of A PRISON MADE OF LIGHT today.  Here’s what she had to say:

Beautiful work today! Thank you so much for your insightful treatment of consciousness within and after life.

Thomas Haskell Simpson’s text brought me into a sort of waking dream. The associative flow of ideas interspersed with potent images and frequent returns to body-centered language (the permanence/impermanence of bones, in particular) creates a truly unique audience experience. The playwright’s references and quotations from history and literature are poignant and well chosen and, again, the overall sense created is one of non-linear journeying—the kind undertaken by a dreaming mind.

Thornton Wilder’s hilltop ghosts in Our Town were undeniably channeled as well, especially in the suggestion that we’re hearing the musings of four souls after death reflecting on the nature of life. The rim-of-the-world green screen backgrounds used by the brilliant performance quartet underscored this sense of floating in space and time.

On the whole, I was struck by the efficacious use of Zoom to create a theatrical event. Digital artifacts such as the occasional melding of a performer’s body with his or her cosmic background fit the play’s otherworldly setting exquisitely.

A perfect piece to support the endurance of theatre in the midst of global pandemic, Prison pulls no punches about life and death, yet treats its audience humanely in its philosophical discourse, even interspersing moments of intimate a cappella singing.

Near or far, we truly are in this together.

Gigante on Active Culture radio program

A PRISON MADE OF LIGHT is discussed on Will LaDuke’s Active Culture radio program, on Milwaukee’s Riverwest Radio.

If you’d like to hear playwright Thomas Simpson and Gigante Artistic Directors Isabelle Kralj & Mark Anderson talk with Will, CLICK HERE.

“A Prison Made of Light” Playwright Thomas Simpson

We’re very excited to be working with our friend,
writer/performer/translator Thomas Simpson,
on the upcoming reading of A PRISON MADE OF LIGHT.

Thomas Haskell Simpson (Phd University of Chicago, 1997) has performed in several Theatre Gigante productions, most recently as the onstage translator and alter ego of the main character in the company’s version of Noise in the Waters, which he translated from Italian. Formerly a professor at Northwestern University, Tom has translated many plays and numerous books and articles from Italian into English, including both classics (Pirandello, De Filippo, Goldoni) and contemporary works by Marco Martinelli/Teatro delle Albe and others. With Rita Filanti he has translated American poets into Italian, and he is the author of Murder and Media in the New Rome (2010), a study of a sensational trial that became a media circus in the first years after Italy’s unification.

September 16th at 7pm CST

This is a FREE reading of a work in progress, performed by Mark Anderson, John Kishline, Isabelle Kralj, Ben Yela.
The reading will be followed by a talkback, moderated by Michael Stebbins.

RSVP necessary. Dress optional. 🙂

Send us an email today at to reserve a Zoomspot!
We will confirm your reservation, and send you an invite on the day of.