Tag Archive for Theatre Gigante

“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 gigante@theatregigante.org to reserve a Zoomspot!
We will confirm your reservation, and send you an invite on the day of.

The Great Musicians: Seth Warren-Crow


audio link
composition for Hamlet
by Seth Warren-Crow


Seth Warren-Crow is a percussionist, composer, and sound designer based in Lubbock, TX. He has been playing for dance technique classes and composing for dance for the last 12 years. Seth was the Musical Director for the Department of Dance at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee from 2008-2013, and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University. Seth received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in California, where he received the Frog Peak Award for Experimental Music.  Seth’s sound design and composition has been featured at such prestigious venues as La Mama Experimental Theatre Club (NY) and The Harlem Stage eMoves Festival (NY), among others.  Seth frequently collaborates with performance artist Heather Warren-Crow as warren-crow+warren-crow, and their performances have been seen all over the world, including Czech Republic, Taiwan, Norway, and throughout the United States.

Seth has always been an inspiration to us at Theatre Gigante. You couldn’t ask for a more artistically sensitive and kind collaborator.  We miss him and hope to get him back here someday!

Gigante productions:
Man in a Magic Square (2009)
The Lears (2010)
Three Other Sisters (2010)
Three Other Sisters (2012 – Slovenian tour)
Electra (2013)
My Dear Othello (2014)

for more: http://www.simplesatellite.org/sound-design-TP/

Remembering a dear friend and colleague


(1952 – 2011)

Allyson Green’s BETWEEN

performed by Ed Burgess & Isabelle Kralj


Theatre Gigante productions Ed was a part of:
10th Anniversary
(1998) BETWEEN
Between You and Me
Dead Poet’s Theatre (2000)
The Initial Urge To Suck
Down & Personal
Isadora and Nijinsky

The Great Musicians: Daniel Kahn


Children in the Woods, by Daniel Kahn

performed by Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird

I Shall be Released (in Yiddish) by Bob Dylan
translated and performed by Daniel Kahn

The Good Old Bad Old Days by Daniel Kahn
performed by Daniel Kahn and Jake Shulman-Ment

“Dan Kahn brings a powerful blend of intelligence and romance to his music.”

A Detroit area native, Daniel Kahn attended the University of Michigan where he studied acting, directing, playwriting and poetry, winning the University’s most prestigious writing award, the Hopwood, three times, and publishing Daylight Savings, a collection of his poems, with Ornithology Press. After finishing his studies he lived, played music, recorded, acted, directed plays and composed theatre music in New Orleans, Detroit, New York and Ann Arbor.  He moved to Berlin in 2005 and founded his band The Painted Bird, which went on to tour the world and win several awards with their 5 albums – They released the albums through German world music label Oriente Musik. Their music is described as “a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret and punk folk.”

Theatre Gigante loves Dan’s musical poetry, and would love to work with him again, but he’s so damned booked up … someday soon! …we, at Gigante, never give up!

Gigante productions:
Woyzeck (2006)

for more: https://www.paintedbird.de

The Great Musicians: Aaron Gardner


video links:
Blues Connotation, by Ornette Coleman (from a safe distance)
Aaron Gardner (sax), Jeremy Kuzniar (drums), and Clay Schaub (bass)

Segment, by Charlie Parker
Aaron Gardner (sax) and Clay Schaub (bass)

Aaron Gardner 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. Aaron is Gigante’s absolute favorite jazz musician and we are lucky to work with him!!!

Gigante productions:
The Lears (2010)
Peter & the Wolf & the One Man Band (2016-ongoing)
Building Theatre the Gigante Way (2018-ongoing)
Crave (2020)

For more: look for Aaron on Facebook

Pre-Season Opener Opener

Theatre Gigante pre-empts its own 32nd Season Opener, The Beggar’s Opera, with a monologue performance by Gigante Artistic co-Director Mark Anderson, at the upcoming Fourth Milwaukee Fringe Festival.
I JUST WANT TO SAY… features excerpts from three of Anderson’s twisted, witty monologues: 80 Words for Snow (1986), Who (1995), and White Clown (1999). The solo performance takes place at 3:30pm, Saturday, August 24, in the Todd Wehr Theatre at the Marcus Center.



For over 30 years, Mark Anderson has been writing and performing monologues that playfully and poetically examine the anxieties and harmonic tremors of modern living. His work has been seen in many cities across the USA, including Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Boston, D.C., Atlanta, and closer to home, Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, Green Bay and Sheboygan.  He has toured with PS122 Field Trips, has received several commissions for new works, and has twice earned the Wisconsin Arts Board Interdisciplinary Arts Fellowship. His book of monologues, Making a Living, was published by Woodland Pattern. He has performed six of his monologues under the auspices of Theatre Gigante.

What critics have said:
Washington Post – Alan M. Kriegsman
Mark Anderson, tall and pencil-thin, is a natural wit whose mock metaphysical disquisition on the human life cycle pitted an almost schoolmasterish text and delivery against an undertone of wry, wistful and mordant observation.

Pittsburgh Press – Lynne Conner
Anderson’s “speaker” moved through a self-conscious stream of observations on the big themes – birth, marriage and death – with a calculated humility…

Milwaukee Magazine – Paul Kosidowski
Anderson has a knack for making “the everyday” interesting—and even pleasantly perplexing. When he talks about art, after all, he is talking about decades of a life devoted to it—its questions, joys, challenges and frustrations. And, of course, its rewards. …it is informed by artistry, thought and reflection—the willingness to discover or uncover something new, original and even beautiful.

Third Coast Daily – Tom Strini
Time seemed to stop within Anderson’s loopy, spiraling mind — and yes, we were as much into Anderson’s brain as he was into ours.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Mike Fischer
…material this good and delivered this well is bound to sustain, long after the lights come down and we walk back out into the night, no longer alone.


Saturday, August 24, 2019, at 3:30pm
Todd Wehr Theatre, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
ticket information:  http://mkefringe.com/tickets/

Wisconsin Gazette preview for The Way Things Go

check out this great preview from the Wisconsin Gazette  

Shepherd print review of QUORUM

Theatre Gigante’s ‘Quorum’ of Satire, Frustration

By Russ Bickerstaff
October 12, 2016

The characters in Theatre Gigante’s production of Mark Anderson’s Quorum form a cozy ensemble of local theater veterans. Anderson is first to arrive, playing a fragile, silent giant named Sammy. Next is Gigante co-founder Isabelle Kralj as Vivian, a comically contemptuous and domineering figure who quickly takes control as the rest of the ensemble arrives. Leslie Fitzwater is warmly ingratiating as Sylvia, someone very cautious of upsetting anyone else. Ron Scot Fry tenderly plays a dreamer named Martin.

Everyone in the room seems more or less in favor of coming together as a group except the charmingly surly Abner played by Michael Stebbins. Will resolution come in the form of a lab-coated Bo Johnson as a secretary with perfect penmanship? What of the mysterious arrival of Roberta, a relatively silent woman made all the more mysterious by the very expressive eyes and postures of Jocelyn Ridgely in the role?

Anderson’s comedy of petty unproductive action is particularly potent in an election year marked by incompetence on nearly every side of every political issue imaginable. The satirical sharpness is overwhelming as we watch in horror a group of people seemingly incapable of getting even the smallest thing accomplished. In a theater setting, it’s something we can all safely laugh at. In the context of the world around us, Quorum is delightfully upsetting. It’s the most fun you’ll have being frustrated in a theater this year.

QUORUM: playwright’s comments.


QUORUM is a play about a bunch of people, fumbling around in an attempt to organize themselves into a group of people.  They struggle with the basics of democracy:  voting, equality, and fairness, and always go away with a hint of promise to maybe try again tomorrow. The seven characters are clown-like, in a way, and the play is full of humor.
QUORUM had three primary sources of influence and inspiration:  monkeys, politics, and Robert’s Rules of Order.
I believe my initial inspiration was the social behavior of monkeys, explained to me by a television documentary I watched several times, plus research visits to “Monkey Island” at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  (In fact, “Monkey Island” was a working title, at one time.)  I started imagining people behaving like the monkeys I’d been studying, and scenes and dialogue began to emerge.
I began writing QUORUM in 1992, during the election campaign between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Campaign tactics, politicians’ behavior, and voter attitudes were an ongoing stream of inspiration and information as I was writing.
And somewhere along the way, I bought a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and those essential rules for running a meeting found their way into the story.
This play is a social/political satire, and looks at our world, which otherwise deserves a piercing gaze, with a light touch and humor.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about the play as being a cross betweeHarold Pinter and PogoIn other words, Pinter, a British playwright (the dark influence in my writing) meets Pogo, a comic strip I read when I was growing up, that brilliantly and fearlessly presented political and social satire with a lot of laughs!
I began writing QUORUM 24 years ago, in a very different era of politics and American society.  Or was it?  The characters – what they say and what they do – seem painfully familiar when we look at the bullies and buffoons of our current, ongoing political campaigns.  Are we still this bunch of slightly inept strangers?

Mark Anderson

September 22, 2016


for tickets and show schedule, follow this link.

Next up: Theatre Gigante presents QUORUM

QUORUM, a play by Gigante Artistic co-Director Mark Anderson, opens October 7, at Plymouth Church, on Milwaukee’s East Side.
A social/political satire, first produced in Milwaukee in 1993 by Theatre X, takes a look at democracy in the hands of the people.  A bunch of strangers meet in a room, and attempt to form themselves into a group, which turns out to be not so easy.  Votes are split 50/50, not everybody fully appreciates the responsibilities of being a member of the group, the whole thing seems to be run by bullies and buffoons….

As we surveyed the current political landscape, Theatre Gigante decided to dust off our copy of QUORUM and see if it is still relevant.  It is.  Perhaps even moreso than it was 23 years ago.
Our new production features a cast of Gigante veterans: Leslie Fitzwater, Michael Stebbins, Bo Johnson, and Isabelle Kralj & Mark Anderson, plus some wonderful newcomers, Ron Scot Fry and Jocelyn Ridgely.
The second stop on this season’s “Gigante Tours Milwaukee” series, QUORUM will be performed at Plymouth Church, 2717 E. Hampshire Street (two blocks East of UWM’s Mitchell Hall).  It’s a very appropriate setting for a play about strangers meeting in a rented room, attempting to form a group.
For tickets and show schedule, follow this link.