Season 4 in Public Access Theatre

Season 4 of Public Access Theatre aspires to be, by far, the most ambitious year of programming for Oracle. The company will increase the number of available reservations from 4,800 to over 7,000 – and every seat is always free in Public Access Theatre.

Oracle Theatre
Oracle’s 2014 mainstage season continues to pursue social discourse between audience and artist. Through Oracle’s unique style, each play focuses on how art is used to magnify a particular social or political situation, and how playwrights and performers engage audiences to mobilize reform. Under the Artistic Direction of Max Truax, Season 4 of Public Access Theatre begins with a remount of Oracle’s first musical, Brecht’s THE MOTHER, and includes two hilarious satires and one major literary adaptation.

Admission is free to all performances.

Regular performance schedule for mainstage plays is as follows:
Friday, Saturday and Monday nights at 8PM
Sundays at 7PM

by Bertolt Brecht
music composed by Jonathan Guillen
directed by Max Truax
January 23 – March 1, 2014
There are 2 benefit performances during the run to support Public Access Theatre.

Oracle launches the 2014 season with a remount of THE MOTHER by Bertolt Brecht. In 2013, this activist musical was Jeff Recommended, and featured the world premiere of a score composed by Jonathan Guillen. Artistic Director Max Truax restages the piece with the original cast including Katherine Keberlein starring in the title role. In Tsarist Russia, a mother’s concern over her son’s subversive political activities entangles her in a growing labor movement. THE MOTHER follows Palagea Vlasova’s transformation from illiterate peasant to revolutionary leader. In the fading light of the Occupy movement, Brecht’s Lehrstücke shows how social reform is born from unity, and how a mother and son can be bound together through space and time by total devotion to a common cause. Oracle’s production will examine the true nature of sacrifice in bringing about social change. Truax’s immersive staging places the audience at the feet of revolution.

THE MOTHER is produced in special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

by Ferenc Molnár
adapted by Morwyn Brebner
directed by Max Truax
April 12 – May 31, 2014

Originally titled “1, 2, 3” when it was written in 1929, THE PRESIDENT is a farcical Pygmalion story set entirely in the New York office of Mr. Norrison, a powerful business executive, just prior to The Great Crash. The stability of Norrison’s business rests on the potential financial investment of one man, whose daughter Lydia has been staying with Norrison under his care. Just as Norrison is about to finalize the deal with his investor – and leave on a much needed vacation – Lydia announces that she’s eloped with a communist taxi driver, a marriage which her parents will most assuredly not approve.  Norrison has one hour to transform Lydia’s new husband into a successful capitalist, and he must use the well-oiled machinery of his enterprise to enact the transformation. The clock is ticking! Translated from Hungarian with pitch-perfect comedic timing, Morwyn Brebner’s adaptation has audiences rooting for capitalism even while a display of its corruptive powers unfolds before them. This will be Artistic Director Max Truax’s first comedy.

THE PRESIDENT is produced in special arrangement with Pam Winter, Gary Goddard Agency

by Upton Sinclair
adapted and directed by Matt Foss
July 19 – September 6, 2014

Matt Foss returns to Oracle to adapt and direct one of the most famous pieces of activisit literature in history, THE JUNGLE. Upton Sinclair’s novel tells the story of immigrants trying to find their way to the American Dream in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the 20th century.  Sinclair tried to expose the economic disparity and corruption of the time, but audiences fixated on the horrid conditions in which their food journeyed to their tables, leaving Sinclair to lament that he, “aimed at the public’s heart and by accident hit its stomach.” Foss’s adaptation confronts the squalid working conditions through the story of a small immigrant family navigating what seems to be a rigged game. As they fight for some kind of American Dream, the family will engage modern audiences in conflicts of immigration, class struggle, and the equal chance to fulfill their destinies.

by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
adapted by Gore Vidal
directed by Kasey Foster
October 11 – November 15, 2014

ROMULUS is Dürrenmatt’s tragicomic rehashing of the fall of the Roman Empire under the supervision of its final emperor. Or, according to the Swiss absurdist playwright, it’s a “historical play with no historical basis.” As the barbarian hoards march toward Rome and the empire’s demise looms on the horizon, Romulus sits back to count the eggs laid by his prize chickens. Everyone around him – his wife, council, and servants – are confounded by his indolence, and enraged by his disinterest in saving Rome. As his realm crumbles around him, our antihero asks for more wine. However, it’s all part of his plan: let the morally bankrupt empire collapse, and restore balance to the world. But Romulus’s plan has unforeseen flaws. Gore Vidal’s 1962 adaptation serves as a cautionary tale in the current crisis of American government: if the empire collapses, will the new empire be any better?  Kasey Foster makes her directorial debut at Oracle to transform the small storefront into the Colosseum where audiences get to judge Romulus’s ridiculous rationale.

ROMULUS is produced in special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Oracle Film
In Season 4, Oracle Film expands on its mission to elevate Chicago audiences by placing free, cutting edge films at the citizen’s fingertips. Under the Artistic Direction of Jeremy Clark, the emerging department will host 4 local and nationally renowned filmmakers as part of its ongoing APERTURE SERIES. First on the slate is local filmmaker Todd Looby. APERTURE SERIES, TAKE 3 is scheduled for March 6 through March 9, 2014. Be on the lookout for more information, as well as calls for submissions to Oracle Film festivals to be held in 2014.

The Radio Movement
The Radio Movement will continue to reach out to more audiences in nursing homes, retirement communities, and healthcare facilities. In 2014, Oracle’s outreach department will produce 3 touring performances of episodes from vintage radio shows. Tour locations include local nursing homes, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, inpatient psychiatric hospitals and homeless shelters.  Hannah Friedman, Oracle’s Director of Community Outreach, will also work with several facilities to develop radio theatre workshops with the residents. The mission of The Radio Movement is simple: Everyone lives with art, no matter what. Since they can’t come to Oracle, we will bring Oracle to them!

Oracle B*Sides
Oracle B*Sides will continue offering theatre companies, performance artists and artistic collectives the opportunity to produce their work in Public Access Theatre. 2013 was a great year for B*Sides; PINK MILK was Jeff Recommended and Oracle introduced Chicago to the amazing spectacle of magician Christian Cagigal. 2014 promises to be even bigger and better. Oracle is currently accepting submissions – more information is available on