Season 5 in Public Access Theatre

Oracle’s 2015 season aspires to be the most accessible season to date, offering thought-provoking entertainment to everyone who attends Oracle’s free performances and events.  Below is a synopsis of each department’s programs.

Over 130 nights of Public Access Theatre.
Admission is free to all performances.

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

Oracle Theatre

Hot on the heels of receiving 5 Jeff Awards for THE MOTHER (including Best Production and Best Ensemble), Oracle’s 2015 mainstage season features five challenging plays that tackle issues of race, corruption, gender equality, and social collapse.  The ambitious artists at Oracle invite audiences to join them in breaking down the walls that keep truths hidden and justice locked away from those who need it most.

adapted by Emma Stanton, Nigel O’Hearn and Thom Pasculli
from the play FULL CIRCLE by Charles Mee
directed by Thom Pasculli

January 24, – March 14, 2015

An American woman abroad is mistakenly left holding the newborn child of the First Secretary of the Communist Party as the Berlin Wall comes crashing down. In the confusion of revolution, she decides to escape the chaos and corruption to raise the child in the safe embrace of the West. When the baby’s mother returns to challenge the true maternity of the child, CIRCLE-MACHINE paints the conflict as a question of Capitalism’s self-proclaimed supremacy in the world. Don’t miss this frenetic, World Premiere adaptation that borrows its story from FULL CIRCLE by Charles Mee, which borrows from the 13th century Chinese zaju play, “The Chalk Circle”, which also inspired Bertolt Brecht and a host of other artists throughout the ages. After receiving a 2014 Jeff Award nomination for Best New Adaptation (Core of the Pudel at Trap Door), Thom Pasculli brings his fierce style of physical theatre to Oracle for a ground-shaking look at humanity in collapse.  This frenzied new production is adapted by Emma Stanton, Nigel O’Hearn and Thom Pasculli, and features original music by Jeff Award-winning composer, Nicholas Tonozzi.

A special thanks to Mr. Mee for the encouragement.  You can support The (Re) Making Project by visiting – all of his texts are free for the public to adapt!

graphics by Evelyn DeHais

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais


Back by popular demand!
adapted and directed by Matt Foss
based on the book by Upton Sinclair
music by Nicholas Tonozzi
score by Sam Allyn
March 27 – April 25, 2015

Back by popular demand, Oracle presents this Jeff Recommended production for more Chicago audiences.  Oracle is able to remount this production through a generous legacy gift from Theatre Seven. Originally published in 1906, 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.  Matt Foss’s original adaptation confronts the squalid working conditions by focusing on the story of a small immigrant family from Lithuania, navigating what seems to be a rigged game.  Jeff Award winning composer, Nicholas Tonozzi (2014 Best Original Music for THE MOTHER at Oracle), creates a searing musical landscape infused with the Delta Blues as scored by Sam Allyn.  In 2014, the Chicago Tribune called THE JUNGLE “the hottest ticket in town”, and WBEZ podcast General Admission named it the best storefront production of the year.  Don’t miss your second chance to see this Chicago story splattered in front of you.

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais


by Suzan-Lori Parks
directed by Vanessa Stalling
June 13 – August 1, 2015

Continuing their commemoration of the anniversaries of the 13th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act, Oracle presents a visceral play by Suzan-Lori Parks.  Director Vanessa Stalling makes her Oracle debut with THE AMERICA PLAY.  Audiences are seated around “a great hole. In the middle of nowhere. The hole is an exact replica of The Great Hole of History.”  In the first act, the Foundling Father has left his wife, Lucy, and his son, Brazil, to seek greatness out west.  He, a black gravedigger, has been told that he resembles President Abraham Lincoln. This resemblance inspires him to set up a venue where people are invited to take on the role of the assassin and pretend to shoot him while he is dressed as Abraham Lincoln. In the second act, Lucy and Brazil visit the abandoned venue – “a great hole” – and search for signs of the Foundling Father.  Oracle invites audiences to participate in a patriotic ritual: a personal search for truth, history and their roots.  When they find it impossible to have a “true” history, they will receive something truly American: doubt.  THE AMERICA PLAY inspires audiences to revisit perceptions about what it means to be black in America.  By disrupting old concepts and inventing new insights, Parks’s play provokes a path to envisioning a better America.

THE AMERICA PLAY is produced in special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

Main stage premiere!
adapted and directed by Zachary Baker-Salmon
August 21 – September 20, 2015

After a very successful workshop premiere at 2014 Chicago Fringe Festival, Oracle is giving this hard-hitting, prescient play a full main stage run. In 1965, the Cambridge Union Society hosted a debate between civil rights novelist, James Baldwin, and National Review founder, William F. Buckley, Jr. The subject: Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?  THIS HOUSE BELIEVES is a theatrical enactment of the debate adapted from the source material.  Oracle presents an immersive experience adapted from an historical moment.  The debate tells a story of 1960s America focused on race and politics, but contemporary audiences will no doubt hear reverberations of our country’s current racial crises.  Company Member Jeremy Clark (2014 Jeff Nominee – Artistic Specialization) plays William F. Buckley, Jr., and is matched by Johnard Washington in the role of James Baldwin. Oracle is excited to offer this premiere during the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, the 50th anniversary of The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the 50th anniversary of the Baldwin/Buckley debate itself.

Graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”
adapted and directed by Max Truax
October 9 – November 8, 2015

Artistic Director Max Truax closes Season 5 with NO BEAST SO FIERCE, an uncanny adaptation of Shakespeare’s RICHARD III.  Truax, who was nominated for a 2014 Jeff Award for THE MOTHER (Best Director), rejoins forces with Jeff Award-winning actress Katherine Keberlein (2014 Best Actress, THE MOTHER) who will play the role of Richard III.  As adapter, Truax combines Shakespeare’s language with other source material to investigate Richard’s Machiavellian methods as the means to a more virtuous goal.  With Keberlein in command, NO BEAST SO FIERCE portrays Richard as a dangerous political strategist who seeks to take the throne for herself and forever change the political landscape.  Oracle’s dance-theatre inspired staging will explore the complexity of a world in which one must do wrong in order to achieve the greater good.

graphic by Evelyn DeHais

graphic design by Evelyn DeHais

Oracle B*Sides

Oracle B*Sides is an arts service initiative devoted to giving artists the opportunity to co-produce their work in Public Access Theatre. Produced by Oracle’s Director of Programming, David Boren, 2014 was a great year for B*Sides; PINK MILK received 4 Jeff Award nominations. 2015 promises to be even bigger and better.

Red Theater in association with Oracle B*Sides
by William Shakespeare
adapted by Janette Bauer and Aaron Sawyer
directed by Phillip Max Lewis and Aaron Sawyer

October 24 – November 22, 2015

“Let hands do what lips do.”  R+J: THE VINEYARD is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET set in 1890’s Martha’s Vineyard where a unique deaf/hearing bilingual agricultural community gave way to a budding tourism industry. Intense cultural lines are drawn between hearing and non-hearing as land, lifestyle, and livelihoods ignite the Capulet and Montague families. This beautiful and physical production is both spoken and performed in American Sign Language and intended for all audiences.

graphic design by Jen Dorman

graphic design by Jen Dorman

It is the mission of Red Theater Chicago to ask dangerous questions theatrically. With four collectives across America, the company is inspired by traditions like vaudeville, slam poetry, cinematic realism and music videos. Red Theater is committed to new works with its annual playwriting competition and is featured in the documentary Act Like Nobody’s in Trouble. For more information visit

 Oracle Film

In Season 5, 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, Oracle Film will host 4 local and nationally renowned filmmakers as part of its ongoing APERTURE SERIES.  Be on the lookout for more details as well as calls for submissions to Oracle Film festivals to be held in 2015.

Oracle is Chicago’s Award-Winning Free Theatre

Oracle’s mission is to provide everyone everywhere access to the arts.  This year, the group has been recognized for both outstanding vision and artistic excellence.  Oracle received 5 Jeff Awards for THE MOTHER, including Best Ensemble and Best Production.  In addition, members of the League of Chicago Theatres awarded Oracle with the 2014 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award.  This advocacy makes a bold statement about Chicago’s theatre community: they, too, believe everyone everywhere should have access to the arts.

Since Public Access Theatre launched in 2010, Oracle has provided free performances to over 20,000 people locally and internationally, worked with over 350 artists, and collaborated with over 60 different organizations.  Oracle has seen exponential growth through Public Access Theatre.

Executive Director Brad Jayhan-Little and Executive Producer Ben Fuchsen are focused on expanding Oracle’s mission.  “Public Access Theatre is coming up on its 5th anniversary.  Through the generosity of our sponsors as well as corporations like Broadway In Chicago and foundations like Alphawood Foundation,” says Fuchsen, “we are poised to scale up our efforts and truly demonstrate the power of free art for all.”

Brad Jayhan-Little notes, “Our mission is allowing us to make a larger and larger impact on the community.  In the coming year, our focus is on engaging new Board Members as well as other organizations who can become champions of Public Access Theatre.  We want to see other arts organizations become passionate about spreading a love for the arts through giving their audiences access.”

Oracle’s mission exemplifies each Company Member’s passion to help people.  The world deserves art.  Through theatre, film, arts service and public service, Oracle makes it possible for everyone to participate in the arts – through patronage, through production, and through philanthropy.  All performances and events are free and open to the public.  The company is constantly working on new ways to make art a regular part of people’s lives.

Don’t miss any of the exciting programs and performances in 2015!