Photo courtesy of the Going Dutch Festival by Victoria Lunacek Photography
December 2019: Elgin Art Showcase
I wrote this show with the intention of bringing old ghosts back to life. Though I wrote it as a comedy, I think what truly resonates is the overarching theme of old friends. No matter how long we may be apart, we are never truly separated. Not even by our passing on. I'm grateful for the friends I've had, and the friends I keep, and I would not be the person I am without all of them. I'm grateful to everyone who has made me laugh, been a compassionate ear, and lent their support in hard times. "Auld lang syne" translates to "time gone by," and I think it's important to remember those times. Cherish the memories, and make many more. For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne. Happy Holidays, and may your cup be full of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
James & Lark Syrris, Michael Herbold, & Greg Waldyn
A running theme throughout Poe’s poetry is dreams: the dreams that teach us, warn us, and help us to imagine a better tomorrow. Whether or not we choose to listen to our slumber muses is entirely up to us. Sometimes following your dreams isn’t easy.
I’ve learned that the Universe will test you to make sure you mean it, that you want it hard enough, and that you’re ready to fulfill your divine purpose for the few short years you have on this Earth. As the saying goes, ‘even gold must be tested by fire.’ This show has required a test of all of us.
Working with Poe demands an acknowledgment of, and appreciation for our shadow selves, the parts of us most prefer to pretend do not exist, but that, when used deliberately, and for a higher purpose, can change our lives for the better. We find our inner warriors. Rather than a forest fire, we employ a controlled burn to send what no longer serves us to ashes, and to allow our budding selves to emerge more beautiful than before.
My dream for this show has come true. My actors, creative team, and tech crew have come together to allow you all, as we have been, to be “spelled by art.”
I dedicate this show to my love, Michael Herbold, for helping me to be strong even when it hurts, to fight for my loved ones, and to love fiercely and bravely, no matter the cost.
"I'm not givin' up/ I'm not givin' up, givin' up/ No, not me/ Even when nobody else believes/ I'm not goin' down that easily/ So don't give up on me" (Andy Grammer).
Thank you, and enjoy the show,
Ben Halder (William)
Rachel Stevens (Lenore)
Tom Ochocinski (Priest)
Katrina Syrris (President)
Greg Waldyn (Wilson)
Ian Samsami (Thomas)
Johnny Hohman (Jacob)
Katrina Plonczynski (Lucy)
Rachel Metcalfe (Helen)
Katrina Syrris, Playwright, Producer & Director
Rachel Stevens, Associate Producer
Erika Knutson, Technical Director, Stage Manager
Jack Cannon, Lighting Designer
Ashlynne Ludwig, Costumer
Mitch Holland, Lighting Operator
Cory Knechtges, Crew
Michael Herbold, Crew
James Syrris, Crew
The Yellow Wallpaper
An Adaptation by Greg Oliver Bodine
Photo courtesy of the Going Dutch Festival by Doug Hanson
April 2019: Elgin Art Showcase & Stage 773
June 2019: Side Street Studio Arts, Going Dutch Festival
Charlotte Perkins Gilman came from a time when mental health concerns- especially in women- were reduced to “you’re crazy, lie down about it”. She wrote from a heart-wrenching experience in her own life, putting her career and her reputation on the line by telling a truth that so many women couldn’t tell, and trailblazing mental health conversations for decades to come (to my understanding, this story is still widely taught in curricula ranging from high school to medical school). As a woman in the twenty-first century struggling with mental illness- a much more acceptable thing now- this story touches me deeply. It is between the struggle to function and the height of psychosis that I see myself played out on the page and onstage in front of me. I find a deeper compassion for myself and my sisters-in-struggle. I feel anger, sympathy, intense passion for this character, and I know you all will, too.
It has been my esteemed honor to work with such a profoundly talented young woman, to say nothing of the stellar crew she assembled herself. I am humbled by her faith in me, by your faith in me, to pull off the staging of one of the most poignant stories ever told. The decisions we made together to tear this story apart and put it back together again were seamless, and this team has made doing the job I love that much more enjoyable, even easy. I do this out of the love and passion I have for the craft, and this production, if nothing else, has taught me a new respect for the job. This is one of the greatest projects I have undertaken so far, and I thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of it. Enjoy this masterpiece!
As always, I am humbled and honored to bring another classic to life on stage. Gilman's triumph and legacy inspire awe and profound gratitude, and I could not be more proud and grateful for the team I've had to bring this show to life. I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say that I could not do any of this without my Goodly team, and the support of my friends and loved ones. Throughout the creation of this staged production of the short story, we have had to delve deep within ourselves to bring Charlotte's story to life, to do justice to her experience, her characters, and to those who have suffered and triumphed over the status quo for the benefit of future generations. Gilman's story reminds us all that no matter the struggle, no matter how the tides are turned against us, with the help of our friends, we will prevail.
On behalf of the entire Goodly Creatures Cast and Crew, the playwright, and the original author, we thank you profoundly for sharing in this experience with us.
Katrina Syrris as Jane
Katrina Syrris, Producer & Director
Rachel Stevens, Associate Producer & Director
Rachel Metcalfe, Stage Manager
Cory Knechtges, Crew
Ashlynne Ludwig, Costumer
April 2019 & June 2019
A Review of Shakespeare's Sonnets for Modern Times
An Adaptation by Katrina Syrris
Elgin Art Showcase & Stage 773
Directing this production has been a special treat. What started as a blink of an idea was transformed and brought to life in my ensemble, a group of suburban actors who have long been worthy of a spotlight. Thanks to their fearlessness, dedication, and trust, my ensemble has brought Shakespeare's words from the Renaissance raging into the 21st century. As their director, I could not be more proud, and indeed grateful, for each and every one of them.
For you, our patrons, I am exceedingly excited for you to experience my passion project, a work meant to heal our broken hearts with the love that no one else can give, the love that resides within ourselves for ourselves. It's been said before, and I'll say it again, one can only love deeply when love emanates from within us first. In our brief time on this earth, we haven't time to waste on half-hearted, fearful love. We must choose to love deeply, and courageously, if we plan to live at all. And, in our short time to love, no love shared is ever in vain. From everyone we love, we learn. And, every one of those lessons we learn and teach, as Shakespeare so brilliantly illustrates, can in fact last the test of time for far longer than we expect to be here.
For these ninety minutes, we experience love together. In the reciprocal relationship that lies between audience and actor, I thank you for sharing yourselves with us.
"So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
Amaria Von Dran
Erika Knutson, Technical Director
Bryce Jonke, Lighting Designer
Jason Jakubaitis, Lighting Operator
2019 Elgin Literary Festival Revival
Hosted at the Hemmens Cultural Center, Organized by Side Street Studio Arts