Last week I participated in our area’s first “Women in Theatre Symposium” at Roberts Wesleyan College. It was an inspiring day filled with workshops, panel discussions and lectures centered on empowering the female voice in our industry. Most of the attendees were college students, so just imagine the possibilities as this next generation goes out into the workforce!
During the panel discussion of which I was a part, I used Geva’s current production of Other Than Honorable as an example of a new piece of theatre written and directed by women. Set inside the male-dominated world of the military and challenging the US Army’s codes of loyalty and honor, one might be surprised to learn that the playwright for Other Than Honorable is a woman. At its heart, the message of Other than Honorable is one that is very universal in its tenor. Playwright Jamie Pachino states it very succinctly: “a woman has been muted by her experience and subsequently retreated. This is her journey to find her own voice again, and then use that voice in service of others.”
Other Than Honorable is not Jamie Pachino’s first world premiere at Geva. That was Splitting Infinity in 2006. Set in the world of astrophysicists, that play sought answers to questions of faith and science, love and work, life and death. An award-winning playwright, screenwriter and television writer, Pachino’s plays have been produced in four countries, commissioned, published and awarded. Her plays have been produced and developed by such theatres as Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, American Conservatory Theatre, San Jose Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Northlight, Florida Stage, A Contemporary Theatre, and the Women’s Playwright Conference in Athens, Greece. On TV, Ms. Pachino has written for the series “Chicago PD” (NBC), “Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC), “Franklin & Bash” (TNT) and “Fairly Legal” (USA) as well as teleplays for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Hallmark Channel, Lifetime Television and UP. As a screenwriter, she has written features for DreamWorks, Disney, Vanguard Films, Walden Media, and Lions Gate. Ms. Pachino has served on the faculties of Northwestern University (her alma mater), University of California Irvine, National Louis University, Columbia College and the Chicago Academy of the Arts. She is a proud member of the WGA, The Playwrights Center, and the International Center for Women Playwrights and makes her home in Los Angeles.
Other Than Honorable is in extremely capable hands under the direction of Kimberly Senior who makes her Geva debut with this play. Cutting-edge theatre is one of Senior’s specialties – she helmed the Broadway production of Disgraced – the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Ayad Akhtar, and New York productions of Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide and The Who and The What. She has directed at Chicago’s Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight and American Blues Theatres among others. Regional credits include Sex with Strangers at LA’s Geffen Playhouse; Disgraced at the Mark Taper Forum, Berkley Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre; The Who and The What at La Jolla Playhouse; Little Gem at City Theatre; The Game’s Afoot, Murder on the Nile and A Few Good Men at Peninsula Players and Mauritius at Theatre Squared in Fayetteville, AR. Television credits include “Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide” (HBO/Funny or Die). She is the recipient of the 2016 Special Non-Equity Jeff Award for her Chicago career achievements as a trail blazer, champion and role model for emerging artists.
Featuring a stellar cast, most who are making their Geva debuts, Other Than Honorable is an empowering piece of theatre – for everyone. It promises to be one of those plays that audiences will be talking about well after they leave their seats.
Other Than Honorable begins April 25.
Photo: Jamie Pachino