A young man battles an office full of malevolent puppets in the Ruckus Theater’s upcoming world premiere of Little Triggers

Allison Shoemaker directs a cast of eight actors and puppeteers in Dan Caffrey’s new play at the Side Project Theatre, starting January 12


Chicago, IL – The Ruckus Theater is making some noise with its upcoming world premiere production of Little Triggers by Daniel Caffrey, directed by Ruckus Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker. Martin battles an office full of malevolent puppets as he navigates the terrors of his office job and his creative writing. Kevin Lambert stars as the office hero, alongside a cast of Chicago theater favorites and Ruckus regulars. Little Triggers is performed at The Side Project Theatre January 12-Feburary 12, 2012. All performances are at 8:00pm. Preview tickets are $10. General Tickets are $15. A complete performance schedule including dates, times, and tickets prices appear at the end of this release.

“As big believers in Dan’s work and the power of theatre to transport, challenge, and surprise us, we of the Ruckus couldn’t be more thrilled about Little Triggers and its remarkable cast of puppet and humanoid life forms,” said Ruckus Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker. “The play brings to life fears of unfriendly foreign beings and things that go bump in the night, along with the terror that accompanies staring down one’s adult life and knowing art and practicality don’t always mix.”

Once upon a dark and blustery Christmas Eve, a young man named Martin (Kevin Lambert) sits waiting. He’s already said goodnight to his boss, Mr. Bahnson (Rob Grabowski) and the office is almost quiet. In the corner of the office, a printer spits, smokes and hisses in a way that would seem malevolent if Martin didn’t know better. He waits for the repairman (Neal Starbird), and watches the clock tick, and wonders what it is that he’s doing with his life. Little does he know that before the evening’s out, a series of mysterious strangers, including a mysterious character from his past (Derek Van Barham), will force him to confront his ideas about success, happiness, and failure–and they’re starting with what’s hidden in the back of his drawer. In Little Triggers, Martin has to find the through-line for his story, and he had better do it fast, because the snow won’t stop falling, and the printer’s out for blood.

Playwright Dan Caffrey is the Artistic Director of Tympanic Theatre Company, which he founded in 2006 after moving to Chicago. As a playwright, his work has been produced by ARFTCO, Chicago Dramatists, Dramatis Personae, Dream Theatre, Hobo Junction, Infusion Theatre, MOB Productions, The Rough House, Tympanic and WildClaw. This year, his play Orange Orbs opens Tympanic’s 2011/2012 season. He has directed for Tympanic, iO and the side project, and helmed The Ruckus’ world premiere musical Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir. He occasionally acts, appearing this year in Brooke Allen’s [REDACTED] series and in The Ruckus’ workshop of Dumb Angel, and is a Staff Writer for the music publication Consequence Of Sound (consequenceofsound.net).

Director Allison Shoemaker is the Artistic Director of The Ruckus Theater, which she founded in 2006 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Directing credits for The Ruckus include 15 Minutes, The Gay American, Heist Play and Brooke Allen’s [REDACTED] series. In addition to working with playwrights as a director and dramaturg, Allison has created Play (for Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It), Three Lennon Fugue (The Mill Theatre), Mercatorie (ElvisBride 3D), and rock and roll madcap happenings for the band Not Blood, Paint. She appeared in Scott T. Barsotti’s Jet Black Chevrolet (Curious Theatre Branch), and will direct for Tympanic Theatre’s Deliver Us From Nowhere and the storytelling series You’re Being Ridiculous. When not fighting for truth, justice and the right of the playwright to revise in the rehearsal room, Allison writes things; her work has appeared in Contrary, Commonline, The Pedestal, Admit2, Barnwood and 42opus.

The cast of Little Triggers includes Kevin Lambert as Martin; Rob Grabowski as Mr. Bahnson; Neal Starbird as The Man in Coveralls; and Derek Van Barham as The Old Man in Floss. Puppeteers include Stevie Chaddock Lambert, Jennifer Roehm, Liz Goodson, and Suzanne Keyes. Creative team includes Scenic Designer Clay Barron; Puppet Designers Casey Bentley, David Krofta, Frank Sjodin, and Ashley Ann Woods; Lighting Designers Christine Grodecki and Janna Webber; Sound Designer Palmer Jenkins; Technical Director Ruth McCormack; Costume Designer Ashley Ann Woods; Stage Manager Lizzy Powers; Assistant Stage Manager Ellie Wasserman; Fight Choreographer Chris Acevedo; Dramaturg Matt Test; Associate Artistic Director Joshua Davis, Production Manager/Assistant Director Brian Ruby, and Casting Director Timo Aker.

Tickets to Little Triggers are $10 for previews and $15 for the run. Tickets may be purchased online at ruckustheater.org or by phone at 773.769.RCKS (7257).


About The Ruckus Theater

Founded by an industrious group of Michigan ex-pats, The Ruckus is composed of actors, directors, playwrights, musicians, casting directors, publicity managers, grant writers, baristas, grad students, poets, computer fixers, appointment-makers and census-takers who aim to create a new kind of company—a casteless theater that blends the lines between playwright and actor, audience and company member. The Ruckus Theater is led by Artistic Director Allison Shoemaker, Associate Artistic Director Joshua Davis and a company and ensemble of nineteen.

We’re here to create, to examine, to invent, to explode—to create a ruckus. The Ruckus develops new work and the artists who create that work. Our ensemble breaks down the walls of traditional methods to nurture new plays and challenge exceptional artists. We believe in creating our process for every project from the ground up. We commit to the growth of our ensemble, the artists we collaborate with, and the plays we develop. We aim to deepen the cultural bedrock of our community by giving megaphones to new voices and by making theater affordable. By fostering conversations that rip through the curtain, we aim to lead both artist and audience down an unexpected path with art that doesn’t play by the rules.

See how we make a ruckus all over the internet on our blog, iruckus.blogspot.com; like us at facebook.com/theruckustheater; view our photostream at flickr.com/ruckustheater; follow our tweets at twitter.com/ruckustheater; and spend hours at youtube.com/theruckustheater.