The Gulf

The Gulf poster

Written by Audrey Cefaly
Directed by AFT Artistic Director Megan Carney
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins

January 9 – February 15, 2020
Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

In the middle of a river and long past the middle of their relationship, Kendra and Betty are struggling with where their life together will go next. On a muggy summer evening somewhere down in the Alabama Delta, the two women troll the flats looking for redfish. As tensions flare over disagreements, past infidelities, life-choices, and job struggles, the couple must grapple with whether they can truly overcome the space between them. THE GULF won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Drama, the David Calicchio American Playwright Prize, and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival.

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Meet the Artists

Audrey Cefaly headshot

Audrey Cefaly (Playwright) is a southern writer and Alabama native based in the DC region. Her plays include The Gulf, Alabaster, Maytag Virgin, The Last Wide Open, The Story of Walter (adaptation of her podcast by the same name), and Love is a Blue Tick Hound (a collection of award-winning one-acts). She has developed plays with the National New Play Network, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Signature Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse (New Territories), Aurora Theatre, Florida Rep, Theater Alliance, Quotidian Theatre Company, University of Alabama – Birmingham, and Contemporary American Theater Festival. Cefaly is a member of the 2019 Playwrights’ Arena cohort at Arena Stage and was recently named a Traveling Master by the Dramatist Guild Foundation. She is an outspoken proponent of silence in story-telling and has authored numerous articles on the topic of playwriting for HowlRound and Samuel French’s Breaking Character Magazine.

Headshot: Megan Carney

Megan Carney (Director) is a director, playwright, and teaching artist, and the Artistic Director of About Face Theatre. Recent Chicago directing credits include Time is On Our Side (About Face); Winter, Grizzly Mama, Danielle Pinnock’s Body/Courage, American Wee Pie, and The Walls (Rivendell). Megan has written several plays based on true stories, including WOMEN AT WAR, based on 75 interviews with women in the military (Rivendell); OPEN SYSTEMS, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Goodman Theatre); Let Them Eat Cake, about marriage equality (Dixon Place, NYC); and multiple large ensemble plays with About Face Youth Theatre, which she co-founded. Megan’s work in theatre and community building has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction into Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame, and a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant. Megan served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she developed public arts-based programs and led interactive workshops. She is a certified mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution, earned an MFA in Theatre with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue from Virginia Tech as well as a BA from Kalamazoo College, where her ideas about art as a tool for social justice and activism began to take shape.

Headshot: Kelli Simpkins

Kelli Simpkins (actor) ) is a theater, film and television actor. She has been a company member of NYC’s Tectonic Theater Project since 1999. She is one of the original creators/dramaturges/performers of The Laramie Project and appeared in HBO’s The Laramie Project, for which she and fellow company members share a Humanitas Prize and an Emmy nomination. She is a Tectonic Moment Work teaching artist and has led training labs throughout the country. She co-wrote, directed and devised an original play with students at Western Michigan University called GOOD DEATH, which was subsequently performed at the Kennedy Center’s Region III American College Theatre Festival. Kelli is a contributing writer to the forthcoming book Moment Work – Tectonic Theater Project’s Process of Devising Theater, which will be published and available in April 2018. After living in New York for fifteen years, Kelli relocated to Chicago. She has worked in Chicago at Steppenwolf Theatre, The Goodman, American Theater Company, Timeline, Victory Gardens, and About Face Theater, where she is also an artistic associate. She returns to NYC frequently to perform and to devise and develop work with longtime artistic collaborators. Kelli is represented by NYC manager Jodi Schoenbrun Carter at 1022m Management. She is a proud recipient of the 2013 3ARTS award.