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‘A Swell In The Ground’ playing now through Dec. 10

The Gift Theatre concludes its 2017 season with the world premiere of Janine Nabers’ time-hopping love story “A Swell In The Ground” directed by ensemble member Chika Ike, playing now through December 10, 2017 at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting

In intimate rooms throughout New York, four friends from college fight through 17 years of love affairs, shattered dreams and compromised lives. Flipping back and forth through time like a photo book, this play – whose title is from a line of Emily Dickinson poetry – is equally breathtaking and heartbreakingly spare as Olivia, Nate, Abigail and Charles try to reconcile the lives they imagined with the lives they live.

“A Swell In The Ground” features ensemble members Keith Neagle as Nate and Darci Nalepa as Abigail, with guest artists Sydney Charles as Olivia and Andrew Muwonge as Charles.

The production team for “A Swell In The Ground” includes: Eleanor Kahn (scenic design), Rachel Lambert (costume design), Eric Watkins (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Ellie Terrell (props design), Gaby Labotka (violence/intimacy design), Smooch Medina (video/ projections design) and Corine James (stage manager).

Houston native playwright, Janine Nabers, is a 2013 graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at Juilliard and winner of the 2014 Yale Drama Series Prize for her play “Serial Black Face.” She currently writes for Lifetime’s “Unreal” and “Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” under Marti Noxon. Janine is working on commissions from Primary Stages, the Alley Theatre, and Hartford Stage. Her new musical “Mrs. Hughes” was developed as the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival fellowship musical and was part of the 2013 Yale Institute for Musical Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club’s 7@7 series, and the Theatreworks New Works Now Festival.

Chika Ike, the director, is a Gift ensemble member, where she also served as the​ assistant director of “The Royal Society of Antarctica.” Ike has worked artistically with many Chicago and regional theatre companies, including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens, American Blues Theatre Company, Eclipse Theatre, and Prologue Theatre Company. She is a former SDCF Gielgud Fellow, a member of the inaugural Victory Garden’s Directors Inclusion Initiative class, and the 2016-2017 Berkeley Repertory Theatre Bret C. Harte Directing Fellow.

The Gift’s 16th season consists of three world premieres and kicked off in February with Mona Mansour’s war-torn drama “Unseen,” directed by ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner, followed by Claire Kiechel’s “Pilgrims,” co-directed by ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton and guest artist Jessica Thebus. The season closes with Janine Nabers’ time-hopping love story “A Swell in the Ground,” directed by ensemble member Chika Ike.


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