Part Four: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre

This is a testimonial piece by Chicago Theatre Community member Robin Minkens, who had a multi-year experience with Trap Door Theatre, a local storefront theatre. This is a personal experience, from a single perspective. These pieces by their nature, and per our mission, are subjective by intention. *Rescripted has not independently verified the details in this testimonial. The opinions in this piece belong solely to the author.* This is not reporting, but community support. Our aim as always is to amplify those who do not have a platform, and to empower the experience of the artist. 

Editor’s Note:  Robin came to me through Facebook at the end of April because she had seen my own testimonials on social media. Robin had recorded her experience in a draft, and was wondering if her experience had merit, and if it would be beneficial to share it with others. At that time, she did not know that I was an editor, or of the existence of Rescripted. When I had read the entirety of her story, I was appalled. What captured me about Robin’s testimonial is that it is a story many of us have lived through. Emerging into a professional theatre scene with abundant hopes and dreams, only to encounter prejudice, maltreatment, and gaslighting. The commonalities in this piece are harrowing to me, because they require us to accept that the way we have been working is not ethical. The experiences we have endured are not acceptable. This piece is a death by a thousand paper cuts. I encourage you to read it to the end. This is Part One, and you can access Part Two by clicking this link

End of 2021: Revelations 

October, 2021. At this time, Trap Door was to edit their website. They asked for pictures from projects and any reviews from shows that we would like to include on our profile for us to market ourselves. I was reluctant to submit my materials, considering everything I had experienced up to this point. However, I did eventually decide to submit them. I was so proud of what I had accomplished up to that point, even with the odds being stacked against me. I chose my favorite professional photos with reviews from the shows. I sent in my photos and reviews, and the only piece of my materials that made it to my profile on the website was my bio. I did not get a response to my email with my materials. Beata has yet to return from Poland, gone since 2019. This caused me to deeply inquire about communication practices at Trap Door.  Continue reading “Part Four: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre”

Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre

This is a testimonial piece by Chicago Theatre Community member Robin Minkens, who had a multi-year experience with Trap Door Theatre, a local storefront theatre. This is a personal experience, told from a single perspective. These pieces by their nature, and per our mission, are subjective by intention. *Rescripted has not independently verified the details in this testimonial. The opinions in this piece belong solely to the author. This is not reporting, but community support. Our aim as always is to amplify those who do not have a platform, and to empower the experience of the artist. 

Editor’s Note:  Robin came to me through Facebook at the end of April because she had seen my own testimonials on social media. Robin had recorded her experience in a draft, and was wondering if her experience had merit, and if it would be beneficial to share it with others. At that time, she did not know that I was an editor, or of the existence of Rescripted. When I had read the entirety of her story, I was appalled. What captured me about Robin’s testimonial is that it is a story many of us have lived through. Emerging into a professional theatre scene with abundant hopes and dreams, only to encounter prejudice, maltreatment, and gaslighting. The commonalities in this piece are harrowing to me, because they require us to accept that the way we have been working is not ethical. The experiences we have endured are not acceptable. This piece is a death by a thousand paper cuts. I encourage you to read it to the end. This is Part One, and you can access Part Two by clicking this link. 

This post is to share my experience, from the point of view of a woman of color, born and raised on the south side of Chicago, working at Trap Door Theatre. I have had the privilege of working at a variety of theaters in the Chicagoland area since graduating in 2017. The extra layer of education that comes with applying what you have learned in college is very helpful, but there is no rehearsal for the real world and its surprises. This is an outline of blatant neglect and unprofessionalism, the story of how a theatre company played a game with my trauma and forged an alliance with the person who violated my boundaries. The telling of how a theater company could not have your best interest at heart if it gets in the way of their power, ability to control you, and their egos. These events have taken place over the course of three years. 

I would hear about Trap Door rarely casting people of color, but I figured I had survived a predominantly white conservatory B.F.A theatre program, and a semester in Moscow, Russia. This would be an opportunity to grow in my artistry. After much contemplation, I learned that this is much bigger than myself.  I was very hurt by these circumstances, but what about future aspiring artists moving to Chicago, possibly fresh out of their collegiate career? 

I have been taught to journal my entire life, and after reflecting on my journal entries regarding Trap Door I realized something was very wrong. There has been a theme that Black women are strong and do not experience the same level of pain and trauma as other ethnicities- this is a common misconception black women face in most institutions. This is a warning to people of color, for what I am about to tell you can happen anywhere. 

From my experience, I learned that this company abused their power and my emotional tolerances. My dream with Trap Door turned out to be a nightmare, where I learned what I was willing to tolerate for my artistic passions. I have experienced deliberate gaslighting, assault, sabotage from my peers and leadership, accompanied by poor communication and malicious gossip. Continue reading “Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre”

Defending Against the Indefensible: ‘How to Defend Yourself’ at Victory Gardens Theater

When I stepped into How To Defend Yourself, Lilliana Padilla’s brilliant new play making its Chicago premier at Victory Gardens Theater, I thought I knew where this story would end before it had even begun. In the wake of their friend’s sexual assault, a few college students, all from different social groups, gather to hold a self-defense workshop. Naturally, I assumed, the girls would learn to respect each other for their differences and become friends, the workshop would help them to feel empowered in their bodies, and we would walk away feeling that the unifying force of our girl power is enough to take on the dark underbelly of the patriarchy. Of course, that’s never how it feels in real life. And this play, directed with care and consciousness by Marti Lyons, honors a truth far more painful and real. How To Defend Yourself is a dismantling of the stories that women tell to each other and to ourselves about how to safely walk through the world.

Continue reading “Defending Against the Indefensible: ‘How to Defend Yourself’ at Victory Gardens Theater”

Chicago Theatre Community Space for Healing, September 28th. CW: Assault

Content Warning: Sexual assault, Abuse, Sexual assault prevention

Members of The Chicago Theatre Community have created space this Saturday for the community to begin the process of healing in the wake of community member Joel Ewing’s arrest for sexual assault.

The space will be held at Victory Gardens’ upstairs Richard Christensen Theater, Saturday Sept 28th from 1-3pm at 2433 N Lincoln Ave.

In the organizers’ words: “This is not a panel or lecture, but an open conversation about how to support and heal our community and those affected. Experienced Sexual Assault Prevention Educators will be there to help guide the discussion if needed.”

The counselors are trained, and they are part of this resource and framework intended to empower and center community members who have been affected and are interested in beginning the healing journey, together.

See the organizers’ post below for more details: