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The Island Post-Show Speakers

Audio of post-show dicussions hosted by Chicago Public Radio's Chicago Amplified.


February 3, 2010: Ken Berry

Headshot: Ken Berry Ken Berry is a senior litigation paralegal in Winston and Strawn’s Chicago office. Mr. Berry conducts legal research, case review and analysis, and assists attorneys with case strategy, preparation, and trials. Mr. Berry was acquitted in 2000 after spending eight years in prison due to a wrongful conviction. During that time he taught GED classes, continued his own education, studied the law, and assisted other inmates in legal matters. With the pro bono assistance of Winston & Strawn, Mr. Berry's conviction was reversed, and he was granted a new trial by the United States District Court in 1999, on the grounds that his trial attorney had provided constitutionally deficient representation. He subsequently proved his innocence at a re-trial before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Since his exoneration, Mr. Berry has participated in numerous public interest and pro bono matters. He has also been involved in non-profit activities that address correctional facilities issues and civil rights violations.

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February 4, 2010: Lisa Wagner

Headshot: Lisa Wagner Lisa founded the Stillpoint Theatre Collective in 1993, motivated by a strong desire to combine ministry and theatre. For over fifteen years, she has toured the country and overseas with Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day. While researching the play, she met the St. Catherine of Genoa Catholic Worker community. After volunteering in the house for six months, she became a full-time Catholic Worker, and lived in the community for two years. Ten years ago, Lisa began a theatre program for women at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), and recently expanded the program to two other Illinois institutions. Lisa is also the founder and co-director of The Imagination Workshop, a theatre company for adults with developmental disabilities based at Esperanza Community Services. The company has produced original theatre works for over fifteen years.

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February 5, 2010: Chuck Smith

Headshot: Chuck Smith Chuck is one of Goodman Theatre's resident directors and an associate producer of Legacy Productions, a Chicago based touring company. His other directing credits include productions at ETA, Black Ensemble Theater, Northlight Theatre, MPAACT, Congo Square Theatre Company, The New Regal Theater, Kuumba Theatre Company, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Pegasus Players, the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, IL, the Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix, AZ, and the New Federal Theatrein New York. Mr. Smith is a 2003 inductee into the Chicago State University Gwendolyn Brooks Center’s Literary Hall of Fame and a 2001 Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year. He is the proud recipient of the 1982 Paul Robeson Award and the 1997 Award of Merit presented by the Black Theater Alliance of Chicago. He is currently a board member of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago.

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February 6, 2010: Jennifer Marsch

Headshot: Jennifer Marsch Jennifer is an attorney at Smith, Johnson, & Antholt, a civil rights law firm in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Jennifer concentrates her practice on cases where police officers have abused their official power. Her recent successes include helping secure a six-figure verdict for a young man who was falsely arrested and charged for a crime that he did not commit.

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February 7, 2010: James Bohnen

Headshot: James Bohnen James is the director of The Island, and Artistic Director and co-founder of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. He has directed many plays for the company, including the Jeff-nominated Heroes earlier this season. For 13 years he has worked with the Tony nominated American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where he will direct The Circle by W. Somerset Maugham this summer.

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February 11, 2010: Jeff Leys

Headshot: Jeff Leys Jeff is Co-Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He has engaged in campaigns of nonviolent civil disobedience for the past 30 years, including a two year prison term in the mid-1980’s for damaging the Navy’s Project ELF as a symbolic act of disarmament. In 2007, he coordinated the Occupation Project campaign that resulted in over 400 arrests in the offices of over 42 Representatives and Senators who did not commit to vote against Iraq and Afghanistan war funding. Leys traveled to Baghdad in February 2003 on a peace delegation and returned to Iraq for two weeks in November 2003.

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February 12, 2010: Kelli Marino

Headshot: Kelli Marino Kelli is the Fugard Chicago 2010 Staff Writer for Timeline Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, and Court Theatre. She is also dramaturging Timeline’s “Master Harold”…and the boys and Remy Bumppo's The Island. Since moving to Chicago a year ago, Kelli has worked as Production Manager for American Blues Theatre, Mosaic Program Coordinator and an Education Intern at American Theater Company, Marketing Intern and Dramaturg for Remy Bumppo’s production of Old Times, and Assistant Director for Northlight Theatre Academy’s production of Esperanza Rising. Her favorite dramaturg credits outside of Chicago include Candide (Arizona Repertory Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Arizona Theatre Company), God’s Man in Texas (Little Theatre of the Rockies), Tartuffe (Arizona Repertory Theatre), Reckless and Scapin (University of Northern Colorado). Kelli holds a M.A. in Theatre Studies from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in Theatre Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and is a proud member of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson A/T Team!

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February 13, 2010: Andrea Dymond

Headshot: Andrea Dymond Andrea is Resident Director at Victory Gardens Theater, where she most recently directed the Chicago premiere of Blue Door, by Tanyan Barfield and the world premiere of Year Zero, by Michael Golamco, which was part of the Ignition project and the inaugural production in Victory Gardens’ new studio theater. Andrea has worked in new play development for most of her twenty-plus years in Chicago and was a Theater Communications Group New Generations Grant recipient, as well as speaker at the 2009 TCG NationalConference. She was Co-Artistic Director of American Blues Theater (now ATC) and Artistic Associate at City Lit Theatre Company, where her directing work included the long-running production Coffee Will Make You Black. Andrea is in her third year of teaching in the theatre department of Columbia College Chicago.

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February 14, 2010: Charles Tucker

Headshot: Charles Tucker Major General (Retired) Charles E. Tucker (USAF) is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Law Institute. For more than 25 years, he has been an international rule of law and humanitarian law practitioner. He was routinely seconded to the US State Department and various International Organizations. He served multiple tours of duty with the United Nations in various countries and served as Economic and Legal Adviser for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also served as an International Law Adviser in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense. Additionally, he served as Legal Adviser for the US Ambassador in Iraq, as well as for State Department and DOD missions in Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Central and South America. He was named the Air National Guard’s Outstanding Judge Advocate. In his civilian capacity, he served as a Senior Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, where he oversaw the NLRB General Counsel’s adjudication of complex labor rights cases.

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February 17, 2010: Willa Taylor

Headshot: Willa Taylor Willa J. Taylor is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She created the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program for Arena Stage in Washington, DC; designed the arts education program for the inaugural season of the New Victory Theater in New York City, the city’s first theater for children; and developed educational materials for the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank starring Natalie Portman. Ms. Taylor taught English and American Literature at New York’s Harvey Milk High School, and has lectured on Theater for Social Change at colleges around the country. A US Navy veteran, Ms Taylor served for 12 years as a Russian-Arabic linguist. While overseas, she produced USO shows in Greece and ran the radio station in Turkey where she created the Profiles in Black history series for Armed Forces Radio and Television. She has an MFA in Film from American University and a culinary degree from Kendall College.

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February 18, 2010: Jane Ramsey

Headshot: Jane Ramsey Jane Ramsey’s extraordinary vision and lifelong commitment to social change has made the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs a model for Jewish social justice organizations across the country. As JCUA’s executive director for 30 years, Ms. Ramsey bases her work on Judaic principles of justice, organizing coalitions of diverse groups to address homelessness, community displacement; worker and immigrant rights; racism and anti-Semitism. In 2009, Ms. Ramsey was named by the Forward newspaper as one of "The Forward 50," an annual list of people who are making a difference in the American Jewish community.

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February 19, 2010: H. Candace Gorman

Headshot: H. Candace Gorman H. Candace Gorman served on the Board of Directors and as president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; the Board of Directors for the Federal Bar Association in the Northern District of Illinois; the Merit Selection Panel for United States Magistrates; the Task Force Planning Committee for the Illinois Supreme Court’s Study of Gender Bias in the Courtroom; and was also the legislative chair and commissioner on the Chicago Commission on Women. Attorney Gorman handles both individual and class action lawsuits for Plaintiffs under the various civil rights and human rights statutes and anti-discrimination laws. Gorman is currently handling habeas corpus petitions for two detainees who are being held at Guantanamo bay and has visited her clients at the prison more than twenty times. Attorney Gorman lectures and writes on the subjects of human rights, civil rights and about her experience in representing Guantanamo detainees.

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February 20, 2010: Henry Godinez (Matinee Performance)

Headshot: Hanrey Godinez Born in Havana Cuba, Mr. Godinez is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University and has served as a sight evaluator and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Illinois Arts Council, and the Evanston Arts Council. He is the recipient of the 1999 TCG Alan Schneider Directing Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and was recognized as the 2008 Latino Professional of the Year by the Chicago Latino Network. He is the resident artistic associate at the Goodman and curator of the Goodman's Latino Theatre Festival. He is also the co-founder of Teatro Vista and served as artistic director for its first five years.

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February 20, 2010: Ron OJ Parson (Evening Performance)

Headshot: Ron OJ Parson Ron hails from Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of the professional theatre program of the University of Michigan. He is the cofounder and former artistic director of the Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago, and currently a resident artist at Court Theatre in Hyde Park. He has worked with such Chicago theatres as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago Theatre Company, Eclipse Theatre Company, Congo Square Theatre Company, City Lit Theater Company, Urban Theater Company and a variety of arts in education programs. Regionally Parson has directed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage Company, Virginia Stage Company, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, New York’s Signature Theatre Company, Centerstage and directed the world premiere of Palmer Park at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. Most recently he directed Court Theatre’s Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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February 21, 2010: David Fuder

Headshot: David Fuder David Fuder is a teacher at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, where he has taught eighth grade English for eight years. An educator who blends his passion for activism and awareness into his teaching, Fuder centers much of his curriculum on the subject of identity while introducing students to novels that deal with issues of race, class, and gender to broaden students’ minds and challenge their thinking. He and another colleague founded and oversee Parker’s high school anti-genocide STAND chapter, which helps raise awareness about Darfur, and works with students to bring that message to the city of Chicago through protests, rallies, and planned events. Fuder traveled to South Africa in the summer of 2009 on a grant from Parker to study the history of apartheid and its effects on the current educational system in South Africa. He is a coach, writer, husband, and father of two young girls, and makes his home in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

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February 24, 2010: Doug Cassel

Headshot: Doug Cassel Doug is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow, and director of the Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights. Mr. Cassel has worked as a consultant to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the United States Department of State, and the Ford Foundation. He lectures worldwide and his articles are published internationally in English and Spanish. His commentaries on human rights are published in the Chicago Tribune and broadcast weekly on National Public Radio in Chicago. Cassel is also featured in the Oscar-award winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, which examines the use of torture and other harsh techniques in the “war against terror.”

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February 25, 2010: James Thindwa

Headshot: James Thindwa James is a 28-year veteran of political activism. He joined Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS) in June 2009. His work involves building civic and political support toward the effort to organize charter school teachers. Prior to that, Thindwa served as executive director of Chicago Jobs With Justice, a labor-community coalition that promotes workers rights. During the 1970’s and 1980’s Thindwa participated as a student leader in the anti-apartheid movement. His other endeavors include serving on the boards of Illinois Labor History Society, In These Times magazine, where he is also a writer, and CAN TV. On March 2009, Thindwa was the featured subject on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal.

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February 26, 2010: Lisa Brock

Headshot: Lisa Brock Lisa Brock, Ph.D. is an activist and Chairperson of the Department of Liberal Education at Columbia College Chicago. She graduated Magna cum Laude from Howard University in Washington D.C. in 1979 where she received her BA. She received both her MA (1983) and Ph.D. (1989) in southern African history from Northwestern University. Her activism dates back to her primary and secondary school years (1960s-70s) where she fought against segregation and for black studies and girls' rights in the public schools of Cincinnati Ohio; and her undergraduate years (1970s) where she became very well known as an anti-racist activist while at Howard University. She served in the leadership of the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement and could be seen often on the Chicago PBS's nightly TV political roundtable called "Chicago Tonight". She also served as co-chair of the final local anti-apartheid effort, which facilitated Chicago observer participation in the 1994 South African elections. She, herself, had been an observer in the Angolan elections of 1992. She was the founder of the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection held at the Columbia College Chicago archives. Materials from those archives have been loaned to Remy Bumppo during the run of the Island and are mounted in the lobby.

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February 27, 2010: Alice Kim and Erica R. Meiners

Headshot: Alice KimAlice Kim is an activist, writer and cultural organizer. She is involved with a wide-range of movement-building social justice initiatives including ARC (A Movement Re-imagining Change), Ella’s Daughters and Illinois Community Justice. She works with prisoners and their family members to work towards death penalty and prison abolition. She is on the editorial board of In These Times magazine and the advisory board of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University. She is the director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, which creates spaces for public conversations about cultural, social and political issues. She also teaches a course on gender at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Erica R. Meiners is involved with a number of local and national initiatives linked to justice, specifically anti-militarization campaigns, prison abolition and reform movements, and queer and immigrant rights. Most recently, she has worked as co-author with Therese Quinn of Flaunt It! Queers in the struggle for public education and justice. She is also the author of Right to be hostile: Schools, prisons and the making of public enemies. She is a member of Project 8, a feminist collective creating pathways for undocumented youth to access education, and a teacher/coordinator at St. Leonard’s Adult High School for men and women who have been incarcerated. She is also a Professor of Education and Women's Studies at Northeastern Illinois University, a unionized urban public institution.

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March 4, 2010: Marc Van Overbeke

Headshot: Marc Van OverbekeMarc is Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Professor VanOverbeke's research focuses on the history of education and on educational policy. Specifically, he is interested in the history of educational access and opportunity. His most recent work explored the interconnectedness of secondary and higher education at the turn of the twentieth century and the ways in which these connections influenced access to college. He currently is continuing this line of inquiry by researching the history of state colleges and universities in the post-World War II decades. These institutions forged important connections with secondary schools that allowed them to enroll more students and contribute to the expansion of educational opportunities in the post-war years.

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March 5, 2010: Basil Clunie

Headshot: Basil ClunieBasil Clunie was born in New York to parents from Jamaica, and graduated from City College of New York with a degree in International Relations, specializing in Africa. He continued graduate education at Northwestern University and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Basil has been an activist in Anti-Apartheid and African liberation support since 1961. He worked with university and NGO groups in New York until 1968 when he came to Evanston. Basil was Co-Chair of the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa from its inception through the first free elections in South Africa, where he led an international team of election observers in the Eastern Cape Province. Basil was an administrator at Northwestern before going to Chicago State University as program administrator for the Joint Honors Program in International Studies, between scholars of color at Chicago State University and the University of Minnesota. At present he co-teaches a course in Colonialism and Decolonization in Africa at Columbia College in Chicago.

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