The Right Brain Project

Where Passion Plays



Show Dates

March 19th - April 11th
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm

Additional Performance:
Monday, April 6th at 8pm

Suggested Donation $20 for adults, $15 for students and industry professionals (with headshot/resume/business card)


The Illusion will be presented at the Right Brain Project, located at 4001 N. Ravenswood, at the intersection of Irving Park and Ravenswood, on the northeast side of the Metra tracks. There is usually lot parking available for no charge.

Plagued with regret, a wealthy man travels a great distance seeking the mysterious sorceress Alcandre, in the hopes that her ancient and strange arts can provide him a glimpse of his estranged son. He gets more than he bargained for when Alcandre's cave comes alive an he is asked to be a silent spectator to three unique visions of young love, melodrama, double-crossing, and tragedy. Thus begins Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th century play L'Illusion Comique and the Right Brain Project's tenth anniversary season of epic minimalism.                

Why The Illusion?
Nathan Robbel (Director):
 We want to start our tenth season by reflecting on where we've been, what works well for us, and really attempting to execute those things better than we ever have. While the subject matter of Kushner's script is lighter than a lot of our previous fare, it's a celebration of storytelling that really gets right to the heart of our mission statement. Kushner explores reality versus perception, interpretation of events, and most importantly, the delicate relationship between storyteller and the audience. By observing characters acting as spectators as much as we are, we are asked to reflect on our own relationship with storytelling and consider the art of misdirection for the sake of hitting deeper emotional chords. Plus, the script is terribly amusing, combining equal parts light-hearted comedy and dark mysteries of enchantment.  

What will it look like?
 In Kushner's update of Corneille's play, the script retains a feeling of the time in which the original was penned. That being said, its themes are timeless, so it gives us permission to pull inspiration from many sources to create our own unique world. The play begins in a cave, much like where we imagine our ancestors spinning ancient tales. A mysterious sorceress whose motives are in question, along with her mute assistant, thrust us into stories of young lovers in the garden, mad men on horseback thirsty for power, and adulterous affairs in the deep, dark woods. Kushner presents us with scenarios and images that live in our collective consciousness and continue to intrigue us. With the help of (Jeff Award winning set designer) Katie-Bell Springmann, and costume designer Megan Merrill, we are creating a unique world that feels strangely familiar - like we've been here before, but can't put our finger on when. 

What else? 
NR: Magic! I refuse to give anything else away... 


Elizabeth Bagby, Stevie Chaddock, Liz Goodson*, Alex Levin, Rush Marler*, Jared McDaris, Joseph Ramski*, and Nate White

Production Team: 

Director:  Nathan Robbel*
Stage Manager:  Krista Reeves*
Set Design:  Katie-Bell Springmann
Lighting Design:  Eric Vigo
Sound Design:  Stephan Gawrit
Magic Design:  Brett Schneider
Fight Director: Bill Daniel

*Denotes RBP Company Member/Associate

Elizabeth Bagby (Elicia/Lyse/Clarina) is a company member of Strange Tree Group, with whom she has performed in The Dead Prince, Goodbye Cruel World, The Spirit Play, The War Plays, Hey! Mr. Spaceman!, and The Mysterious Elephant. She also wrote and performed music for STG's Shakespeare's King Phycus and The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen (Best of NY Fringe, 2014). Other recent work: The Penelopiad (Lost Geneva), The Next Thing (Signal Ensemble), and performances with The Ruckus, the side project, and GreatWorks. Previously with the Right Brain Project: Chalk, The Designated Mourner, Franz Kafka's The Castle. Bagby studied physical theater at the Accademia dell'Arte and continues her training at the Actor's Gymnasium and Joel Hall Dance Center. Last fall, she was one of 27 international artists selected for a three-week residency on a tall-mast ship in the Arctic Circle. She plays bass on the upcoming album from The Unswept, and her own full-length album (backed by the Baguettes) comes out later this year.

Stevie Chaddock (Melibea/Isabelle/Hippolyta)  is very excited to be working with the Right Brain Project for the first time. She is an Associate Artistic Director of The Ruckus and an artistic associate with Tympanic Theatre. Recently, Stevie premiered the film Terrible Love at the Austin Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Some of her Chicago credits include: Brewed by Scott T. Barsotti, The Strange by Jenny Magnus, 15 Minutes (The Ruckus), Sandlewood (Tympanic), We Three (the side project), Smudge, and In the Jungle of Cities (Ka-Tet Theatre). She's also excited to be working with Redtwist and WildClaw later this spring. Thank you to Nathan and love to her family.

Liz Goodson (Alcandre) is thrilled to be working with the RBP again, and be able to try her hand at magic. You may have seen her this past summer as Don Armado in Love's Labour's Lost here at the RBP. Before that at Rhino Fest performing in The Ruckus' production of Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It, as well as the RBP's production of Salome. She is also an avid mask maker whose work has been featured in theaters in Chicago and Michigan. She is thrilled to be working with such a classy and talented group of individuals. Thanks again to the RBP, my friends and family for all of their support.

Alex Levin (Pleribo/Adraste/Prince Floralame) is thrilled to be making his first appearance with the Right Brain Project. In Chicago, Alex has also been seen in The Brig (Mary-Arrchie), They Are Dying Out (Trap Door), The President (Oracle Productions), Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Eclectic), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Fury). He has also worked with Oracle Theatre's outreach program for a number of different Radio Movement shows. His Los Angeles credits include The Chinese Massacre (Annotated) (Circle X Theatre), Hyperbole: Origins (Rogue Artists Ensemble), The Kentucky Cycle, Out of Thin Air, Festen, Current Nobody, and Hamlet: The  Artist Formerly Known as the Prince of Denmark (Cal Rep). Alex received his MFA in Acting from CSU Long Beach and BAs in Drama and English from the University of Virginia.

Jared McDaris (Matamore) is the Artistic Director of the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, where he has directed and performed in over thirty productions since 2010 (visit to view our current season). This is Jared's third project with the RBP: he appeared as a singer (Kokol) in their 2011 production of Marat/Sade, and in 2014 directed Love's Labours Lost for their Labours of Love Galleria. He has also written four children's shows for EDGE Theatre, including Almost Got Him Sherlock and most recently A Steampunk Christmas Carol. His Elizabethan-style comedy A Thousand Times Goodnight premiered in Milwaukee in 2013, and will receive its Chicago debut this Summer, if all goes well. In August, you can see Jared as Sandy Moffet the Scottish innkeeper in Dead Writers' The Judas Kiss. In October, he is hoping to premier his bloody Elizabethan-style History-play Countess Bathory, in repertory with Liz Shipe's The Importance of Being Ernest Frankenstein, also a world premier. It's a very ambitious year for Jared, and he owes his good fortune in no small part to Christopher Elst and Marcee Doherty-Elst of Milwaukee's TheaterRED, who supported him and his career while at its nadir; and also to Kari Warning and Ryan McDonald, two of the coolest cats Chicago has to offer (and also to Tom and Crowe, their two cool cats). Finally-finally, special thanks to Nathan Robbel for letting Jared cross another role off the ol' bucket list.

Joseph Ramski (Calisto/Clindor/Theogenes) is the Managing Director of the RBP and beyond excited to partake in The Illusion! His previous credits (of multiple capacities) with the Right Brain Project include Endgame, Hammer, The Bacchae Revisited, Titus Andronicus, and Marat/Sade. Joe holds a BFA from the University of Illinois in Theatre, is a published poet, and frequently travels the globe - his favorite trip thus far includes a voyage to China when he was almost arrested for accidentally trespassing on a sacred section of the Great Wall. Joe's forthcoming projects include the RBP's Who Too and Autumnopolis, a novel and a new poetry book, and a voyage to Iceland. He'd like to thank his mother and father for their continued support, his sister for her constant patience, and Nathan and the RBP for putting on this ruby of a play. 

Nate White  (Pridamant) is a co-founder and Artistic Director of Rogue Theater, which will make its return after a seven year child-induced hiatus this June at the side project with George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell. Nate has appeared in a number of shows in Chicago, though this is his first with RBP. Nate enjoys sleeping, losing games to his seven-year-old son and six-year-old daughter, and watching television. He does not read. He can read. He just doesn't. Also, he works upstairs from the theater. Thank you for watching the show.

Nathan Robbel (Director) is the Artistic Director of the RBP, and has been since its founding in 2005. For the Right Brain Project, Nathan has directed Marat/Sade, Salome, Hesperia, The Bacchae Revisited, Pretty Penny, and And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers, among others. Nathan's work as a director and/or sound designer has also been seen at Dream Theatre Company, the side project, Wayward Productions, Tympanic Theatre Company, and Signal Ensemble Theatre. Nathan would like to thank the amazing cast and crew of this production for their imagination and sense of collaboration, as well as the entire RBP family. And extra special thanks to Emma, without whose love and support none of this would be possible.

Krista Reeves (Stage Manager) is the RBP's "space sheriff" and resident stage manager. She was welcomed into the RBP in 2013 as stage manager and costume designer for The Bacchae Revisited and has stuck with them since. Her work outside of the RBP has included Roundhouse Production's Predator: The Musical, 6 in 60: Your VHS Collection, and Reservoir Dogs as well as The Young Actor's Ensemble's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, Beauty and the Beast, and David and Lisa. When the spirit moves her, she also dabbles in costume design and her work was seen in Beauty and the Beast (Thompson Valley High School), and Eastern Standard at Knox College, where she graduated with a degree in Theatre.

Katie-Bell Springmann (Scenic Design) is delighted to be working with the Right Brain Project for the first time. Originally from New Orleans, Katie-Bell is now a freelance scenic designer and scenic artist in Chicago. There she has designed the Midwest premieres of Annapurna, Cock, and Gidion's Knot at Profiles Theatre. Her design for Cock was the recipient of the 2014 Equity Jeff Award for best scenic design of a midsize production. Other design credits include A Place in the Woods with The Fine Print Theatre Company in Chicago; The Rocky Horror Show and Reefer Madness with Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Avenue Q, Annie Get Your Gun, and The Marvelous Wonderettes with the Heritage Theatre Festival and Superior Donuts and Speech and Debate with Live Arts Theatre in Charlottesville, VA. Katie-Bell received her MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Virginia. She would like to thank her dashing fiance, Patrick, for his constant love and support.

Stephen Gawrit (Original Music/Sound Design) is thrilled to return to the RBP, where he previously served as a company member for over two years. Past RBP collaborations include Hammer, Titus Andronicus, Marat/Sade, The Archivist, The Fall of Man, and Pretty Penny. Other theatrical credits include: Silence of the Sea (Staged Reading) (TUTA), and Push Button Murder, We Three, Jet Black Chevrolet, Mike and Seth, Lives of the Pigeons, and Sugarward (the side project). Stephen is a proud graduate of the Chicago Academy for the Arts (Theatre, '04). He will be sound designing The Three Sisters at The Hypocrites in April 2015. Special thanks to his family, peers, Nathan, and his wife, Amanda.

Additional bios coming soon...