Those Secrets? There's more to them.

2010 – 2011 Season

Meet the Cast of Brief Looks: Kaitlin Larson

As we get closer to our opening night for Brief Looks from the Afterglow, we’re going to be introducing you to our very talented cast members, letting them tell you a bit about themselves in their own words. First up is Kaitlin Larson:

Hey, you look pretty familiar. Where might I have seen you before?

I may look familiar to any college student who has spent their drunk Thursday nights at Studio Be on Sheffield. I perform improv there every Thursday at 10:30pm with Columbia’s Droppin’ $cience. That’s how people might know me.

Tell me a little about your character in Brief Looks. No spoilers, please!

Well, I play Marlene who is the mother of Stephen and Teresa. She’s just you know, trying to keep her family safe and not die. She also looks out for everyone in the cabin, she’s everybody’s mom.

Kaitlin, Swimming with the Fishes

What’s different/challenging/exciting about working on a new play versus an established one/a sketch show/improv/what you usually find yourself working on?

Remembering the new re-writes, and also having the playwright there to directly answer any questions about the script is damn cool.

How would you prepare yourself for events like what happens in Brief Looks? How long do you think you, not your character, would make it in similar circumstances?

I’m not preparing. I already know if something like this happens during my lifetime, I’m for sure in the first wave of people to go. I’ve accepted that.

Well, you’ve been really friendly, thanks! Anything you’d like to add?


Thanks Kaitlin! 

See Brief Looks from the Afterglow

JUNE 30- JULY 2, 2011 @ 7:30 PM

At Gorilla Tango Theater

Buy Tickets!



Here is a post from Artistic Director Jack Bourgeois about our upcoming 2 evenings of Vaudeville at Stage 773 as part of their 14@773 festival!
Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time around me knows I have a penchant for times long past. I love movies from the 1940s, songs from the 1920s and cardigan sweaters from anytime…ever. (I mean, they’re just spectacular.) Theatre, for me has always been a means of attaching myself to those lost eras, by putting myself in them in the only way possible.
Well, I’m getting to that…As important as truth in theatre is and as essential it is to hold a mirror up to nature, there is something to be said for classic entertainment. People don’t always want to see reality presented to them, they encounter it everyday and let’s face it…it can really suck sometimes. It becomes the job of an entertainer (not necessarily the actor, but the ENTERTAINER) to present a slightly alternate reality. A world that follows all the same rules, only people are wittier, sharper and more emotionally attached to every word said. This is what makes us entertained and takes us away from our moments of all-too-real reality.
Before film, before television, before musical theatre even was the world’s first form of strict entertainment. Leave the dramas alone, forget the tragedies, let’s focus on something that we can relax while watching. Vaudeville was entertainment. It still is. It is the source of how comedy and theatre has evolved in this country. Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin all started off in Vaudeville and they paved the way for American comedy as we know it. One of my favorite actors, James Cagney once attributed everything he ever learned to spending time backstage on the Vaudeville circuit. It truly is the heart of American entertainment and it’s a shame it’s been lost in time.
What I set out to do with Brian Posen (CBD Board President and Artistic Director of Stage773) and Danni Parpan (Production Manager) was to create an authentic turn-of-the-century Vaudevillian piece of classic entertainment by using authentic songs, sketches and acts. And looking at our list of performers, I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job. We have a contortionist, a magician, an opera singer, dancers, comedians and what I believe is possibly the funniest thing ever written, “Who’s on First” as made famous by Abbot and Costello. Are all of these acts connected in one way? Not really. Does it matter? Not a lick. It’s an evening during which people will be entertained and leave wondering why Vaudeville ever left.
On June 17 and 24 at 8pm, hide all your stress and worries from yourself and others and enjoy a night of entertainment you’ll never forget. Stage773. 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago IL. Ten bucks.
Jack Bourgeois
Artistic Director
Cold Basement Dramatics
For Tickets visit or call 773 327 5252

A Brief Look at the playwright: Robert Francis Curtis

Brief Looks from the Afterglow is our next amazing production. Over the next 4 weeks Cold Basement Dramatics is going to be giving you a little more information about the artists behind the project. Where else to start but with where Brief Looks itself started – with playwright Robert Francis Curtis.


Hey Robert, in your words, what is Brief Looks from the Afterglow about?

There are lots of things the Brief Looks touches on. Mostly, the little moments between people are my way of commenting on the things in our world that I think are worth preserving. As far as what we are preserving it from, in the play it is the Apocalypse, but in reality it is our own world as tradition and culture is slowly replaced by the congestion of the next big thing. In the play, people talk about this disaster which led to this disaster, but it wasn’t as bad as the next disaster they describe. The problem with the world is that too many things are the most important things that will change the way we look at the world, but they are replaced in a matter of days. That is why Ipod’s have to have numbers after them. This is a simple element of the play.

Really, at its heart, the play is about faith and hope. We live in a world where hope was abundant a few years ago, but without swift delivery from the evils of our society, we lost it just as easily as it came. The argument I present in this play is about how faith impacts the level of hope people cling onto. What do we put our faith in? That is the question every person needs to answer for themselves. Some people place it in a sort of higher power. Others place it in more tangible things. Family, friendship, love, God, escapes, homes, etc. There is so much to trust your faith within and so much hope keep someone going, and yet few people have either of those things.

I wrote this play for my Great Aunt Lo, who clung to faith and life far longer in the face of death then I thought humanly possible. The simplest way I can say what this play is about is to say that this play is about her.

What inspired you to write this play?

I was inspired to write this play at 3 in the morning at a 24 hour diner as I drunkenly ate a Monte Cristo sandwich with my good friend Eric Sweeney. Being fans of horror films and novels and comics, particularly those about the undead, we began conceiving the idea of reinventing the idea of what a “zombie” was. The idea got kicked back and forth between him and I for about three years until I finally sat down and started writing this dark farce about people in a cabin trying to outrun the inevitability of Hell. After the deaths of my Grandmother and Great Aunt (two women who had a large hand in raising me as a child) more humanity started to come out and I began to see these characters as more than just stereotypical horror archetypes. I first submitted this script in a different form for a contest, which really pushed me to finish it by the end of 2010.  I lost. So, I began to give up on the idea of trying to reinvent the “zombie” genre and began trying to write a good story that just happened to have an undead army involved.

How do you feel about this play in comparison with other plays you’ve written?

I am very proud of this play. Before this piece I had only written smaller stage pieces. 10 minute plays and staged comedy sketches. I had also written several short screenplays. I do have a bias towards nerd culture related material, so this started out as a very fitting topic. I think as I wrote it I realized how important some of the more abstract concepts were to me as well.

You are also an actor, how is that process different for you in comparison to being a playwright?

I was told in my first year of college by my theater professor that actors make the best writers. I don’t know how true that is but I do know how I enjoy writing. This has been the first time I have participated throughout the entire process as only a playwright. It is… interesting.

It’s probably some sort of writing taboo to ask this, but which character is your favorite?

That is not taboo at all. My favorite character is Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. As far as characters go, he always seems to get more interesting each time I read the book. I have read it about 14 times.

What is your favorite play?

My favorite play is Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge for which this plays title is a parody of. As far as dramatists go, Arthur Miller is a person I greatly respect and admire. His ability to create complex relationships within what are seemingly simple circumstances is everything I strive for as a writer. Granted that some would argue Brief Looks is the gravest or most dire of circumstances, I disagree. Sure it has the end of the world and all, but it already happened. Now, its just people living in a cabin, running out of food trying to figure out how they will survive either together or alone.

What’s do you think is going to happen at the end of the world?

When the world dies, so will we.

Brief Looks from the Afterglow is to be produced by Cold Basement Dramatic on June 30 – July 2 in a limited 3 night run at Gorilla Tango Theatre. Tickets are $10 and are available at
For more information on Brief Looks from the Afterglow please visit Cold Basement’s Website
For more information on Cold Basement Dramatics please visit

Cabin Fever

By Cassandra Rose

This past weekend marked the end of days auditions for Cold Basement Dramatic’s final show of season one, Brief Looks From The Afterglow. After months of wrangling schedules, game-changers, and rewrites, it’s about damn time.

Ever since I first read Robert Francis Curtis’ play, I have been itching to see everything play out off the page and on the stage. This is a play where the devil walks outside the shadows and a claustrophobic cabin becomes the final stronghold for humanity. The characters shudder from each page with enough force to knock the logs out of the walls. These are people that have survived a disintegrating world to find each other. They’re not going down without a fight. And that fight starts now.

Look out, Chicago, Cold Basement Dramatics is bypassing the Apocalypse and skipping right to the last page.