One night, a writer encounters a figure. The figure ushers her to a passage. The writer follows. A space is revealed. A transaction occurs. A story unfolds. The Greeting is an exploration of storytelling, as figure becomes character, space becomes environment, feeling becomes image and idea becomes action. Kristina Lebedeva’s story, told in the form of a fable, speaks to the tenuous experience of the other. A village merchant sells fruit of 'untameable' flavor from the edge of a market. One sunny day, in a sudden, violent action, abundance is diminished to subsistence and belonging becomes isolation.
Brian Shaw met Kristina Lebedeva at a workshop for refugee and immigrant artists in Chicago and was compelled by her personal story and by the stories she had written in the form of fables. Working with long-time collaborator Mark Comiskey, we found a tabletop storytelling method that combines film and theater to create a highly original mode of production that merges cinematic and theatrical traditions.
Brian's work as a director & performer spans theater, dance and film. He was a founding member of the physical theater company Plasticene, has performed with numerous theaters in Chicago and appeared off-Broadway in The Strangerer by Mickle Maher. He has worked with choreographers Erica Mott, Carrie Hanson, Jan Erkert, Julia Rhoads and Nana Shineflug. He has appeared in Widows, Chicago PD & Fire, Boss and Detroit 1-8-7, as well as numerous independent films.
His work as a director includes SPACE, Fefu and Her Friends, In Pigeon House, Don Juan Comes Back from the War, Woyzeck, Dracula and Sarita. He directed the short film Four Monologues about Russian poets in the Stalinist period, written by Aram Saroyan. He has worked internationally in Seoul, London, Dublin, Montreal and Serbia.
Angel Page Smigielski (they/them) is an actor, writer, and creative director based in Chicago. They are working on completing their Bachelor's degree in acting, poetry, and ASL from Columbia College Chicago. They've been seen in theatre productions such as 'S P A C E' by Kelli Garret & 'Marcus or the Secret of Sweet' by Tarrel Alvin McCraney, and many others. They've also worked on numerous films with directors such as Daniel Kayumba, Benjamin Miller, and more. Angel enjoys listening to Solange, warm cups of tea, being black and making art.
Having moved to The United States from Russia in 2000, Kristina Lebedeva dedicated most of her efforts to earning a doctorate in philosophy. As her academic work continues to explore the intersections of ethics, trauma, social justice, and disability, Kristina’s fiction and autobiographical essays address such themes as mourning, violence, suffering, survival, and memory in a way that is both surreal and unflinchingly factual.
Kristina is currently working as a language instructor, splitting her free time between writing, theater, and digital art.
Mark Comiskey: Director of Photography and Editor
Mark Comiskey has been producing and performing theater and creating multimedia productions in Chicago for 30 years. For 14 of those years, Mark was Video Supervisor for the Chicago production of the Blue Man Group. He created theatrical media and projection designs for Mucca Pazza, Red Moon’s The Great Fire Festival, Route 66's The Source, Steep Theater’s Hookman, Columbia College’s Mary Stuart, Collaboraction’s SketchBook, Theater Oobleck's Beaudelaire in a Box, The Palace Film Festival and Goat Island. Most recently, Mark served as Director of Photography for Erica Mott Productions dance film Cowboys & Vikings Trilogy. Mark was Director of Photography and Editor of Four Monologues, a film adaptation made in conjunction with Columbia College’s Center for Book & Paper Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lori Hall-Araujo: Production Design
Dr. Lori Hall-Araujo is a visual artist and scholar of dress as a mode of communication who has worked as a theatrical costume designer and museum curator. She will be an artist-in-residence at Arquetopia in Puebla, México in September 2021.
Spencer Shaw: Collages
Spencer is a collagist and printmaker who lives and works in New Orleans. Some of her recent analog collages will be exhibited in Bari, Italy by the Italian Collagist Collective. @ladyillinois
Aidan S Cramer and Vito DiBeasi: Sound Design and Mixing
Aidan is a freelance audio engineer with experience in studio recording, mixing and mastering, post-production and sound for film.
Vito is a Chicago based sound designer and composer. Vito strives to write compositions for film and video games, and tries to use more experimental approaches while writing.
We have just started to submit The Greeting to festivals and screenings locally, nationally and internationally. As invitations arrive, we will post information on the website and in our individual social media feeds.
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