GIVE IT ALL BACK
Sideshow Theater Company, 2016
Directed by Marti Lyons
Eleusis Collective, 2021
Directed by Claire K. Redfield
In a swank French hotel room in the mid-1960s, an artist hides out from a world that's turned on him. As a cavalcade of familiar faces tries to break down his door, he smokes, talks, drinks, and tries not to think about acoustic versus electric. But when a prime career opportunity lands on the table, he has to decide which version of himself he wants to be, and how to keep the past from bubbling up beneath him. Calamity West delivers a hilariously sardonic examination of how you hold on to your art when everyone else thinks that it's theirs.
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"West, a young Chicago writer with an ebullient sense of theatricality, is the real deal, far more of the real deal, in fact, than some other emerging writers who get thrown far more resources by far bigger theaters, and 'Give It All Back' probably is West's best play to date."
"In a lot of ways, West’s writing really hits the zeitgeist. She’s an important voice in the world right now — and I look forward to following her work. There’s a lot that is powerful in this play, particularly for us artists but I think for audiences in general."
"Calamity West is not a playwright inclined to teasing her audiences, nor is her deliberate refusal to name names merely a safeguard against legal action arising from speculations on the psychology of notoriously private celebrities. The struggle she scrutinizes in 16 scenes spanning two hours is that of the artist—any artist—demanding the freedom to pursue new ideas, and in doing so, resisting the pressure of friends, lovers, colleagues, managers and fans whose own fortunes rely on their breadwinner shunning unexplored frontiers and the risks associated therewith."