Written by respective author

by Emily Penick

Invest in the world premiere of WORSE THAN TIGERS at ACT, and in the future of Seattle’s newest, female-led theatre company: RED STAGE.

About this project


Olivia and Humphry live in a nice, urban condominium. They’ve got lots of pretty knick-knacks from top of the line catalogs. They’ve got very active Facebook accounts. They have a safe, enviable, comfortable life. And it’s eating them alive. But when Olivia’s lover, Kurt, shows up, it becomes impossible for them to ignore the pain and history they’ve long tried to suppress. And the man-eating tiger Kurt trails behind him is waiting at the door to devour anyone who walks out. Which might be exactly what they all really want. WORSE THAN TIGERS is a play about a couple who desperately need to embrace their own misery in order to be happy again.

WORSE THAN TIGERS was selected for the Stella Adler Studio’s First Breath Festival in New York and was a semi-finalist for The New American Voices Festival put on by The Landing Theater in Houston. RED STAGE will be producing the world premiere of this bold new work by Mark Chrisler, through the ACTLab in March as part of ACT Theatre’s 2016 season.


RED STAGE is a small company of female theatre artists whose mission is to champion emerging playwrights from across the country by producing provocative, socially relevant theatre in Seattle. We have partnered with ACT Theatre to produce WORSE THAN TIGERS, which will lay the foundation for future RED STAGE projects, including civic and community partnerships and charitable work structured to benefit our city and the people who live in it. By investing in this production, you are investing in the future of RED STAGE and its role as an arts leader here in Seattle.


Director – Emily Penick
Associate Director – Stephanie Haire
Scenic Designer – Jennifer Zeyl
Sound Designer – Matt Starritt
Lighting Designer – Andrew D. Smith
Costume Designer – K.D. Schill
Community & Artist Liaison – Keiko Green
Dramaturg/Artistic Producer – Julia Nardin


Olivia – Kirsten Potter
Humphry – Brad Farwell
Kurt – John William Watkins


Mark Chrisler’s plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, London, San Francisco, New Orleans and throughout the US, as well as in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He has been presented or developed at such places as The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Stella Adler Studio, The San Francisco Playhouse, Ilkhom Theatre, Four Humours Theatre, The Side Project, Springboard Theatre, The New York International Fringe Festival, Curious Theatre Branch and many more. He is the author of over ten full-length and solo plays in addition to nearly a hundred short plays. He received his MFA in dramatic writing from Ohio University and his BA in theater arts from Northern Illinois University. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including a Newberry Library Fellowship, a special Orgie Award, a NAPAT New Play Award and the Best Emerging Playwright of 2010 award from The Chicago Reader. He lives in Chicago with his wife, where he serves as a resident playwright for Found Objects Theatre Group, an Artistic Associate for Prop Thtr and teaches playwriting for Silk Road Rising Theatre.


Emily Penick, RED STAGE’s founding Artistic Director is an emerging director, choreographer, and advocate for empowering female voices in the arts. Emily is currently Artistic Associate at ACT Theatre. Favorite directing credits include The Other Woman (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), The Rose Tattoo (Ohio University), The Secret Rapture (Bucknell University) and Harold Pinter’s The Lover (Harvey M. Powers Theatre). Recent choreography credits include fight choreography for Othello (Seattle Shakespeare Company), associate and movement direction for Mary’s Wedding (New Century Theatre Company), and choreography for Don Nordo Del Midwest (Café Nordo).  Favorite associate directing credits with John Langs include: Bethany (ACT), The Seagull (American Players Theater), and An Iliad (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). Upcoming directing and choreography projects include R&J (Seattle Immersive Theatre), Worse Than Tigers (RED STAGE), and 9 to 5 (Centerstage Theatre). Emily earned her MFA in Directing from Ohio University.


Every dollar donated to this campaign goes toward paying our artists a wage that they deserve for their contributions to the project. This includes not only our actors, but also our stage manager, costume, scenic, lighting, props and sound designers. We need to raise a total of $30,000 to cover all of our production expenses and to break even, but are calling on our friends, family, and Seattle’s artistic community to help with just half of our total: $15,000. The other 50% of our goal will be raised through major and/or matching gifts from individual donors, local businesses, and grants that are available to nonprofits of our size and scope. Please give generously!

Risks and challenges

WORSE THAN TIGERS is RED STAGE’s inaugural production. Our partnership with ACT Theatre’s ACTLab provides us with discounted venue rental, marketing and ticketing support, and – most importantly – an introduction to its loyal patron base. This high level of exposure for an emerging theatre company is an incredible opportunity; however, it comes with great financial risk. Our artistic mission is to challenge our audience to risk, engage, and discover what it means to be human – so it’s fitting that we stand by one of our core principles and assume the financial risk associated with producing bold new work at a professional theatre.

RED STAGE’s leadership has committed to waiving their own stipends and pledging money from their personal accounts to make WORSE THAN TIGERS a success. Regardless of whether RED STAGE meets this Kickstarter goal, Chrisler’s play will have its world premiere at ACT Theatre in March of 2016.

As a brand-new theatre company managed by four professional young women, securing a world premiere production at a major regional theatre was a task in and of itself. We’ve already come so far. Please help us get the rest of the way there.

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