We make theatre outside of institutions and smuggle it around the world.
Jacob Juntunen founded Contraband Theatre in 2016 to produce his script Hath Taken Away outside of institutional confines—no boards or non-profit legalities. After ten years of making theatre in Chicago, Jacob found that artists often struggled against institutions that supposedly served them. For Contraband’s inaugural production, Jacob found an abandoned church on a hill in cornfields and filled it with theatrical lights. When spectators drove up, the church glowed in the darkness. There was a single row of seating in a rectangle with room for thirty spectators around the small playing space. It was exactly what Jacob meant: no asking permission, just art. Since then, Jacob has been the only constant of Contraband Theatre which remakes its ensemble and structure to fit each individual project. But every production follows the original impulse to be a DIY art incubator outside of institutions. Come check us out!
Okay, so, twenty years from now during a future pandemic, Kathryn returns to her childhood home to take care of her aging parents. But her dad just wants to eat sandwiches and play puppets. Her mom is pissed that the smart city locked them in the house. Kathryn’s boss wants her working in person at their off-Broadway theatre as Education Director for a century-old snoozefest play. Kathryn doesn’t want to explode her carefully built theatre career, but she’s got to take care of her parents, doesn’t she? After all, they took care of her during the last pandemic. And this whole mess isn’t bringing up any unresolved feelings, is it? Nothing worth mourning anyway. Right?
Ellie Schwetye, Director
Spencer Lawton, Assistant Director
Jacob Juntunen, Playwright
Ricki Franklin as Kathryn
Joseph Garner as Joseph
Kelly Howe as Deb
Joshua Mayfield as Kris
Caleb D. Long, Set Designer
Carly Uding, Costume Designer
Morgan Brennan, Lighting
Ellie Schwetye, Sound Designer
e.k. doolin, Dramaturg & Producer
Spencer Lawton, Stage Manager
Ely German, Marketing Art Director
Semi-finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival
The script has had readings with Tantrum East Theatre and Southern Illinois University
After the president's contested re-election, Emma has to leave her home in St. Louis in a desperate bid to escape the USA.
Cast (in speaking order)
EMMA: E.K. Doolin
ANNE: Stephanie Stroud
JENN: Deanna Lee
LIZ: Jennifer Remke
JOHN: Minoru Jackson
ALEX: Peter Moore
18 Months After November began in October 2020 as a short play that Jacob Juntunen wrote for an evening of streaming pieces with his students at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he heads the MFA Playwriting program.
The short play was met with such enthusiasm that Jacob continued the story, imagining what could happen to the USA after a highly contested election. He finished the first draft of the play in October, cast it during the long counting of the presidential election ballots in early November, and filmed it shortly after the election was called for Biden on November 7th.
Even so, the ultimate twists and turns the play takes makes it eerily relevant today. It won a Pet Projects Grant from Jeremy O. Harris to produce. You can watch it here.
Dorothea is a young, Midwestern Evangelical whose faith and steadfast love for her best friend, Lucy, and new husband, John, are put to the test by her child-to-be. Faced with medical complications that leave Dorothea and her pregnancy at risk, these three characters must make decisions that rupture the boundaries between their religious beliefs and complicated feelings for one another.
Greg Aldrich, Director
Jacob Juntunen, Playwright
Kristin Doty as Dorothea
Abigail Warhus as Lucy
Mike Terrana as John
MK Hughes, Set Designer
Da'Veon Burtin, Costume Designer
Brooke Oehme, Dramaturg
Patrick Burke, Stage Manager
Rita Medina, Marketing DIrector
Semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference; finalist for the Activate Midwest Theatre Conference, for the March Forth Productions Summer Series, and for production at the Source Theatre Festival.
The script has had readings at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference,