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Post-Katrina Animal Rescue Play Makes Chicago Debut

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on May 28, 2008 5:25PM

2008_05_katrinapet.jpgA play focusing on the efforts of animal rescuers following Hurricane Katrina has recently made the move from Los Angeles to the Chicago area. Because They Have No Words is based on co-writer Tim Maddock's personal experience rescuing animals in the aftermath of Katrina. Maddock also stars in the production, which is now appearing at Evanston's Piven Theatre. Of the differences between the version performed in L.A. and the new Piven Theatre version, Maddock says:

I think in this Piven version we also went further with the comedy. We weren't sure initially how humor would play in a story of one of this country's greatest tragedies, but it is such a part of who Lotti and I are as people that we couldn't silence it in our writing. Humor was also integral to how I 'survived' New Orleans, emotionally. It seems obvious, now, that people find the humor in this play refreshing, but at the time we weren't sure if it would be perceived as flippant or disrespectful.

The play hits a personal note here in the Chicagoist offices. At the time Katrina hit, I was still a New Orleans resident and out of town on vacation in rural Wisconsin. The friend charged with feeding my cat evacuated and I was stuck out of town, leaving my kitty behind to fend for herself, something I still haven't forgiven myself for. Thanks to a generous landlord and neighbors who fed her, my cat made it through the first two weeks, a feat considering she was 14 years old at the time, and was rescued by a friend who had returned to his home in the suburbs. We were reunited two weeks later when I returned to New Orleans (all together now - "awwwww").

Because They Have No Words, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through June 15, $25 ($23 for students & seniors 65 and older), The Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL

Photo of Katrina Animal Rescue by Jocelyn Augustino courtesy of FEMA