PERFORMING AMAZING FEATS OF STORYTELLING SINCE 2001
 
 

The Hammer Trinity

Written by Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews

Directed by Nathan Allen

 

Playing at the Arsht Center in Miami
April 2 - May 8, 2016
Marathon Performances every Saturday and Sunday!

 

 

FOUR STARS "I was ENTHRALLED… compelling and highly entertaining...replete with HIGH-OCTANE theatricality"
- Chicago Tribune
 
FOUR STARS "You can - and you should - see The House Theatre's fantasy trilogy in full."
- TimeOut Chicago
 
FOUR STARS "It is NOTHING SHORT OF A MASTERPIECE."
- Chicago Stage Standard
 
"I LOVED THIS PLAY, all nine hours of it."
- The Fourth Walsh
 
"It’s a truly epic experience NOT TO BE MISSED!"
- Stage and Cinema

 


Geek out with us! For the second time in the company’s history, Artistic Director Nathan Allen employs the epic format and creates a multi-year play cycle. Now presented as a full series in marathon performances, THE HAMMER TRINITY tells the story of young Casper Kent recovering the lost Hammer and taking the Crown, defending it against pirates and the Crownless faction, and ultimately relinquishing the Hammer’s great power for the greater good.

 

Part One: The Iron Stag King
Our unsuspecting hero, Casper Kent, is the son of a poor farmer. When an old storyteller, Hap the Golden, reveals that Casper is the rightful heir to the Crown, his life is threatened from all sides. Young Casper must escape the Crownless, choose compatriots and question what is good and right for the land. Part one of The Hammer Trinity follows him on his quest to lift the magical Hammer that will unite or destroy them all.

 

Part Two: The Crownless King

After a hard-fought battle, young Casper Kent takes his place as the ruler of the Folk. Yet King Casper soon finds himself buffeted by forces on all sides. Seizing for control, the exiled black dragon, Irek Obsidian (voiced by Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tracy Letts,) cunningly lures Casper away from the throne. Our band of heroes ventures to the sea where the hooded pirate Davy Boone commands a fleet of Crownless rebels. All the while, Hap the Golden wrests to maintain his hold over the royal tale. Storytellers Hap the Golden and Irek Obsidian each seek to impose their versions of the story. But a third Storyteller will emerge to speak a new story….

 

Part Three: The Excelsior King
New Plymouth is thrust into Civil War as the Folk choose sides in the conflict between Hap the Golden and Irek Obsidian. With Queen Rienne potentially murdered, and King Casper no where to be found, our remaining Heroes have narrowly escaped the conflict in the Capital but find themselves scattered and at cross-purposes. It is up to the novice storyteller, July of the Seven Foxes, to speak a tale that can unite them again and save the Land from self destruction. But a threat worse than dragons is encroaching from The Glaze, a darkness more powerful than even Hap and Irek had anticipated.  Will Kaelan Wayne and his war machine take advantage of the moment and strike an end to the storytelling forever?

 

The three plays of The Hammer Trinity play in full marathon performance days every Saturday and Sunday, complete with BYO-picnic dinner breaks shared by the audience and cast. Part Three: The Excelsior King will also play on Friday nights. There are two double-features of Parts One and Two on Fridays April 3rd and 17th.

Show Dates:
Feb 20 2015 to May 3 2015
Location:

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. 

Director:

Writer:

Cast:

  • Casper Kent
  • William Dick*
    Hap the Golden
  • Isabel Liss*
    Lady Olympia
  • JJ Phillips*
    Wilke Forsbrand
  • Kara Davidson
    Rienne Beauilieu
  • John Henry Roberts
    Hollow Thom Gadsden
  • Christopher M Walsh
    Abraham Pride
  • Ben Hertel
    Pepper Tintype
  • Kay Kron
    July of the Seven Foxes
  • Kyrstal Worrell
    Virginia
  • Remy Beauilieu
  • Henley Hawthorne
  • Joe Bianco
    Davy Boone
  • Christopher Hainsworth
    Kaelen Wayne
  • Deanna Myers
    Kathryn Grey, understudy for July, Olympia and Virginia
  • Patrick Falcon
    Patrick, understudy for Hollow Thom and Kaelen Wayne
  • Ada Grey
    Ginny Girl
  • Tracy Letts*
    Irek Obsidian
  • Matt Edmonds
    understudy for Casper Kent, Pepper, Henley Hawthorne, and Patrick
  • Aaron Latterell
    understudy for Wilke, Davy, Ebon, and Remy
  • Gaby Labotka
    understudy for Rienne, and Kathryn
  • Monnie Aleahmad
    understudy for Hap, and Abraham

Crew:

  • Scenic Designer
  • Costume Designer
  • Lighting Designer
  • Sound Designer
  • Composer
  • Movement Director
  • Fight Director
  • Stage Manager*
  • Derek Matson
    Dramaturg
  • Jesse Mooney-Bullock
    Puppet Designer
  • Jesse Roth
    Assistant Director
  • Sally Weiss
    Assistant Scenic Designer
  • Raquel Adorno
    Assistant Costume Designer
  • Lee Fiskness
    Associate Lighting Designer
  • Emily Breyer
    Assistant Puppet Designer
  • Daniel Carlyon
    Associate Sound Designer
  • Rachael Koplin
    Assistant Stage Manager
  • Kelly Claussen
    Assistant Stage Manager
  • Elyse Estes
    Assistant Stage Manager
  • Sydney Rosenfeld
    Wardrobe Supervisor
  • Kate Grudishak
    Wardrobe Supervisor
  • Chris Walls
    Sound Board Operator
  • Jon Woelfer
    Scenic Supervisor
  • Kelly Dufel
    Technical Director
  • Ivy Reid
    Master Electrician
  • Eleanor Kahn
    Properties Master
  • CoCo Ree Lemery
    Scenic Charge
  • Jerica Hucke
    Costume Manager
  • Ford Altenbern
    Assistant Production Manager
  • Will Dean
    Assistant Master Electrician
  • Emily Arnold
    Assistant Costume Manager
  • Amy Hilber
    Assistant Costume Manager
  • Colin Morgan
    Assistant Properties Master
  • Amanda Mullen
    Assistant Properties Master
From the authors of The Hammer Trinity...
All 3 plays of The Hammer Trinity live on stage!
The Hammer Trinity is Highly Recommended all across Chicagoland!
 
FOUR STARS “I was enthralled… compelling and highly entertaining… replete with high-octane theatricality”
- Chicago Tribune
 
FOUR STARS & Critics’ Pick
- Time Out Chicago
 
"THE HAMMER TRINITY works beautifully together. The stories are engaging, individually and collectively. ...I loved this play, all nine hours of it. Story Save Us All!"
- The Fourth Walsh
 
"A wonder to behold...a dazzling and complex whole... see the whole thing in one marathon performance on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a truly epic experience not to be missed!"
- Stage and Cinema
 
“The Hammer Trinity will give any production you see this year a run for its money in nearly every conceivable category…. It is nothing short of a masterpiece.”
- Chicago Stage Standard
 
“...I had a ball from start to finish…. the sheer surprise is something you should experience for yourself.”
- Crain’s Chicago

 

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Fantasy of kings and quests makes for an absorbing 9 hours
FOUR STARS (out of four)
 
July rides the Stag - The Hammer Trinity - photo by Michael BrosilowFull disclosure: I've never made it all the way through "The Lord of the Rings" — on the page or on screen. My notions of Arthurian legend derive from seeing "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" at an impressionable age, with a soupcon of "Excalibur" tossed into the mix. In other words, though I respect the genre, I am leagues away from being a fantasy fangirl.
 
Nevertheless, as a first-time tourist to the House Theatre of Chicago's New Plymouth, the embattled capital at the heart of "The Hammer Trinity," I was enthralled through much of the nine-hour marathon run on Sunday. And while Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews' epic (directed by the former) doesn't quite encompass the full range of humanity's highs and lows found in Sean Graney's towering 12-hour Greek mash-up "All Our Tragic," it still adds up to a compelling and highly entertaining examination of how collective stories simultaneously guide us and blind us, twisting our personal and political DNA into a double helix of moral certitude masking deeper doubts. (Also like "All Our Tragic," the marathon is broken into easily digestible chunks with a meal break — though the meal is on you.)
 
Composed of 2012's "The Iron Stag King," 2013's "The Crownless King," and the new concluding chapter, "The Excelsior King," the trinity traces the struggles of Casper Kent (Kevin Stangler), an orphan child of two members of "The Hand," the shared leadership of an island (mapped out in the program and in the lobby) composed of such disparate climes as the frozen Glaze and the wooded Pines.
 
Raised by a foster father in the latter realm, Casper is coaxed by magician/storyteller Hap the Golden (William Dick) to seek the Hammer, which, like Excalibur, will mark him as the true king once he lifts it. In doing so, Hap tells Casper, the "greater good" will be served and the fractured "crownless" realm restored to harmony. Like Frodo, Casper is joined in his quest by a motley crew, including female chess-and-archery ace Rienne (Kara Davidson), Viking Wilke Forsbrand (Aaron Latterell), and the brooding gunslinger Hollow Thom Gadsden (John Henry Roberts).
 
But the Crownless rebels have their own story, egged on by the dragon Irek Obsidian (voiceover by none other than Tracy Letts), who believe that Hap's "greater good" narrative is a cover for denying them personal liberty. The story goes to sea as pirate Davy Boone (Joe Bianco) captures King Casper and Queen Rienne in "The Crownless King," which, like most middle episodes of trilogies, is probably the least seaworthy on its own.
 
With "The Excelsior King," Allen and Mathews are essentially providing a Hegelian synthesis in fantasy-pastiche form for the competing narratives of Hap and Irek, aided by Casper's new love and Irek's daughter, July of the Seven Foxes (Kay Kron, who is usually seen with about three or four adorable puppet foxes created by Jesse Mooney-Bullock). Is it possible to "stalemate" the spiral of destruction and find balance in the middle? That's the central question driving the final showdown in the trilogy.
 
I've certainly found some of the hero's-journey obsessions of the House derivative in the past. But the storyline here nearly always finds its own middle ground (or Middle Earth, if you must) between the naifish and the sorrowful, while posing some poignant and harsh questions. Can a man who practiced genocide in the name of peace ever be redeemed? Can stories really "save" us, or do we use them as ways of closing off parts of the world we don't want to know about? These aren't new questions, certainly — but they raise the stakes in a satisfying way here. And while there are places where the script could use further pruning and sharpening, the internal logic of the narrative is easy to follow over the three parts.
 
And despite the high-minded meditations on narrative and its discontents, this is still a House show, replete with the high-octane theatricality that they do best. From Melissa Torchia's inspired costumes to Joshua Horvath's immersive sound design to Mooney-Bullock's puppet creations (which include the titular "iron stag," reminiscent of Handspring's "War Horse"), "The Hammer Trinity" provides plenty of visual treats. The cast — especially Roberts' haunted Gadsden, Joey Steakley's vicious-yet-foppish "crownless" leader Henley Hawthorne, and Christopher Hainsworth's Kaelen Wayne, the story-loathing "virtue in selfishness" villain of "The Excelsior King" — deliver crowd-pleasing performances that thread the needle between cliche and archetype.
 
In an echo of one of the best-loved theatrical narratives, special mention must be made of understudy Latterell, who jumped into the role of Wilke for the injured JJ Phillips and absolutely killed it. He may not have earned a crown, but Latterell certainly deserves MVP status.  - Kerry Reid
 
 

TIME OUT CHICAGO

You can - and you should - see The House Theatre's fantasy trilogy in full
FOUR STARS (out of five) 
July speaks with Irek Obsidian - The Hammer Trinity - photo by Michael BrosilowIf you can’t wait until March 2016 to see a live-action Batman v. Superman, you can see a sort of alternate-universe version onstage in the new third installment of the House Theatre’s fantasy trilogy: An idealistic young orphan who took his adoptive father’s surname, Kent, takes on one Mr. Wayne, a pragmatic man of wealth who believes his advanced technology and strategic prowess can and should overpower more arcane forces.
 
Okay, Christopher Hainsworth’s ultralibertarian "rogue Viking" Kaelan Wayne is pretty clearly the bad guy to Kevin Stangler’s Casper Kent, champion of the greater good. But there’s no question co-writers Chris Mathews and Nathan Allen know what they’re doing. Wrapping up what they’re now calling the Hammer Trinity, a fantasy epic with notes of Americana, they know the superhero is as much a part of American mythology as the Gadsden flag to which they also allude.
 
It’s possible to see part three of the trilogy, The Excelsior King, by itself most Friday evenings during the run. But I don’t recommend dropping in there any more than I would renting The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on its own—you come in too far into the story, hurtling toward the climactic battle with too little time to get acquainted with the characters (or, here, to figure out how and why Casper finds himself trapped in stately Wayne Manor).
 
Better to go all in, and see The Hammer Trinity in its entirety at a Saturday or Sunday marathon performance. Parts one and two, The Iron Stag King and The Crownless King, have been somewhat revised since their debuts in 2012 and 2013 (click through the titles to read my original reviews), and some of the new cast members brought on board for the full endeavor bring their own new colors to the whole: William Dick, taking over for Cliff Chamberlain as manipulative storyteller Hap the Golden, gives his man more of a seedy undercurrent from the start, while Stangler’s Boy Scout demeanor and dark mane of curls only underline the Superman vibe in comparison to his blond-haired predecessor, Brandon Ruiter.
 
The allegorical ties to America’s self-told story get ever more tenuous in the final entry, in which we find ourselves ultimately rooting for a benevolent king to establish the balance between individual liberty and the greater good. But for an epic that takes pains to frame storytelling itself as a literally world-shaping force, The Hammer Trinity finds plenty of magical examples amid its swords, sorcery and six-shooters. (Did I mention the giant dragon puppet voiced by Tracy Letts?)
 
There’s a particularly memorable coup de theatre in the final act, which sees heroine July of the Seven Foxes (Kay Kron) leading a charge into a seemingly hopeless battle, that combines simple, clever staging with the sheer amount of story we’ve gone through with these characters to produce a giddy chill in recognition of theater’s unique powers. It’s a crowning achievement. - Kris Vire
Behind the Creation of The Hammer Trinity

The Hammer Trinity Workshop: The Dragon Puppet!

 

The Hammer Trinity: Costume Development

 

 

 

The Hammer Trinity: Fox Puppet Development

Champions Circle Night
Saturday April 11th, 2015
2pm Marathon Performance
 

Champions Circle Night: Creating Brand New Worlds at The Hammer Trinity, during the dinner break at the Saturday April 11th 2pm marathon performance. Meet the creators Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews and get the inside scoop on how The House builds amazing feats of storytelling! Open to members of the Champions Circle, and their guests. RSVP to brian@thehousetheatre.com

 

Talkback: Friday April 10 after the 7:30pm show of Part Three: The Excelsior King

 

Share these events with other adventurers interested The Hammer Trinity, and please let us know if you have any questions. 

 

Images from The Hammer Trinity

ABOUT THE CHICAGO 2015 PRODUCTION OF THE HAMMER TRINITY
 
Can I see the whole Hammer Trinity at once?

Yes! This the ideal way to experience the show. Every Saturday and Sunday we will play all 3 Parts in succession (a "marathon" performance) and tickets are on sale now.

Marathon Performances of the whole Hammer Trinity
Every Saturday and Sunday, February 21 - May 3

2:00pm Part 1: The Iron Stag King, with one intermission
Half hour snack break
5:00pm Part 2: The Crownless King, with one intermission
Hour dinner break
8:00pm Part 3: The Excelsior King, with two intermissions

 

 

How long is the marathon performance?

From 2pm to 11pm-ish, with lots of breaks including an hour-long dinner break. You can bring picnic dinner or we can order food for you from our partners at Authentaco. Each act is 65 minues or less. It's about 6 and half hours of play and 2 and half hours of breaks, all told.

 

What food is available during the marathon shows?

SNACKS: Free Quaker Granola Bars! During our half-hour snack break, our sponsors at Quaker have provided awesome granola bars for everyone! (Some are even made with quinoa, whoa.) 

DINNER: During the hour long dinner break from 7pm-8pm, we'll be able to join the actors for picnic-style dining in and around the Chopin's cool stage and lobby.


Order from AuthentacoWe've partnered with our awesome neighbors Picante's Authentaco, allowing you to pre-order a delicious dinner of tacos or burritos.
Order here, and we'll have your dinner waiting for you in the lobby right after Part 2!
Or order at the door when you pick up your tickets!

 

The Chopin has a cash-only bar and concessions which will be available to you at all intermissions and breaks. You are also welcome to bring a picnic dinner or bring in outside food. However, no outside alcohol is allowed.

 

How can I see individual plays in The Hammer Trinity?
Right now, we have two double features of Parts 1 and 2 on Friday April 3rd and April 17th, and we have Part 3 showing other Friday nights. Those tickets are on sale now.
Individual tickets to Parts 1, 2 and 3 on Saturdays and Sundays are NOT YET on sale to the public. Members of The House may book these any time.
 

Part 3: The Excelsior King
Nearly every Friday at 7:30pm, February 20 - May 1

The conclusion of our tale, but hey! If you wanted to come without having seen 1 and 2, that's all good. We actually think there's plenty to enjoy and you can get caught up right quick. 

 

Part 1 and 2 Double Feature
Friday April 3 and 17 only

7:00pm Part 1: The Iron Stag King, with one intermission
Half hour snack break
10:00pm Part 2: The Crownless King, with one intermission

 
What's the seating like?

All shows at The House are general admission, including The Hammer Trinity. There are 92 seats, and they are alley-style, where one half of the seats look across the stage to the other bank of seats. The chairs are brand new, padded with arms so your marathon experience will be comfy!

 

What ages is the show ok for?
We think this show is great for ages 10 and up. If the kid in your life is reading the last four books of Harry Potter or The Hobbit, into Star Wars, or playing D&D, they are going to love this epic story just as much as teens and adults. Check out our Parent's Guide for more details!
 
Is food included with our tickets?
Right now, to keep prices affordable, snacks from Quaker are included, and dinner is not. Order dinner from Authentaco above.
The Chopin Theatre venue will offer a full cash-only bar as usual. You are very welcome to bring snacks, but please no outside alcohol.
 
Didn't Answer Your Question?

If you have any other questions about the production or your visit, please feel free to email us at boxoffice@thehousetheatre.com or give us a call at 773.769.3832!