Two Chicago couples
struggle to keep their love alive
as secrets and long-simmering resentments rise to the surface.
In Rogers Park, four intertwined lives begin to buckle under midlife pressures.
Zeke and his wife Grace navigate parenthood and a financial reversal of fortune. Grace’s brother Chris, a writer battling depression, and his partner Deena face a personal crisis that threatens to tear them apart. Meanwhile, Grace and Chris each struggle to confront a shared family trauma.
Rogers Park is a drama that explores the ties that bind and the midlife forces that shatter relationships over the course of one tumultuous year.
Six stellar improvisors helped bring the story from page to screen.
Originally selected via a race- and gender-blind casting call, the actors created characters that became the basis for these personal and revealing stories. Each actor brought her or his unique voice and perspective to roles fleshed out over the course of a year.
Six actors, the writer, and the director collaborated to create the story and characters.
In a series of improvisational workshops, the group created characters and relationships that the screenwriter and director crafted into a script over the course of a year. Additional workshops included a table reading for the general public, funded in part by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council.
The aim of this process was to bring greater authenticity to the performances and generate a midlife crisis story that is organically rooted in community.
Rogers Park is one of the most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago and the nation.
Located in the far northeast corner of the city, more than 80 languages are spoken among the community’s 63,000 residents. In Rogers Park, people celebrate diversity and value harmonious living. Residents of differing incomes and ages live side-by-side and work together to build a community where everyone, can live, work and succeed.
“In a city made famous for an accepted and often enforced cultural and socio-economic homogeneity within neighborhoods,” says the Chicago Tribune, “Rogers Park stands almost alone as an exception.”