BREAKER

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Learn more about PTSD and mental health by visiting the National Institute of Mental Health at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.


The SHow

Simone Breaker was in control. As a Special Agent and Forensic Scientist with the FBI, she led teams around the world to process countless major crime scenes. She apprehended fugitives and investigated murders. She collected evidence on 9/11. Now, at age 57, Simone is retiring to a promising new chapter at home with her husband and daughter. But will the tranquility of her new life be haunted by memories from her past? Will she be strong enough to maintain control?

Inspired by true events, Breaker uses devised movement and visual spectacle to explore the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Photography by Michelle Reid


Production History

WORKSHOP Production

Produced, Written, and Directed by Jamie Olah
Devised with the Ensemble

August 17-19, 2018 (Co-presented by Links Hall)
Links Hall, Chicago

August 28-30, 2018
Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Chicago

Featuring: Brian Boller, Jackie Bowes, RjW Mays, Errol McLendon, Priya Mohanty, and Kaileigh JaKirra Robinson.

Stage Manager and Dramaturg: Sara Ann Dickey
Composer and Sound Designer: Ethan T. Parcell
Props Master: Wilson Yerxa
Poster Design: Julie Olah and Will Shandling

The workshop production of Breaker was partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Breaker was partially developed through the Workshop Series at Prop Thtr in spring, 2018.

Devising Workshop

Hosted by Prop Thtr
April 30-May 10, 2018
Directed by Jamie Olah

Featuring: Brian Boller, Jackie Bowes, RjW Mays, Errol McLendon, Priya Mohanty, and Kaileigh JaKirra Robinson.

Stage Manager and Dramaturg: Sara Ann Dickey


THE INSPIRATION

Shahna M. Richman

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Shahna M. Richman spent her career in law enforcement, retiring as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  She received her M.S. in Forensic Science and completed specialized training in the field of Forensic Pathology, receiving her certification as an Autopsy Technician. 

As an FBI Agent, Shahna’s investigations included matters of bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, fugitive apprehension, gangs and the sexual trafficking of children.  Shahna held specialty assignments as an Evidence Response Team (ERT) leader, Hazardous Materials Response Team (HMRT) leader and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team Tactical Paramedic.  Shahna was charged with the processing of countless major crime scenes throughout the world, to include the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the Atlanta bombing of the 1996 Summer Olympic’s Centennial Park, the 1996 Atlantic Ocean crash of TWA Flight 800 near New York, the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, the 2001 bombing of the Bandaranaike Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka,the 9/11/2001 United Airlines Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center crashes in New York City.

Throughout her law enforcement career, Shahna has provided leadership and Forensic Science education and training services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners, to include law enforcement officers from over 24 countries.  Shahna is a certified Police Instructor and has taught at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Bangkok, Thailand, Gaborone, Botswana and Roswell, New Mexico. Since her retirement from the FBI, Shahna serves as a consultant in matters of Forensic Science, security and investigations. 

panel discussions

Breaker was pleased to present panel discussions on PTSD and mental health following the performances on August 18 and August 29, 2018.

Panelists included:

DR. DAMON T. ARNOLD

COL Arnold, MD, MPH, MA, works for the Special Investigations Division of Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC), Blue Cross Blue Shield. He completed residencies in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Internal Medicine. He served 26 years in the Illinois Army National Guard as the Illinois State Military Surgeon General and Blackhawk helicopter Flight Surgeon. Col. Arnold served two tours of combat duty in Iraq. He was awarded the Legion of Merit (LOM) medal by President Barack Obama. He served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (2007-2011). He published a book entitled The Theory of Social Disruption.

VIRGINIA LAWTON BOLLER

Virginia Lawton Boller is a recently retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Prior to retiring, she worked for more than a decade for Metropolitan Family Services, a family service agency in the far Southside of Chicago, where she supervised and provided direct services to a wide range of people.  She encountered many with PTSD, both diagnosed and not diagnosed. Among those with PTSD were Hurricane Katrina evacuees, veterans, and homeless people, both in shelters and drop in centers.

SHAHNA M. RICHMAN

(Bio at left)

TRACEY RILEY

Tracey Riley is currently a certified Project Manager at the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Interventions (CCTASI), a federally funded center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Netowrk (NCTSN). Prior to working at CCTASI at Northwestern University, Tracey studied psychology at Loyola University Chicago and worked as an Intact Family Case Worker for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. Tracey is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Information Design and Strategy to support non-profit agencies develop effective trauma-informed resources, curriculum, and online learning for providers working with marginalized and at-risk youth. 

TAWNY SPINELLI

Tawny Spinelli is pursuing her JD/PhD in clinical psychology in the Mental Health Services and Policy Program (MHSPP) at Northwestern University. Her research aims to mitigate the effects of trauma in child welfare and juvenile justice populations through prevention, intervention, and policy. Previously, Tawny worked for the United States Department of Justice, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Tennessee Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. In addition, she spent a year in India teaching science and grappling with public health issues. In her spare time, you'll find Tawny hiking, doing yoga, or playing guitar.


Acknowledgements

The workshop production of Breaker is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thank you to Links Hall for including us in your 40th Anniversary Season. We are honored to be a part of the celebration.

Thank you to Prop Thtr for hosting us as part of your workshop series for the first two weeks of our devising process. We are so grateful for your support.

Thank you to Julie Olah and Will Shandling for their beautiful poster design.

Special Thanks: Chris Carollo, Samantha Dedian, Paul Henning, Felicia Holman, Brent Potter, Ravenswood Presbyterian Church, Shahna Richman, Roell Schmidt, Tawny Spinelli, Derek Stienmetz, and Brett Swinney. 

thank you to Our Generous supporters

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