Trash as Inspiration

We’re all very excited to start working on our next LILA invention. Much like our critically lauded The Suitcase Dreams, our current project relies on a simple idea as a jumping off point. But this time instead of a suitcase it’s a pile of trash.

The Trash Project (or just Trash for short) will include an array of voices, ideas, and approaches to the concept of our trash. LILA is in the early gathering stage of this project–gathering collaborating artists, gathering short pieces for inclusion, gathering inspiration and ideas. We’ll keep you posted as we move along, and for now we’ll leave you with the interesting infographic below. Take a look, it’s inspiring stuff.

This infographic based on data from EPA’s 2012 MSW Characterization Report. source:


Call for Submissions


Theatre LILA will begin accepting submissions on December 1, 2014 for an original collaborative work to be produced in Madison, Wisconsin at the Overture Center for the Arts in the fall of 2015. Selected plays will receive full production as part of the project.

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2015 and selected playwrights will be notified no later than April 15, 2015.


  1. Running time of script should be 3-20 minutes
  2. Work submitted must be entirely the property of the author*
  3. Plays should need only 1-5 actors (doubling is acceptable)
  4. Theme of the play should be “trash” or should include physical trash in some way (think of a stage with a huge pile of trash)

*Plays must be new works. Adaptations (or any other use of material protected by copyright) must include proof of rights to use source material. Translations will not be accepted.

Entry fees

A non-refundable reader’s fee of $20 must accompany each submission.

Submission guidelines and requirements

  1. Play must be an original work that has not previously been fully produced. Plays that have had staged readings are eligible. At this time, musicals, TYA scripts, and screenplays will not be accepted.
  2. Scripts should follow the standard professional play format. All scripts must be submitted electronically in PDF format. Save files as AUTHOR LAST NAME – PLAY TITLE.pdf. (For example: Miller–The Crucible.pdf)
  3. No reference to the author is permitted in the body of the manuscript – including on the title page.
  4. Submit electronic entries to: using the subject line: Trash – Play Title.
  5. Entry fee of $20 must be received in order for a script to be considered. You will receive an invoice via email after submitting your work. Please submit your payment online via Paypal with invoice or send check to the address below. Your work will not be read or considered until payment is received.

Theatre LILA

PO Box 5221

Madison, WI 53705

Deadlines and notification

  1. All entries must be submitted by 5:00 PM Central time, on March 1, 2015.
  2. Selected playwrights will be notified on or before April 15, 2015 by email.

The Suitcase Dreams: Cast Profile: Marvette Knight

Marvette_Knight_2We are very excited to be working with Marvette for the first time, and know that Madison audiences will love seeing her on stage. She is a founding member of Bronzeville Arts Ensemble of Milwaukee where she has also appeared in Hansberry-Sands Sassy Mamas, First Stage’s To The Promised Land and A Midnight Cry. She was a founding company member of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre Company formerly known as L.A. Contemporary Dance Theatre. She spent many years as part of the vibrant theatre community in Minneapolis/St. Paul including being a resident acting company member of the Childrens Theatre Company, and Penumbra Theatre as well as appearing at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Park Square, Illusion, and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.  Her choreographic work includes productions for Sounds of Blackness recording artists, Superbowl XXVI choreographic team and “Chatouranga” in Fribourg, Switzerland with a multinational cast of 1500.  Her film credits include: “Jingle All the Way”, “Crossing the Bridge”, “Laurel Avenue”, “Herman, USA” and “Church and State”.



Five Questions for Marvette

Where did you grow up?
San Diego, California
What was the last role you played?
Lady in Green in a staged reading of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
Caribbean cruise with my husband. It was his first cruise. he wasn’t so sure he would like it but now he is hooked.
What is exciting to you about The Suitcase Dreams?
Love stories. Love stories about how we connect. Love stories told through movement and poetry. Love being part of a new work.
Okay, last question: what three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
My Bible, My husband (does that count?), tons of water and peanut butter (in case I can’t take my husband).


The Suitcase Dreams: Cast Profile: Michael Huftile

Michael Huftile
When he is not on the road between Spring Green and Chicago for auditions, Michael works as a carpenter/handyman/apprentice mason. He was last seen on stage as Dr. Jim Bayliss in American Players Theatre’s production of All My Sons, and on the small screen as Hayes in NBC’s “Chicago Fire”.  Michael’s last appearances in Madison were with Madison Repertory Theatre’s The Only Thing as Paul Hornung/JFK, and Forward Theatre Company’s The Farnsworth Invention playing David Sarnoff. We’re glad to hear he is so happy to be back working in Madison with Theatre LILA. We’re certainly excited to have him around, and we know that you’ll be happy you got a chance to see him play so many different kids of roles in one evening of theatre!
Five Questions for Michael
Where did you grow up?
What was the last role you played?
Dr. Jim Bayliss in All My Sons
What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
My first trip to Italy with my wife, Carey Cannon. Our Honeymoon.
What is exciting to you about The Suitcase Dreams?
Having another great theatre to work with in Madison.
Okay, last question: what three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
My Leatherman, a Satellite phone, and a survival guide.

The Suitcase Dreams: Crew Profile: Tony Reitano

Tonyheadshot Tony Reitano will be our stage manager for The Suitcase Dreams, and like so many other members of the Suitcase team, his resume is impressive. Tony started his career as a NY actor, then moved to Los Angeles and discovered the lucrative world of commercials, selling everything from batteries to Bud Light. He ultimately landed a ten-year stint as Vince the Crash Dummy in the Award winning Safety Belt Commercial campaign. Tony and his character Vince were recently inducted into the Smithsonian Museum. He is longtime Production Manager for Pat Hazell’s The Wonder Bread Years, and was Stage Manager for Bunk Bed Brothers at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee.  He is the co-author of the Live Radio Play Young St. Nick and is the author of Headless Tales a Halloween show to be presented at area libraries by Heartline Theatricals. Tony is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, the Dramatist’s Guild and the Writers Guild of America.

Five Questions for Tony

Where did you grow up?
Upstate New York.
What was the last role you played?
I’m the stage manager, but my most memorable role is Vince the Crash Test Dummy
What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
What is exciting to you about The Suitcase Dreams?
Helping to bring a new show to life.
Okay, last question: what three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
A case of fine wine, a book on how to survive on a deserted island, and sunscreen.

Suitcase Dreams Rehearsals Begin

On Tuesday in Overture Center’s Rotunda Studio, LILA began rehearsals for The Suitcase Dreams. It was a great big table read with twelve actors, two designers, four writers, one director, and a whole lot of inspiration.


Stage manager Tony Reitano, and director Jessica Lanius prepare for the arrival of the cast and creative team on Tuesday night.


Costume designer Monica Butler gives everyone a rundown of the costumes for the production.


Cast members Chelsea Anderson and Di’Monte Henning at the reading on Tuesday night.


Cast members Michael Huftile, Emma Dias, and Emily Janik with director Jessica Lanius and writer Karen Olivo at the reading Tuesday night.


After reading through the script, the cast got on its feet to play with music director Erin Crabb and percussionist Shlomo Calvi.


Before sitting down at the big table, everyone got together for some creative introductions.


Before sitting down at the big table, everyone got together for some creative introductions.


The Suitcase Dreams: Collaborator Profile: Gwen Rice

Gwendolyn Rice
How much can we write about the abundance of talent in this town? Apparently not enough, because we’ve got Gwen Rice as one of the five core creators of The Suitcase Dreams! We decided today would be a good day to profile her here because she has something very cool happening this very night: her new play The Griots will receive a staged reading in Milwaukee as part of Renaissance Theatreworks Brink! 2014. The play, set in rural Georgia in the late 1930s, tells the story of an elderly African American woman who grew up in slavery, a young woman descended from the plantation owner’s family, and a young white man from the WPA Writers’ Project sent to the South to interview ex-slaves.
Gwen has been an active part of our Actors Lab 360 (one of the brave non-actors involved), and has contributed her wealth of know-how to help launch LILA in Madison. We know you’ll love what she’s contributed to The Suitcase Dreams, and encourage you to check out her work tonight in Milwaukee too!
Five Questions for Gwen
Where did you grow up?
Milton, Wisconsin.
What was the last role you played?
The fashion correspondent in a radio version of All About Eve.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
New York City last fall.
What is exciting to you about The Suitcase Dreams?
The feeling of magic in the script, and the potential for creating something much bigger than the words.
Okay, last question: what three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
A notebook, pens, and sunscreen.