Olivia Lilley

Olivia Lilley

Olivia Lilley is a playwright, director, deviser, and producer who came up in Chicago's DIY scene. She uses a devised process to create and develop her plays that she's been honing since 2013. Olivia's work often ransacks classics (films, plays, novels) or non fiction with a collective and builds a new story for the current moment. Olivia fights American perfectionism by telling stories about...
Olivia Lilley is a playwright, director, deviser, and producer who came up in Chicago's DIY scene. She uses a devised process to create and develop her plays that she's been honing since 2013. Olivia's work often ransacks classics (films, plays, novels) or non fiction with a collective and builds a new story for the current moment. Olivia fights American perfectionism by telling stories about complex and messy characters, subverting tropes, and giving alternate endings to women who are traditionally tragic. She often collaborates with choreographer Kelly Anderson. Olivia is Artistic Director of Prop Thtr. She was the founding Artistic Director of The Runaways Lab Theatre (Voted Best New Theatre Company in the Chicago Reader's Best of 2014) and currently sits on their advisory board. She's an Artistic Associate at Pivot Arts, and she's curated at The Museum of Contemporary Art. She's the Creative Director of Pop Magic Productions. Olivia’s feature screenplay “The Snowpeople” was selected for Full Spectrum Features Producers’ Lab 2020. Her play, "Diary of An Erotic Life" made the Kilroys List 2020. Olivia attended Carnegie Mellon School of Drama for Directing, and Interlochen Arts Academy for Music Composition.

Plays

  • True Midwest
    by Olivia Lilley
    Spanish Translations by Valeria Rosero

    In the Fall of 2019, Celine, a DIY promoter/producer, Faye, an Indie film producer, Alessia, a grant writer/non profit worker, and Meredith, a new MBA student at the University of Chicago, make a pact to have breakfast for late night dinner every Wednesday at The Golden Nugget. The goal is not to lose touch in their ever intensifying...
    by Olivia Lilley
    Spanish Translations by Valeria Rosero

    In the Fall of 2019, Celine, a DIY promoter/producer, Faye, an Indie film producer, Alessia, a grant writer/non profit worker, and Meredith, a new MBA student at the University of Chicago, make a pact to have breakfast for late night dinner every Wednesday at The Golden Nugget. The goal is not to lose touch in their ever intensifying hustler lives. As November and December 2019 cosmically fuck with them all, each has found themselves at their own career-based reckoning. As they fight to take care of themselves and each other, their loyalties and sense of self are put to the test. True Midwest is the story of four female entrepreneurs/Chicagoans who are ready for the next level: trying to escape the gig economy and self-actualize to the top of their ambitions. But can they do it all and still love each other?

    Inspired by “True West” by Sam Shepard

    If you'd like to read the current draft, email me @ olivialilley@propthtr.org.
  • Diary Of An Erotic Life
    Lulu, a young and ambitious South American woman, graduates from DePaul, debt free thanks to her investor, Gold Coast native, Caroline. Lulu will not feel the vulnerability of her immigration status as long as she does not veer from “their plan”. When romance complicates their arrangement in unexpected ways, so does race, class, and power. Will Lulu ever find her American dream or will her spirit be crushed by...
    Lulu, a young and ambitious South American woman, graduates from DePaul, debt free thanks to her investor, Gold Coast native, Caroline. Lulu will not feel the vulnerability of her immigration status as long as she does not veer from “their plan”. When romance complicates their arrangement in unexpected ways, so does race, class, and power. Will Lulu ever find her American dream or will her spirit be crushed by her capitalism-entrenched community? Inspired by "Earth's Spirit" and "Pandora's Box" by Frank Wedekind.

    by Olivia Lilley

    Devised by The Original Ensemble
    Valeria Rosero
    Kate Black Spence
    Kenya Ann Hall
    Caitlin Shantz
    Chelsea Turner
    Dylan Fahoome
    Mary Iris Loncto
    Tanuja Jagernauth
    Ada Alozie
    Olivia Lilley


  • Mary Shelley Sees The Future
    In July 1822, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, learns that her husband, Percy Shelley has drowned at sea. In an effort to talk to his ghost, she makes a connection across space and time with Mya, 24 year old recent MFA grad, comatose with ennui and LSD in July 2016. In the heat of the moment, a wish is made to take a walk in each other's lives. When they open their eyes, they discover they've...
    In July 1822, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, learns that her husband, Percy Shelley has drowned at sea. In an effort to talk to his ghost, she makes a connection across space and time with Mya, 24 year old recent MFA grad, comatose with ennui and LSD in July 2016. In the heat of the moment, a wish is made to take a walk in each other's lives. When they open their eyes, they discover they've switched bodies and eras. In this Freaky Fridayesque fantasy, Mary Shelley and Mya wander brand new worlds in search of their power, their identities, and where to go from here.
  • The Winter & The Whiskey
    Rachel Adela has ruined her life in Chicago, so she does what all lost and wandering Chicagoans do: move to New Orleans. Little does she know, but her Airbnb is on every ghost tour route: the former home of The Carter Brothers, vampires who ran loose in the French Quarter in the 30's. In her first 24 hours, not only does she find herself living in a haunted house, but she's found the haunted bar down...
    Rachel Adela has ruined her life in Chicago, so she does what all lost and wandering Chicagoans do: move to New Orleans. Little does she know, but her Airbnb is on every ghost tour route: the former home of The Carter Brothers, vampires who ran loose in the French Quarter in the 30's. In her first 24 hours, not only does she find herself living in a haunted house, but she's found the haunted bar down the street where a tormented rising movie star, Angelo, is drinking away his troubles. As this new relationship grows, the entities of New Orleans have ideas of their own. "The Winter & The Whiskey" is a thriller and a spiritual awakening, a journey towards self love, when you are not easily definable. An American mixed kid odyssey.

    Inspired by "Summer & Smoke" by Tennessee Williams.
  • The Gallery Cabaret
    When Nazneen is ghosted by her business partner at lease signing for the bar of her dreams, Nazneen has to go back to work as a bartender at the The Gallery Cabaret, a dive bar/ venue. Meanwhile, at Gallery, there's a new young gun in town, New Orleans singer/songwriter, Carlos, who's dubious about the inclusivity of their legendary Sunday open mic night. The owner, JP, sees potential in Carlos'...
    When Nazneen is ghosted by her business partner at lease signing for the bar of her dreams, Nazneen has to go back to work as a bartender at the The Gallery Cabaret, a dive bar/ venue. Meanwhile, at Gallery, there's a new young gun in town, New Orleans singer/songwriter, Carlos, who's dubious about the inclusivity of their legendary Sunday open mic night. The owner, JP, sees potential in Carlos' notions and gives him a chance to program a new Thursday open mic, but only if Nazneen co-runs the show. Still nursing her failed dreams, Nazneen reluctantly agrees. When "Midwestern Hospitality" is a big hit, new windows of opportunity open for the both of them. As Nazneen grapples with these possibilities, and Carlos' role in them, the community struggles with all of these sudden changes. The Gallery Cabaret is a play about succession, the American dream, and building a future inter-generationally.
  • She <3's NY
    Like a mirage in the desert, Margeux and Odette are drawn to the big city with dreams of success, glamour, and romance. But at the height of the economic crash of ‘08, those dreams are hard to come by, let alone hold onto. Having just graduated from college, Margeux is not deterred. She’ll do whatever it takes to make her vision of her life a reality.

    A Dance Pop Drama about Sex, Love, the Self...
    Like a mirage in the desert, Margeux and Odette are drawn to the big city with dreams of success, glamour, and romance. But at the height of the economic crash of ‘08, those dreams are hard to come by, let alone hold onto. Having just graduated from college, Margeux is not deterred. She’ll do whatever it takes to make her vision of her life a reality.

    A Dance Pop Drama about Sex, Love, the Self, and New York City in pre-Me Too America.