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Halena Kays is the artistic director of The Hypocrites where she both performs and directs–most recently The Fall of the House of Usher (actor), Ivywild, and Six Characters in Search of an Author (director). She is the co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys where she created and directed the majority of their public performances including their critically acclaimed long-running show That’s Weird, Grandma, called “the best reason to live in Chicago on a Monday night” by TimeOut Chicago. She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, current lecturer at University of Chicago and a former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit.
With the Neo-Futurists she directed 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, co-created and directed Daredevils and Daredevils’ Hamlet and the site-specific extravaganza, Fake Lake. Halena is equally proud to have worked with many other respectable and disreputable theater companies in Chicago over the years; some memorable acting credits include: The Kid Thing (About Face/ Chicago Dramatists), Oedipus, Mud and 4.48 Psychosis (The Hypocrites), The Children’s Hour (Timeline), The Golden Truffle (Redmoon), and Fair Use and Theatrical Essays (Steppenwolf).
Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity, and received a signed letter from Mr. Rogers saying she was “special” in 1978. She also just had a kid.
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