Daredevils: No Depression

35 3Arts supporters
$5,103 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on December 14, 2020
    • 102% contributed

I am raising funds to support a new devised physical theater piece created with the signature “daredevils aesthetic." It’s a wild time so it’s the perfect time to make a new Daredevils show. In my experience, the best way to move through difficult and isolating times is to gather to make new work, build community, and invite audiences to invest in the creation and experiments along the way. With co-creator Ryan Walters we will bring a new ensemble together in a rehearsal/workshop space to devise, write, and risk together. For this Daredevils show, we will explore these specific themes: aging, time passage, depression, joy, and middle age. We will do this through the lens of what has become a uniquely physical Daredevils aesthetic grown organically through years of practice, experimentation, and shenanigans. Daredevils: No Depression will ultimately be a live theatrical event (when it’s safe to gather--until then we will workshop remotely and share digitally) that is created, written, and performed by a diverse ensemble of performers, musicians, poets, clowns, and troublemakers. We will investigate physical risk and our personal, often fraught, relationship to the masculine parts of ourselves and society. The ensemble will intrepidly endeavor to break down the barriers of audience and performer with generosity and pluck in order to create a unique, dangerous, and thrilling experience for all at every performance.  Breath. Risk.  Share joy. 

About This Project

Daredevils: No Depression will be the third iteration in a series of Daredevils productions. The earlier works (Daredevils and Daredevil’s Hamlet, created with The Neo-Futurists) inspired me to re-examine how new work is created, helped me to connect play theory with creating new work, and further solidified my interest in combining clown, physical theater, stunts, and dance with personal narrative and storytelling.

This process best exemplifies the sense of play and risk that I value: one of the rules of a Daredevils process is that each member determines a skill that scares them and proceeds to learn and teach others that skill. This idea that through art and goal setting we are consciously learning and risking in our “real” lives as well as our artistic ones is profound.  With the hope that we become better with each day, the Daredevils process pushes us to show and teach that work collaboratively. This creates a community that supports each other’s wild plans and inspires me to continue in the spirit of that work in all aspects of my life. Creating a new Daredevils show will be a dream made real. 

I had the pleasure of co-creating and directing the critically-acclaimed and wildly popular Daredevils (2005) and Daredevil’s Hamlet (2010) at The Neo-Futurists theater where a group of writer/performers created what we have coined a “daredevil’s aesthetic." In these works, five writer/performers create work towards the whole. There is not a single playwright, but rather a “creator” who serves as a lead writer, and myself, who serves as the ultimate editor and visionary for “the whole.” 

For Daredevils: No Depression, at the end of our creative process our goal is to have a working script and offer a workshop performance for the public by the fall of 2020 (perhaps outdoors, perhaps online, perhaps we will hang onto the script until it is safe to gather). The ultimate plan is to produce the event in a longer theatrical run with full production support. The creation of a solid draft of our script and early physical, stunt-based work and choreography require support so we may pay our artists a living wage and rehearse in appropriate spaces that can serve our unique process. Funds from this campaign will be used specifically for the exploratory rehearsals, writing workshops, and workshop performance.

Storytelling in theater is a collaborative effort, and my growth as a director has occurred when I’ve taken that concept a step further by developing scripts collaboratively. Equipped with a strong vision and playful spirit, I’m inviting you to be a part of our process, through financial support now and an invitation to follow our progress creatively and engage in building community through the art.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Personal “thank you” from a Daredevil ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above plus your name acknowledged in the performance program ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus a promised ticket to the first live workshop showing/reading of the new script ($40.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above plus a video link to a mash-up of workshop video (we promise lots of pratfalls and laughing) ($90.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $200
    Above plus an “I’m a Daredevil” button ($185.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above plus a signed copy of the final script ($480.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above plus a signed photograph of the 2021 Daredevils ensemble ($975.00 is tax deductible.)

Halena Kays

Halena Kays is a founding member of the artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, past artistic director of The Hypocrites, and former co-artistic curator for Theater on the Lake.

Halena is an …

View Halena Kays's profile
  • Update 1: We met our first week goal!
    Posted on November 10, 2020



    All the smart brain people tell me I should spend a little time every day thinking of things that make me grateful.  This has been the easiest task this week!  Thank you to these amazing folks for their kindness.  We are one step closer to making this dream project and paying our artists a living wage!  You are wonderful.  Now, onward!  Let's get $1000 raised this weekend!

    Update 2: 5 Days Left!
    Posted on December 09, 2020


    Hello wonderful people!

    We have 5 days left to raise the last $1,017 to reach our goal for Daredevils: No Depression.

    If you know folks who might love to support our project, please reach out!  Time is ticking away and we can take all the love we can get.

    We are so grateful and excited to work on our new creation together, thank you for giving us some brightness in this ridiculous moment.

    Thank you thank you!


    Update 3: Wow- Thank you!
    Posted on December 14, 2020


    We made it!  With 14 hours to go, we beat our goal and the project will happen!  Woo-hoo!  We are so grateful for this remarkable community.  Anything we raise above our goal today will go straight to paying out artists better- so we can rally for the rest of the day!

    Your kindness means to world to us,

    -h and the ruffians


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Heather Gilbert

    • Wendy Moryoussef

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Rosemary Spatafora

    • David Kays

    • Sharon Greene

    • Aric Mutchnick

    • Krista Mickelson

    • Florence Ann Romano

    • Kristie Vuocolo

    • Diana Slickman

    • Spencer Diedrick

    • Sean Graney

    • Andrew Hinderaker

    • Victoria Johnson

    • Brennan Buhl

    • Kurt Chiang

    • Richard & Betty Walters

    • Eva Silverman

    • Jack Morsovillo

    • Brita Thorne

    • Brett Schneider

    • Elizabeth Brumfield

    • Erica Halverson

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Ryan Walters

    • Jolie Fredette

    • Randy Kays

    • Jen Kays

    • Vernon Kays

    • Tom Malinowski

    • Evan Hanover

    • Justine Palmisano

    • Don Barnes

    • Beau Johnson

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council