General Questions

Why are you called "Barrel of Monkeys"?

We’ll let Charles E. Funk, word historian, field that question:

“One monkey arouses a great deal of amusement. Two or more then double the interest and amusement. If one were to release a barrel full of monkeys, we must suppose that their antics would become hilariously comical.”
—“2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song Dance” by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Books, New York, 1993).

BOM is wonderful! How can I offer my support?

Please visit our Support page for ways to help out. Thank you!

Can I audition for BOM?

Barrel of Monkeys will NOT be having auditions for the 2010-2011 season, as the size of our ensemble is currently sufficient.

Does BOM do professional development workshops?

Yes, we occasionally do professional development workshops. Please contact Program Director .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for pricing and more details.

Questions About Our Public Performances

Why do you only perform on Monday nights?

The performers do our Monday night shows for free; net proceeds support our educational program. Many of the performers are working actors around town who are in other shows (i.e. ones that pay) on the weekends. They are able to keep volunteering for us and presenting this great show precisely because it is on Monday night, a traditional theatrical off-night. Also, rent is cheaper on a Monday night and we like to keep costs low so that we can continue to serve the kids in Chicago Public Schools.

We do offer occasional Saturday matinees. Keep posted to the “That’s Weird, Grandma” page for any schedule updates.

Can I bring a group to see TWG?

Yes please! Barrel of Monkeys loves groups. We will offer a discount for groups of ten or more. Typically, adult group-rate tickets are $7 and the first kid is free. Please call the office at 773-281-0638 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information. Please note: very large groups (fifty or more) should be booked well in advance to insure availability.

Do you offer discounted tickets to my worthy nonprofit?

Usually, yes. We have a soft spot for non-profits, especially those that serve children. Call the office at 773-281-0638 for more information about discounts and donations. However, as we are a nonprofit ourselves, we can’t give away too much; for example, we can’t come do a performance for free, and we can’t let you bring 150 people to the show for free.

Where did you come up with “That’s Weird, Grandma” for the title of your show?

It’s a line improvised by one of our actors from one of the stories performed in the first run of the show. If we’d known it’d still be running so many years later we might have called it something different.

Do you really cut stories based on the audience vote?

Yup! Well, mostly…we have to take cast changes into consideration as well, and we generally won’t cut a story after one week (sometimes with more rehearsal it will become a new favorite). However, many stories stay in the show for a year or more because they are an audience favorite, and other cast favorites get cut sooner because the audience is not a fan. Some stories have been known to return after being cut, as well.

Are you affiliated with the Neo-Futurists in any way?

While Barrel of Monkeys performs in the Neo-Futurist Theater and even has a few company members who are also Neo-Futurist company members, we are not the same company. However, we like the Neos a lot and think they’re dreamy.

Do you perform at private parties?

Generally not. In order to take on a one-time gig at a private party we’d have to be certain that rehearsals would not interfere with our core programs and that we’d be able to compensate all the performers appropriately for their time. This means we’re probably too expensive and hard to schedule for you - but if you’d like to give it a shot, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We can not do a show with fewer than 12 performers, and that’s a lot of scheduling.

Questions About Our School Programs

Do the kids you teach perform in your shows?

The actors in our shows, both at school assemblies and in public performances like “That’s Weird, Grandma,” are all adults. However, children in our after-school program perform in their own shows at the end of each semester. See our After-School Program page for more information.

I'm a CPS teacher or administrator. How can I bring BOM to my school?

If you are a classroom teacher, Principal, school administrator or parent, and you would like Barrel Of Monkeys to work in your school, you should contact Program Director Elizabeth Levy. You may call her at (773) 425-4862 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

We begin scheduling residencies for the following school year in early March, and our calendar fills up quickly. The fee for a single-class residency with one original performance is $3,500; the price for multiple-class residencies increases based on how many classrooms we work in. BOM can provide information on government grants that schools can apply for to help pay for our workshops.

Will you perform for my school if I don't want/can't afford/don't have time for the full writing residency?

We do not generally bring a touring version of our show to schools. From time to time we will create an original show based on stories that have been sent to us by participating schools or organizations. However, because this requires substantial rehearsal and adaptation time, we cannot do this when it would detract from existing educational programming. If you are really interested in bringing BOM to your school or organization, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you would like BOM to come perform an extended run at your theater, we’re definitely interested…in the summer when school is out. Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).