Holidays Mean Visits From Friends…Welcome to Our Special Guest!

Posted by Marika on December 19, 2014

That's Weird Grandma TWG Weekly Update

Here at Barrel of Monkeys, we are a bit of a family.  And, sometimes, family members leave home and strike out on their own and head to New York or L.A. or Montana. 

Welcome Home!

We are so excited to have the one and only Brennan come home this week to present one of his favorite stories, The Tiny Door in the Back of my Closet by Tyler W. from the Cleveland School

I had never noticed the tiny door in the back of my closet before. I opened and saw a friendly monster that was scared of me.
Then in a few more weeks and he knew me well and we started to play in my room. Then my mom came in and the monster had to hide. Then my mom said that I had to clean my room then my mom closed the door. After that the monster came out and help me clean my room and we finished the room quickly then we played some more and then the monster fainted. Then he got up in an hour. Then he died.

And another story about a Holiday visit…Monica’s Special Christmas Eve by Freda H. from South Loop.  Everyone knows the fastest way to get anywhere is a straight line. But, when you are very bad at geography, it might take a bit longer. 

Will Monica Pass the Test?

Once upon a time there was a girl named Monica. Monica was in first grade and was
very bad at geography. One day she received a letter from Santa. It said:

Dear Monica,
You are invited to a party at my workshop. On the night of Christmas Eve, a reindeer will pick you up. But, you have to tell the reindeer where to go.


PS. There is an indoor swimming pool which is pretty warm.

“Wow, I must pack warm clothes and a swimsuit,” Monica said. During the middle of Christmas Eve she heard a bell ringing. “That must be Santa’s reindeer,” Monica said.
Monica dressed up and got onto a sleigh. “Now which way shall we go,” the reindeer asked. “My teacher told us to memorize South is up, East is left, North is down and West is right, so we have to go South which is up.” It took a long time to get to Santa’s workshop because Monica got all mixed up. When they finally arrived the party was
already over. “I missed the party,” Monica sobbed. “I saved some toys and a piece of cake for you.” “Yay,” Monica cheered.

Can’t wait to see you for this Extra Special Holiday Guest Round…Monday at 8pm!

The Holiday Round Won’t Be the Same Without…YOU!

Posted by Marika on December 11, 2014

If you are anything like me, you grew up loving the holidays.  Eating great food (I’m talking to you, cranberry sauce in a can), seeing your favorite relatives, sleeping in… 

Family Gatherin's

Hopefully, during these festive gatherings, nobody made the fateful mistake of confusing a turkey leg with a Christmas ornament. 

Nicholas A. from the Cleveland School certainly learned this lesson the hard way.  We have turned Nicholas’ story into a Barrel of Monkeys holiday music classic.  Enjoy! 

When I was little it was Christmas I was 5 years old a glass Christmas ball fall from the tree.  Then I ate it and I was screaming a lot.  My mom and dad and brothers took me to the hospital they did x-rays and they found it then they were waiting, then they said to my mom take him to the bathroom.  Because I needed to use it because they said they were going to operate me but I said I have to use the bathroom and it came out and I was crying because I had a lot of cut on my behind and my mouth.  The End.

Speaking of holidays, nothing says festive like a weird combination of things.  You’ve got your Turducken.  Your Chrismukkah.  Your…Horsewolf?!?  Tamarra M. from the Dewey School of Excellence brings us a soon-to-be classic tale that you just have to see to believe.

Hi my name is horsewolf.  My job is eating people hair off.  I like marinating people
hair in applesause.  One thing I dislike is shrimp. 

My Name is…Horsewolf!

Can’t wait to see you this Monday at 8pm!

That’s Weird, Grandma: THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL

Posted by Joe on December 5, 2014

That's Weird Grandma TWG Weekly Update Other Performances

Here comes Granny Claus, Here comes Granny Claus…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holiday round of That’s Weird, Grandma!

The Holiday Round

Here are the incredible stories that will be featured on Monday!

THE SEVEN PENGUIN’S ADVENTURE by Latyra B, Kenny R, Ladarious H, Howard M, Ieka H, Brandon S, Charlene H, Brittany T, Marlisa B., Henry Suder


LOVE IN HEAVEN by Corodero P., Chalmers School of Excellence

LOVE IS ENOUGH FOR A BEAR by Ameena A., Johnson School of Excellence

THE SHOPPING HABIT by Kayla R., Trumbull Elementary

SNOWFLAKE by Casey R., Dawes Elementary

GROWN UP PARTY AGE UP TO 22 by Daviaynna H., New Sullivan Elementary

UNTITLED (Setting: Christmas Ball) by Kyjuan M, Learn Campbell Campus

UNTITLED (Horsewolf) by Tamarra M.  Dewey School of Excellence

PEAR AND APPLE by Nick, Pritzker School

NIGHTMARE IN MY EYE by Damiah D., Learn Campbell Campus

THE CRAZY PIRATE by Trinity N., Dixon Elementary


LAST CHRISTMAS (True Story Day) by Cantrell S., Learn Campbell Campus

MY STREETS IS ALWAYS QUIET by Takayla N., Malcom Elementary School

FLH by Freddie H. Dewey School of Excellence

Say “One day she was in Texas” to Ambar at the box office to receive discounted tickets!

See you at the show!


Star Wars? We Got Your Star Wars Right Here!

Posted by Jason on November 30, 2014

General That's Weird Grandma TWG Weekly Update Other Performances After School Program

Much of the online universe - including yours truly - was understandably abuzz this week after seeing the new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  A long time ago (fall of 2004) in a galaxy far, far away (Loyola Park), Claudio F. wrote “Star Wars 3”  - several months BEFORE the actual movie came out!  Since BOM is always on the leading edge of pop culture, we’ve brought back Claudio’s vision, performed word-for-word, for this round of CWG, and we invite you to read it now and see it Monday, Dec. 1 at 8:00 in the final “Chicago’s Weird, Grandma” show of the year!

Star Wars 3
By Claudio F. Loyola Park After School Program

LuK: It’s snowy today master.
Jar: Don’t worry. If you are patient it will be gone soon.
LuK: We are staying in de castle 3 more days.
Jar: We need food and supplies.
LuK: Then we are going to outer space.
Jar: Then we are getting to meet Turkey.
LuK: And then we are going to turkey city.
Jar: Then we are going to the sea to relax, take all the human souls to give it to another baby when the baby is gunna come. Now that the soul is gone, we’re going to give you tips about Jedis
To be continued
Jar: Now let’s practice
(They do. With sticks)
Jar: Let me give you tips. There’s a lot of Jedi moves. There’s difficult ones. But you are going to discover them alone
To be continued
Jar: Let’s practice in the ballogram. There we will get our sticks.
LuK: Let’s go first to metro city. Let’s get our octopus bus.
Jar: We have trouble. A giant octopus dragon is attacking us. Let’s go into a cave, we will be safe.
LuK: Oh no, the power is out. Let’s get our suits to swim.
They swim to metro city. To be continued.
To make war.
LuK: We win the war! Let’s celebrate!
Princess: I’m the princess. Now for helping us win the war you win the precious ball of justice.
The End

And in other Star Wars news:
*See what the Ewoks might have evolved to in “Love is Enough for a Bear”! 
*Banish the pod-races from your head with “I Believe Racing is a Cool Job”! 
*Learn the true secret of Yoda’s Jedi training regimen in “Yoga Class in California”!

Special guests this week: The Young Fugitives, performing their adaptation of “The Battle and the War”! (See how this all ties together?!?)

Say “Put this party stuff up” to Ambar at the box office for discounted tickets!


It’s the Most Wonderful Hashtag of the Year

Posted by Amanda Farrar on November 27, 2014

General That's Weird Grandma School Residencies After School Program Company Members Miscellaneous

Why support Barrel of Monkeys through a donation for #GivingTuesday? For your viewing pleasure, we present this video featuring Sonya and Joanya in…

Giving Grannies

Donate Now!

Thank you in advance for supporting the imaginations of children through a donation this #GivingTuesday, December 2! All amounts donated under the program are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.  As always, thank you for your support!

Who are Joanya and Sonya?

Sonya and Joanya are two characters that originated from a student-written story by Stephaun B. of the Loyola Park After-School Program entitled “Grannies Lean Like a Cholo” .

Sonya Begonia
Sonya is a lifelong sports enthusiast and patron of the arts.  She has held many roles in her life: Little League coach, small business owner, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and part-time life coach.  Her current interests include attending live theater, instant messaging, and going on adventures with her dearest friend in the world, Joanya.

Joanya Merman Nemoy
Actress Joanya Merman Nemoy starred in Golden Twilight Retirement Home productions like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and BUtterfield 8, but was just as famous for her violet eyes and scandalous love life. Born in Brooklyn on February 27, 1932, Joanya made her theatre debut in One Born Every Minute (Long Island Playhouse) and achieved stardom with National Velvet (Jersey Shore Rep).

“Wait a minute. Is this why this young and attractive camera crew is here? I get it now, we’re here to talk about a very specific way to participate in The Hashtag Giving Tuesday.  We are giving to Barrel of Monkeys.  I just figured it out!” - Joanya

Elizabeth Levy (Sonya)
Levy joined the ensemble in 2004 and was hired as Program Director in 2008. Before becoming Program Director, Levy was the Education Coordinator at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Levy graduated from The University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature. While at U of C, she ran several drama programs in neighborhood schools in Hyde Park. Elizabeth has performed locally with Steppenwolf Theatre, the House Theatre, Collaboraction, Strawdog and Dog and Pony.

Joseph Schupbach (Joanya)
Schupbach began his involvement with Barrel of Monkeys in 2005 and has served as After-School Program Coordinator and Education Coordinator for the past three years before being promoted to Artistic Director, the position he now holds. Schupbach has served as a professional teaching artist in Chicago for multiple organizations including Lookingglass Theatre and St. Clement School. He has directed shows for Barrel of Monkeys, North Park University, Murakami Sound Machine and InGen Productions – a company of which he is co-founder and Artistic Director. Joseph has assistant directed for The Ruffians and The Neo-Futurists and has performed all over Chicago.