Professors, alumni explore ‘Naughty Thoughts’


Dancer Christina Eltvedt laughs with dancer Paul Christiano in a rehearsal for “An Evening of Naughty Thoughts.” The performance, which is a collaboration between faculty, alumni and a student, premieres 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at 2155 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago. The production features two plays written and directed by theater professor Lucas Krueger and choreographed by dance professor Paula Frasz.

By Claire Buchanan

Update: The Saturday benefit performance will now be at 2155 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago — not O’Donovan’s, 2100 W. Irving Park Road. Tickets for the benefit show can be purchased at

Hilda, played by actor Christina Eltvedt, gets over a breakup by camping with an imaginary friend named Pancake in the faculty-run production, “An Evening of Naughty Thoughts.”

The show, which premieres 7:30 p.m. Friday at 2155 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago, is a collaboration between faculty, alumni and a student. The hour-long performance centers around two short plays theater professor Lucas Krueger wrote and directed.

The dramatic “Of the Joy That Kills” is based on American author Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour” and takes place in the 1890s. “Of the Joy That Kills” explores the idea Louise, played by alumna Alanna Nieslen, might be happier without her husband, who she learns is dead. The news of her husband’s death and her freedom from marriage excites her until he walks through the door and she suffers a fatal heart attack.

“I got lucky to have a character that was really interesting to work with,” Nielsen said. “Instead of being sad and distraught about a death, she’s actually happy. It breaks the social norms of the time. … It was kind of a female empowering role. She wants freedom, not just to follow and be loyal to a man.”

The second short production, “Naughty Thoughts,” follows a girl, Hilda, who invents an imaginary friend named Pancake in an effort to come to terms with something bad she has done. After experiencing a breakup, Hilda goes camping and is accompanied by her imaginary friend, who she blames for her inappropriate thoughts.

“The inspiration for both of these plays comes from the idea of the bad thoughts we all have and don’t want to admit are there,” Krueger said. “It’s been wonderful seeing these dancers and how they respond to the emotions in the plays through dance.”

Both of Krueger’s plays feature choreography by dance professor Paula Frasz. DanszLoop Chicago, a professional dance company started by Frasz in 2002, began preparation for the show in June.

“The goal of my dance company is we specialize in interpreting the written word, short stories, plays… ,” Frasz said. “… We have plays that we are interpreting with dance. Both of the plays are very short, and we’ve augmented them with choreography.”

Zoe Hamilton, a senior dance performance major who helps with marketing for the show, is working on is a benefit night for the production. If attendees purchases $30 tickets at the bar O’Donovan’s, 2100 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago, on Oct. 18., $20 will go to the bar and $10 will go to DanszLoop.