Ilana, a world-renowned origami artist, is going through a divorce, her dog has run away, and she hasn’t answered her phone in two months. Then her intercom buzzes. It’s Andy, a fan, a high school teacher who counts his blessings. Literally — he’s up to 7,904. Andy introduces Suresh, an urban teen ipod addict and origami prodigy into Ilana’s life, and the plot folds really get complicated. A wise and richly layered comedy/drama from the author of Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo.

Performances July 5-15.

Animals Out of Paper is sponsored by Wendy and Gary Davis.


Elizabeth Rich*

Chad Hoeppner*

Vandit Bhatt *

*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States


Author: Rajiv Joseph
Directed by: May Adrales
Set Design: Vicki R. Davis
Lighting Design: Lara Dubin

Costume Design: Charles Schoonmaker
Sound Design: Tom Shread
Stage Manager: Lori Amondson*

*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States


Click links to read full reviews

“Rajiv Joseph’s thoughtful, “Animals Out of Paper” is receiving an intelligent, feeling, well-acted production at Chester Theatre Company. Director May Adrales and her cast, especially Hoeppner and Bhatt, deliver a compassionate, truthfully acted production that is clear, lucid and focused.”
     –Jeffrey Borak, The Berkshire Eagle

“Animals Out of Paper is exciting summer theater. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
     –Helen Epstein, The Arts Fuse

“Chester’s 23rd season opener demonstrates their integrity continues to provide quality productions — with an edge. Animals Out of Paper intrigues, tantalizes, and strikes all the right notes for the right reasons. The three actors are perfectly cast and well-directed. The intricate script stimulates and respectfully unfolds – like origami.

Some on line reviews of Animals Out of Paper presented by other American companies indicate subtlety was chucked in favor of forced humor: the first act is described as “hilarious” which considering the delicacy of the script suggests the interpretation was achieved by cheapening the carefully constructed lines in favor of a mindless sitcom. This is where Artistic Director Byam Stevens’ integrity earns his keep and consequently attracts appreciative audiences. Between Playwright Rajiv Joseph’s sensitive script and Director May Adrales’ respect for this gem, the first of four uncommon love stories comes to life. This production of Animals Out of Paper is highly recommended.”
     –Donna Bailey-Thompson, THE ARTS ETC

“Animals Out of Paper, is very much the work of a playwright with a distinctive voice and an intriguingly fresh approach…its three characters coming together through their relationship to origami. The chief origamist is Ilana (Elizabeth Rich in a performance of strong emotional depth and variety)… The uninvited caller is origami enthusiast and high school calculus teacher Andy (Chad Hoeppner, bringing a wonderful quality of caring, childlike optimism and vulnerability to the role)… Suresh (Vandit Bhatt who does a fine job of moving through this super bright and equally troubled teen’s constantly shifting emotional journey). Joseph’s dialogue and the delicate shading of comedy with deeper, darker feelings keep the romance between Ilana and Andy from sliding into overly familiar territory. The origami background adds a catchy and symbolically apt twist. The playwright has dug deep enough into his characters, to make it all fresh.”
     –Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp

“Playwright Rajiv Joseph has created a play that is rich in language, in visuals and in romance of the strangely old-fashioned kind. The three-character play has been cast with an eye toward talent. Chad Hoeppner plays with perfect timing, perfect inflections. It is a very delicate performance that brings Andy to perfect life.  Vandit Bhatt takes his character on a long, slow ride to adulthood and plays with the emotional content of a seventeen year old very well. Elizabeth Rich pays with sincerity and honesty and she never loses our sympathy or our empathy.

Director May Adrales has done a fine job of bringing this intriguing play to the stage. Chester has started its season with a winner.
     –J. Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

“Chester Theatre Company is a gem tucked into the foothills of the Berkshires. Its reputation for producing top-notch productions continues with this 23rd season, “Uncommon Love Stories.” This play draws the audience in during Act I.  It’s full of raw emotion and vulnerability that feels real and spontaneous. The dialog among the three characters is witty, fresh and funny. Rich embodies the frustrations of her character with ease. Hoeppner is adorable as the nerdy, besotted love interest. Vandit Bhatt, as Suresh, is delightful as a mouthy teenage prodigy trying to sort out his emotions after a life-altering tragedy. In Act II… they take the raw emotion and vulnerability seen earlier and transform it into heartbreaking tension. This sprightly comedy is the perfect start to the summer theater scene.”
     –Robbin M. Joyce, In the Spotlight and