Written by Sarah Gubbins

Directed by Jake Fruend


co-artistic director's note: 

Nothing Without a Company has a history of workshopping and producing new work since 2005. The mold has been broken with The Kid Thing, written by by Sarah Gubbins, our first ever published piece. I first discovered this play when my wife and fellow Co-Artistic Director Anna Rose and I attended a reading at Steppenwolf in 2010. Immediately, I knew that Nothing Without a Company had to produce this play. Perhaps it was the aboutness of the play and it's protagonist that called out to me as a butch lesbian who is also human as fuck. Perhaps it was the conversations about what queer parents with children go through. Perhaps it was the fear driven decision making, and the tragedy of really looking at one’s self determination, judgement, and compromise. Regardless of what it was or is, this piece called out to me because I saw real people with real problems. We put this play in our back pocket and walked around with it for three years.

In 2013, we brought The Kid Thing to our company members and after many long discussions we decided that we were just too young to produce this piece. Not only in age, but in the development of the company itself. Over the next four years, we worked on building our administrative staff and board members, grew our artistic company, and did a variety of shows of varying sizes. We moved into our new artistic home in Berger Park’s North Mansion. We evolved our vision statement to specifically support LGBTQIA artists by providing a safe and creative space to explore their voices and talents. And through all this, The Kid Thing continued to push at my spinal cord, made me arch my back, and say, “This is it.”

The Kid Thing takes place in 2009, when only four states had legalized same-sex marriage. It was only just recently, in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry nationwide. Also in 2009, The Family Equality Council found that 44 out of 50 states did not have laws or policies that prohibited discrimination against gay and lesbian couples trying to adopt. This was amended in 2016, when a federal judge ruled that a ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional, and made it legal in all 50 states.

We keep this progress in mind when we return to 2009 in The Kid Thing, and witness the dynamics of a queer family who are struggling with the idea of becoming parents in a world that seems to be fighting against them in every way imaginable. Nothing Without a Company is immensely proud to present an intimate, site-specific, and immersive experience of Sarah Gubbins’ The Kid Thing, directed by Company Member Jake Fruend.

-Hannah Ii-Epstein-




SHALYN WELCH is super grateful to be making her Chicago debut with Nothing Without A Company and the cast of The Kid Thing. Aside from professional play Shalyn enjoys writing, doodling, sketch comedy, and hanging with her pets. This experience has been wonderful, to say the least. She would like to thank the entire cast and production team, as well as you all for your support. Shalyn supports all people regardless of race, gender, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, etc. She holds a BFA in Acting from Millikin University Thanks much and enjoy the show. (



SAMANTHA NAVA is from El Paso, Texas and was the first ever to receive a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University Texas at El Paso. She continued her education at East 15 Acting School in London, England, where she received her M.F.A. While part of East 15 she performed at Shakespeare’s Globe and completed a one month residence at The Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow. Favorite credits include Sharon Bates in the UK premiere of Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days, MacDuff in a gender swapped Macbeth and Tamora and Emilia in Bloody Shakespeare. While in Chicago she had the honor of performing with Collaboraction as part of their Peacebook Festival, Mercy Street Theatre company for the 2nd annual production of Merry Christmas Mulch Pile. She thanks her family and friends for their endless love and support. 


anna rose ii-epstein as nate

ANNA ROSE II-EPSTEIN is so excited about working with this team and hasn't laughed this much in rehearsal, ever! She is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Nothing Without a Company. A native of Houston, Texas she has considered Chicago and the theatre community her home for the last 14 years.  Anna Rose fell in love with Chicago while attending the National High School Institute Cherub program at Northwestern. Soon after, she attended DePaul Theater School and Columbia College Chicago, where she received her BFA in Acting with a minor in Directing. She has directed, performed in, and produced over 25 new plays with Nothing Without a Company. She and her wife Hannah Ii-Epstein were featured in Windy City Times 2014's 30 Under 30 award and were the first power couple to be honored together in this category. She would like to thank her wife Hannah, cousin Shae and Jake for their support and encouragement. (


taylor raye as margot

TAYLOR RAYE is elated to make her Nothing Without a Company debut surrounded by such honest and talented artists! The Colorado native was most recently seen in Resolution at Pride Films and Plays, and Waking Lazarus the Musical at Prologue Theatre Company. She is forever grateful to her family and friends for their constant encouragement and support! Taylor is represented by Big Mouth Talent.



GABRIEL FRIES has immensely enjoyed the warm fuzzies of working with this delightful cast and crew! Previous Chicago credits include Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), King Lear (Eleusis Collective), A Night of New Works (Something Marvelous) and Jim and Dave’s Blood Meets Jupiter (Project 891). Gabriel has also performed in Boston and St. Louis, and taught theatre workshops in Italy, France, and China. When he’s not acting or vagabonding, Gabriel likes to sit by the lake and strum his ukulele. He holds a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University. Thanks to Mom and Dad for always supporting my dreams!


PlaywriGHT: sarah gubbins

SARAH GUBBINS is a Chicago playwright. Her full-length plays include: The Kid ThingCockedThe Drinking ProblemI am Bradley Manningfml: how Carson McCullers saved my lifeIn Loco Parentis, and Fair Use. She won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play 2012 for The Kid Thing, which was produced by Chicago Dramatists and About Face Theater and developed by the Steppenwolf Theater. The Kid Thing won an Edgarton Foundation New American Play Prize. fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life was commissioned and produced by the Steppenwolf Theater in 2012 and published by Dramatic Publishing in 2013. The Drinking Problem won the 2012 Global Age Project sponsored by the Aurora Theater in Berkeley California. The Drinking Problem (formerly titled The Water Play) was developed as part of PlayLabs at the Playwrights' Center and received additional development from Timeline Theater in Chicago. Her play Fair Use was developed and produced at the Steppenwolf Theater Company as part of their First Look Repertory of New Plays during the summer of 2008 and was produced by Actor’s Express Theatre in Atlanta. Fair Use was also a finalist in the Alliance Theatre’s Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. She was commissioned to write I am Bradley Manning by the Theatre School at DePaul University and the play was produced at the Merle Reskin Theater in Chicago in 2012.

director: jake fruend

JAKE FRUEND is a company member with Nothing Without a Company and the Associate Artistic Director of Mercy Street Theatre. His directing credits include the upcoming Chicago premiere of Max Frisch’s Andorra translated by Ian Michael James, the 2015 & 2016 productions of Dakota Parobek's Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile!, Franz Kafka's Rotpeter (Mercy Street), Point & Shoot, co-written with Liz Ellison, John Patrick Bray’s Green Sound (Cold Basement Dramatics) as well as a bushel of short projects with NWaC. Jake is also a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, a native of St. Louis, a graphic designer, and a Pillsbury Cook-Off winner. (


ALAINA MOORE works as a freelance stylist, costumer, and production designer for both screen and stage, as well as co-owning and operating Kaleidoscope Vintage with her long time partner and collaborator, photographer Christopher Semel. She has designed costumes for numerous Chicago area theater companies, most frequently for the Raven Theatre, where she garnered a Jeff nomination for her work on THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College Chicago, where she studied theater and film design. (


MARISSA RUTLEDGE has been working with nonprofit Chicago theatre for a little over a decade since graduating from the University of Rhode Island with her BFA in Scenic Design in 2005. She is thrilled to be working with Nothing Without a Company again. You’ve seen her work in past Nothing Without a Company productions such as Zombies Attack Chicago!FuturepastThe Big Bad Spooktacular, and Punk-Punk.

production manager / LIGHTing DESIGNer: andy lynn

ANDY LYNN is a freeform creative; pushing for the exhumation of personal stories that deconstruct walls in order to forge worlds of understanding and discovery. Working with a diverse constellation of artists, creators, makers, doers and be-ers is pertinent to his work, constantly pushing him to expand his thinking and become a better human. Recently moving to Chicago to work at Goodman Theatre, this is Mr. Lynn's first production with Nothing Without a Company. Previously spending 4 years as Program Coordinator in the historic Oxford Community Arts Center, he feels at home in the North Mansion of Berger Park. Recent theatrical credits include Production Manager and Lighting Designer for the immersive performances of Meghan Gogerty's Housebroken, Nicole Gurgel-Seefeldt's 900 Gallons, and Dominique.C.Hill's Rupturing Silence. He has been Lighting Designer for Phil Whickham, Film Director for Lisa Biales' Romance in the Dark, and Puppet and Costume Designer for The Long Christmas Ride Home, and many other things. His next project is finishing the script for his work, currently titled, Couches and Cake. He is also a director, playwright, designer, scenic artist, film maker, skin painter, collaborative creator, coffee maker, and anything else required to tell the stories need be told. More...


MARGARET BAUGHMAN has enjoyed joining Nothing Without a Company for a third time! After serving as Stage Manager on two of their Crash Landing 24-Hour Festivals, she is glad to be spending more than one day a year with these wonderful folk. Margaret's has most recently directed 24Words as part of Steppenwolf's LookOut series and her adaptation much ado at Gorilla Tango Theatre. She was the Dramaturg for Transit of Venus with Saint Sebastian Players, Vanya (or, "That's Life!") with Rasaka Theatre Company, and assisted on Lecherous Honey with Cock & Bull. She was the Stage Manager for The Baltimore Waltz and NOW. HERE. THIS. with Brown Paper Box Co., and assisted on Cosmic Events Are Upon Us with Waltzing Mechanics. Upcoming, she'll be the Dramaturg for the Remy Bumppo and Silk Road Rising co-production of Great Expectations this spring. Margaret is a the Marketing Director for Brown Paper Box Co. and a proud alum of The Theatre School at DePaul University. 

assistant stage manager: molly gloeckner

MOLLY GLOECKNER is a freshman comedy writing and performance major at Columbia College Chicago.  She is excited to be working with Nothing Without a Company for the first time. 


Stoop Kids are a psychedelic jukebox: they write and play inside a melting pot of genres, re-imagining the last 75 years of popular music.

Special Thanks:

Shawn Rutledge

J.D. Ostergaard

Brittany Alsot

Sandra Mesrine

Christoper Semel

Berger Park Cultural Center

The Graduate School at Northwestern University

Trader Joe's


Molly's Cupcakes


Red Line Painting

Chicago's stop for quality Painting



Richard H. Driehaus Foundation — MacArthur Foundation

Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

Greater Houston Arts

Hawaii Community Foundation