All posts by rpdolan

About rpdolan

Ryan Patrick Dolan just completed his MFA in Playwriting at the Ohio University Playwriting Program under Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey. He has a B.A. in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago where he studied under playwright, Lisa Schlesinger. He's a veteran of the Chicago improv and theater scene. Credits include Revolver and Pudding-Thank You @ iO Chicago, TimeLine, Collaboraction, Steppenwolf, WildClaw, and Strawdog.

Detour Tech

kate marie smith 1We teched the play “Detour” today. Kate Marie Smith is playing Samantha in the play written by Tyler Whidden and directed by Mary Rose O’Connor


Why a Truck Stop?

When I had the idea to produce short plays this summer. I wanted there to be something to unify the four plays that my three fellow playwrights and myself would write. Obviously, I came up with a truck stop ’cause that term is in the title. It’s not just a random or whimsical gimmick though.

When I was 19, I found myself in a truck stop eating Christmas Eve dinner by myself. I won’t get into the why, that’ll be a play or a movie in the future. Let’s just say, 48 hours before, neither my family or I would have guessed I would have been eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy by myself at a Flying J outside on I-35 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christmas Eve dinner was always a big event for my family. We celebrated more on Christmas Eve than Christmas Day. The night consisted of church, opening presents, and dinner. I have an image emblazoned on my brain of my grandfather in a red sweater sitting at our dining room table, eating clam chowder from the only good seafood place in Kansas City. I remember him being happy. I remember all of us being happy.

So, sitting there in my booth, I felt like I was on another planet. I was shocked so many people were eating dinner at a truck stop restaurant with me. I thought it’d be empty. Some were travelers, but many were locals. There had to have been a couple of farmers and their wives. With my upbringing I assumed there would be a sadness amongst everyone having to eat there on the holiday. There wasn’t. I thought my waitress would be melancholy. I don’t remember her being so. I sat staring in awe of everyone.

I had driven a lot on foggy interstate highways the previous 24 hours. Truck stops and gas stations were a refuge. A way to escape from an intense drive for ten minutes. At a time, where I felt I couldn’t connect with anyone on the planet, it was nice to converse with someone for just a few moments at the cash register. I think at two in the morning that the person working the register appreciated having someone to talk to.

Everyone who steps inside a truck stop is on some type of journey. They’re trying to escape, or find, or lose, or love. I think the four plays that make up “10-4: The Truck Stop Plays” examine these kinds of journeys in a dark, humorous way.

We open August 8th at CIC Theater.

-Ryan Patrick Dolan

Press Release: Announcing World Premiere of “10-4: The Truck Stop Plays”

1422 W Irving Park Rd Chicago, IL 60613
Tel: (773) 865-7731

Contact: Farrell Walsh and Ryan Patrick Dolan
July 10, 2014
“10-4: The Truck Stop Plays” PREMIERES AT CIC

JULY 10, 2014 – CIC (formerly Chemically Imbalanced Comedy) is proud to present a four week run of the premiere of “10-4: The Truck Stop Plays.” It opens on Friday, August 8th at 8:00 pm, then runs Thursdays through Saturdays, August 14th through August 30th, at 8pm at the CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL.

“10-4” consists of four short plays written by four male playwrights from the Ohio University MFA Playwriting program. They are directed by four up-and-coming female directors from Chicago. They are being produced by CIC Theater and Ryan Patrick Dolan. The plays examine the personal journeys of people filled with loneliness, angst, and junk food, as they arrive at a travel-oasis crossroad in their life.

More information can be found on the show’s website: and

The Plays and Creative Teams Are:

“1100 Chili Dogs, or 1985: the Year Belinda Carlisle Came to Oklahoma” by Neal Adelman. Directed by Jeri Frederickson.
“Burger King” by Ryan Patrick Dolan. Directed by Ashley Neal.
“Detour” by Tyler JC Whidden. Directed by Mary Rose O’Connor
“Dream Catchin’” by Anthony Ellison. Directed by Karisa Bruin
“10-4” captures the seemingly mundane journeys by travelers from all walks of life. The plays focus on their its gaze on their loneliness and desperation (and consumption of junk food.)

Ryan Patrick Dolan (Producer/Plawright) is a twelve-year veteran of the Chicago theater and improv scene. He has a B.A. in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago, and is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf acting program. He assisted director Tina Landau for Steppenwolf Theater’s production of Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays.” Ryan was the dramaturg at RedTwist theater for Kimberly Senior’s production of “The Pillowman,” and Keira Fromm’s production of “The Lobby Hero.” Both were nominated for Jeff Awards for “Best Play” and “Best Director.” Ryan is also a 12-year veteran of the Chicago improv scene. He has primarily performed at iO and Annoyance Theaters, and has performed and taught workshops at numerous festivals and universities around the country with his groups Revolver and Pudding-Thank-You. Ryan also taught, and co-wrote and performed four Mainstage shows at Boston’s Improv Asylum. His acting credits include Timeline Theater, Collaboraction Theater, Strawdog, Wildclaw Theater, and Steppenwolf: Next Up. He’s had ten-minute plays produced by American Theater Company and Brown Couch Theater, and has performed his material at Paper Machete. Ryan is currently in the second year of the three year MFA Playwriting program at Ohio University.

Neal Adelman (Playwright) was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He writes plays and short stories. His one act play TARRANT COUNTY received an NPP workshop and was a 2014 KCACTF John Cauble Outstanding Short Play National Finalist; his fiction has appeared in Puerto del Sol and Caldera Culture Review. When he’s not writing, he’s either fishing or trying to start a rock and roll band. He currently lives in southeast Ohio and studies dramatic writing at Ohio University.

Anthony Ellison (Playwright): Anthony Ellison is a playwright originally from Muncie, IN, graduating from Ball  State University with a B.S. in Creative writing, though his work was mostly comedy driven. He spent 10 years in Chicago, writing, acting, directing and improvising at Second City, Annoyance Productions and Chemically Imbalanced Theater. He received an MFA in playwriting from Ohio University, where he won the Scot McPherson award for his physique. The North Star which was produced at Chemically Imbalanced Theater in Chicago (2012) and The Drilling Company space in New York City, by Standing Panda (2013). Other full-length productions include Texas Sheen and Guillotine, at Chemically Imbalanced Theater. His one act play, The New Sue was produced in Liverpool, England at Grin Theatre. Shitbrick Merlot and We Killed The Care Bears were produced at Annoyance Theater. His ten minute play Tomorrow, was produced at American Theater Company’s Big Shoulders Festival, as well as a staged reading of his play Put the Action in Reaction, at Chicago Dramatists.

Tyler JC Whidden (Playwright): Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Tyler JC Whidden is the youngest, least-talented son of a hockey-first family. After earning his BFA in Playwriting from Ohio University, Tyler embarked on a 37-state, 10-year odyssey as a stand-up comedian where he was labeled by critics as, “brilliant,” “tragic,” and “probably stoned.” He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and his thesis play, Dancing With NED, has received productions in New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington. His play, The Almost True Campfire Tales of Put-in-Bay, was commissioned as part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie in 2013 and his wife is way out of his league. You may learn more at

The directors are Mary Rose O’Connor, Ashley Neal, Jeri Frederickson, and Karisa Bruin. Their bios and the actors bios can be found at

“10-4: The Truck Stop Plays” opens at 8pm, Friday, August 8th, and runs Thursdays through Saturdays, August 14th through August 30th. Tickets are $10 and can be found Tickets will also be on sale 30 minutes prior to each performance at the CIC Theater Box Office.

Running time will be approximately 60 minutes.

CIC is a not-for-profit Theater Company whose mission is to provide performance opportunities for Chicago comedians. CIC presents improv, sketch, stand-up comedy and comedic plays at the CIC Theater, located at 1422 N. Irving Park Road in Chicago, Illinois.

Any questions about the production can be sent to or