The world premiere of

Beholder

Written by Ken Prestininzi

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

May 15-June 21, 2008

This production won a Jeff Award for Best New Work! Betsy Zajko was also nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role.

Winner of Gay Chicago Magazine’s “After Dark Award” for “Incidental Music”

Cast: Featuring Betsy Zajko as Paula, with Jason Huysman, John Kahara, Judy Loyd, and Kristen Williams

Elegant. Poetic. Archetypal. Fluid. Surreal. Luscious. Highly recommended. -Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader

Wonderfully evocative! A protofeminist tale that also delves deeply into the push-pull of an artist’s psyche — Prestininzi’s play is as poetic, emotionally fraught and unresolved as the lives of its fascinating (and perfectly neurotic) characters. Betsy Zajko [gives] a wonderfully unpredictable, volatile, self-testing performance that perfectly echoes her character. Directed by Kate Hendrickson with great sensitivity and a sense of true emotional wildness, the production is as beautiful and richly haunted as a Modersohn-Becker painting. –Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-times

“Highly recommended! Top five shows to see!” -Monica Westin, New City Chicago

“A fluid and poetic voice…Prestininzi gives us the living texture behind the canvas.” -Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune

“Bold and beguiling! A fierce, brassy, and throughly convincing portrait of a true revolutionary. Strong performances and crisp mercifully humorous writing make this uncompromising play a taste worth cultivating.” -Time Out Chicago

“An exceptionally wonderful world premiere. Beautifully voyeuristic and dramatically intimate. Filled with breathtaking observations on art and love, this is as much a portrait of the artist in general as it is a specific rendering of Paula Modersohn-Becker’s life and work. Betsy Zajko and Kristen Williams Smith have magnificent chemistry together, as Paula and her friend Clara Rilke-Westhoff respectively. Judy Loyd delivers Anna Dreeban, model for and friend to Paula, with subtle comic timing and commanding presence. Alison Chesley’s original musical composition is exquisite. Trap Door Theatre continues to exemplify extraordinary and curious lives with this compelling and unique production” -Venus Zarris, Gay Chicago Magazine

Composer: Alison Chesley aka Helen Money Lighting Designer: Gina Patterson Assistant Director: Emily Lotspeich Productions Stage Manager: Andrew Luckenbill Assistant Stage Manager: Amber Lageman Lighting Designer: Gina Patterson Scenic Designers: Kate Hendrickson & Emily Lotspeich Scenic Design Mentor: Ewelina Dobiesz Costume Designers: Kate Hendrickson & Beata Pilch Master Seamstress: Sir Iris Bainum-Houle Graphic Designer: Michal Janicki Paintings by: Connie Hinkle A

Director Kate Hendrickson is a resident director at Trap Door Theatre where her particular focus is on premiering new plays by radical American playwrights. She has developed and sustained long-term collaborative relationships with several playwrights, steering multiple world premiere productions to critical and popular success. Together with Margraff and the Trap Door ensemble Hendrickson created ANGER/FLY which was recognized in the Chicago Reader “Best Of” edition as part of a Trap Door season presenting the “best string of theatrical stunners.” Other Trap Door credits include Cookie Play, Chaste and Beholder (Jeff Award for Best New Work, After Dark Award for Best Original Music), by Ken Prestininzi. Chaste received “Best of the Year” nods in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Stage Review, and the Huffington Post. Kate also directed Midwest premieres of Prestininzi’s AmeriKafka, Howard Zinn’s Emma (After Dark Award for Best Ensemble), and  12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich.