Beholder

Written by Ken Prestininzi

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

The world premiere: May 15-June 21, 2008

 

Winner of Jeff Award for “Best New Work”

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

Betsy Zajko was nominated for Jeff Award: “Best Actress in a Lead Role”

 

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

“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

Beholder is drawn from the notebooks and letters of painter Paula Modersohn-Becker and her friend, poet Rainer Maria Rilke. The script also takes inspiration from Rilke’s poem about Paula, entitled Requiem
for a Friend.

CREW: 

MUSIC COMPOSED BY: Alison Chesley aka Helen Money
LIGHTING DESIGN BY: Gina Patterson
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Emily Lotspeich
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
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Michal Janicki

PAINTINGS: Connie Hinkle

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:

Ken Prestininzi is an American playwright, director, and dramaturg. He is Associate Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre. His existential extravaganza play, AmeriKafka, was produced by Trap Door Theatre. He is also the author of the musicals Favorite of the King, Pe’er Flynt, and Ariadne as well as the plays The Burger Girl Jingle, The Hole, and Kept.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: 

Kate Hendrickson is a resident director at Trap Door and has developed and sustained long-term collaborative relationships with several playwrights, steering multiple world premiere productions to critical and popular success. Together with Ruth Margraff and the Trap Door ensemble, she 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 and Chaste and Beholder (Jeff Award for “Best New Work”, After Dark Award for “Best Original Music”). Chaste received “Best of the Year” nods in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Stage Review, and the Huffington Post. Hendrickson also directed Midwest premieres of Prestininzi’s AmeriKafka, Howard Zinn’s Emma (After Dark Award for “Best Ensemble”), and 12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich.