Produced by Theatre YJuliet by Andras Visky

Written by Andras Visky

Directed by Karin Coonrod

Staring Melisa Hawkins

Playing at Royal George Theatre

Raw Beauty in Raw Truth

Theatre Y’s Chicago premiere of “Juliet” solidifies itself as my favorite black box theatre company.  Comprised of three geniuses at their craft, their work is untouchable and a must see for Chicago.  Connecting Eastern European literature and theatre to an American audience, their stories are riveting, beautiful in their strength in darkness.  Andras Visky, Melissa Hawkins, and  Karin Coonrod are masters at connecting those stories with the audiences’ souls.

Juliet by Andras Visky

“Juliet” is about the strength and darkness of love.  The story is told through a woman questioning God, while asking God for death in order to be with her true love, her husband.  Juliet, her husband and their seven children have been imprisoned in Romania for believing in God.  Her husband was a minister.  Juliet misses her husband desperately and has not heard any news about him in five years, not even to be told if he is even still alive.  Pointing to her belief in the beauty in Gods creation of every detail, even thinking of providing a natural hair dryer such as the sun, Juliet is now questioning why there was the creation of so much evil.  If the Devil has never created anything, who did?  Her anger with God is rooted in her separation from her beloved husband.  The ties made between Love and God are poetically beautiful.  Juliet says that Humans were not designed to be able to listen to their own heart beat; they need someone else to do that.  Juliet’s someone has been taken away and she no longer wants to live with out her Love, going as far as to describe it as her wanting to rip her heart out of her chest to no longer feel the pains of love.

Juliet by Andras Visky

This love triangle between Juliet, her husband and God exemplify the strength in love, its perseverance even in the darkest of times and when if it least desired.  Survival would have been easier if she could have let go of her love for God and her husband, but her love would not allow that to happen.  In the end it is love that saves her, her love for more than just her husband, but her family.

On stage Melissa Hawkins has an intense touch for the subtleties of drama in everything about life.  She is a personal favorite for me to see perform, leaving me physically exhausted from the emotional journey she takes me on every time I have seen her act.

Director Karin Coonrod creates an atmosphere that connects with the audience’s ears and soul like nothing I have ever seen other than Theatre Y’s previous world premiere of “I Killed My Mother” and Steppenwolf’s “Brother/Sister Plays.”  Her simplicity and ability to create images in our imagination are astounding.  The grasp and lose of her husband when Juliet is trying to feel the presence of her husband is heart breaking.  Frozen moments in soft blue light with orchestra music in the background eerily give a tension and feeling of overwhelming thought that seeps into the viewer.

The lighting design by Mathew Kooi is beautiful in its simplicity and is perfectly executed moving and amplifying the mood of Juliet.

Andras Visky writing is poetically intense.  He ties together poetry and raw emotions to bring out the darkest evils in life, as well as life’s undeniable beauty. He has the ability to tell a horrific story that yet gives us hope in mankind, giving his characters the utmost vulnerability and honest emotional speech that lead to an awe inspiring theatrical performance.  The chance to see Visky’s writing performed is a special treat for Chicago.

Theatre Y brings the raw beauty of Eastern European style theatre to Chicago.  The Award winning writing of Andras Visky, and outstanding work of Actress Melissa Hawkins and Director Karin Coonrod are a must see for entertainment and enlightenment.


Timothy McGuire

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2010

For full show information, check out Juliet page at TheatreInChicago.

Playing at Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, Thursday through Saturday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 5:00pm and Sunday at 3:00pm, tickets at $25, $15 for students, call 312-988-9000

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