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  Lipstick Lobotomy at Trap Door Theatre

Lipstick Lobotomy

Trap Door Theatre
1655 W. Cortland Chicago

In the world premiere of "Lipstick Lobotomy," John F. Kennedy's little sister, Rosemary Kennedy, and the playwright's Great Aunt Ginny develop a friendship at an exclusive high-end sanitarium for women in the fall of 1941. The women undergo the peculiar cutting-edge treatments on offer by a society desperate to find the cure for womanhood in this incisive comedy.

Thru - Mar 8, 2020

Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00pm
Sundays: 8:00pm

Price: $20-$25

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-384-0494

  Lipstick Lobotomy Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The conflict between the desire to be like everyone else and to hold on to what makes one unique is an evergreen problem, given a twist in Knight's cheerfully tragic text. Each era has its quack cures that look barbaric in hindsight. I have no doubt that many 2020 treatments for mental and emotional troubles will be considered savage and inept within a couple decades. So cutting out chunks of brain matter to make women behave is, sadly, not as outlandishly archaic as it should be. The horrific final image of a roomful of patients dancing and singing in grotesque smile masks is now lodged in my head like a bad dream."
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Dmitry Samarov

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Kate Hendrikson's direction is additionally enlivened by such presentational devices as grotesque fixed-smile masks, Brechtian title cards and age/ethnic-fluid casting, but what remains in our memories afterward (besides a deep suspicion of medical science) is the empathy generated by Ann Sonneville and Abby Blankenship in the roles of the forlorn damsels whose thwarted potential might have brought them peace and contentment in a more enlightened world."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...A play about Rosemary Kennedy is obviously not a happy one. But Lipstick Lobotomy, now in its world premiere at Trapdoor Theatre, is a touching story about friendship as much as it is an examination of the social forces driving medical disaster. Playwright Krista Knight was struck by inspiration after studying the journals of her great aunt, Virginia Harrison Hamann, who suffered from severe depression but craved connection to others and was a contemporary of Rosemary Kennedy's. Knight imagines what might have happened if their lives had intersected, at the difficult juncture of desperation, conformity, and tragic error."
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Jacob Davis

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Trap Door Theatreís latest production is the enchantingly titled Lipstick Lobotomy by playwright Krista Knight, directed by Kate Hendrickson. Itís a half-true, half-imagined story of friendship between John F. Kennedyís younger sister Rosemary (Abby Blankenship) and the playwrightís great aunt Ginny (Ann Sonneville), both patients in an elite mental institution, the kind of place where wealthy families could stow away disabled family members. Set in 1941, itís also a lesson in the horrific history of medical science and mental illness. The world premiere production is a sensitive look at peculiar psychomedicine and treatment of women 80 years ago."
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Lipstick Lobotomy isnít a comfortable play, especially since we know what ends up happening to Rosemary, but Hendrickson and Trap Door make Knightís homage to her great aunt a powerful and important one. Itís a far more straight-forward show than the adventurous Trap Door usually mounts, despite the stylized movements, and one that serves as a stark reminder of the terrible pain of mental illness and the awesome horrors that medical science has come up with over the years to deal with it. Especially when the sick person is female, doctors have again and again over centuries failed to understand and help, most often exacerbating the problem."
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Karen Topham

Rescripted - Recommended

"...The lack of forward momentum in the first half works against the show's emotional pace. By the time we reach the tightening vice of the story's climax, complete with moments of medical horror choreographed with painful realism by violence/intimacy designer Bill Gordon, the tension doesn't feel quite earned. Still, Lipstick Lobotomy is worth seeing for the excellent dialogue, delightful humor and heart, and important observations about misogyny and mental illness."
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Aaron Lockman

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