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  The Madwoman Of Chaillot at Athenaeum Theatre

The Madwoman Of Chaillot

Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N. Southport Chicago

First produced in 1945, Giraudoux's satiric comedy reveals a plot by a group of corrupt business executives to dig up the streets of Paris, so they can pump oil that they believe lies beneath. Their plot is challenged by the titular "Madwoman," the eccentric Countess Aurelia, an idealist who resolves to fight back and rescue humanity from the scheming and corrupt developers with the help of her fellow outcasts and her fellow madwomen.

Presented by Promethean Theatre Ensemble

Thru - Mar 17, 2018

Price: $17-$27

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-935-6875

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  The Madwoman Of Chaillot Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...When a cabal of political and business leaders descend on Chaillot intending to drill for black gold without regard to their scheme's destructive impact, Aurelia and her bohemian band of street people thwart the scheme. Promethean Theatre Ensemble's workmanlike production of this urban fairy tale features Elaine Carlson as an Aurelia whose daft, dithery whimsicality belies a steely ruthlessness."
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Albert Williams

Theatre By Numbers - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director John Arthur Lewis draws lovely work from his actors across the board, giving a light touch to this tossed together French Revolution. But his staging hampers the performers' energy and engagement with one another. For most of the play, Lewis has the actors playing side by side on the same sightline and level, making it hard for the audience to track who we should follow at any given moment. Bits of business for background players distract from larger plot and character moments, and the addition of a higher stage level in the second act obscures actors' reactions."
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Sarah Bowden

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Rich with precious nonsense (men change their names every hour in order to signal their mutability) and trenchant relevance, the play's big heart lies in speeches delivered in each act by the Ragpicker. A scavenger who knows the rich at their intimate worst, he reviles a world that's been pimped out to the prosperous. The birds, it seems, have stopped singing and people can no longer look at each other directly. Hard, hateful faces are popping up all over the arrondissement. This is a job for the Parisian underground!"
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...Using eerily seductive music, whacky but strangely appropriate costumes, pantomime, physical comedy, believable/adorable portrayals and the fantastic language of Girandoux, this very capable ensemble constructs an alternate universe, similar to the 1966 French comedy directed by de Broca, King of Hearts, in which the asylum inmates develop a saner world than the one in which they were locked up. The play has an irresistible humor, melding the fantastic and surreal with social commentary. If it seems a little dated, it is because we are a trifle jaded."
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Debra Davy

Irish American News - Highly Recommended

"...This is a comedy that fills you with good feelings and optimism about life. It is cheerful, hopeful and even set in "the Springtime of next year.""
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Frank West

Chicago On Stage - Recommended

"...Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot is a satirical play from 1945 that seems to maintain its social relevance even today. This has to do with the main villains of the piece: greedy corporate bigwigs who are willing to destroy anything to get at oil. Sound familiar? This play, like the 1967 French film The King of Hearts, makes the argument that, in an insane world, the only truly sane people are the ones who are "mad." In that film, it was war that was the enemy; here it is corporate greed. In both cases, it is the riffraff of society, those who live outside of its mainstream, who represent the Truth. That they may be insane is never really the issue. And in the central role of The Countess, aka The Madwoman of Chaillot, Jeff Award-winning actress Elaine Carlson lights up the stage."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Somewhat Recommended

"...THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT would be a good fit for those who are earth lovers themselves, love seeing plays about the destruction of rampant capitalism, and perhaps find more traditional plays appealing. It might not be the best fit for those who aren't so much into a play about a specific cause or are looking for a quick, snappy show."
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Alexis Bugajski

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