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  Traitor at A Red Orchid Theatre


A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 N. Wells Street Chicago

In this world premiere adaptation of Heinrich Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, a small, North Chicago suburb finds the town's restart button with an investment in a newly opened charter school. After issues with the school grounds are discovered by its head of sciences, Dr. Stock, a quest to inform and correct is met with support. But suspicion and rancor mount as truths bubble to the surface. A play that mirrors our vital, absurd and often hilarious political times.

Thru - Mar 4, 2018

Price: $30-$35

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-943-8722

Nearby Restaurants

  Traitor Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...I think you'll find this show exceptionally interesting. Shannon's dynamic production is stocked with superb actors (Dado is especially truthful here, as is Fitzgerald), and the scenes in the Stock abode throb with energy and tension. Shannon does not mess around: The show, which is cleverly designed by John Musial, moves fast and furious, and there's a risky, even a messy, impulsiveness to all that transpires, which is exciting in and of itself. A load of new actors appear in the council scene - which put me in mind of David Cromer's famous "Our Town" - and it means that you never quite know where to look for the next chaotic manifestation on what now passes for democratic debate. Flaws or not, the piece is not to be missed, folks, if you chart a city by its most significant art and want to take a pulse."
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Chris Jones

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The all-star cast, too, exhibits collaborative alacrity reflecting decades of ensemble teamwork: Guy Van Swearingen's Dr. Stock and Kirsten Fitzgerald's Mayor Stock may dominate the debate, but every character—from Dado's take-charge matriarch, Kristin Ellis' ambitious young newshound, Larry Grimm's spineless press owner, Natalie West's feisty civic leader and Frank Nall's scheming industrialist to the cameo players representing the Eastlake city council—ultimately has a say on the morality of environmental versus economical interests."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Playwright Brett Neveu’s clever, cutting update of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People trades the coast of Norway for the coast of Lake Michigan. The setting is the fictional North Shore burg of East Lake, a community that’s equal parts close-knit and cantankerous; replacing the contaminated baths central to Ibsen’s town is a charter school that’s revitalized East Lake’s sluggish economy but may have been built on poisoned soil."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...No question, even as it sometimes trivializes Ibsen’s condemnation of the corrupt conformity of group thought, Traitor provides a template for our Trumpian dark doings. Shannon’s staging is as edgy and volatile as the dialogue and situations require. Perhaps today we’re more sensitive to the absurdity, rather than the anger, of Ibsen’s wrath. But, considering its title, Traitor should deliver a harder hate as it tries to get the lead out."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...This adaptation of the 1882 play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People," centers around a small, North Chicago suburb that restarts with investing in a charter school, is the A Red Orchid Theatre premiere of "Traitor" directed by Michael Shannon. Ibsen wrote the original play in response to the public uproar over his play called Ghosts. Ghosts challenged the hypocrisy of Victorian morality which was deemed indecent for its veiled references to syphilis. Iben, upon completing this play wrote these words to his publisher in Copenhagen, Denmark: "I am still uncertain as to whether I should call it a comedy or a straight drama. It may [have] many traits of comedy, but it also is based on a serious idea.""
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...A Red Orchid Theatre is known for bringing us powerful stories in their very intimate space in “Old Town”. They are currently featuring the World Premiere of Brett Neveu’s adaptation of Heinrich Ibsen’s “An Enemy Of The People” entitled “Traitor”. We are now in a small northern suburb of Chicago which has had its ups and downs for many years. Dr. Tom Stock grew up in this town. He moved away and began his family and his life, but his sister Patty ( powerfully played by Kirsten Fitgerald) remained. During the topsy-turvy years, she became very involved and eventually, the mayor."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...It is easier to read "Traitor" as an act of resistance toward the narratives of small-town America that are often told by the people who never go there, everyone from country singers and character actors to pundits and politicians. It acknowledges the desire to be heard and the pleasure of seeing our beliefs amplified when they are attached to a wider movement or cause, even if all the nuts and bolts don't necessarily align with our individual views. It nods to small-town politics, which are trickle-down versions of congressional gridlock, and points to the ease of collusion where self-interests align. It is nothing if not a complex work, though the question of whether it is effective or not remains elusive. In its absence of enlightenment and embrace of the politics of disgrace, "Traitor" is perhaps best viewed as a work of life."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Brett Neveu’s world premiere is a contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s classic drama about a whistleblowing, grandstanding individual, trying to do the right thing while hiding his own flaws. The subject could’ve been ripped from today’s headlines. It’s directed with forthrightness and honesty by Michael Shannon and features a cast of incredibly talented Chicago actors. In a season of plays in Chicago that focus on the trials, tribulations and troubles of living in a small town, this exquisite production is a real standout."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...Nevue wrote it. Shannon directed it. The talented ensemble facilitated it. TRAITOR keeps swerving in all directions but at full speed. The back and forth rhetoric never stops. Alliances change. And at the very end, it's just Van Swearingen, Dado, Ellis, Missi Davis (daughter) and Nation Henrikson (son) in the house. But the dispute over what they are really fighting for is unsettled. And the very last moments are terribly unsettling."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...As if to prove you can out-Ibsen Ibsen, playwright Brett Neveu has taken Henrik Ibsen's 1882 play, An Enemy of the People, and transmogrified it into a contemporary setting. Neveu transplants a scandal surrounding the water flowing through the Municipal Baths in a Norwegian town to the soil underlying a charter school in an Illinois town. The play is Traitor, now being staged in a slashing world premiere at A Red Orchid Theatre, directed by Red Orchid's most famous alum, Michael Shannon."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...The superb acting in no small way makes Traitor come alive. Mary Jo Balduc as Wysocki is but one of an absolutely stellar cast. Dado as the wife of the town whistleblower, Dr. Tom Stock (Guy Van Swearingen), IS that rock in the room who serves as foil to every one of the excessive characters in the story. You too might look back at Van Swearingen’s performance and marvel at how he makes a unique blend of goofy and gravitas in his character seem more than plausible."
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Amy Munice

  Traitor Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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