Actors/Crew Speak Up On Actual Violence in Profiles Theatre's 2010 KILLER JOE
"Founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, joined shortly thereafter by Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox," says the website for Chicago's Profiles Theatre, the company "was formed as an actor-driven theatre ensemble dedicated to creating provocative and emotionally truthful productions. Passionate about shaping an original vision for new works, they focused on performing World, American and Midwest premieres as well as rarely performed plays. Critically acclaimed hits, such as BLACKBIRD, FAT PIG, GRACELAND and the multiple Jeff Award-winning KILLER JOE, established Profiles as a destination for challenging and edgy theatre."
That award-winning 2010 production of Tracy Lett's KILLER JOE is the subject of a report by Chicago Reader, where actors and crew members are saying that the fight choreography was altered by Cox, who played the title role, regularly placing actors in physical danger during performances.
Letts' 1993 drama, which was released as a film in 2011, concerns a Dallas cop who moonlights as a killer for hire. His latest job is for the family of Ansel Smith, who want his first wife killed so they can collect the insurance money. Somer Benson played Sharla, Smith's second wife and Claire Wellin played Dottie, her naive stepdaughter. In the play, Joe's price for the job includes regular sex with Dottie and the drama is filled with nudity, sexual violence and physically demanding fights.
The Chicago Reader reports that ritics and audiences members noted how the production seemed especially vicious and real. Now, the production's costume designer, Darcy McGill, is saying that the reason it seemed so real is because it was real.
"It was real," says McGill, "because there was a psychopath onstage."
Profiles Theatre will next present Penelope Skinner's darkly comic romance, THE VILLAGE BIKE from August 26th through October 13th. Visit profilestheatre.org.