Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Ghostlight Ensemble Presents DISTINGUISHED VILLA

Kate O'Brien's Distinguished Villa portrays the desperate lives led by the commuting class.

Ghostlight Ensemble Presents DISTINGUISHED VILLA

Ghostlight Ensemble continues its series on historically overlooked female playwrights with Distinguished Villa, a play by the Irish playwright Kate O'Brien dealing with the suffocating consequences that can come from the trappings of middle-class life.

Though written in 1926, Distinguished Villa, has a modernness to it and a feeling of relevancy that time has proved many of O'Brien's male counterparts lack, according to director Elizabeth Lovelady.

"When I read Distinguished Villa, I was amazed with how contemporary it felt, particularly in regard to the way it challenged gender norms and represented female sexuality," Lovelady said. "While these characters were born of another era, their interior battles are strikingly similar to those we all currently face. I think it serves as a reminder of the many commonalities humans have across time and distance."

Distinguished Villa portrays the desperate lives led by the commuting class. In it, Mabel Hemworth boasts she and her husband "are known round here as the model of what a married couple should be." But the arrival and then potential departure of a female lodger makes Mabel's husband realize he is, in fact, profoundly miserable. Frances meanwhile has developed a mutually loving relationship with another man. This is not a story with a happily ever after ending, however.

In the play, we see the seeds of what later became a hallmark of O'Brien's work - groundbreaking depictions of the sexual frustrations of women and an understanding of the wide diversity of sexuality and gender expression.

The cast is: August Forman, Christian Cook, Micah Figueroa, Allison McCorkle, Jordan Ford and Kim Fukawa. Full bios of the actors, director and playwright are available on Ghostlight's website at

The initial broadcast of Distinguished Villa takes place over Zoom at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, and a talkback with the director will take place immediately following. A recording of the performance will be available to stream through May 9.

Tickets are pay what you will, with a minimum of $5 per reading and the average donation for such virtual offerings at $15. Tickets are available on our website at Please make sure to select the production and performance you are interested in receiving a link to view.

Featuring a variety of distinct voices and styles from different historical periods, For Your (Re)Consideration seeks to bring attention to remarkable women who have been sidelined by history for reasons that had nothing to do with their talent and everything to do with their gender and, in many cases, their race. The series is curated by Ensemble Member Holly Robison.

The initial play in the series, The Convent of Pleasure, written by Margaret Cavendish and directed by Andrew Coopman, premiered on April 2 and is now streaming on-demand.

Additional upcoming readings include:

  • April 18: Mine Eyes Have Seen by Alice Dunbar Nelson and War Brides by Marion Craig Wentworth, directed by Angelisa Gillyard
  • April 25: Warp and Woof by Edith Lyttelton, directed by Christina Casano
  • May 2: The Enchantment by Victoria Benedictsson, adapted by Clare Bayley, directed by Holly Robison

Find out more about For Your (Re)Consideration and the entire 2020-2021 Season at

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories

More Hot Stories For You