Archives

Jailbait

By Deirdre O'Connor
Directed by Joe Jahraus
August 27- October 17, 2010

 

Return Engagement at
The Second Stage
January 13 - February 27, 2011

Archives
Jailbait

Through the course of one dizzying night at a club, JAILBAIT follows the parallel stories of two fifteen-year-old girls, desperate to grow up, and two thirty-something men who are looking to be twenty-one again. High-school sophomores Claire and Emmy make a game of posing as college students in order to meet older men. Brash bachelor Mark thinks a night out with attractive girls will be just what his friend Robert needs to recover from his recent breakup. When this unlikely foursome collides, they discover some surprising and dangerous compatibilities. Smart, funny, and disturbing, JAILBAIT asks the question: When do you really become an adult?

JAILBAIT was developed by Deirdre O’Connor in 2008 as part of the Cherry Lane Theatre’s Mentor Project, with distinguished playwright Michael Weller serving as her mentor. In March 2009, it received its World Premiere as the inaugural production for its newest venue, the Cherry Pit Theatre. O’Connor is a graduate of Columbia University 's MFA Playwriting program where she received the John Golden Playwriting Award.

“We’re very pleased to bring this witty and perceptive new play to Chicago audiences,” says Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. “Deirdre is a wonderfully talented playwright who tells her story naturally and truthfully. It’s a funny, yet painfully real look at teens who desperately wish they could grow up quicker and the regrets of disillusioned adults who long to be young again.”

The cast of JAILBAIT features Profiles’ ensemble member Eric Burgher (Body Awareness, Graceland) as Robert. The cast also includes Rae Gray (Summer People at The Gift Theatre) as Claire, Zoe Levin (Trust at Lookinglass Theatre) as Emmy and Shane Kenyon (The Tallest Man at Artistic Home) as Mark.

The designers are Sotirios Livaditis (set), Jessica Harpenau (lights), Melissa Ng (costumes), and Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music). The assistant director is Sean Kelly and the stage manager is Corey Weinberg.

Deirdre O’Connor was a 2008 Cherry Lane Mentor Project Fellow mentored by Michael Weller in the development of JAILBAIT. In March 2009, it received its World Premiere as the inaugural production for Cherry Lane’s newest venue - the Cherry Pit Theatre. Deirdre’s other plays include ASSISTED LIVING, developed at The Lark Play Development Center where she was a 2008-2009 Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow, HERO, performed at Naked Angels as part of Armed and Naked in America and THE DEATH OF MAY MCALLISTER at Northeastern University. Other works that premiered with Naked Angels include PENICILLIN, WHITE ANGELS and WEDNESDAY. Her play, THE ATTIC, premiered at St Ann's Warehouse as part of their Labapalooza festival of new plays. Deirdre is a graduate of Hampshire College, and Columbia University 's MFA Playwriting program where she was the recipient of the John Golden Playwriting Award.  She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her writing on “The Electric Company” on PBS. 

Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus is the director of JAILBAIT. Joe most recently directed Profiles’ Midwest Premieres of THE MERCY SEAT by Neil LaBute, GREAT FALLS by Lee Blessing and THE THUGS by Adam Bock. He also directed the Midwest Premieres of Neil LaBute’s IN A DARK DARK HOUSE, SOME GIRL(S) and FAT PIG, for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. Other directing credits for Profiles include the American Premiere of APPLE by Vern Thiessen, the award-winning Midwest Premiere of BLACKBIRD by Adam Rapp, BABYLON GARDENS by Timothy Mason, THE WATER ENGINE and SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO by David Mamet, and the award-winning Midwest Premiere of CARNAL KNOWLEDGE by Jules Fieffer, among others.

The designers are Sotirios Livaditis (set), Jessica Harpenau (lights), Melissa Ng (costumes), and Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music). The assistant director is Sean Kelly and the stage manager is Corey Weinberg.

The cast of JAILBAIT features Profiles ensemble member Eric Burgher as Robert. He was most recently seen as Jared in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of BODY AWARENESS by Annie Baker, and as Sam in Profiles' World Premiere of GRACELAND by Ellen Fairey. Prior to that, Eric appeared in multiple roles in the U.S. Premiere of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISSOCIA by Anthony Neilson, and as Fletcher in Profiles' first full Chicago production of MEN OF TORTUGA. He also appeared in THIS IS HOW IT GOES by Neil LaBute and "Land of the Dead" as part of Profiles' Midwest Premiere of LaBute shorts, THINGS WE SAID TODAY as well as Carter in the Midwest Premiere of FAT PIG by Neil LaBute. Eric received an After Dark Award for Outstanding Ensemble in "Bench Seat" as part of Profiles' Midwest Premiere of AUTOBAHN. He was seen in THE GLORY OF LIVING, THE RADIANT ABYSS and NOISE. Eric is a graduate of Columbia College, where he is now on the adjunct faculty.

Making their Profiles debuts, the cast also features Rae Gray as Claire, Shane Kenyon as Mark and Zoe Levin as Emmy.

Rae Gray most recently appeared in SUMMER PEOPLE at The Gift Theatre and Drury Lane Oakbrook's MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, which also traveled to the Gateway Playhouse in NY. Other credits include INHERIT THE WIND at Northlight Theatre, OLIVER and STATE FAIR at the Marriott in Lincolnshire, Teatro Vista’s FREEDOM, NY at Remy Bumppo’s ThinkTank Festival, Ravinia’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE starring Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, WEDDING BAND at Steppenwolf Theatre as well as STATE FAIR and CHRISTMAS STORY at Theatre at the Center. She appeared in two seasons of Goodman Theatre’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL and two seasons of NUMBER THE STARS at Apple Tree Theatre.

Shane Kenyon most recently appeared in MARY’S WEDDING with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble at Theatre On The Lake. His previous credits include, THE TALLEST MAN at Artistic Home, DAYS OF LATE with Sinnerman Ensemble, DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, BETRAYAL, and LAST OF THE BOYS at Steppenwolf Theatre, OUR FATHER and SCENES FROM THE BIG PICTURE with Seanachai Theatre, REWIND at the Side Project, EURYDICE at Victory Gardens and THE TEMPEST with First Folio Shakespeare Festival. Shane was also an understudy for DUBLIN CAROL with Steppenwolf Theatre. His Film/TV credits include RIDE ALONG, DOG JACK, and THE KARI FILES.

Zoe Levin previously appeared as Teresa in THE SHALLOW END at Theatre Seven Chicago and the role of Brittany in TRUST at Lookingglass Theatre. Zoe will also be appearing as Brittany in the film version of TRUST, making her film debut. Zoe was a featured soloist in LES MISERABLES at Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre, directed by Janet Louer.

Highly Recommended! Director Joe Jahraus gets gutsy, hyper-naturalistic performances from this cast with the right notes of sadness and confusion, leavened with the perennial attractiveness and theatrical excitement of sexual and emotional danger.  The clearly talented Deirdre O’Connor knows how teenage girls actually talk and understands the knife-edge of adolescence!”

-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

 

Highly Recommended!  JAILBAIT is a wise, insightful coming-of-age play by Deirdre O'Connor now receiving one of those perfectly cast, flawlessly realized productions that are a staple of Profiles Theatre.  It’s supremely well directed by Joe Jahraus and his actors are spot-on!”

-Hedy Weiss, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

 

“Highly Recommended!  Deirdre O'Connor is remarkably humane in her assessment of Emmy and Claire and she has a deft touch with dialogue.  Jahraus’s smartly paced, well-acted production walks a tonal tightrope, allowing us to laugh alongside the rising sense of impending doom.”

-Kris Vire, TIMEOUT CHICAGO

 

“Highly Recommended!  O’Connor writes with such realism and intelligence that the story comes out human, sometimes funny, and very honest.  The male half of the JAILBAIT equation is performed with credibility and insight by Shane Kenyon and Eric Burgher who is understated, sometimes confused, and always persuasive.  Joe Jahraus directs the play with a perfect ear for O’Connor’s spot-on dialogue and there isn’t a false note struck!”

-Dan Zeff, COPLEY NEWS SERVICE

 

“That this Profiles Theatre production doesn't come off feeling the least bit formulaic owes a little to O'Connor's easy touch with dialogue and a lot to Joe Jahraus's nuanced direction. The four-member ensemble work smoothly together, negotiating the always-creepy territory of intergenerational sex with sensitivity and assurance.”

-Tony Adler, CHICAGO READER

 

“Getting the tone just right is key, and director Joe Jahraus has assembled a canny four-person cast. Rae Gray’s transformation from girl to faux woman is startling and Shane Kenyon is terrifically crass. Rarely does social commentary come in a package this entertaining!”

-Nina Metz, NEW CITY

 

“All four actors deserve praise for creating such engaging and believable portraits of humanity, but special distinction is reserved for the two young actresses, Rae Gray and Zoe Levin. O’Connor uses a tough topic to meditate effectively on the more general themes of growing up and loneliness, scoring some big laughs along the way!”

-Ed Rutherford, CENTERSTAGE

 

“Deirdre O’Connor maintains the sense of balance between empathy for her characters while compassionately satirizing their flaws. The production design helps keep the action fluid so that the story can be told just right for this delicate and potentially disturbing story.”

-John Olsen, TALKIN’ BROADWAY

                       

"O’Connor’s biting, thoughtful and often very funny drama is emotionally truthful and marked by Profiles’ signature strengths.  Shane Kenyon nails the persona of Mark and Zoe Levin is terrific as Emmy, but the heart of JAILBAIT belongs to Rae Gray and Eric Burgher – it’s delicate and genuine connection gives the play its shifting moral compass!"

-Catey Sullivan, EXAMINER

 

“In this Midwest Premiere, Deirdre O’Connor has written a charming, very clever coming of age story that explores the longings of youth and the hopes of rekindling love with clear, decisive dialogue and perceptive plot twists.  Under Joe Jahraus skilled direction, Emmy is played with delicious verve by Zoe Levin and Rae Gray is perfect as Claire!”                             

-Beverly Friend, CHICAGOCRITIC.COM

 

"JAILBAIT is a powerful play about two teenage girls who want to grow up and two adult men who want to be young again.   Robert is deftly handled by Eric Burgher and Rae Gray gives a dynamic character study as Claire.  Watching her mature right before our eyes is a true measure of the talent she brings to this story!"

-Al Bresloff, AROUND THE TOWN CHICAGO


Jeff Awards Recommended

 

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