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THE CRYPTOGRAM

20TH Anniversary Production

by David Mamet

directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus

The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway

Now playing through November 16, 2014

 

 

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HELLCAB

by Will Kern

Return of the Seasonal Favorite

directed by Ensemble Member Eric Burgher

The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway

Previews: November 7 - 12, 2014

Press Opening: November 13, 2014

Run: November 13 – January 11, 2015

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The Cryptogram

Profiles Theatre continues its 26th Season with the 20th Anniversary production of The Cryptogram by David Mamet, directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. The production is now playing through November 16, 2014 at Profiles Theatre’s The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Mamet’s rarely produced masterpiece, The Cryptogram, combines mercurial intelligence with genuinely Hitchcockian menace as this gripping play journeys back into childhood and the moment of its vanishing – when the sheltering world suddenly reveals itself as a place full of dangers. One late evening in 1959, a young boy sits waiting up for his father in anticipation of their camping trip. While his mother urges him to go to sleep, a family friend tries to entertain them or perhaps distract them. Mamet re-creates a child’s terrifying discovery that the grownups speak in code – a code that may never be breakable.

The Cryptogram received its world premiere in July 1994 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, followed by US productions at the American Repertory Theater in February 1995 and Off-Broadway at the Westside Theater Upstairs in April 1995. Directed by Mamet, the play won the Obie Award for Best Play and Best Actress for Felicity Huffman. Arguably one of the most prolific and influential playwrights of the latter-20th century, David Mamet amassed an acclaimed, award-winning body of work including American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow and Oleanna for the stage alongside his screenplays for The Untoucables, The Verdict and House of Games among many others.

The cast of The Cryptogram features Profiles ensemble member Darrell W. Cox as Del along with guest artists Abigail Boucher as Donny and Aaron Lamm as John.

DAVID MAMET (Playwright) was born in Chicago in 1947. He studied at Goddard College in Vermont and at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York. He has taught at Goddard College, the Yale Drama School, New York University and lectures at New York's Atlantic Theater Company, of which he is a founding member. He is a playwright and filmmaker, best known for the plays American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross. His early works include Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1973) and American Buffalo (1975), both of which became Off-Broadway successes. He is also the author of the plays Olenanna, Speed-the-Plow, The Water Engine, Race and Boston Marriage. Mamet became a successful screenwriter in the 1980s, first writing the script for the 1981 remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, then earning an Oscar nomination for his next script, The Verdict in 1982. His 1984 play Glengarry Glen Ross won a Pulitzer Prize that year and was made into a star-studded 1992 movie. Mamet made his filmmaking directing debut with 1987's House of Games and wrote the scripts for The Untouchables (1987), The Edge (1997) and Wag the Dog (1997 Oscar nomination). Other films he has directed include Homicide (1991), Heist (2001) and Redbelt (2008). He also created the TV series The Unit (2006-09).

JOE JAHRAUS (Director) is an Artistic Director and founder of Profiles Theatre and most recently directed Profiles' Midwest Premieres of Gidion's Knot by Johnna Adams, In God's Hat by Rhett Rossi, The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read and Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson. His other recent directing credits with Profiles include the American Premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute, the World premiere of Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor and the Midwest premieres of Fifty Words by Michael Weller, Jailbait by Deirdre O'Connor, The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute, Great Falls by Lee Blessing, The Thugs by Adam Bock and the World Premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern. Joe directed the American premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the long-running hit Fat Pig by Neil LaBute for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. He directed the Jeff Award-winning Blackbird, Babylon Gardens, the Jeff Award-nominated Carnal Knowledge and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Joe was the co-director of Profiles' productions of The Water Engine, The Twilight Zone: The Series and How the Other Half Loves.

The designers for The Cryptogram are Thad Hallstein (set), Mike May (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), and Raquel Adorno (costumes). Danica Horton serves as assistant director.

The cast of The Cryptogram features Profiles ensemble member Darrell W. Cox as Del along with guest artists Abigail Boucher as Donny and Aaron Lamm as John.

ABIGAIL BOUCHER (Donny) is delighted to be making her Profiles Theatre debut. Recent Chicago credits include In The Garden, directed by Jessica Thebus at Lookingglass (understudy), Mary in The Language Archive, directed by Polly Noonan at Piven Theatre Workshop, and Kate in Strawdog Theatre's hit production of Old Times, directed by Kimberly Senior. Abigail has also worked with The House (The Crownless King, The Sparrow, The Boy Detective Fails), 20% Theatre Company Chicago which she co-founded (Snapshots,night, mother, David’s Redhaired Death) and Strawdog Theatre where she was a company member for a decade (Three Sisters, Puntila and his man Matti). Film credits include Recessive by Logan Kibens and The Family by Luc Besson. Abigail is a graduate of Smith College, MA.

DARRELL W. COX (Del) was most recently seen in Profiles' Midwest premiere of Annapurna by Sharr White. Darrell received his fourth Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his performance as Joe Cooper in Profiles' production of Killer Joe by Tracy Letts. He has appeared at Steppenwolf in the World Premiere of Men of Tortuga (where he originated the role of Taggart), the Midwest Premiere of Orange Flower Water (which traveled to the Galway Arts Festival), and the World Premiere of Wendall Greene. He has also been seen at the Goodman in The Shawl and Home as part of the David Mamet Festival, American Theatre Company's Speed the Plow and Oleanna as part of the Mamet Repertory, as well as Jim Jones in the Midwest Premiere of The People's Temple and the World Premiere of Martin Furey's Shot at TimeLine, among others. In addition to Killer Joe, Darrell won Joseph Jefferson Awards for Principal Actor for his work in Profiles' productions of Blackbird, Some Voices and Eye of God. He also received two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Performance for Profiles' productions of Popcorn and Carnal Knowledge. Darrell was seen last season in a recurring role as Uncle Ray on "Chicago Fire" on NBC and appeared in the film "AB-" , which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and then appeared at Cannes, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, among others.

AARON LAMM (John) is very excited to be performing for the first time with Profiles Theatre. He is a seventh grader at Wilmette Junior High School and was most recently seen in Theatre Y’s production of Medea. Aaron’s other recent productions include Peter Pan with the Wilmette Children’s Theatre, Don’t Give Up with the Glenview Children’s Theatre and Action News with Highcrest Drama. He has trained at the Actors Training Center in Wilmette where he appeared in the films Who Needs Trust and Without. Aaron also enjoys playing the tuba in his school band.

“It is good to see THE CRYPTOGRAM again, especially in the very intimate confines of Profiles’ Alley Stage. The production features a really great performance from Aaron Lamm, a seventh-grader at Wilmette Junior High School. People tend not to believe critics when they say that a kid was really great in a show. "Oh, he's just being nice to the kid," they intuit. But young Mr. Lamm really is excellent, which is to say that he spits out that famous Mametian dialogue, listens intently when not speaking, lives thoroughly in the moment and, it seems, feels!”

-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

 

“Highly Recommended! Director Joe Jahraus's taut, elliptical, flabbergasting production of David Mamet's 1994 play is damn near perfect. The unfailingly precise cast understand the terror inherent in the seemingly innocuous suburban living room where addled ten-year-old John tries to make sense of his father's unexplained absence. As John, seventh-grader Aaron Lamm turns a nearly impossible role into a harrowing, pitch-perfect depiction of childhood's psychic evisceration!”

-Justin Hayford, CHICAGO READER

 

“Highly Recommended! In David Mamet's brisk and intricate THE CRYPTOGRAM, how do children navigate grown-up worlds, and how do grown-ups navigate the children who exist at the seams? Aaron Lamm gives a delightful performance as a precocious and frustrated child who knows he’s missing something, but can’t tell what. Lamm handsomely navigates the dry, fractured style of Mamet’s writing without succumbing to its cynicism. Abigail Boucher too is at the top of her game!”

-Benno Nelson, TIMEOUT CHICAGO

 

“Highly Recommended! The shift in tone mirrors the journey of the play’s three characters, and is expertly executed by the playwright and wonderfully realized in this Profiles Theatre production. Aaron Lamm is strong in the role of John, Darrell W. Cox is remarkable as Del and Abigail Boucher emotionally grounds the two generations of males. The set design solidly evokes the era, and director Joe Jahraus crafts a fully engrossing reality!”

-Raymond Rehayem, NEW CITY

 

“Highly Recommended! David Mamet’s THE CRYPTOGRAM is an atypical work from the famous playwright, a sensitive and carefully observed work which, despite his trademark dialogue rhythms and splashes of humor, bears little resemblance to the machismo works that gave Mamet his stature in the theatrical world. Which is not to say, of course, that the play lacks the focus and power of his best work, particularly in Profiles Theatre’s remarkable staging. As with all Profiles productions, the casting could not be better, though the play’s most extraordinary moments come courtesy of Aaron Lamm, a seventh grader who handles his demanding role with remarkable insight and presence. Darrell W. Cox and Abigail Boucher are superb!”

-Peter Thomas Ricci, CHICAGO THEATRE REVIEW

 

“Recommended! THE CRYPTORGRAM is a tightly wound miniature packed with uncomfortable truths. Young Aaron Lamm, a fresh-faced seventh grader, certainly appears to have a bright future ahead of him. His impeccable timing and precocity keeps the play dialogue briskly moving. As the slippery, conniving character caught in the middle, Darrell W. Cox imbues his role with a striking complexity that is both understated and intense. Abigail Boucher’s visceral and vulnerable performance forms THE CRYPTOGRAM’s emotional core. This twentieth anniversary Profiles Theatre production, directed by Joe Jahraus, gives Mamet’s domestic drama an incredibly intimate feel!”

-Barnaby Hughes, STAGE AND CINEMNA

 

Jeff Awards Recommended

 

Flex PassFlex Pass

Profiles is once again offering its popular FLEX PASS to offer big savings on the exciting new shows for the 2014-2015 Season: REASONS TO BE HAPPY by Neil LaBute, THE CRYPTOGRAM by David Mamet, THE OTHER PLACE by Sharr White, GENIUS by Kate Walbert and an acclaimed premiere to be announced soon! Profiles will also include the seasonal return of HELLCAB by Will Kern. Get a 5 Ticket Pass for $125 or get a 10 Ticket Pass for $200. Save up to $150 off the price at the door and the passes are good for any performance! Tickets can be used in any combination of quantity and date for any production throughout the season with advance reservations by calling the box office at 773-549-1815.

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