Chicago's Defiant Theatre company isn't technically a repertory, but for a few weeks in May, it will become a Vepertory. That is, the first show of their new season will be Charles Ludlam's 1984 farce, The Mystery Of Irma Vep, about beautiful Lady Enid trying to survive the horrors of Mandacrest Estate. Two actors will play all the roles in this Gothic spoof of "werewolves, wickedness & wigs," under the direction of Jim Slonina. The show opens May 5 and runs at the National Pastime Theatre space on North Broadway.
Defiant's summer show will be Albert Camus' Caligula, about the sicko-psycho Roman emperor who temporarily conquers the world -- and then wants to conquer the moon. Caligula is directed by Richard Ragsdale who, ironically, played Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Defiant's staging of Red Dragon.
Autumn 1997 will bring Caryl Churchill's The Skriker to the Defiant stage. An ancient shape-shifter arrives and seeks a human child. One woman kills her infant rather than send it to the Skriker; but now her best friend is pregnant... Linda Gillum directs this dark fairy tale of the paranormal.
Subscriptions to the Defiant Theatre, now in its 4th season, are only $25. The troupe, under the artistic direction of Christopher Johnson, uses various theatrical styles -- from kabuki to vaudeville to naturalism -- to "defy the expectations of an audience raised on television" and address "complicated, sometimes taboo issues." Comprising the company are Jeff Arena, Emil Boulos, John DeLeonardis, Scott Entenmann, Joe Foust, Jennifer Gher, Linda Gillum, B.F. Helman, Christopher Johnson, Stephen Kruse, Kara Loquist, Stephanie Nelson, William J. Norris, Rich Norwood, Nick Offerman, Michelle Primeaux, Richard Ragsdale, Will Schutz, Sean Sinitski, Jim Slonina, Greg Tatro, Barb Thometz and Chris Thometz.
For more information on the Defiant Theatre, call (312) 357-3461. --By David Lefkowitz