Brothers Karamazov, a World Premiere Adaptation by Lookingglass, Opens in Chicago

News   Brothers Karamazov, a World Premiere Adaptation by Lookingglass, Opens in Chicago
Lookingglass Theatre Company's 50th world premiere, The Brothers Karamazov, an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel — considered one of the great pieces of world literature for its embrace of a wide array of human experiences — opens Oct. 25 after previews from Oct. 15 for a run through Dec. 7 in Chicago.
Chaon Cross and Joe Sikora in Brothers Karamazov
Chaon Cross and Joe Sikora in Brothers Karamazov Photo by Sean Williams

Written and directed by Lookingglass ensemble member Heidi Stillman, the play is drawn from a translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Lookingglass bills itself as the largest ensemble-based theatre company in the U.S. that consistently creates work from within the company. Among past Lookingglass world premieres are The Jungle, Hard Times, Metamorphoses, Race, The Shaggs, The Idiot, Argonautika, The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, Lookingglass Alice and Hephaestus.

The Brothers Karamazov "is a platform for ensemble acting, one of the trademarks of Lookingglass Theatre Company," the troupe announced.

The production features ensemble members Eva Barr (Mrs. Kolklakov); Doug Hara (Alyosha); producing artistic director Philip R. Smith (Ivan); artistic associate Louise Lamson (Katerina); plus Maury Cooper (Father Zosima), Chaon Cross (Grushenka), Larry Grimm (Smerdyakov), Steve Key (Captain, Rakitin, Police Officer), Joe Sikora (Dmitri) and Craig Spidle (Fyodor). The children in the cast are Abigail Droeger (Illyusha), Malcolm Harris (Tuzekov), Robert Gerdisch (Kartashov), Ruby Keutzer (Smurov) and Nick Dilenardi (Kolya).

* Here's how Lookingglass characterizes the play: "Fyodor Karamazov is one of literature's most lecherous, greedy and delightfully despicable fathers. When his eldest son discovers he and his father are rivals for the affection of the same wayward woman, a storm of violence, betrayal and passion rains down on the Karamazov family and the world beyond. Ensemble member and Lookingglass artistic director of New Work Heidi Stillman, award-winning adaptor and director of Charles Dickens' Hard Times, brings new life to Dostoevsky's epic masterpiece of murder, greed and treachery."

Stillman said in production notes, "The plot is a murder mystery revolving around the Karamazov brothers, all of whom are involved in some way in their father's murder, though their involvement is not necessarily obvious or even literal. The ideas swirling around and within the plot have to do with the existence of God, the meaning of life, the broadness and contradictions in human nature, and the interconnectedness of humanity — that we are 'all responsible for all' — in other words, kind of all the biggest, deepest life questions."

Designers include ensemble members Mara Blumenfeld (costume design) and Dan Ostling (scenic design), artistic associates Chris Binder (lighting design) and Rick Sims (music composition, using guitar and Gregorian chant) and production affiliate Ray Nardelli (sound design). Matthew Hawkins is the fight choreographer. The production stage manager is production affiliate Jonathan Templeton.

Lookingglass Theatre Company is located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.

For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit


"Lookingglass Original" productions are developed through "gglassworks," an initiative that is unique to Lookingglass. Gglassworks "supports the writing process while providing the resources necessary for artists to explore their material through various forms of performative expression as dictated by the needs of the story. Tailoring the development of each theatrical piece with its own specific protocol is the hallmark of gglassworks, and developing new work by this method can take anywhere from two to five years."

<i>Brothers Karamazov</i> cast members Craig Spidle, Doug Hara, Joe Sikora, Philip R. Smith, Larry Grimm and Maury Cooper
Brothers Karamazov cast members Craig Spidle, Doug Hara, Joe Sikora, Philip R. Smith, Larry Grimm and Maury Cooper Photo by Sean Williams
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