The Balcony

By Jean Genet

Directed by Joanna Settle

Chopin Theatre, Chicago



About the Text: 

In his “warning” to directors of The Balcony, Jean Genet writes:

“In the four beginning scenes almost everything is played exaggeratedly, although there are speeches where the tone should be more natural, to permit the exaggeration to seem even more blown up. So no compromises, but two opposing tones of voice. 

The turntable – in Paris – was nonsense. I want the tableaus to follow one another, the settings to move from left to right, as if they fit one inside the other, and the audience to see this. My intention seems clear.

It is my idea that the three primary dignitaries be up on stilts. How will the actors be able to walk without falling on their faces, without tripping over their laces and their skirts? They had better learn. 

One more thing: not to perform this play as if it were a satire of this or that. It is – and must be played as – the glorification of image and reflection. Its significance – satirical or not – will only then emerge. 

Some of our poets give themselves over to a very curious operation: they sing the praises of ‘the people’ of ‘freedom’ and of ‘rebellion,’ etc., which, by being celebrated, become then as if hurled and nailed into an abstract sky – hanging in distorted constellations, discomfited and deflated – dehumanized, and they become untouchable. Poetry being nostalgia, its voice destroys what it wants to glorify, and so our poets kill what they intend to make live.

Do I make myself understood?”



Program Information:

Set Design: Michael E. Downs

Light Design: David Maheu

Costume Design: Jana Stauffer

Original Score: Jake Perrine

Dramaturg: Greg Berlowitz

Production Stage Manager: Suellen Cottril

Stage Manager: Africa Brown

Assistant Director: Julie Cohen

Assistant Director: Lucy Smith




Timothy Bulow (Torturer/Arthur)

Anne DeAcetis (Elyane or the General’s Girl)

Randy Eddy (Chief of Police)

Nathan Guisinger (Judge)

Kevin Grubb (Tears)

Thomas Jones (Blood)

Federico Hewson (Roger)

Hal Kilgore (Beggar, Slave)

Shayne Kubby (Thief)

Laura Lamson (Carmen)

Xavier Landaverde (Revolutionary)

Jimmy Molina (Wounded Man)

Sam Poretta (Sperm)

Taylor Price (Envoy)

Megan Rodgers (Beggar’s Girl)

Frank Alan Schiender (Envoy)

Rachel Sledd (Irma)

Kameron Steele (Bishop)

Katie Taber (Rosine or the Bishop’s Girl)

Ric Walker (General)

Kai Wedel (Chantal)

Jessica Young (Georgette)



Production Staff:

Company Manager: Greg Berlowitz

Production Manager: David Maheu

Master Electrician: Daniel Cruz

Assistant Set Design: Taylor Price

Assistant Costume Design: Cally Rieman

Costume Assistant: Kevin Grubb

Props Assistants: Shayne Kubby and Julie Cohen

Assistant Production Manager: Larra Call

Vocal Coach: Taylor Price

Publicity and Program: Greg Berlowitz

Publicity Consultant and Photography: Stephanie Howard

Sound Operator: Jake Perrine and Larra Call

Light Board Operator: Veloz Gomez and Daniel Cruz

Advertising: Megan Rodgers


August – September 1996


Division 13