Sunday, July 15, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Adult Night Out


All Photos by Steve Townshend
Aunt Theodosia (Megan Schemmel*-Right) uses Tilly (Ari Kraiman-Left) as a volunteer to instruct her niece how to properly defend yourself in any circumstance 

*This production uses realistic, bloodless staged violence and double-entendres of an adult nature in the telling of the story. Parental discretion is advised.*

BWBTC Member Morgan Mansa Makes her Directorial Debut with Arthur M. Jolly’s Latest Farce About Family, False Identities, Friends, Funds and, of course, Fighting  

It was my great pleasure to hear a full length staged reading of The Lady Demands Satisfaction at Babes With Blades' Fighting Words Festival last May. The script is witty and wonderful and I can't wait to catch the full production! Check back soon for my review. BWBTC has long been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. If you're considering bringing the family, this production should be suitable for most tweens and up, but everyone's comfort level and maturity is different, so do your research.

Aunt Theodosia (Megan Schemmel*) shows Tilly (Ari Kraiman) how to remain poised while vanquishing a masked villain (Amanda Forman) 

Babes With Blades Theatre Company (BWBTC) starts its 21st Season with the world premiere of The Lady Demands Satisfaction, playing at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., July 21 – August 25.  Winner of the most recent Joining Sword and Pen Competition, and developed in 2017-18 through BWBTC’s Fighting Words Program, this play is written by Arthur M. Jolly, directed by Babes With Blades Theater Company Member Morgan Manasa with combat by Violence Designer and BWBTC Member Samantha Kaufman.  Preview performances are Saturday, July 21 at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 22 at 3 p.m., Thursday, July 26 at 8 p.m. and Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m. Opening Night is Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m. 

Regular performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $10, student and senior tickets are $15 and general admission are $25. Every show has limited tickets for Industry for $10, must present proof of theatre industry affiliation. Additional information and tickets are available now at

In The Lady Demands Satisfaction, a young maiden, Trothe, learns that her entire inheritance will be forfeit to anyone that bests her in a duel. Trothe must turn to the finest blade anywhere, (luckily, her Aunt Theodosia) if she is to save her house and lands. In addition to her aunt, she is helped and hindered by two of her favorite servants - whose well-intentioned meddling could create an international incident when a famous German swordmeister arrives on the scene.  True to farcical tradition, identities and intentions are mistaken, comedy and sword fighting ensue, and all get the just end they deserve (even if it’s not the one the audience expects).

“Heading into our 21st season, we're so pleased to be bringing our third world premiere by Arthur Jolly to the stage,” said Co-Artistic Directors Kathrynne Wolf and Elyse Dawson. “This period farce, The Lady Demands Satisfaction, features 18th-century women after our own hearts: taking charge of their destiny while subverting societal ideas of what it means to be female. The show honors our roots with numerous fights in a variety of styles, including robust and silly swordplay, all perfectly in sync with our mission of placing women center stage.”

The cast of The Lady Demands Satisfaction includes Kate Booth, "Penelope;" Felipe Carrasco "Osric;” Linsey Falls, "Abernathy;" Amanda Forman, "Luitger;" Ari Kraiman, “Tilly;” Deanalis Resto, “Trothe;” Megan Schemmel*, “Theodosia;” with Kim Fukawa*, Jennifer Mohr and Bobby Hoffman as understudies.

The production team of The Lady Demands Satisfaction includes Samantha Barr, production manager; Bec Bartle, lighting designer; Lauren Brady, assistant stage manager; Carlie Casas, costume designer; Kenya Hall, dramaturg; Carrie Hardin, dialect coach; Stefanie Johnsen, prop designer; Chaz Mathieu, set designer, Kayla Menz, stage manager and Becca Venable, sound designer and technical director.

*denotes BWBTC ensemble member

Luitger (Amanda Forman-Left) gets scolded by Theodosia (Megan Schemmel*-Right) for impertinence

The Lady Demands Satisfaction Special Events:

Joining Sword and Pen Competition Begins
Friday, Aug. 3 – Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
Babes With Blades Theater Company launches the next Joining Sword and Pen (JS&P) competition. On Friday, Aug. 3, following the performance of The Lady Demands Satisfaction, the Babes will release, via FACEBOOK LIVE, an image.  The action shown in the image is to be included in the staging of all submitted scripts in the next Joining Sword and Pen Competition. The JS&P competition is seeking submissions from playwrights who identify as female, trans, or gender-nonconforming until February 7, 2019.  

These blind submissions should be full-length plays that are then read by and voted on by the Ensemble. The winner will participate in the Fighting Words development process and eventually be staged as a full Babes With Blades production. The winning playwright will also receive $1000 as part of the Margaret Martin Award, sponsored by BWBTC’s longtime benefactor, David Woolley. Questions may be sent to and all script submissions to 

Talk Back with the Playwright
Post Show, Sunday, July 29
Join the Company after the matinee performance to hear from the playwright of The Lady Demands Satisfaction, Arthur M. Jolly. 

Open Caption Weekend
August 9 – 12
All performances the August 9 – 12 weekend of The Lady Demands Satisfaction feature open captioning by Caption Point, on a screen provided by the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) Accessible Equipment Loan Program.  The CCAC Accessible Equipment Loan Program is made possible through major funding by the Michael and Mona Heath Fund.

Chicago Foundation for Women Weekend
August 23 – 25 
BWBTC will be accepting donations from audiences the August 23 – 25 weekend for Chicago Foundation for Women. In 1984, four leaders of Chicago’s philanthropic community launched a series of planning groups that laid the financial and programmatic groundwork for what would become Chicago Foundation for Women.  This organization looks at issues including work/economic security, freedom from violence, and access to health. For more information on CFW, please go to

Pay What You Can Performances 
Thursdays: August 9 and 16
To reserve a pay what you can seat at these two Thursdays, August 9 and 16, audience members may call 773.904.0391. Pay what you can tickets are based on availability and may not be available at the door.

Arthur Jolly writes for stage and screen. He was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences with a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, and in 2017 won the Hammond House International Literary Prize for a Screenplay. As a playwright, Jolly is a three-time Joining Sword and Pen (JS&P) winner, a finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award and has penned more than 60 produced plays, with productions across the US and in Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Previously at Babes With Blades Theater Company, A Gulag Mouse, (JS&P 2010 winner) and Trash (JS&P 2012 winner), both published by Next Stage Press. Where We Disappear, a feature film based on A Gulag Mouse, is in post-production. Other published works include Childish Things, The Christmas Princess, The Four Senses of Love, How Blue is My Crocodile, The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea, Long Joan Silver, Past Curfew, Rising, and two short play collections Thin Lines and Guilty Moments. Jolly is a member of the Writing Guild of America caucus, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and The Dramatists Guild. 

Morgan Manasa, a transplant from Detroit, has been a theatre-maker in Chicago for the past 17 years. Manasa recently stepped down after serving as the managing director for Babes With Blades Theatre Company where she was most recently seen in their all-female production of Henry V (Fluellen) and Witch Slap (Goody Blunt). 

Samantha Kaufman is an advanced actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and an intermediate actor/combatant with Fight Directors Canada. She has her MFA in acting from Florida Atlantic University and went through the professional circus-training program at the Actors Gymnasium in Chicago. She currently lives in Chicago but travels the country acting, fight directing and teaching. 

Gender parity is a hot topic, with news clip after article after report documenting how women, and women’s stories, are still underrepresented. Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s response – now, for the past 20 years, and moving forward – is to develop and present scripts focused on complex, dynamic (and often combative) female characters.

In each element of their programming, they embrace two key concepts: 
Women are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it
Women are capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.

The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience women as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescues; right, wrong, and everywhere in between: exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE. It’s as simple and as subversive as that.

BWBTC’s 2018-19 programming is partially made possible by the kind support of The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events

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