by András Visky
The Romanian ethnic-Hungarian playwright András Visky is one of the most esteemed contemporary playwrights of Eastern Europe.
Visky’s play Juliet is a riveting 90-minute solo work, a monologue spoken by the title character in near-delirium as a Job-like cry from the heart at the end of her endurance in a labor camp with her seven young children. The play is based on the experience of the author’s family under the brutal Communist regime in Romania during the early 1960s.
In 1939, Visky’s father had fled Romania for Hungary, where he met his future wife. After World War II, the couple returned to Transylvania, by then a part of Romania. There, Visky’s father, a pastor in the Hungarian Reformed Church, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crime of “organization against socialist public order.” Soon after, his wife and their children were themselves deported to a Romanian gulag a thousand kilometers to the east. Visky was only two years old at the time. In 1964, the family was reunited when his father and other political prisoners were released during a short-lived period of relaxation of repression.
Critical Response to Juliet
"Melissa Lorraine, shouldering some terrifically complicated demands in this one-woman show, gives a performance that will lodge itself in your memory long after you've left the theater." (Chicago Tribune)
"The piece ends up being life-affirming in the truest sense--as the end result of a clear-eyed, unrelenting journey to the heart of things." (Chicago Reader)
"Lorraine has been performing Juliet for years on tour, and the material seems practically seared into her flesh. Not a word that comes out of her mouth is false or forced, and she brings a feral, untamed physicality to her arguments with God." (Time Out Chicago)
"This production of Juliet is extraordinary. Chicago is profoundly lucky to have such a dark and rare gem in its midst and even luckier to add Theatre Y to the ranks of its bravest and most uniquely intriguing theater companies." (Chicago Stage Review)
"Theatre Y’s Chicago premiere of Juliet solidifies itself as my favorite black box theatre company...their work is untouchable and a must see for Chicago. Connecting Eastern European literature and theatre to an American audience, their stories are riveting, beautiful in their strength in darkness." (Chicago Critic)