Wuthering Heights

Sep 10 – Oct 31, 2010
Thu & Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 4pm & 8pm, Sun at 4pm

“As Lifeline Theatre’s feverish new stage version of the great gothic romance suggests, this tale also can be told with an almost balletic intensity and physicality – and with enough sound and fury, yearning and emotional heat – to verge on the hallucinatory.”  –Chicago Sun-Times

“An achievement of emotional force and narrative clarity”  –Time Out Chicago

“A compelling production of a devastating tale.”  –Centerstage Chicago

Inseparable from childhood, Heathcliff and Cathy believe themselves eternally bound. But when they are brutally torn apart, the resulting course of retribution provides an unflinching look into the cyclic nature of revenge and the unknowable passions of the heart. Travel across Yorkshire’s stormy moors with one of literature’s darkest antiheroes in this legendary tale of devotion and redemption. An epic love story, re-imagined as a highly physical work of powerful imagery by the award-winning adaptor and director of Mariette in Ecstasy.

A world premiere based on the classic novel by Emily Brontë
Adapted by Christina Calvit
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric

Highlights from Wuthering Heights. Music by Andrew Hansen

  • Lucy Carapetyan (Catherine Linton)

    Lucy is happy to be working at Lifeline for the first time. Her Chicago credits include Stage DoorOn The Shore of the Wide World (Griffin Theatre); The Hollow LandsBreathing Corpses (Steep Theatre); Rose and the RimeAll the Fame of Lofty Deeds (House Theatre); The Ring Cycle(The Building Stage); and The Crucible (Steppenwolf). A graduate of Northwestern University, Lucy teaches and performs with The Mime Company and Actors Gymnasium.

  • Christopher Chmelik (Hareton Earnshaw)

    Christopher is grateful for the opportunity to be performing at Lifeline for the first time. Chris has appeared on a number of Chicago stages, including Steep Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Caffeine Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. A recent graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul, Chris brainstorms world domination with The Inconvenience Artists’ Syndicate, of which he is a founding member.

  • Cameron Feagin (Nelly Dean)

    Cameron is delighted to return to Lifeline, where she appeared in Pistols for Two. She was last seen in City Lit’s production of Macbeth as Lady Macbeth. At City Lit she also appeared in Old TimesPrivate Lives (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Actress in a Principal Role), The ConfessionSeascapeThe Play’s The Thing, and The Turn Of The Screw. Other credits include Court-Martial at Fort Devens (Victory Gardens), Voyeurs de Venus (Chicago Dramatists), and Polish Joke (Noble Fool). She has also worked with Broutil and Frothingham, Roadworks, Organic Theatre Company, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and Stage Left.

  • Sarah Goeden (Isabella Linton)

    Sarah is thrilled to return to Lifeline Theatre after having previously performed as Sister Hermance in Mariette in Ecstacy. Her recent Chicago credits include Red Noses with Strawdog Theatre; It’s A Wonderful Lifewith the tour cast of American Theatre Company; I Alone Escaped to Tell Thee of Moby Dick and Cabaret of Desire, both with Blair Thomas and Company; The Mime Show in the Picked Up series with The Neofuturists; and 13 Dead Husbands with Sansculottes Theatre (New City’s Top 5 Female Performances of 2008).

  • Gregory Isaac (Heathcliff)

    Gregory is very happy to make his Lifeline debut. He has been privileged to perform around Chicago with the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, About Face, Writers’ Theatre, Steppenwolf, Backstage Theatre, and Theater at the Center, among others; and regionally at the Alliance Theatre, The Georgia Shakespeare Festival, and the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. He was most recently seen as Francois in A Wintertime Tale, produced by the Vintage Theatre Collective, where he is a company member.

  • Robert Kauzlaric (Edgar Linton)

    Robert is a proud member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble. As an actor, he has appeared in more than a dozen productions on the Lifeline stage over the past ten seasons, including The Return of the KingAround the World in 80 Days (Non-Equity Jeff Awards: Supporting Actor-Play and Ensemble), The Killer AngelsA Room With A ViewThe Mark of Zorro(After Dark Award: Outstanding Production), and Neverwhere. Other area acting credits include work with Seanachaí Theatre Co., Strawdog, Greasy Joan, The Hypocrites, City Lit, Circle Theatre, New American Theater, Theatre at the Center, and the IL Shakespeare Festival.

  • Lindsay Leopold (Cathy Earnshaw)

    Lindsay is honored to make her Lifeline debut. Chicago theatre credits include The Hypocrites’ Cabaret (Sally Bowles), and The Castle of Otrantoat First Folio Theatre (Bianca). This winter, she will appear in the world premiere of Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal with American Theatre Company. Originally from Cape Cod, Lindsay has worked with Provincetown Theatre Company and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. She earned her BFA in musical theatre from The Boston Conservatory, and holds an MFA in acting from DePaul’s Theatre School.

  • John Henry Roberts (Hindley Earnshaw)

    John Henry is thrilled to be working with Lifeline for the first time. He has been a member of the ensemble at Strawdog Theatre since 2004, where his credits include Julius CaesarDetective Story (Non-Equity Jeff Award: Ensemble), Three Sisters (After Dark Award: Outstanding Ensemble),Aristocrats (Non-Equity Jeff nomination: Actor in a Supporting Role), Cherry Orchard, and most recently, The Good Soul of Szechuan. Within the past year he also played Wilson in Wilson Wants It All with The House Theatre of Chicago. Other credits include Leaving Iowa at The Royal George, To the Green Fields Beyond at Writers’ Theatre (Jeff Award nomination: Ensemble), Measure for Measure at Next Theatre, The Flu Season with Black Sheep Productions, and several Sketchbook appearances at Collaboraction.

  • Nick Vidal (Linton Heathcliff)

    Nick is proud to return to lifeline where he was last seen as Dorian in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Previous credits include Siegmund/Siegfried in the Ring Cycle (The Building Stage), and Mick Jagger in Aftermath (Signal Ensemble Theater), which will be remounting in November.

  • Christina Hall (Understudy)

    Christina is elated to be working with Lifeline again! Her previous work with the ensemble includes Duck for PresidentThe Dirty CowboyLyle, Lyle, Crocodile; and Half Magic. Other Chicago credits include Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, 20% Theatre Company, and Emerald City Theatre Company. Regional credits include Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and Main Street Theatre Company. Christina holds a B.F.A in Acting from Southern Methodist University. Look for her again this season in Lifeline’s Click ,Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

  • Wesley Scott (Understudy)

    Wesley has just returned to Chicago from a Summer at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival where he was seen as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. He has appeared in numerous productions across the United States; favorite roles include Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac (Oak Park Festival Theatre), Commodore Reynard Eaton in Bloody Bess(Backstage Theatre), Philip in You Never Can Tell (The Village Players), Raleigh in the regional premiere of See Rock City(Orlando Repertory Thetare), Geoffrey in The Lion in Winter(Impact Theatricals), and Max in Lend Me A Tenor (Mark II Theatre).

  • Christina Calvit (Adaptor)

    Christina is a Lifeline Theatre ensemble member. She has written over a dozen award-winning theatrical adaptations which have been performed throughout the United States, including Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal SnoggingPistols for Two; and Pride and Prejudice (all Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award winners for Adaptation), as well as The Talisman Ring(Joseph Jefferson Equity Award for Adaptation, 1996). She most recently adapted Mariette in Ecstasy at Lifeline. Other adaptations include Queen Lucia: A Musical Romp with composer/Lyricist George Howe, which received a 2005 After Dark Award and 2006 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for Best New Musical. Her original plays include Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday AdventureChaos (co-writer) and Several Voices from the Cloud(Agnes Nixon Award, 1981).

  • Elise Kauzlaric (Director)

    Elise has worked with Lifeline since 1998 and has been a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble since 2005. At Lifeline, she has directed Mariette in Ecstasy (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination: Direction) and The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes; adapted The Velveteen Rabbit and Half Magic; coached dialects for numerous productions; and appeared onstage in NeverwhereQueen Lucia, Talking it OverStrong Poison, and many others. She recently directed Seanachaí’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa, and as an actor around town she has worked with The Goodman Theatre, Northlight, Apple Tree, City Lit, Circle Theatre, First Folio Shakespeare Festival, and Griffin Theatre, where she received a Non-Equity Jeff Nomination for Supporting Actress for On the Shore of the Wide World. Next up at Lifeline, she’ll direct the spring KidSeries production of Arnie the Doughnut.

  • Lindsey Miller (Stage Manager)

    Lindsey is excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the first time on such a remarkable telling of Brontë’s work. She has had the privilege of stage managing for BackStage Theatre Company (where she is an ensemble member), The Building Stage (The Ring Cycle), Circle Theatre, Vitalist Theatre, CLIMB Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), and The Road Company (The Color Purple).

  • Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer)

    Alan is a Lifeline ensemble member and veteran scenic designer for Lifeline’s MainStage and KidSeries, having most recently designed NeverwhereTreasure Island, and Dooby Dooby Moo. When not designing scenery or props he does the occasional lighting design (Killer AngelsThe Talisman Ring [2005]) or adaptation (Trust Me on ThisCrossing CaliforniaBongo Larry & Two Bad BearsSophie’s Masterpiece). Recent designs elsewhere include Dancing at Lughnasa for Seanachaí Theatre and Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Remy Bumppo. He also designed the exhibit for Dreamworks’ Shrek The Musical on display at Navy Pier during the production’s run at the Cadillac Palace.

  • Andrew Hansen (Original Music & Sound Design)

    Andrew returns to Lifeline where has composed and designed for Treasure Island and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre, where current and future projects include Frost/Nixon and Mastering the Art.

  • Sarah Hughey (Lighting Designer)

    Previous Lifeline designs include Mariette in EcstasyThe Last of the Dragons, and The Blue Shadow. Other Chicago credits include Suicide, Incorporated (The Gift); Girls vs. Boys andWilson Wants It All (House Theatre of Chicago); Dancing at Lughnasa and Mojo Mickybo(Seanachaí Theatre); Wind in the Willows (City Lit Theatre); Little Brother and On the Shore of the Wide World (Griffin Theatre); Parlour Song (Steep Theatre); and Not a Game for Boys(A Red Orchid Theatre). Sarah earned her MFA from Northwestern University.

  • Branimira Ivanova (Costume Designer)

    Branimira is thrilled to be back at Lifeline Theatre, where she designed costumes for Mrs. CalibanTreasure IslandMariette In EcstasyThe Picture of Dorian GrayThe Mark of Zorro, and Talking it Over. Other recent work includes Little Brother at the Griffin Theatre, Of Mice and Men at Steppenwolf, and Talk Radio with the Gift Theatre Company. In Chicago, she has also worked with City Lit, Emerald City, Pegasus Players, Infamous Commonwealth, Bailiwick Repertory, Hubbard Street Dance, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance, and Thodos Dance Company. Elsewhere, she has worked with Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Miniature Theatre of Chester, the National Portuguese Ballet, and Introdans, Nl. Branimira is a recipient of Certificate for Excellence in Theatre Design by USITT in 2007. Her work was part of the United States National Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial World Stage Expo in Prague 2007.

  • Matt Engle (Violence Designer)

    Matt is an actor and choreographer and is making his first design appearance for Lifeline Theatre. His Chicago credits include Marathon ’33at Strawdog Theatre; Hot ‘N’ Throbbing for PineBox Theatre; Insignificanceand Breathing Corpses at Steep Theatre; Katzelmacher for the Northwestern Directing Program; Siskel & Ebert Save Chicago1985League of Awesome, and Ren Faire! A Fistful of Ducats with Factory Theater.

  • Tiffany Keane (Assistant Director, Dramaturg)

    Tiffany is proud to be an intern here at Lifeline. She is currently finishing Columbia College’s English and Directing programs and has directed numerous productions there, including Radio ElephantMedusa’s Tale, and House of the Holy Moment. Tiffany has also assistant directed many shows, including Greasy Joan’s The Misanthrope (Jeff Recommended) and Chekov’s Life in the Country. Other credits include dramaturgy for The Tallest Man at Artistic Home and being a camp counselor at Lifeline’s Summer Drama Camp.

  • Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)

    Cortney is looking forward to her fifth season with Lifeline after working on such productions as NeverwhereThe Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Mark of Zorro. Current and previous production management positions include the last four seasons at Strawdog Theatre, where she PMed a variety of shows including Red NosesCherry OrchardLie of the Mind, and Marathon ‘33Ellen Under Glass with the House Theatre of Chicago; and One False Note with Plasticene. She currently serves as the Production Manager and General Manager at Strawdog Theatre, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake.

  • Ian Zywica (Technical Director)

    Ian works throughout Chicago as a freelance Scenic Designer and Technical Director. His design work includes Over the Tavern (Noble Fool Theatre); The Robber Bride Groom (Griffin Theatre); Once On This Island (Porchlight Music Theatre); Under Milk Wood (Caffeine Theatre), The Blue Shadow (Lifeline Theatre), and Into The Woods with Porchlight Music Theatre. Upcoming designs include Meet John Doe (Porchlight Music Theatre) and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lilly (Barter Theatre).

From the Chicago Sun-Times

A warm-blooded, dreamlike ‘Wuthering Heights’
September 29, 2010
By Hedy Weiss

Kauzlaric’s direction is charged with physicality

“Wuthering Heights,’ Emily Bronte’s feverish story of devouring love, class distinction and the madness, death and revenge that can grow from thwarted passion, has all the makings of grand opera.

But as Lifeline Theatre’s feverish new stage version of the great gothic romance suggests, this tale also can be told with an almost balletic intensity and physicality – and with enough sound and fury, yearning and emotional heat – to verge on the hallucinatory.

In staging Christina Calvit’s world premiere adaptation, director Elise Kauzlaric seems to have approached her excellent actors in much the same way a choreographer might approach dancers. And in doing so she has captured in physical terms the intensely powerful magnetic pull between Cathy Earnshaw (Lindsay Leopold, most convincing in her impulsiveness) and Heathcliff (an impressively natural Gregory Isaac, whose dark, gypsylike looks make him ideal for the role), the orphan her father brought into their home on England’s Yorkshire moors.

“Let me go,” cries the ghostly figure of Cathy as this production begins. And in a very real sense that terrible drive for a release from emotional possession is what propels this story from start to finish. The ferocious bond of love and rage forged in their youth joins together for eternity the willful, self-defeating Cathy and the volatile, angry Heathcliff (whose life becomes an extended act of revenge in response to her betrayal). Cathy’s sadistic, bitterly resentful brother Hindley Earnshaw (a perfectly noxious John Henry Roberts) only intensifies the match.

The devouring ties between Cathy and Heathcliff also infect the lives of many others, including the wealthy Edgar Linton (Robert Kauzlaric), who soon regrets marrying Cathy, whose heart is forever somewhere else. Even more ruined is Edgar’s tragic sister Isabella, whose agony and desperation in her marriage to Heathcliff is superbly captured by Sarah Goeden.

There are terrible consequences for a whole second generation, too, as manifested by the lives of Catherine Linton (Lucy Carapetyan, as the determined, but far kinder daughter of Cathy and Edgar); Linton Heathcliff, the sickly son of Heathcliff and Isabella with whom Catherine falls in love (played by Nick Vidal, in a marvelous about-face from his role as Mick Jagger in “Aftermath”), and Earnshaw’s much-abused son Hareton (convincing work by Christopher Chmelik).

Best of all is Cameron Feagin’s exquisite portrayal of Nelly Dean, the enduring and anguished housekeeper who has seen all the insanity and pain of these families. That knowledge permeates Feagin’s honeyed voice and embracing warmth as she serves as the narrator forever attempting to make sense of all the twisted passion she has witnessed.

Calvit’s adaptation initially confuses the story by attempting to show the two generations in dreamlike tandem, but within a scene or two she deftly sorts everything out.

Alan Donahue’s swirling green set, moodily lit by Sarah Hughey, is splendidly enhanced by Andrew Hansen’s music and sound design. His evocation of a rain-drenched purgatory is so convincing that I had to peek outside the theater at intermission to see if a real thunderstorm had occurred.



From Time Out Chicago

September 20, 2010
By Melissa Albert

Calvit’s new adaptation of this gothic romance-cum-multigenerational revenge story is an achievement of emotional force and narrative clarity, though it falls short of doing justice to the doomed love affair at its heart. Alan Donahue’s set organically marries constrained interior spaces with outdoor wildness, serving as a visual representation of the forces that vie for the heart of heroine Catherine Earnshaw. In love with her brutish foster brother, Heathcliff, but attracted to the social status of upper-crust admirer Edgar Linton, Catherine chooses status, spurring Heathcliff to pursue a vengeance that stretches across 20 years.

Brontë’s tale is a melodrama of the impassioned-journeys-across-foggy-moors variety, but there’s nothing overripe in Lindsay Leopold’s and Gregory Isaac’s convincing portrayals of the self-destructive lovers. Cameron Feagin is excellent as long-suffering nursemaid Nelly Dean, and Sarah Goeden’s lovely face expresses volumes in her role as Isabella, the defenseless confection destroyed by a loveless marriage to Heathcliff. Director Kauzlaric’s eerie, often dreamlike staging suits the shape of the narrative, which folds the story of the central characters and that of their manipulated offspring into each other. Calvit displays a keen sense of balance, but few would complain if she made room for a deeper exploration of the passion between the story’s lavishly unbalanced principals.



From Newcity

September 27, 2010
By Lisa Buscani


Emily Bronte’s classic returns to Lifeline, presented not as the “Twilight’-referenced melodrama many are familiar with, but as a meditation on emotional bondage, power and control. Heathcliff (Gregory Isaac) and Cathy (Lindsay Leopold) take every opportunity to test their love, dragging spouses, friends and family along on their destructive ride for two generations.

Isaac is classically brooding, Leopold is suitably fickle, wavering between her affection and her desire for wealth and status. Cameron Feagin offers a note of sanity as a servant consistently amazed at this crew’s potential for cruelty.

Adaptor Christina Calvit’s narrative gets bogged down in its own timeline occasionally and flashbacks fail to clarify the flow. But director Elise Kauzlaric stays on top of the pacing, her beautifully choreographed blocking illustrates the ties that bind. Branimira Ivanova’s lush, detailed costumes are appropriately restrictive; Alan Donahue’s set is darkly pastoral. The piece is a twisted, soulful gilded cage.



From Centerstage Chicago

September 21, 2010
By Lisa Findley

The most difficult thing about adapting Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” is convincing the audience to empathize with characters who are all totally despicable. Christina Calvit’s adaptation for Lifeline Theatre nimbly sidesteps this problem by posing a question in narrator Nelly’s mouth in the play’s framing scenes: How are we to make sense of these people and what they have done to one another? Is it even possible to do so? The play becomes an integration of the story with the responses readers throughout history have had to that story.

Alan Donahue’s set design beautifully complements the story’s themes of repetition, circling, and returning, and the constant backdrop of a dark forest serves as a reminder of the wild nature of the two main characters and their almost animalistic treatment of the people in their lives. The performances from Lindsay Leopold and Gregory Isaac as Cathy and Heathcliff likewise convey a sense of barely contained wildness, and it is easy to believe Cathy’s repeated claims that they are made of the same soul. Elise Kauzlaric’s direction deftly moves characters on and off stage in a terrible dance of injustice and revenge, and the cast performs ably (even in Yorkshire accents!).

If they could, Cathy and Heathcliff would live in a world entirely of their own making. They act brutally toward all the people who make that impossible for them, which leads to the downfall of both families. If the play homed in on this central tragedy in the beginning and end, instead of drawing back to the larger cast of doomed characters, Calvit’s focus on love as entrapment and entanglement would come through more clearly. Overall, however, this is a compelling production of a devastating tale.



From Chicago Now

September 20, 2010
By Katy Walsh

Cathy and Heathcliff: soulmates destined for eternity! It’s not quite the pretty ‘happily everafter’… everafter of storybook endings. Lifeline Theatre presents Wuthering Heights, the timeless romance written by Emily Brontë and skillfully adapted to the stage by Christina Calvit. Heathcliff is abandoned as a baby. He is raised by the Earnshaws as a surrogate son/servant. Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff grow up together as rebel-rousing youth. They’re inseparable… even when they are apart! Their all-consuming love is the catalyst for marriage… but not to each other. Cathy decides to marry the neighbor. Heathcliff reacts to the betrayal with a revenge plan that spans generations. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love never dies!?! Wuthering Heights is what happens when a turbulent love goes tornado destructive. It’s an epic twister that sucks up everybody in its path…including the audience!

Revenge over generations can get complicated and confusing especially when cousins marry. Cameron Feagin (Nelly) begins the show with introductions and guides the audience through the story with relevant narration. Feagin transitions perfectly from telling the story to being in the story with insightful ease. As a sage, she cuts to the essence with ‘who should forgive and who should be forgiven?’ Director Elise Kauzlaric stages the beginnings and endings of acts with all the characters, dead and alive, on stage. It’s a haunting visual that reinforces the supernatural love story. Under Kauzlaric’s direction, the entire cast engages with a lingering poignancy. The eye of the storm, Lindsay Leopold (Cathy) is verbally and physically commanding. Her attempts to ‘go home to Wuthering Heights’ are thwarted with spooky misery. Gregory Isaac (Heathcliff) is the tormented turned diabolical. Isaac’s complicated portrayal is a man so obsessed with love for one woman that he hates all others, including his own son. The entire ensemble provides classic novel performances adding to the gusty page turner pace. Initially and sporadically, the cast chants ‘who are you?’ and ‘don’t let me go’ seemingly random statements that connect the beginning to the end with a deliberate finality.

Set in the moors of Yorkshire, Scenic Designer Alan Donahue gives the stage a mystical quality with swirling metallic greens, golds and browns. Mesh screens and circular layered platforms illustrate the woods and houses separated by a hanging door. The costumes by Branimira Ivanova are stunning. The elaborate finery is showcased against the simple backdrop to conjure up the gothic drama unfolding. Wuthering Heights is a literary masterpiece that overwhelms potential readers by its cult following and ominous reputation. Playwright Christina Calvit blows the mystique away with manageable Brontë bites. This show captivates from preface to epilogue. Lifeline Theatre promises and delivers ‘big stories, up close.’ Having never read Wuthering Heights, I left the theatre amazed at the powerful story and crossing it off my bucket list.

, http://www.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/1371,