“Don Juan in Chicago” produced by Arouet

Arouet is one of those local theatre companies that excels at finding absolutely delightful offbeat works. “Don Juan in Chicago” proves my point. Written in 1995 by the witty David Ives (his “Venus in Fur” and “All in the Timing” have also been produced in Seattle within the year), it’s a reimagined tale of the 16th C. fictional libertine.

"Don Juan in Chicago" produced by Arouet

Dylan Smith (Don Juan), Amanda Falcone (Dona Elvira), and Zach Sanders (Leporello)
Photo by Michael Brunk

In this version of the many-times-told tale, Don Juan (well played by Dylan Smith) at 30 is a virgin (no time for wastrel activities, he alleges) living in Seville in 1599. He desires immortality and makes a deal with an attractive and utterly self-confident devil (Caitlin Frances). She’s honored to be dealing with an intelligent man, says this she-devil who has a wicked sense of humor. Of course he can exchange his soul for perpetual life, but only as long as he beds a woman every night but never the same woman twice. And so begins 400 years of fornication.

The devil also dooms Don Juan’s poor servant Leporello (Zach Sanders) to the same longevity but without the sex, and together they move through the centuries occasionally encountering Dona Elvira (Amanda Falcone) who loves Don Juan and has also made a pact with the devil. She doesn’t want eternal life, but she must have sex with Don Juan twice if ever she is to be released from her earthly cares. Oh that impish devil!

When the play moves to Chicago in contemporary time, Leporello continues to keep track of his master’s bedmates, making sure no one gets a second chance with the now weary womanizer. Of course there are unexpected plot twists as new women and new complications present themselves.

Joshua Jon has directed this farce with flair. There’s not a weak member in the cast, and though the space offers many challenges, the company makes it work.

The actors speak in verse. And almost all of the couplets are wry, clever and marvelously funny. Listen carefully; you don’t want to miss any of the humor or the cultural references. The author, who manages to give new erudition to the word lecherous, offers literary sophistication wrapped in bawdy humor.

This is closing on Sat. so get your tickets now.

May 29-May 31at The Ballard Underground, 2220 NW Market St., Seattle, (425 298-3852 or arouet.us/tickets)

Leave a Reply