Killer Joe

by Tracy Letts

Gremlin Theatre
October 4 – October 19, 2008

What if the hit don’t go down like you thought it would?

In a trailer in Texas, the Smith family hires a hit man to dispose of Mom and reap the life insurance rewards. When they can’t come up with the payment upfront, Joe beds the Smith daughter as a retainer. In a sinister twist the murder plot begins to unravel just as the theatrical plot turns deeper down the rabbit hole. Before it’s over, nearly everyone is bloodied.

The Cast

Killer Joe Cooper – Zach Curtis *
Sharla Smith – Katherine Kupiecki
Ansel Smith – Sam L. Landman
Dottie Smith – Katie Willer
Chris Smith – Clarence Wethern

The Crew

Director – Carin Bratlie **
Stage Manager – Lydia Bolder
Fight Choreographer – David Tufford
Makeup Designer – Crist Ballas
Lighting Designer – Julia Carlis
Sound Designer – Katharine Horowitz
Props Designer – Justin Gallo
Set Designer – Carin Bratlie
Costume Designer – Mandi Johnson
Graphic Designer – Kris Heding +
Asst. Director – Natalie Novacek **#
Asst. Stage Manager – Michelle Haugerud
Dramaturg – Christopher Kehoe

** Theatre Pro Rata Company Member
+ Theatre Pro Rata Resident Artist
# Associate Member Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers
* Member of Actor’s Equity, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

The Press

“One of the best set designs of 2008” – City Pages
FringeFamous (Interview with Carin Bratlie)
Minnesota Playlist Photo Feature

“A punch in the gut” – How Was The Show
“Shocking…real…” – The Morning After
“A thrill” – Talkin’ Broadway
“Plenty of good” – MinnPost
“Massively entertaining” – City Pages
Star Tribune (Interview with Zach Curtis)
“Pro Rata doesn’t shy from the mayhem” – Star Tribune
The Rake (Black & White Bash Feature)

The Fun Stuff

Press Release

From The Dramaturg:

At first drop, Killer Joe is one of those plays that doesn’t really need dramaturgy. Tracy Letts’ script does a superb job of telling itself, and very little has to be decrypted for a contemporary audience. If anything, one should be warned that Killer Joe is an excruciatingly violent script – something Letts is unapologetic about and Carin has had unwavering resolve to fully realize. To roughly quote her: “staging this for shock value is the easy way out.” These characters say what they say and do what they do not because they are evil, twisted, or sadistic, but because no other option is available to them.

But before you get too comfortable behind the fourth wall, consider the fact that the U.S. dollar in your wallet has lost 95% of its value over the last century. Consider the fragility of the American male, and how society forces him to funnel all his emotions through his aggression to keep from being emasculated. Consider that the average household’s credit card debt is just shy of $10,000, the average life insurance policy is $100,000, and the only two federal crimes with a statute of limitations greater than ten years are murder and not paying your student loans.

So if the violence you see onstage tonight seems overwhelming, remember that the ingredients and climate for that violence surround us in our everyday lives. The extreme world of Killer Joe should tighten our throats in fear, asking where our moral humanity ends and our economic animalism begins.

The Gallery