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Theatre Review: The Mistakes Madeline Made

It's a Dirty Job

by Karim Tonsy – November 2, 2012
2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

The Mistakes Madeline MadeLiveWire Chicago is a collective of artists who create theatre that reflects the current cultural landscape of our community through productions of original and contemporary works. Previous productions include the Chicago premiere of The 13th of Paris by Mat Smart, the world premiere of Emily Dendinger’s Hideous Progeny presented at the Chicago DCA Storefront Theatre and the Chicago premiere of Red Angel by Eric Bogosian, amongst others. Here’s some good news for young actors and directors: did you know that LiveWire presents an annual short play festival called VisionFest which invites the community to be involved in the presentation of new works? For more information,visit

The title of the play intrigued my senses indeed. The Mistakes Madeline Made tells the story of a young woman named Edna who develops Ablutophobia – the fear of bathing. Struggling with a soul-crushing job as a personal assistant and an unexpected loss of her brother, she wages a furious and funny war against all things complacent, pampered and clean. As Edna’s smell starts to overwhelm her co-workers (not to mention many-a-casual lovers), the play raises the questions: is dirty living a political act? And is clean living even possible in these times of unrest?

I thought the scenic design created by Inseung Park was good enough for an intimate stage to portray an office with two exit and entrance doors on each side and a bath tub in the middle covered with a white curtain that opened every time Edna had a flashback of her brother. Costumes were carefully designed by Noel Huntzinger and lighting design courtesy of Eric Branson. In addition, a talented cast featuring Hilary Williams as Edna, Kristin Collins as Beth, Fred Geyer as Drake, Jake or Blake, LiveWire Artistic Director Joel Ewing as Buddy and LiveWire Associate Artistic Director Chris Zdenek as Wison rounded out the ensemble.

Moreover, do our Cheeky readers know that the playwright Elizabeth Meriwether is an American playwright, screenwriter, television producer and writer?! Most recent credits include the 2011 romantic comedy No Strings Attached, the FOX sitcom New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel and the 2010 play Oliver Parker.

The Mistakes Madeline Made is currently playing at The GreenHouse Theatre’s upstairs studio at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. But hurry up (and please take a bath first), the Cheeky play closes this Sunday. Tickets are available here.

About the Author: Karim Tonsy

Karim Tonsy is an international choreographer from Cairo, Egypt who is currently choreographing and dancing all over Chicago, along with teaching group fitness classes at Equinox Fitness. He is an avid theatre nerd.