Theatre That Leaves A Mark: Babes With Blades Theatre Company Presents “The Lady Demands Satisfaction–A Jolly Farce”


Chicago is a theater town.  From the megahits of Broadway in Chicago (“Hamilton”) to the classic Chicago Shakespeare Theater to the world-renowned Lyric Opera to the stalwarts Steppenwolf and Goodman Theater, there is big talent on the Chicago stages.  But some of the most interesting and creative storytelling is happening on the city’s smaller stages:  The Albany Park Theater Project, Windy City Playhouse, and Chicago Opera Theater.  Underrepresented voices are sharing compelling narratives in ways that are both intentional and imaginative.


Babes with Blades Theatre Company belongs in this category.


Tucked away on the second floor of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church at the City Lit Theater, Babes with Blades Theatre Company opened their 21st season with the world premiere of Arthur M. Jolly’s The Lady Demands Satisfaction, which won the most recent Joining Sword and Pen Competition. The play is a farce in which a young maiden, Trothe, who has recently lost her father, learns that her house and lands will forfeit to anyone who bests her in a duel.  She is forced to either marry an expert swordsman or become one.  With the help of her Aunt Theodosia, arguably the finest blade in all of the land, and her two favorite servants, our heroine endeavors to save her inheritance.  True to farcical traditions, identities and intentions are mistaken, comedy and sword-fighting ensue and all get the just end they deserve.  It is a charming and silly and fun production, full of clever wordplay and dazzling swordplay.


The swordplay and the focus on women’s stories are what set this theater company apart.  “Babes with Blades Theatre Company uses stage combat to place women and their stories center stage.  Through performance, script development, training and outreach, (the) ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.”


Believing women and women’s stories to be underrepresented, the company’s focus is to develop and present scripts including “complex, dynamic and often combative, female characters.”  To that end, Babes with Blades Theatre Company follows two fundamental precepts:

  1. Women are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it; and,
  2. Women are capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.


“The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience women as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescues; right, wrong and everywhere in between:  exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE.  It’s as simple and subversive as that.”


Small theater companies have the advantage of being able to get incredibly creative with developing special events in conjunction with their production.  For The Lady Demands Satisfaction, Babes with Blades Theatre Company included these special events:

  • Joining Sword and Pen Competition (August 3, 2018 – February 7, 2019) Based on an image released on August 3, 2018, it is a competition for playwrights who identify as female, trans or gender non-conforming.
  • Talk Back with the Playwright (July 29, 2018) Arthur M. Jolly discusses his latest play.
  • Open Caption Weekend (August 9-12, 2018) All performances feature open captioning by Caption Point on a screen provided by the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium Accessible Equipment Loan Program.
  • Chicago Foundation for Women Weekend (August 23-25, 2018) Audience donations collected this weekend will be used to support this organization that focuses on work/economic security, freedom from violence and access to health.
  • Pay What You Can Performance (August 9 and 16, 2018) Audience members pay what they can to see the performance.  (Call 773-904-0391 to reserve.  This option may not be available at the door.)

The Lady Demands Satisfaction plays at City Lit Theater (1020 W. Bryn Mawr) through August 25.

Should I see this?  If you like light, fun plays with strong female characters and loads of sword fighting, yes.






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