Credit: Michael Brosilow

When the devil comes a-knockin’ on the door of village pariah Elizabeth
(Audrey Francis) to offer a Faustian bargain for her soul, he tries out a
unique sales pitch: Everyone in town already believes her to be a witch and
treats her accordingly. So why not lean into it and actually reap some

A colloquial, contemporary-language riff on the 1621 drama The Witch of Edmonton, Jen Silverman’s one-act dark comedy flashes
between Satan’s (Ryan Hallahan) long-game hard sell to Elizabeth and the
much easier time he has raking up the souls of his castle-dwelling male
clients. The murder of a personal rival, the inheritance of a name; folks
at the top, it would seem, are eager to rationalize cashing in on their
sense of morality upon the slightest slip down the social ladder.

In our present moment, when the abuser logic of look what you made me do has somehow become a salient political
argument, Silverman’s meaty, messy, whip-smart script takes on extra

But Marti Lyons’s absorbing and thoughtful production for Writers Theatre
touches upon far more than gender and class alone. In noble banquet scenes
(gorgeously rendered by scenic designer Yu Shibagaki and prop master Scott
Dickens), an entitled brat (Steve Haggard) and his far more admirable
adoptive brother (Jon Hudson Odom) debate the expiration dates of humble
origin stories and their supposed virtues.

Lyons’s cast is compelling from top to bottom (Francis, as a deadpan,
strong-willed Elizabeth, is a consistent scene stealer), and without
spoiling anything, a shocking sequence fight-choreographed by Matt Hawkins
is undoubtedly one of the richest, most visceral scenes to play out on a
Chicago stage all year.   v