Season 34

The Coward

a Midwest premiere
by Nick Jones
directed by Vance Smith♦

Aug. 30 –Oct. 5, 2014

Previews: 8/30, and 9/2 @ 8pm
8/31 @ 3pm
: Wednesday, September 3 @ 8pm
Regular Run:Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm  


Lucidus is a cowardly young gentleman who has never been in a duel, to his father’s dismay. When he initiates one, he then hires a common criminal to fight in his place, and the scoundrel makes a bloody mess of things. As duel follows duel with many shots fired, Lucidus finds his reputation growing beyond his wildest expectations. Set in the 1790’s (sort of), The Coward is a ridiculous comedy that questions the very concept of honor. 


Lucidus: Brian Plocharczyk*
Father: Stephen Walker
Steve Schine
Ian McLaren
Robert: Spenser Davis
Freidmont, etc: Robert McLean
Earl, etc.: Eric Leonard
Isabelle: Kate Black Spence* 



Production Team:

Stage Manager: Claire Nelson
Production Manager: Emmaline Keddy-Hector♦
Scenic Designer: Katherine Arfkin*
Lighting Designer: Julian Pike
Costume Designer: Aly Renee Amidei
Props Designer:  Jeff Sheilds
Sound Designer: Alex Romberg
Technical Director
Andrew Hildner
Graphic Design: Seam Studios
Dramaturg: Skye Robinson Hillis
Fight Choreographer: Brian Plocharcyzk*
Assistant Stage Manager: Nate Dion
Photographer: Johnny Knight     

*Stage Left Ensemble Member    ♦Stage Left Staff

The designation of “Jeff Recommended” is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.


“Instead of wallowing in another rewatch of the second season ofOrange Is the New Black, do yourself a favor. Step very slowly away from your bootlegged Netflix account and hightail it over to The Coward, a tightly wound farce from Nick Jones, a coproducer and writer for Orange who here brings the quippy humor of that beloved series to a satire set in the 1790s. Stage Left artistic director Vance Smith’s production joyfully tackles the subjects of masculinity and guns (those most masculine-looking members of society) with a dynamo cast, a soundtrack including the Stones and orchestrated Lady Gaga, and blood, sooo much blood.” Chloe Riley, Chicago Reader

“Stage Left’s cast doesn’t so much bring Jones’ play alive as romp through it with glee, and it’s an absolute joy to behold… it’s Jones’ lively writing and scintillating dialogue that is the real star here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” —Peter Thomas Ricci, Chicago Theater Review

“It’s an effortless blend of high art and camp, with a hint of horror. Jones brilliantly takes the script beyond the extended ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch it could have been, elevating it into a two-hour laugh riot with intelligence in every syllable… Strong production values supplement The Coward’s excellent script…  in the galaxy of September openings, it’s a shooting star with plenty of spark. Three and a half stars (out of four).” — Lauren Whalen, Chicago Theater Beat

“It’s an intensely relevant message, delivered with a campy, sardonic glee by director Vance Smith, who manages to keep the audience laughing amid the ever-widening slaughter… this blood-smeared crumpet of a play finds its groove, moving remorselessly toward its climax of all-against-all strife. It is hard to respond with anything besides nervous laughter to this portrait of a crazed culture where honor is vanity and cowardice is wisdom, set in a world that looks like yesterday but feels like today. RECOMMENDED”  — Hugh Iglarsh, New City Stage

“All this provides plenty of chortles, but director Vance Smith and his cast, led by Brian Plocharczyk as the ambivalent Lucidus, aren’t about to let us hide behind the looney-tunes antics, but instead play their archetypes with deadpan solemnity to ensure that the lessons of who embraces violence, who profits therefrom, and who rejects it, are not lost on us.” — Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times