CHRISTOPHER CARTMILL

ForeWord Reviews

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The Nebraska Dispatches 

Christopher Cartmill, successful New York playwright, director, and actor, disregarded Thomas Wolfe’s famous advice that “You can’t go home again,” and returned to his home in Nebraska to research and write a play. His subject was Chief Standing Bear, a Ponca Indian who in 1879 sued the United States government and won. The turmoil that enveloped Cartmill and renewed his bond with home, in the broadest meaning of that word, is gracefully retold in The Nebraska Dispatches. 

Standing Bear was chief of the Ponca Indians living along the Niobrara River in Northern Nebraska in the mid 1800s, when the US government moved many of the Indian tribes to the Oklahoma territory. Standing Bear’s son died in Oklahoma, having first requested burial in Nebraska with his ancestors. To honor his son’s request, Standing Bear returned to Nebraska, where he was arrested and incarcerated. He declared he was being held illegally, and sued the US government for a writ of habeas corpus. The Court agreed with the chief and he was freed to quietly live out his life in Nebraska. 

The Nebraska Dispatches is far more than just the story of Standing Bear, although that alone would make for an interesting tale. Cartmill also tells his own story, of his return to his roots and reconciliation with place and history. The story’s pace and drama builds as Cartmill meets the people of Nebraska and hears their stories. 

Flowing throughout is the undercurrent of anger and bitterness that irresolutely defines the relationship between the Plains Indians and their white neighbors. Cartmill is forced to confront the idea that stories matter. History is not abstract, but about actual people and events that have consequences yet today. As Susan Cloud Horse, an Omaha Indian, tells him: “First of all, I’m going to tell you this again: by what you’re doing you’re stirring up five hundred years of anger, pain, and shame.” 

The Nebraska Dispatches refrains from bravado or overstatement; nevertheless, it is an intense and dynamic book. Cartmill is expert at relating his own story and just enough information about the Poncas, Standing Bear, and other Plains Indians. He intertwines these sagas to make them part of a larger story of America and how Americans connect to home. In the end, Cartmill proves Wolfe wrong. Not only can one go home again, but there can be much to be learned from the experience. (November) John Michael Senger 

Lincoln Journal Star

"The Nebraska Dispatches" by Christopher Cartmill, University of Nebraska Press, 143 pages, $10.95

 Christopher Cartmill will tell you that a story is a deeply personal thing, and a story about home only intensifies the sense of ownership and connection.

In 2006, the Lied Center for Performing Arts commissioned Cartmill to return to his hometown and write a play about Chief Standing Bear, a Ponca Native who was forced from his home in Nebraska and then fought for the right to return to it. Writing Standing Bear's story became Cartmill's personal odyssey.

"The Nebraska Dispatches" was compiled from a series of e-mails Cartmill wrote to friends and family as he worked on the Standing Bear play. "Dispatches" originally was presented as a solo performance by Cartmill but has now been compiled into a book that reads like a journal.

In writing about Standing Bear, Cartmill discovered that everyone's piece of a story comes with personal history, priorities and prejudice. "Dispatches" reveals Cartmill's struggle to write someone else's story when not everyone agrees on how or whether the story should be told.

Cartmill entwines his own story with Standing Bear's and with the stories of the people who are living out Standing Bear's epilogue. "Dispatches" is about cause and effect and the ripples those have on everyone's story. "Are we living in the ripples of events of so long ago?" Cartmill asks. "Or are we the ripples?"

When you finish reading Lincoln's One Book 2010 selection, "I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice " by Joe Starita, and want more of the story, pick up "The Nebraska Dispatches." The ripples will affect you.

Northwest Theatre News

“The Spectre Bridegroom” at Everett High School

"Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Everett High School’s spring play, 'The Spectre Bridegroom', in the school’s “Little Theater”, and was treated to a very entertaining and nearly flawless theatrical presentation.  On the surface, I wasn’t sure that a play about possibly-ghostly groomsmen in a Bavarian castle in 1895 sounded like my cup of tea; however, I was very pleasantly surprised at the story, the fantastic script, and the superb acting and staging of this delightful comedy of errors.

I can hardly begin to describe the story, as it simply must be seen in person to be fully grasped.  Its one of these very clever scripts where everything is not as it seems.  While the audience can easily follow what is really happening, the characters in the story most certainly cannot, and in many ways, this reminded me of a Shakespeare story.  Louisa, the daughter of a once-wealthy family is due to be married to a groom she has never met, as arranged by their parents and against her own wishes.  The groom-to-be himself, the Count Von Altenburg is, well, quite a handful.  He and his servant Osmar arrive in Louisa’s town and run into an old friend, the handsome and rebellious Hermann Von Starkenfaust. The three young men have no idea that a bizarre course of events lies in front of them, or how all their plans will go wrong at just about every turn, causing tremendous confusion and commotion at the castle of Louisa’s family.  They also have no idea that Louisa’s family includes some very colorful and amusing characters too, and it all makes for a great play.

......'The Spectre Bridegroom' was definitely worth seeing, and I encourage anyone who enjoys plays to go and see this excellent production!"  

The Lincoln Journal Star

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READING HAS IMPACT

With his drama "Home Land," playwright Christopher Cartmill has crafted a latticework made up of initially seemingly disparate words and times, memories and histories. But the writer's theatrical fabric is a tapestry of interconnectedness that weaves a binding melange of emotions and awareness. While the play, currently being performed in the round in the Lied Center's Johnny Carson Theatre, is a staged reading, not a full production, there is still plenty of dramatic impact. Cartmill's play searches for that elusive recognition of what is home to an individual. What makes something home? How different, or similar, is the idea of home to each of us? [The piece] is staged within the structure of a sacred Native circle with each of the cast of eight (who play multiple characters) situated at of a compass' directional points. Centuries — from the 17th to the 21st — and characters — from a Spanish conquistador to a care volunteer from Denmark and Chief Standing Bear to a pioneer Mennonite â— are both distinctive and intermingled, ultimately braiding a message of history, self-awareness, comprehension and universality. The importance of phrasing, timing and intonation is of critical importance in a staged reading, where generally the piece's actors are more restrained in performance. The cast of "Home Land" — Katherine Hwang, Teddy Cañez, David Strathairn, LeRoy McClain, Annie Henk, Dan C. Jones and Jeremy Kendall — not only achieve the above, but deliver nicely conceived and executed portrayals with depth and profundity. "Home Land" is a piece that explores the past and the future of each of us in the present.

"The script is stunning and so powerful - it seized me and carried me away. ". . . deep power, potency, accuracy, sweep, colors, passion . . . "

"This is a mature, sophisticated play. Like rainwater in the Nebraska Sandhills, the play's haunting truths seep into the cracks where life begins and ends. And it is here where those hard truths are delivered with whispers - not megaphones - which of course make them resonate even louder."

A 'Thank You' Note from a student at Park Middle School in Lincoln, NE

"To: Christopher Cartmill THANK YOU. Thank you for inviting my class and I. I really enjoyed it. What I was thinking is where I'm from. Where I call home. Where I fit in perfectly. I was born in Lincoln, but my family is from Iraq. I just want to go for at least one day and feel the sand on my feet, smell it. And bring some back with me. I call Iraq my homeland. I learned many, many stuff and I asked myself where's my homeland, during the play. Your actors and actresses were awesome. They were acting perfectly. And that play, I would never, never forget it. Thank you a lot."

The Ring-Tum Phi of Washington and Lee University

POIGNANT PLAY SHOWS THAT MAGIC CAN HAPPEN

"The Apotheosis of Vaclav Drda tells the story of a rag-tag group of theater people — none of whom are getting paid — trying to produce a play with limited funding and even less hope of success.  That play is a powerful commentary on war and oppression in 1938 by the fictional Czech author Vaclav Drda.

Early on, there is obvious tension between the actors in this play within a play. They butt heads on almost everything, from the terrible translation of the Czech script to (the director) Nick's casting to Steve's amateur ideas about theater (he calls it "play practice").  Everything seems to go wrong with this bunch, and the tension builds up until Joanna (the lead actress) breaks down . . . Eventually Joanna is left alone to weep for her dubious future in the theater.  Her grief lasts only a short while, however, as she is interrupted by a mysterious custodian . . . The peculiarly insightful stranger helps Joanna to realized that "recognition" is not the true test of greatness . . . Christopher Cartmill's The Apotheosis of Vaclav Drda was a deeply thought-provoking exploration of the meaning of theater in today's society."

Zeljko Djukic of TUTA Theater Company in Chicago

I read ROMEO'S DREAM in one breath. although there are many clues, it's hard to describe what it is. To me it reads like a cabalistic vaudeville, whatever that might be. it's layered like chocolate cake with nuts. It doesn't have one taste but many. The Kafkaesque atmosphere and language remind me a lot of bruno schultz, a polish-jewish writer whom I adore. There's a sense of chase and terror yet, at the same tame, there's flaming radiation of eroticism and desire, one finds in the cinema of Bunuel. it is an inspiring, provocative piece with very refined, spiral structure. I enjoyed it a lot. Christopher is quite a writer.

The Meredith Monk Company

"I always come away impressed from one of your plays, but last night I was even more deeply impressed by your range and command of short forms. Your plays showed a consummate command of timing and language and what I regard as an essential indifference to the portrayal of your own suffering (which showed elegantly enough through the bitter-sweetness and exactness of the language). VITAMINIZATION is a complete winner. So is ON THE PECULIARITY OF FEELING, and YOU AND A RAINY SUNDAY AFTERNOON opened my heart unexpectedly with its images of childhood. Recently I also have been viewing my life as if from the outside in, longing to remember when it was real, what was real. Thank you for giving me those images to recall when I'm feeling vaguely anxious."

Chicago Sun-Times

BAILIWICK'S BOLD, EPIC STAGING IGNITES FURY OF FRENCH REVOLT

"INCORRUPTIBLE, Christopher Cartmill's fabulously ambitious, panoramic drama about the French Revolution, is exploding across the stage of the Bailiwick Repertory. The two-part, six hour production features a cast of 16 actor-singers playing nearly 100 roles: frenzied revolutionaries, blood-thirsty peasants, corrupt priests, blustering magistrates, pontificating philosophers, a prophet, a madwoman and a pious pornographer, among others. In a series of richly imagined dramatic scenes; comical, musical and dance interludes, and tableaux vivants, the sumptuous show moves through more than a decade in the life and psyche of Maximilien Robespierre, architect of the Reign of Terror. INCORRUPTIBLE is a monumental achievement on every level. Cartmill is best known as an actor. But with this play, he proves that he is also a gifted dramatist and formidable scholar, with a ripe theatrical sensibility. Like William Shakespeare, Cartmill can deftly switch scenes and moods, invent dozens of distinctive characters, and enable them all to speak in a poetry that conveys everything about their personalities and status. Bailiwick's epic never plays like a tedious history lecture. It is an intimate and voluptuous psychological, social and sexual portrait of a young revolutionary, a portrait that is brilliantly integrated into the larger and more complex tapestry of a nation into the throes of change and turmoil. INCORRUPTIBLE brims with dreams and nightmares, with satirical pageants, with plays-within-plays and with such cinematic devices as flash forwards and fade-ins. The carefully structured compilation of details gives this play its power. The first half of INCORRUPTIBLE ("On Innocence: 1789") chronicles the making of Robespierre's character, his homelife, his school days in Paris, the intricacies of his complicated and somewhat puritanical nature, and his growing sensitivity to the need for political action. The second half ("On Experience: 1794") depicts the making of the Reign of Terror, when 70,000 Frenchmen (and ultimately Robespierre himself) were killed in the ferocious purge that followed the initial revolutionary movement . . ."

The reading of THE ROBBERS OF MADDERBLOOM was the highlight of my weekend in New York.

'The reading of Christopher Cartmill's play THE ROBBERS OF MADDERBLOOM was a thought-provoking comedy. There was not an instant where I wasn't laughing. It was a period piece, but the audience could relate to all of the corporate and modern allusions. I have a huge man-crush on Christopher Cartmill.'

Lakeshore Magazine

". . . INCORRUPTIBLE . . . is a searingly insightful look at the 'Reign of Terror' . . . stunning, adventurous theatre."

New City

"Alternately panoramic and tightly focused, Bailiwick Repertory's premiere performance of Christopher Cartmill's INCORRUPTIBLE brings to life both the revolutionary era in France and the private life of perhaps the most notorious of the revolutionaries, Maximilien de Robespierre. It is a production as turbulent and fast-paced as the epoch it represents. Yet the show is tightly controlled and for the most part delivers its political, psychological, and moral message with precision as well as passion. Considering the scope of this production, this feat is nothing short of remarkable. Playwright Christopher Cartmill and director David Zak have chosen the long form (the play is in two parts, and lasts over five hours), and manage to fill the stage with over 50 characters as well as the requisite masses and mobs, without which no play about revolutionary France is complete. The logistical complexity of INCORRUPTIBLE bring to mind another big moment in French history, the Allied landing at Normandy. How a small non-profit theatre like Bailiwick managed to stage such an extravaganza is beyond me . . . We never stray from the central issue of the work: the state of Robespierre's soul as reflected in his relationships to family and friend on one hand and the political situation of France on the other. On one level, Cartmill treats the life the famous Jacobin as a political tragedy, somewhat along the lines of Coriolanus. Robespierre (James Marsters) is depicted as a man of rigorous virtue who finds himself on the top, only to be topple by people who admire him but cannot love him. His proud, vaunted honesty betrays him, for it compels him to tell the people what they do not want to hear, and prevents him from finessing tough issues and dodging blame like a conventional politician. Cartmill's Robespierre is more deeply flawed, his idealism is purely abstract. He lacks 'caritas,' that is, loving-kindness and goodwill. His 'love of humanity' turns out to be a cover for his mistrust and the insecurity of one who cannot connect with those around him, one who can never fully let down his guard, even in the most intimate of situations. Once in power, Robespierre's messianic, Rousseau-inspired hopes for 'mankind' combine with his characteristic ruthlessness, and result in the outbreak of state-sanctioned violence known as the Reign of Terror. To Robespierre, the Terror is a potent symbol of the purging, cleansing force of Revolution. To others, including his close friend Desmoulins (Scott Lowell), it is a sign that the revolution has gone sour, and that Robespierre himself has been sullied by power. The contradictions and transformations of Robespierre's character are also charted in his relationship to the one person he seems to love; his sister Charlotte (Jennifer Trinkner). Cartmill's Robespierre is completely infatuated with his sister, a historically dubious but dramatically revealing fact. His love for one who is so similar shows him for what he essentially is: a narcissist. And his inhumanly cruel behavior toward her after their incestuous tryst foreshadows this treatment of those comrades that he comes to consider 'enemies of the state.' Robespierre, living among abstractions, can weave beautiful dreams about his love for his sister and about revolution, but turns ugly and punitive at the moment when each is consummated. Another structuring principle present here besides classical tragedy is the philosophy of that contemporary of the French Revolution, the poet William Blake. The two halves of the play are called 'Innocence' and 'Experience,' in reference to Blake's Songs of Innocence (published in 1789, the year of the revolution's ecstatic birth) and Songs of Experience (1794, the year of the Terror and the execution of Robespierre). The two 'contrary states' as Blake calls them, are continually at work in this play, as in the contrast between Robespierre's native Arras and Paris, and between his early friendship with the easy-going, good-natured Desmoulins and his later association of convenience with Louis Saint-Just (Andrew Scott), the revolution's 'Angel of Death.' The Innocence/Experience distinction is most clear in Robespierre himself as he becomes more and more entangled in the machinations of power. At the beginning he is a righteously angry outsider who sees revolution as the only way to free society from the enslavement of a repressive church and monarchy. By the end, Robespierre has himself taken on, in an infinitely more virulent form, all the worst attributes of both priest and king. Because he is unable to achieve the higher innocence of redemptive forgiveness, he is condemned to repeat rather than transcend the past, and the revolution is doomed to fratricidal violence and ultimate failure. All of this explication make the play seem a lot heavier than it really is. Cartmill's intelligent, expansive, and literate script has a surprising amount of humor. Dan Ruben, Steven Darnell, and Scott Mikita are a riot as a sort of Three French Stooges, laying satirical waste to each of the three estates. The production also has some fine musical moments. As the revolution evolves, political change is communicated by the shift from Handel's ponderous, allegorical opera at the beginning, to Mozartian lightness and energy at the time of the Tennis Court Oath of 1789, to the torment of Beethoven as the Revolution turns on its own. . . . INCORRUPTIBLE is not just for history buffs. It is clearly intended as a warning for today. The program introduces pre-revolutionary France in words that sound eerily relevant to our own situation (i.e. 'What was once the wealthiest nation in the world has become the largest debtor nation.') The point is that we are still living in the era launched by the French Revolution, it is not a bad idea to learn about that event. In any case, this production deserves an audience proportionate to its ambition."

The Chicago Reader

". . . Cartmill has made some radical changes in adapting Dickens's run-of-the-mill novella: he moved the setting from Christmas Eve in 1848 London to New Year's Eve in 1948 Chicago (somewhere around Hyde Park, from the looks of it); made Latham's housekeeper Mildred, and her husband, John, black, the latter recently returned from the war, hoping to enter engineering school on the new GI Bill but still wrestling with his own wartime nightmares; changed Tetterby the newsman into Joseph Abrams, a Jewish divorc?ho runs a small bookshop with his teenage daughter, Lainey; and introduced a new character, Latham's old friend Sophia Blyss, a 'woman of prominence' busy with overseas war-relief organization. Though a few of Dickens's passages appear verbatim, most of Cartmill's script is constructed from whole cloth (in the way Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra became Shakespeare's Measure for Measure). Cartmill has an assured ear for dialogue and a prose that carries the dignity of literature while firmly rooted in the vernacular. Just like in Shakespeare, scenes of great anguish are skillfully tempered with humorous ones and long, talky stretches, many of which may be considerably shorter by the time you read this review, are balance with action and spectacle (most notably a dance sequence during Latham's dream of his youth involving a Vernon Castle One-step and a rowdy ragtime frolic called the 'Texas Tommy,' which drew a spontaneous round of applause from the audience). . . . Cartmill has created a story . . . and characters that go beyond Dickens's allegorical figures to emerge as whole and believable human beings. THE HAUNTED MAN is a welcome addition to the holiday genre."

The Chicago Reader

"How does Christopher Cartmill manage to retain his romantic vision at his age and in our age? And how does the author of INCORRUPTIBLE and the adapter of Dickens's THE HAUNTED MAN continue to convey that vision with such unashamed honesty and dignity that even cynics are caught up? LIGHT IN LOVE, his most recent offering, is set in a post-Civil War South with no evidence of devastation and no racial tensions save in the most mean spirited. It's a postbellum paradise where the woods are lush and green and the barns clean and 'sweet-smelling,' where rural families always have plenty of good things to eat. And we believe him. The first in a trilogy of plays tracing the adventures of the fictional Templeton Light, LIGHT IN LOVE opens with the Light family visiting Philadelphia for the Centennial and the hero Templeton lost with his older brother, James, somewhere in the Shenadoah Valley. In a quarrel over whose error caused them to be lost, Templeton is stabbed in the leg; not severely, but enough to require them to seek assistance. The nearest farm is populated by an engagingly eccentric quasi-family: Perdita, a pregnant widow who is, by marriage, the owner of the property; a fiercely straight-laced spinster named Mrs. Peck; a genial ex-actor called Phineas Wise, 'Professor,' and 'You Old Fool'; and the lovely young Kathleen, with whom Templeton falls head-over-heels in love, even after learning that she's engaged to the shy, Bible-quoting Calvin. 'Happiness, especially where love is concerned, is invariably bought with someone else's unhappiness,' Templeton observes as he spirits away Kathleen, who has accepted his marriage proposal. But now there is the matter of introducing her to the Light household, an equally motely clan that's not nearly as charming. His father cares only about making money (he changes his wartime allegiances to perserve his business), and his mother cares only about domestic status. The ill-tempered James sobs in his sleep for unexplained reasons, and his flighty sister Lavinia has an obsession with taxidermy that has frightened off every eligible suitor her mother has found her. Though it is the wholly unsympathetic Mrs. Light who declares, 'In order to be happy, every . . . thing must be in its place,' Kathleen recognizes the wisdom of her words. Templeton takes longer to convince, but eventually he comes to understand and accept the precept first uttered by the jilted Calvin: 'The Good Book says that love does not seek its own. That means that love is not selfish . . . If I love you, then that means I want the best for you. If the best is not me, than I should not wish you less.' . . . The exquisite language Cartmill puts into the mouths of his characters also makes us want to like and believe in these people. Some of this is witty in a comedy-of-manners mode; Templeton describes his mother 'practicing various kinds of smiles. When she found one she liked, she finally spoke.' More often it is educative: 'Happiness is an important thing to protect,' Perdita tells the heartbroken Templeton as he prepares to leave the Eden he has found in the woods [of Virginia]. 'Next time you're lost, remember what it was you found here.'"

Gay Chicago

"LIGHT IN LOVE is a delightful experience, charming in its simplicity and moving in its spirit . . . On a bare stage, Cartmill's warm and funny script is brought to vibrant life . . . LIGHT IN LOVE tells the story of Templeton Light in love, but it also tells the story of the light we find in love. This light can allow us to see inside our hearts and find the happiness that hides deep within. Maybe what we see isn't what we expect, but is love ever what we expect?"

Chicago Tribune

". . . unaffectedly lovely work at the Theatre Building, Christopher Cartmill's LIGHT IN LOVE. Set, with an impeccable sense of history and style, in the South circa 1876, it's the bittersweet story of a class-ridden romance between Templeton Light (sensitively played by Cartmill) and Kathleen Owen, an Irish immigrant (a radiant and intelligent Barbara Prescott). There's a ton of truth to their tale . . . . . . Cartmill writes in an alternately intimate and grandiloquent style that I think we all secretly love to hear . . ."

The Chicago Reader

". . . Cartmill deserves an award for his acting and envy for the beauty of his dialogue . . . The play is rich in detail, easily filling the bare stage and providing the perfectly cast actors the kind of characters they obviously enjoy playing."

The Lincoln Journal-Star

". . . LIGHT IN LOVE is an unmitigated success . . ."

Plays International

". . . DRAGON is fun to watch for its twists probable and improbable . . . Following in an honorable tradition of playwright-actors, Christopher Cartmill creates not only showcase roles for himself, but a rich collection of characters for the ensemble and challenges for designers."

Gay Chicago

". . . Cartmill has crafted a wonderfully intricate play full of fascinating characters . . . DRAGON is exquisitely written. Light's narration is rich in detail and creates glorious images in our minds. Cartmill's dialogue is crisp, witty, poignant as he weaves a tale that is both hysterically funny and heartbreaking. Cartmill flows back and forth between the two with a lyrical elegance . . ."

Chicago Tribune

". . . Cartmill is a suave and literate craftsman of plays."

The Chicago Reader

"It has been said that to know a people's language is to understand how they think, but it still comes as a surprise that the WASP Cartmill should have written such an intelligent, accurate analysis of Sino-Western relations. Writers, both Eastern and Western, tend to tailor their literary output to the expectations of their audiences, which they assume will consist wholly of one culture or the other. But Cartmill, through the unclouded eyes of his Huckleberry Fin-like protagonist and the mentor-figure Reverend Peter Kuang, has succeed in summarizing the complex social and political unrest that would eventually lead to the overthrow of the 250-year-old Manchu government and the expulsion of foreign traders. He also presents both sides with an unprejudiced equanimity as refreshing as it is rare. And he somehow manages to make all of this entertaining, with whole and recognizable characters, as well as ideas and emotions that unite us all. LIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE DRAGON, the second in Cartmill's trilogy of plays featuring the fiction Templeton Light, opens with the young man setting out to seek his fortune while claiming to be a missionary. He quickly learns that his duplicity is not unique; indeed, exploiting Eastern countries while pretending to save souls is at the center of England's foreign policy. The Chinese rulers are no less hypocritical; steeped in a pride that prevents them from stopping the encroaching imperialists, they stolidly pretend nothing is amiss and brutally suppress those who point out that their country is being stolen from them bit by bit. Caught between these two powers are ordinary citizens such as Reverend Kuang, who's struggling to hold his church together with the faith learned during his travels in the United States, where he also learned to play baseball; his wife, Christine, whose praises he sings with the eloquence of Solomon, though her dedication to Western religion stems more from devotion to her husband than from personal piety; and the mercurial Mr. Lin, whose insatiable thirst for knowledge will doom him to a cruel martyrdom. Other memorable personalities encountered by Light on his picaresque journey include the ambitious toady Reverend Harms; his supervisor, Reverend Harwood, a broken man wearily watching his religion serve mercantile concerns; and Harwood's half-mad wife, whose embarrassing sallies he accepts with quiet resignation. Light also makes the acquaintance of the ruthless Sir Albert Sunderland, who heeds no voice but that of money, and his daughter Elizabeth, who's determined to pursue Light to the end of the earth . . . . . . LIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE DRAGON has the potential to become one of this season's finest products."

LA Times on LA CHASSE

"A meditation on the primacy of passion . . . is well-written and handsomely staged."

LA Weekly

". . . a sophisicated, earthy piece . . . style meets with intelligence, adding a touch of enigmatic symbolism to keep the senses hopping . . ."

Drama-Logue

". . . LA CHASSE is a lush evocation of a lushly romantic era and is informed by the playwright's erudition, aesthetic sense and sensibility, and, certainly, his fascination with the complex figure of artist Eugene Delacroix. This is an artist about whom we don't hear a great deal about nowadays. Christopher Cartmill's play could send one scurrying to learn more about Delacroix, whose paintings and perhaps his life, capture and identify Romantic and turbulent aspects of his milieu. . . . It cries out to become a big-budget movie or a television series a la masterpiece theatre."

Elizabeth Bennett

". . . his abilities in writing satire are much needed right now, that combined with his deft characterizations are an excellent and marketable commodity."

Offoffonline

". . . a compelling tale of one man at a turning point . . . a full and poignant character . . . Cartmill does a wonderful job of bringing to life. His finely nuanced performance makes the character of Peter Barton relatable. Peter is trapped between two worlds and Cartmill is able to bring his ever increasing awareness of this turmoil to life without resorting to heavy-handedness . . . Peter Barton and his struggles come across as entirely natural."

New York Daily News

"Quite by chance Wednesday morning, I came into the Engelhardt Court of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while actors Christopher Cartmill and Michelle Hurst were reading poetry as part of the Met's commemoration of 9/11. I had gone to see the chalkboards used by fire-fighters from a local firehouse, nine of whom died Sept.11. Sunlight streamed through the windows, gilding the 19th-century American sculpture there in an especially striking way. The poems and the performances were trememdously moving. I found myself thinking back to those poems later that afternoon when I attended the third part of 'Brave New World, American Theater Responds to 9/11,' the project in which writers and actors contributed their talents in four programs . . . Many of the pieces . . . were collegiate, a reminder of what a limited intellectual palette our theater uses, a dispiriting contrast to poets I heard that morning."

WGM Radio

". . . Christopher Cartmill's performance, alone, is reason enough to see this intriguing play . . . and one of the delights of the theatre season."

Chicago Tribune

". . . Christopher Cartmill is a performer of depth and wit."

The Chicago Reader

". . . As the scheming middle son, Geoffrey, Christopher Cartmill is better than the playwright deserves. Rather than settling for being just pure evil, as the playwright has his parents describe him, Cartmill shows us how a devious Machiavellian mind is (or was) but a child who was his whole life 'treated with nothing more than indifference' by his parents and is still in need of some recognition or appreciation."

Chicago Magazine

". . . David Zak was wise to cast a talented actor named Christopher Cartmill . . . Cartmill offers a genuinely charismatic performance that keeps Wild Honey from losing its sting."

The Chicago Reader

". . . that way Christopher Cartmill, who plays Valmont, would have been free to give his extraordinary and charismatic performance . . . Cartmill's incredibly charming, seductive, and foppishly sexy Valmont seems far more likely to lead a woman astray. Cartmill all but slithers as he turns from on liaison to another, proving that he is truly the subtlest beast in the field."

Chicago Reader

". . . As the leading man, Christopher Cartmill evolves from an earnest twit into a disillusioned former team player; his final tumble down a staircase is rich with Chaplinesque pathos."

Chicago Tribune

". . . But the really brilliant enactment in this production is Christopher Cartmill's portrayal of Garry Lejeune, the show's narcissistic male ingenue. Cartmill is a spitfire of nervous energy, comic timing and reverberating characterization, finding hitherto undiscovered neuroses in Frayn's lovable leading man."

Chicago Sun-Times

". . . As an actor, Cartmill exudes loads of charm and charisma and possesses an ingratiating, winningly relaxed stage presence. Even when Light proves to be immature and petulant, Cartmill renders his creation palatable by playing him as a youthful Everyman with whom it's hard not to empathize."