by Christian O'Reilly
directed by BJ Jones
originally produced at Northlight Theatre, Skokie, IL.
March 7, 2014 through April 13, 2014

About the Premiere Production:

Romance is a distant memory for two lonely animal-lovers living in Dublin. Dan lives alone with his dog, Chapatti, grieving the loss of his beloved Martha after a twenty-year affair. Betty is the product of an unhappy marriage that ended years before, and has remained single ever since. She occupies her time taking care of an elderly neighbor and keeps nineteen cats for company. When a chance meeting over the unfortunate death of a neighborhood cat brings these two lonely souls together, they strike up an unusual friendship. Though a shared love for their pets seems at first to be all they have in common, the spark that develops may change the course of both of their lives. Humorous and bittersweet, Chapatti is a warm and gentle story about two people re-discovering the importance of human companionship.

Artistic Statement

In an increasingly isolated world, Christian O’Reilly’s Chapatti delves into the lonely lives of two animal lovers who find some solace in their pets, until they find each other. The character study examines their innermost feelings through cunningly structured direct address and ultimately intimate scenes of touching tenderness and humor. I believe our audience at Northlight will find a deep resonance with O’Reilly’s characters, which will spring from the performance of my frequent collaborator John Mahoney. Both of us found this script to be moving and accessible as well as challenging in its theatricality. I believe it gives us an opportunity to explore interesting forms as well as exploring themes of isolation and the struggle for companionship in a marginalized world. I also believe that the thread of animal companionship in place of deep human contact will strike a chord with many of our constituents.

-Artistic Director BJ Jones

Grant Statement

Northlight has enjoyed an important relationship with The Edgerton Foundation over the years and the outgrowth of this relationship has yielded significant results for Northlight, our partnering playwrights, and the audiences we strive to engage in new works. Because of our ability to strengthen new play development through the Edgerton Awards, we have also educated and excited our audiences at the prospect of a new play every year. They now look to Northlight to present exciting new playwrights like Christian O'Reilly and his new play Chapatti as an ongoing initiative of our artistic endeavor.

-Executive Director Timothy Evans

Additional Supporters: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; BMO Harris Bank; Sullivan Family Foundation; Pauls Foundation

Director: BJ Jones
Cast: John Mahoney and Penny Slusher


With John Mahoney, a late-in-life romance surprises
Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2014

Two lonely souls find new reasons to live in 'Chapatti'
Chicago Sun-Times, March 16, 2014