Chagrin Falls

To live in Chagrin Falls, Oklahoma is to be in the killing business. The town’s major employers are a cattle slaughterhouse and a penitentiary where lethal injection is administered. Whether they work at the slaughterhouse, or play preacher or guard to death row inmates, or merely offer a bed and a hot meal to those visiting the prison, each resident of Chagrin Falls makes their living off of death and...
To live in Chagrin Falls, Oklahoma is to be in the killing business. The town’s major employers are a cattle slaughterhouse and a penitentiary where lethal injection is administered. Whether they work at the slaughterhouse, or play preacher or guard to death row inmates, or merely offer a bed and a hot meal to those visiting the prison, each resident of Chagrin Falls makes their living off of death and captivity.

A week prior to a particular execution, an Asian-American graduate student comes to town — purportedly to do a story on a man who is scheduled to die. As this would-be journalist interviews a cross-section of the population she finds her subjects revealing far more than their opinions on capital punishment. She is repelled by the recently-retired slaughterhouse employee’s morbid humor and his strangely intense interest in her background. She is seduced by one prison guard’s painful tale of sacrifice, and is comforted by the naivete and kindness of another. Though she never gets what she came for, when she witnesses the execution she becomes one of them: a participant in the killing, an honorary resident of Chagrin Falls.
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Chagrin Falls

Recommended by

  • Aline Lathrop:
    31 May. 2018
    I was fortunate to see the world premiere in 2001, which left me staggered. I saw it again in 2016, and as well as I had remembered it in the interim, the layers of meaning and diversity of experience explored within the theme of industrialized death wove together to form a fabric that astonished me anew in its wholeness. For the second time, I found I had no words except, "This play is a masterpiece."

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    The Agency Theater Collective
    ,
    2016
  • Professional
    ,
    Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (now Cincinnati Shakespeare Company)
    ,
    2002
  • Professional
    ,
    Stage Left Theatre
    ,
    2001

Awards

Winner
,
Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work
,
2002
Winner
,
After Dark Award, Best New Work
,
2002
Winner
,
Best Production
,
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards
,
2002
Winner
,
M. Elizabeth Osborn Award
,
American Theatre Critics Association
,
2001
Finalist
,
Steinberg Award
,
American Theatre Critics Association
,
2001
Winner
,
Julie Harris Playwriting Award
,
2001