Woman Killer

Adopted from the 1721 Japanese Bunraku puppet play by Chikamatsu, Woman Killer is the story of two ordinary upper-class American families and a terrible tragedy that destroys their lives. A young man strays so far from the life that he was meant to live that in a moment of despair, he kills a neighbor for money. This desperate act erupts at the end of a long personal descent riddled with debt, rage, and jealousy. This intense play explores the nature of human violence from both perspectives of the trauma, the aggressor’s and the victim’s. It transcends time, place, and culture to portray a sobering story of a murder, too familiar in the society in which we live today.

Kristin Dispaltro and Crispin Freeman in <I>Woman Killer</I>. Photo by Sonoko Kawahara
Crispin Freeman in <I>Woman Killer</I>. Photo by Sonoko Kawahara
Crispin Freeman and Hope Salas in <I>Woman Killer</I>. Photo by Sonoko Kawahara
Cast Requirements

5 men
3 women

Set Description



NoPassport Press


“The play is supremely original, combining traditional narrative with monologues, music, and movement to present its themes from different perspectives… Woman Killer is riveting, compelling theatre, and it raises questions that don’t—won’t—go away.”


Production and Development History

Production: Crossing Jamaica Avenue in co-production with HERE Arts Center (2001).
Readings: New York Theatre Workshop (2000); Japan Society (2000).