The Penitent (play)

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The Penitent
Chris Bauer plays the lead in Mamet's 2017 play The Penitent
Written byDavid Mamet
Directed byNeil Pepe
Date premiered2017
Place premieredAtlantic Theater Company, New York City, New York
Original languageEnglish

The Penitent is a play by David Mamet that previewed off-Broadway starting on February 8, 2017 for its premiere in late February. The play deals with issues of threats to professional career advancement and the LGBT community. The play was directed by artistic director Neil Pepe of the Atlantic Theater Company.


A psychiatrist, Charles (Chris Bauer), has his career and life become derailed after he refuses to testify on behalf of a former patient who had become clinically violent and unstable, resulting in the deaths of multiple people following a tragic breakdown of his mental complications. The patient then claims that Charles will not testify in court or to the police because the patient is openly part of the LGBT community. Further, the patient claims that Charles has recently gone through a religious conversion in his own personal identity which has resulted in a fully prejudiced reassessment of the gay community as a whole. Charles claims that the basis of these accusations are false and due to a misunderstanding. The misunderstanding resulted from an innocent mistyping of the title of an article that Charles wrote years ago about homosexuality where the title was "Homosexuality as an Adaptation," though the published version was released by the editor as the mistyped "Homosexuality as an Aberration." The resulting recriminations put Charles's entire career at risk and threaten to end his practice permanently.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Chris Bauer plays an experienced and published psychiatrist
  • Jordan Lage plays his attorney
  • Lawrence Gilliard Jr plays a supporting role
  • Rebecca Pidgeon plays a supporting role


The Penitent opened for its first previews off-Broadway on February 8, 2017 with its premiere planned to take place at the end of February at the Atlantic Theater Company in downtown New York.[1] The play follows Mamet's previous play titled China Doll which, though making a profit for its producers, closed on Broadway in early 2016 without fanfare. The Penitent was directed by artistic director Neil Pepe at the Atlantic Theater Company.

February 27, 2017 marks the opening of the play in its limited run scheduled to end on March 19, 2017 at the Linda Gross Theater in New York.

Critical reception[edit]

The play, while in previews for most of February 2017, received no reviews leading to its opening at the end of February.


  1. ^ Playbill announcement, February 2017.[1].

External links[edit]