Babette’s Feast

Conceived & Developed by Abigail Killeen | Written by Rose Courtney

Adapted from the short story by Isak Dinesen

Babette’s Feast tells the story of how a refugee transforms a closed religious community by sacrificing all she has to throw a lavish dinner party. Through her radical hospitality, this mysterious woman converts her guests’ deeply held notions of scarcity and judgment and opens them up to give and receive abundant grace. This adaptation re-imagines the story you thought you knew about Babette’s singular feast: deep, funny, dangerous, sensual, and beautiful.

This production of Babette’s Feast is made possible by the generous support of Jennifer Carolyn King & Timothy Fredel.

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Abigail Killeen is a theater artist based in Portland, Maine. She is an Affiliate Artist at Portland Stage, Maine’s only LORT theater, where she performs regularly, as well as with other New England theaters, specializing in new and developing theater projects. She is a company member with Compagnia de’ Colombari, an international theater company based in New York. Abigail’s particular interests include generating theatrical projects for women that investigate grace and transformation. Her original performance version of Virginia Woolf’s “Mark on the Wall”, created with Adrianne Krstansky, premiered in Chicago, she was awarded a grant from the Maine Arts Commission to produce a solo performance work as part of Portland Stage’s Studio Series, and she will perform in this adaptation of Babette’s Feast. Abigail has served on the theater faculty at Bowdoin College since 2008.

Rose Courtney is a playwright and actor whose work has been seen at Keen Company, Cherry Lane Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lark Theatre Company, George Street Playhouse, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Dorset Theatre Festival, and HERE Arts Center, among others. She was educated at Vassar College and received her theatre training at RADA, the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Theatre Institute and New Actors Workshop. She was an original member of Project 400 Theatre Group, where she collaborated on many new theatre pieces under the direction of Diane Paulus. A member of the Dramatists Guild, Rose resides in New York City and is currently working on a play called Varya.

Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) was born at her family’s estate near the town of Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. An imaginative and artistic child, she attended the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and also studied in England, Switzerland, Italy, and France. Blixen wrote in English and then translated her stories into her native Danish, resulting in unusually beautiful prose which emphasized her self-declamation as a fortaellerske – an oral storyteller. In 1914 she married Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke and traveled to Kenya where they started a coffee plantation. The marriage was difficult and the couple eventually divorced. While in Kenya she met Denys Finch Hatten and the two maintained a romance until his death in an airplane accident in 1931. Soon afterwards Blixen returned to Denmark and began to write in earnest. She was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and her memoir Out of Africa as well as Babette’s Feast have been adapted into Academy Award-winning films. She continued to write until her death at the age of 77 in 1962.