The Locusts: A Thriller

The Gift Theatre concludes its 2022 season with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger's thriller The Locusts.

Your Chicago Guide’s tickets for two to the press viewing of The Locusts courtesy of The Gift Theatre.

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Production photo by Sarah Elizabeth Larson

The Gift Theatre concludes its 2022 season with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger’s chilling thriller The Locusts. Commissioned and developed by The Gift and directed by Ensemble Member John Gawlik, The Locusts is now playing through November 19, 2022 at Theater Wit.

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Production photo by Sarah Elizabeth Larson

A serial killer goes on a gruesome rampage in a small town of Vero Beach, Florida, kidnapping and murdering young girls. Ella, an FBI profiler born and raised in Vero Beach, is called away from her FBI training program to help apprehend him. At home, she’s confronted with the life she left behind. She faces her pregnant and struggling sister. Her scared young niece, just like Ella, is desperate to find a life somewhere else. And the dark events of Ella’s own childhood that she tried very hard to forget come back to haunt her. As the murders grow more horrific and the small community is frozen by fear, Ella realizes she has to confront the events of her dark past in order to stop him.

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Production photo by Sarah Elizabeth Larson

Playwright Jennifer Rumberger says: “A few years ago, Mike Thornton approached me about writing a play for the ensemble members of the Gift, and sent me an article about the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein as a potential starting point. Mary Shelley was such a young girl dealing with a massive amount of trauma in her life by writing this classic horror story. At the same time, I was working on a serial-killer play, staying up late reading true crime novels and getting so furious about how these deranged men were deciding the path of women’s lives, when my partner remarked that perhaps they were both the same play. Over time, The Locusts ended up being a play that asks how women of different generations deal with the threat of male violence — a threat that looms in some way over all of the characters in the play, as well as over our current world and the legislation we see happening in America before our eyes.”

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Production photo by Sarah Elizabeth Larson

The production had been commissioned before the pandemic shut down live theater scene. At long last Jennifer Rumberger’s thriller is having its world premiere. The story is very reminiscent of an episode of “Criminal Minds” as it portrays a serial killer’s standoff with the FBI agent, who is helping a small town police department. A crime story on the surface, the drama runs deeper. At its heart is human trauma and how we deal with it.

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Production photo by Sarah Elizabeth Larson

The Gift Theatre’s The Locusts is currently playing at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont, in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Tickets are available at or by calling (773) 975-8150.