Upcoming Dance

AstonRep Theatre Company will conclude its 2016-17 mainstage season with the Tony-nominated drama TIME STANDS STILL by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies, directed by Georgette Verdin, playing May 11 – June 11, 2017 at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 1, 2017 at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129. 

 

TIME STANDS STILL will feature Rob Frankel, Sara Pavlak McGuire, Kirra Silver and Robert Tobin.

 

TIME STANDS STILL focuses on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life. TIME STANDS STILL is a witty, intelligent look at what happens when ordinary life is refracted through the lens of war.

 

The production team for TIME STANDS STILL includes: Jeremiah Barr* (scenic design), Arielle Valene (costume design), Samantha Barr* (lighting design), Ray Kasper* (sound design), Matthew Nerber (asst. director) and Melanie Kulas (stage manager).

 

*Denotes AstonRep Company Members.

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: TIME STANDS STILL

Playwright: Donald Margulies

Director: Georgette Verdin

Cast: Rob Frankel (Richard Ehrlich), Sara Pavlak McGuire (Sarah Goodwin), Kirra Silver (Mandy Bloom) and Robert Tobin (James Dodd).

 

Location: The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, May 11 at 8 pm and Friday, May 12 at 8 pm

Press performance: Saturday, May 13 at 8 pm

Regular run: Sunday, May 14 – Sunday, June 11, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3:30 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular run: $20. Student/seniors $15. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 1, 2017 at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129.

 

About the Artists

 

Donald Margulies' (Playwright) plays include Brooklyn Boy, Dinner with Friends, Sight Unseen, Collected Stories, The Loman Family Picnic, God Of Vengeance, The Model Apartment, What's Wrong with this Picture? and Found a Peanut. He has won a Lucille Lortel Award, an American Theatre Critics Award, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards, two OBIE Awards, two Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Awards, five Drama Desk Award nominations, two Pulitzer Prize nominations and one Pulitzer Prize. His works have been performed on and off Broadway; at major theatres across the U.S. including South Coast Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Long Wharf Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival; and in Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Sydney, Berlin, Vienna and many other cities around the world. Mr. Margulies is an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on the council of The Dramatists Guild of America. He is an adjunct professor of English and Theatre Studies at Yale University.

 

Georgette Verdin (Director) is thrilled to be working with Aston Rep for the first time. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Interrobang Theatre Project, as well as the founding theatre teacher at Polaris Charter Academy, an Expeditionary Learning School in West Humboldt Park. Recent directing credits include: Interrobang's Jeff Recommended Recent Tragic Events and their production of the 2013 Yale Drama Series Winner Still. Georgette holds a Masters in Directing from Roosevelt University and a B.A. in Theatre Performance from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. 

 

About AstonRep Theatre Company:

 

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 18 full-length productions and eight annual Writer’s Series.  AstonRep is an ensemble of artists creating theatre to move and engage our audiences and spark discussion through new works and re-imagined classics in an intimate setting.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre
Sunday, 18 September 2016 18:40

Carroll Gardens Grows Heavy with Plot

Well-to-do friends clashing over hidden resentments and jealousies while dining is a common scenario in the contemporary American theatre. Donald Margulies won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2000 for Dinner with Friends, which focused on romantic entanglements, and Ayad Akhtar won in 2013 for Disgraced, which also addressed issues of Islam-inspired and anti-Islamic prejudice. To wrap up a year of smash-hits, the 16th Street Theater is producing the world premiere of A. Zell Williams’s Carroll Gardens, a “comedy” of the same genre which is about an interracial childhood friendship in working-class Stockton, and how it changes when one of the parties becomes a New York creative professional. Williams commented that theatre is bereft of the experience of today’s young African-Americans, and perhaps in an attempt to compensate for not seeing his concerns addressed elsewhere, he overloads his play with plot points, and exposition. However, he also has a very strong director in Ann Filmer, the 16th Street Theater’s artistic director, and a more than capable cast.

The story begins in 1993, when Davis (played as a child by Davu Smith) is visiting the home of Robby (played as a child by Rowan Moxley) for the first time. Robby is new to town and doesn’t have many friends yet, but he just made one in Davis by beating up his bully. Davis isn’t sure what to make of Robby: though they are only ten, Robby’s deceased mother forced him to read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and he uses terms such as “cultural appropriation,” yet Robby, who is white, totally fails to recognize what the other kids mean by calling Davis an “oreo” and thinks ending feuds is as simple as telling his adversaries he doesn’t feel like fighting anymore. Still, they bond by introducing each other to Nirvana and The Coup, and though Davis is bemused by Robby, they genuinely like each other.

Flash forward to Davis’s thirtieth birthday, and things are no longer so warm. Davis (Gregory Geffard) hasn’t responded to any of Robby’s attempts to contact him in years, and Robby (Andy Lutz) mostly stopped trying until right before announcing that he will be visiting Davis’s new apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. While Davis is now an up-and-coming screenwriter, Robby still dresses like a teenager, apparently has no occupation other than selling weed, and still spouts leftist dogma. Davis’s girlfriend, image-conscious Pilates instructor Quinlan (Alex Fisher), does not care for Robby’s uncouthness, and Davis is getting irritated with him, too, when a confluence of events reminds him of how strangled he feels by the upper-class liberalism, trendiness, and materialism of his new environment. Quinlan genuinely loves him, and Robby’s jealous interference in their lives prompts more than just a culture clash, but on the eve of his total transition into adulthood, Davis is forced to ask himself what he truly wants.

There is another couple present who Davis and Quinlan are friends with. Deepti (Minita Gandhi, Leena Kurishingal later in the run) is an Indian-American OB-GYN and the kind of person who thinks declaring “you can tell that injera bread was created to go with lambs raised on African grass” could be anything other than obnoxious. Her boyfriend and Davis’s director, Jamie (Brian J. Hurst), is a politically correct conscious-raising-type who somehow manages to say something casually racist with every breath, and Davis suspects he has outgrown him, too. Williams has drawn his characters in great detail, and Filmer chose well in casting actors who pick up all the details he supplies them with. As the child Davis, Smith’s incredulity at Moxley’s Robby is adorable, and as the adult Robby, Lutz’s clumsy attempts to get along with Quinlan’s Fisher are hilariously uncomfortable.

 

The problem with Carroll Gardens is that Williams creates too many complications. Davis must not only decide whether it is possible to continue his relationship with Robby, but also whether he wants to continue on with Quinlan and Brian, all for different reasons. While it is understandable for Williams to want to put him under pressure, the defining traits of each character are hammered on a few too many times. Carroll Gardens does, however, have two saving graces. The first is that, in Geffard’s hands, Davis does not come across as weak, but as disillusioned and somewhat disappointed. The script’s other strength is that Quinlan is a fully-developed, sympathetic character, who has her own concerns about their new lifestyle. Fisher captures a great deal of conflict and nuance in her performance, and is able to wrest an equal position in the play to Geffard and Lutz. Joanna Iwanicka has supplied the 16th St with another fine, naturalistic set, which, with just a few touches, suggests a converted space being occupied by people whose income is being almost entirely eaten up by their rent. Would that Williams had left just a few more details to his other collaborators, but what he has written is respectable, and the inaugural production is an ideal telling of the story.

Recommended

Playing through October 15 at the 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th Street, Berwyn, Illinois. Running time is two hours and ten minutes with one intermission. Tickets are $20, with discounts for Berwyn residents and groups. Free parking is provided in the lot at 16th and Gunderson.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles