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In The Source, Gabriel McKinley has penned what may be destined to become a stage classic. A gripping thriller, The Source is a timeless existential drama as well.

It centers on a pair of journalists –  a writer, and a photographer – holed up in a hotel, waiting to connect with a whistleblower - someone who will reveal deep background on a cache of information just released on a security agency in the government.

In 85 tightly controlled minutes director Jason Gersace ensnares our curiosity, luring us into this very topical examination of the tension between privacy and security. It is also a study of what happens when two people who don't necessarily like each other are bound together by necessity. 

The journalists are professional opposites – the writer Vernon (Cody Proctor) is cool and cerebral; the photographer Luna (Kristina Valada-Viars) warm and intuitive. On a journalistic level, Vernon holds writing in higher esteem than photography – a notion that causes competitive professional sparks familiar to those in the field. For her part, Luna feels pictures rule. “I don’t read newspapers; it’s a dead medium,” she digs.

Vernon enters the hotel room as the lights come up, and makes a hurried canvass of the premises -  unplugging the TV, putting his phone in the freezer after removing its batteries, he draws the curtains tight – establishing his high level of anxiety and paranoia. We are not sure why.

We soon see they are opposites on a human level, too. Luna’s arrival catches him off guard (he was in the shower), and she exhibits far less angst than him. Luna readily introduces herself to Vernon and shares her background, while he is reluctant to provide even his name.

That they are to pose as a married couple while they await further signals from their source only heightens the emotional aspects of this drama.

Thrown together in a hotel room for a period that is indeterminate, the two unfold before the audience – and each other – as any roommate or cell mates will. They empty the mini bar, they attempt a tryst in bed, they lose sleep, and sleep too much.

The progression of time is conveyed artfully, with a supertitle Day 2, Day 4, etc., flashed on the wall above the window. Because the two will not admit room service, their quarters also mark the passage of time by become messier. Their clothes need laundering. They are at each other’s throats, and their claustrophobia germinates into a mutual paranoia.  

That wait goes on interspersed by just a few external diversions – a fire alarm goes off, periodically someone pounds on the door of the room, lights from an unknown source scan across the room and its occupants.

This is where The Source rises from a topical drama about government intrigue and media, to a timeless study of two people cast together, waiting, but not knowing what exactly they are waiting for. It seems like a play that will wear well over time.

Credit goes to Jack McGaw for scenic design, Claire Margaret Chrzan for lighting design, and Mark Comiskey for projection design for lighting design – particularly artful are the abstract glowing shadows of lamps inscribed on the wall when the room goes dark.  

Route 66 Theatre Company ‘s The Source runs through April 2 at The Den Theatre. www.route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com.

Published in Theatre in Review

Route 66 Theatre Company is pleased to launch its ninth season with the world premiere of Gabe McKinley’s psychological drama THE SOURCE, directed by Jason Gerace, playing March 2 – April 2, 2017 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets for THE SOURCE are currently available at route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com. The press opening is Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm.

 

THE SOURCE features Kristina Valada-Viars and Cody Proctor.

 

On the hunt for the biggest story of their careers, two journalists are summoned to travel across the world to meet with The Source: an unidentified leaker of hacked documents and information on the U.S. government. As these strangers probe one another for the truth and information, they find themselves in a thrilling psychological drama that leads them to examine their motives, their country and themselves… all while waiting for The Source. 

 

Director Jason Gerace comments, "The question of ‘privacy versus security’ is central to our time, and I could not be more pleased that Route 66 Theatre Company has agreed to take it on. McKinley's play tackles this question with urgency and frames it in a way that resonates in the current moment, while building a thrilling theatrical experience for the audience. I am beyond excited to be at the helm of the world premiere of this important new play."

 

The production team for THE SOURCE includes: Jack McGaw (scenic design), Claire Margaret Chrzan (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Mark Comiskey (projection design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Pauline Oleksy (props design), Catherine Allen (production manager), Brian Sprague (technical director), Nancy Staiger (stage manager) and Matthew Bonaccorso (asst. stage manager).

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

 

Title: THE SOURCE

Playwright: Gabe McKinley

Director: Jason Gerace

Cast: Kristina Valada-Viars (Laura) and Cody Proctor (Vernon). 

 

Location: The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 4 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 5 at 3 pm

Press Opening: Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Thursday, March 9 – Sunday, April 2, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm

Tickets: Previews: $25 adults. Regular run: $35 adults; $20 students. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com.

 

Creative Team Bios

 

Gabe McKinley’s (Playwright) plays have been produced and developed by companies nationally and internationally, including Atlantic Theater Company, Naked Angels, Premiere Stages, The Old Vic, American Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theater, The LARK, Keen company, Williamstown Theater Festival and Red Dog Squadron, among others. His plays include The Kitchen Sink Play, Welcome Home Rock Rogers, Funny, Floodplains, Skopje, The Source, as well as the critically acclaimed Extinction and CQ/CX (John Gassner Outer Critics Award nomination). His short play, The Grave, was the winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Gabe was the recipient of the Samuel French/New School for Drama Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and his play CQ/CX was included in the Smith and Krause anthology "New Playwrights: The Best New Plays."  A graduate of NYU and The New School for Drama, Gabe lives in New York.

 

Jason Gerace (Director) is a freelance director in Chicago, and has been Artistic Associate of American Theater Company since 2008. He was the recipient of the 2014 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Outstanding Direction for his work on Great Expectations with Strawdog Theatre Company. Regional directing credits include Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre, Chicago), Wrecks (with John Judd, Profiles Theatre, Chicago), Opus and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (RedTwist Theatre, Chicago), Hamlet (Oklahoma Shakespeare Chautauqua), Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival Theatre). Jason originally hails from Anchorage, Alaska and holds an MFA in Directing from The University of Oklahoma.  He is a resident of Oak Park, and an associate member of SDC.

 

Route 66 Theatre Company

 

Route 66 Theatre Company introduces, develops, produces, and exports new work for the stage. The road begins with our new play development process and reaches west, where our World and Chicago Premiere shows are given an advocate for further regional productions along the road less traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since the company’s founding, Route 66 has produced 10 productions, 2 in two cities including an Off-Broadway premiere, been nominated for ten Jeff Awards and won two. Route 66 is now a resident company of The Den Theatre. www.route66theatre.org

 

Route 66 is Stef Tovar, Founder and Artistic Director; Rachel Wendte, Managing Director; Deborah Blumenthal, Director of New Play Development; Alana Parvey-Zalas, Business Manager; Matthew Bonaccorso, Company Manager and Kelly Parker, Casting Director

 

Route 66 Theatre Company Artistic Associates: Brian Sidney-Bembridge, Audrey Billings, Johnny Clark, Brandon Dahlquist, Raymond Fox, Damon Kiely, Ron Klier, Jenni Lamb, Tyler Meredith, John Mohrlein, Kelly Parker, Geoff Rice, Emily Rohm, Tricia Small, Jeremy Sonkin, Alex Stage, Nancy Staiger, Erica Stephan, Bethany Thomas, Rita Vreeland, Steven Wilson, Rachel Wendte and Emily Woods.

 

Route 66 Theatre Company Board of Directors: Jennifer Baumann, President; Deborah Haimes, Vice-President of Communications; Nicholas Stone, Treasurer; Molly Crabtree, Secretary; Elizabeth Derrico, David and Monica Byrd, Lee Dickson, James Frenzel, Laurie Hamilton, Tammy Rosenszweig, Pat Turnbull and Robert Veasey.

 

Route 66 Theatre Company’s 9th Season is presented by generous grants from MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency and DCASE CityArts. 

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