Theatre in Review

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 20:28

For The Loyal is dynamic and brutally honest

Echoing the western world’s most debated issue of late, For The Loyal was inspired by the Penn State sexual abuse scandal involving one of the college football coaches. Written by Lee Blessing and directed by James Yost, the play is presented as part of Interrobang Theatre Project’s ‘RAW Series’. Five actors on a tiny, modestly decorated stage (scenic design by Pauline Olesky), each playing multiple parts and enacting a story with alternative endings – it’s stripped down of anything but the story, acting and analysis of a crime.

Toby (Matthew Nerber) is an assistant coach to Mitch Carlson (very convincing Rob Frankel), the head coach of a top college football program. Toby’s wife Mia (intensely played by Sarah Gise) is pregnant with the couple’s first child. Toby and Mia had just become aware of Carlson’s terrible secret, and now everyone involved, including Carlson’s boss, Hale (Josh Zagoren), is faced with a difficult choice. A lot is at stake: the program’s integrity, coaches’ careers and reputations, but no one but Mia has any concern for Carlson’s victim. Mia is faced with a personal dilemma: stay loyal to the program and keep a secret, or bring Carlson to justice. She spends the evening exploring and playing out different scenarios and outcomes in her head, none of which seems particularly satisfying to her.

The creators of the play did a great job analyzing the dynamic between the sexual predators and their victims, giving us plenty of food for thought: is the sexual predator usually a stranger or is he more often a respected figure? Is the victim (a young boy played by Richard David) still a victim, despite his “consent”? Is Coach Carlson guilty, even though “no boy comes to him who is not ready for him”? And, most importantly, do we, as a society, tend to put certain people on a pedestal and then become protective of them, despite their crimes? Carlson’s remark is priceless: “Watch out for heroes, not strangers”. Indeed.

For the Loyal is being performed at Athenaeum Theatre through February 4th. For tickets and/or show information visit www.athenaeumtheatre.org.  

Published in Theatre in Review

Following its hit production of FOXFINDER, Interrobang Theatre Project is pleased to continue its 2017-18 Season, exploring the urgent question “What is Truth?,” with Lee Blessing's shocking and thought-provoking new play FOR THE LOYAL, directed by Co-Artistic Director James Yost*. FOR THE LOYAL will play January 6 – February 4, 2018 at The Athenaeum Theatre (Studio 1), 2936 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.interrobangtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office. The press opening is Monday, January 8 at 7:30 pm.
 
FOR THE LOYAL features ensemble members Sarah Gise* as Mia and Matthew Nerber* as Toby with Rob Frankel as Carlson, Richard Hatcher as The Boy and Josh Zagoren as Hale.
 
For Toby and Mia, college football and family are one and the same; he has a new coaching job for a top team, and they are happily expecting their first born. But when Toby gets Mia enmeshed in an unseemly team secret, she is forced to decide where her loyalties truly lie. Inspired by the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, FOR THE LOYAL takes an unconventional and provocative look at how one woman traverses a no-win situation. 
 
FOR THE LOYAL is presented as part of Interrobang's RAW Series. Think of it a bit like theatrical sashimi. Big ideas, bold flavors – everything you’ve come to expect from Interrobang Theatre Project – without the trimmings. We’ve stripped down the classic stage elements to put the story front and center. The RAW Series features passion-projects and bucket-list productions spearheaded by our talented ensemble. In addition to our regularly scheduled plays, the RAW Series aims to bring concise, actor-driven theater to the Chicago stage. 
 
In Conversation with The Playwright
Interrobang Theatre Project with host a talkback with playwright Lee Blessing on Saturday, January 6, 2018 from 4 – 5 pm. Tickets cost $10 (discussion only) or $20 (discussion plus 7:30 pm performance. For additional information, visit www.interrobangtheatre.org.
 
The production team for FOR THE LOYAL includes: Pauline Olesky (scenic design), Rebecca Bartle (lighting design), Christopher Aaron Knarr* (original music), Hannah Wolff (asst. director) and Devonte Washington (stage manager).
 
*Denotes Interrobang Theatre Project Company Member. 
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: FOR THE LOYAL
Playwright: Lee Blessing
Director: Co-Artistic Director James Yost
Cast: Sarah Gise (Mia) and Matthew Nerber (Toby) with Rob Frankel (Carlson), Richard Hatcher (The Boy) and Josh Zagoren (Hale).
 
Location: The Athenaeum Theatre (Studio 1), 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, January 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 7 at 2 pm
Press opening: Monday, January 8 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, January 11 – Sunday, February 4, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 2 pm & 7:30 pm: Sundays at 2 pm. 
Tickets: Previews: $17. Regular run: $32. Students $17 with ID. (Ticket prices include $2 Athenaeum Theatre restoration fee). 
In Conversation with Playwright Lee Blessing: Saturday, January 6 from 4 – 5 pm $10 (discussion only) or $20 (discussion plus 7:30 pm performance).
Tickets are currently available at www.interrobangtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

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

 

 

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