Off-stage politics go onstage in new play
Annie Silvinski of Forest Park (left) andJill Karrenbrock of Chicago rehearse in a scene from “Small,” a new play by Paul Amandes to be presented by Open Door Repertory.
The Open Door Repertory Company, 902 S. Ridgeland, Oak Park
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 18
$25; $22 seniors; $18 students
(708) 342-0810 or visit opendoorrep.org
Updated: October 17, 2012 3:08PM
Ever wonder about what the machinations of getting a candidate elected really involve?
“Small,” a new work by Oak Park playwright Paul Amandes, which takes a close look at what goes on behind the scenes in politics, premieres at Open Door Repertory in Oak Park, starting Oct. 17. “From a timing perspective, it’s really apropos with the upcoming election,” said director Marti Lyons.
Lyons describes the work as a play in process. “It’s a timely new piece we are workshopping as we go. I’ve said to the cast several times: ‘Politics is a lot like theater, where important decisions are actually made offstage.’”
The storyline in “Small” picks up three months before a gubernatorial election in Illinois, when a sitting governor must suddenly drop out of the race. Anastasia Lambropoulos, a bright young political science prof is called upon to help the governor pick his successor and head up his campaign.
It’s her first time heading up a political campaign, so she enlists the assistance of a veteran out-of-state campaign manager, Doe McCarthy. Unimpressed at possible replacements suggested by the governor, they rally behind Richard Powell, as the new candidate — a man regarded as a brilliant political mind but a tough sell to the electorate.
The two-act, two-hour play has a lot of surprises as it explores what makes a good candidate, said Lyons. She hopes it will spark a lot of dialogue about what citizens are voting for: Is it an image? Is it a track record? Is it the people behind the figurehead?
The all female, five-member cast includes Kona Burks of Park Forest, Ann Slivinski of Forest Park, and Meredith Hogeland, Jill Karrenbrock and Laura Korn of Chicago.
“These characters represent women who have the power behind the candidate. There’s a gender dynamic in play,” said Lyons, “but in no way does ‘Small’ hit you over the head with it. It’s a reminder that while a candidate is someone who has a set of skills, you’re voting for an entire team of people — a support staff that often crafts the bills presented to elected officials for their approval.”
Lyons called her cast “formidable — talented actors who come together as a well-formed ensemble.”
Lyons, who also works as dramatuge for Lookingglass Theatre, said she expects some tweaks will be inevitable as “Small” continues.
“We’ll learn a lot about this play during the course of its run, but personally I’m really happy where it is right now,” she said. “It’s a play I would rush out to see and promises theatergoers a great evening out.”