Circle Theatre presents ‘Marvin’s Room’
Amanda Hartley (left) and Eliza Shin in "Marvin's Room" at Circle Theatre.
Circle Theatre, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park
Aug. 18-Sept. 30
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sunday; Aug. 18-Sept. 30
$24-$28; $26 for students and seniors; $15 for previews, 8 p.m. Aug. 18 and 21
Visit www.circle-theatre.org or call (708) 660-9540
Updated: August 15, 2012 2:46PM
It’s about bloodlines rather than phone lines according to Willow Springs’ Mary Redmon, who is directing Circle Theatre’s production of “Marvin’s Room” by Scott McPherson.
“There’s a lot of human contact issues that come to the front in this show,” said Redmon. “There’s an overall arc, in familial situations that will become apparent to anybody that sees the show.”
The play, which Redmon describes as a “dramedy,” tells the story of two estranged sisters coming together after a 20-year feud when one sister becomes ill with leukemia and needs bone marrow. The challenges and transformations that come along with child-rearing and aging-parent obligations also play a hand at changing the family dynamic and breaking tense barriers.
“Marvin’s Room” had its premiere in Chicago in 1990. In 1996 the story was turned into a film with the same title starring Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Learning to talk
“I think in this age of quick communications and shortened language and texting that people kind of are forgetting how to sit down and talk to each other,” said Redmon. “I think it’s about trying to open lines of communication and accept the fact that you can have differences and still love each other. That’s really what drew me to it more than anything.”
Redmon says that relatable things like sisterly bickering inject notes of comedy into this drama.
Chicago’s Elizabeth Morgan has been busy with musical theater, donning fatigues and outfits drenched in sparkles. She takes a break from that genre to play the more serious role of Lee, the single mother who returns home to help with the family difficulties.
lead character as
fiery, impolite and not especially likable, Morgan found it easy to connect to the character emotionally. Overall, she explains the role as the most real character she has ever played on stage, and drew from her own life to flesh out her performance.
“There are some
situations that happen
in the play that my
family has actually gone through,” said Morgan. “So I kind of got inspired by my mom and my aunt in this particular show, which was really interesting because I’ve never really had that before and it’s been kind of fun.”
Morgan is confident audiences will feel as though they’re a part of the experience in the intimate theater, and because it’s a play that has its roots in dilemmas that face so many modern families.
“I really feel like it’s this universal American story that at some point we have to think about taking care of our elderly family,” she said. “I really hope people connect to it. I hope it sparks good conversation.”