COD does its own version of ‘Spoon River’
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media February 21, 2013 9:54AM
♦ Feb. 28-March 8
♦ Building K Theater, Fawell Boulevard west of Lambert Road, Glen Ellyn
♦ Tickets, $9-$10
♦ (630) 942-4000
Updated: February 22, 2013 10:17AM
Dead men tell no tales — except when they do.
The College of DuPage presents “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters, adapted by Michael W. Moon and directed by Connie Canaday Howard.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays Feb. 28 to March 8. There will be a discussion at 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 28 and a post-show discussion on March 8.
“Spoon River Anthology” is a collection of poems from Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 book of poetry, written from the point of view of deceased residents of the fictional small Midwestern town of Spoon River. This is an original adaptation for the College of DuPage.
“There are several adaptations that already exist for the stage. When the idea for this show was chosen, the Theater Season Committee wanted it adapted for this department,” Howard explained. “So this will be the first time this particular adaptation of ‘Spoon River Anthology’ will be presented. It’s a premier.”
Although it’s about characters speaking from the afterlife, it’s not scary.
“People are looking back on their lives at the point where there is no consequence. Some are very funny about their lives and some are very bitter,” she said. “Some of them are very positive and encourage that those of us still living to live our lives well, and that’s really the overall message. It’s an encouragement to live our lives well and regardless of what happens after that, there’s nothing to fear because we lived our lives as completely as we could.”
The monologues are arranged into vignettes told from each character’s perspective. They’ve added some dancing and some singing, but it’s primarily a simple, heartfelt statement about their lives, she said.
Howard has 29 in the cast playing 92 characters. She says it’s a challenge but the students are having a lot of fun with it.
“It’s a different style, but they’re really embracing it,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, because it’s an original work and we have a big cast.”
Some people will recognize “Spoon River” as an American classic, and be drawn to it; other will appreciate the experimental feel of the play.
“We also have media happening in the background to help set the scenes,” she said. “It’s interesting visually as well as thematically, I think.”
The piece will invoke larger questions among audience members about how they live their own lives, she said.
“It really is a piece of Midwestern Americana, so some people will be drawn to that too,” she said. “I think anybody who has roots in a small town will appreciate. There are things that he says about community that are interesting and provocative. I think there is a lot to ponder.”