“The Quick-Change Room” at Lewis University

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“The Quick-Change Room” at Lewis University

Published: September 17, 2012.

(Left to right) Victoria Vega as Lena, Adam
Smetana as Timofey, Casey McKenzie as Nikolia and
Sabra Thomas as Marya in “The Quick-Change Room.”

Lewis University’s Philip Lynch Theatre (PLT) presents “The Quick-Change Room,” subtitled “Scenes From A Revolution.” This wry comedy by playwright Nagle Jackson is set in a St. Petersburg theater. The small backstage room where wardrobe dressers provide the fast costume changes necessary during a play's action, serves as a microcosm for the "quick changes" in the economic, moral and philosophical concepts brought about by the downfall of Russia's communism.

Heavily subsidized both by the czarist regimes and then the communists, the fine arts in Russia suddenly lost both the support and -- through inflation -- the advantage of inexpensive tickets. This comedy is about how the artists try to survive when they struggle to abandon their principles of the classic repertory theater and give way to the trendy, commercial, westernized productions.

Marya Stepanova, (Sabra Thomas of Bolingbrook), is the aging head of the quick-change room. She is also, by extension, the soul of the Russian people, totally disrupted by the changes but accepting the inevitable and reluctantly adjusting to it. Marya’s daughter, Nina (Rachel Tau of Wood Dale), a budding actress in the troupe, can easily shift her loyalties and advance her career.

The triumph of the bureaucrat is exemplified by the character, Boris (Gregory Rossback of Crete). From his original post in the ticket office -- and aided by his ability to barter Nike shoes and adult magazines for needed costumes and wigs -- he gradually takes over control of the theater. Ludmilla Nevchenka (Kate O’Neil of Yorkville) is the prima donna actress “of a certain age,” and Sergey Sergeyevich (Robert G. Nulph of Grove City, PA) is the deposed theater director. They are amusing characters as quaint relics of the past and admirable for their refusal to sacrifice their integrity.

The rest of the characters and cast members include: Lena, wardrobe assistant (Victoria Vega of Burbank), Timofey, Sergey’s assistant (Adam Smetana of Racine, WI), Nikolai, a middle-aged actor (Casey McKenzie of Chicago), Anna, a leading lady of the company (Briana Reidy of Darien) and Sasha, the company’s stage electrician (Zachary Guzan of Cleveland, OH).

Perceptive direction and scenic design is by Lewis University’s Professor of Theatre, Harold McCay of Joliet. Resident costume designer, Celeste Mackey of Joliet, creates the most important aspects of the quick-change room with precision-detailed costumes. Lewis University’s Director of Theatre Keith White of Joliet choreographs the hilarious finale, and Lewis University’s theatre major Jessie Richey adds her talents as the lighting designer for the production. Fourth year student Melanie Gillies of Lombard is the stage manager. Other student production staff members include: Ross Reed of Chicago (assistant stage manager), Bryan Lochner of Essex, IL (light board operator), Kevin Whelehan of Alsip (sound design/operator), and Matthew Carlson of Lockport (props).

The production is recommended for patrons 13 years old and up and will run September 28 – 30 and October 4 – 7. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m., while Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. In addition to the evening performance, there will be a 4 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, October 6. Advanced ticket purchases are strongly encouraged. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students and $2 for Lewis students with their student IDs. Tickets are $8 for groups of fifteen or more, a savings of more than 10 percent off the original ticket price. Tickets are non-refundable.

For more information, call the PLT box office at (815) 836-5500, Monday thru Friday from 1-4:30 p.m., or by emailing at boxoffice@lewisu.edu. Construction for the Oremus Fine Arts building has begun, for additional information patrons can check out the PLT Website, www.lewisu.edu/plt, for “pardon our dust” and parking suggestions. The Philip Lynch Theatre is located on the main campus of Lewis University, Oremus Fine Arts Building on Route 53 in Romeoville.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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