Spotlight Theater stages emotional drama ‘All Over’
May 9, 2012 3:56PM
Spotlight Theater's "All Over" features Jeremy Moats (from left), Jeanne Scurek, Carol Stein, Catherine Thomson and Dave Lichty. | Jeff Gamlin photo
◆ 7:30 p.m. May 11-12 and
3 p.m. May 13
◆ Spotlight Theater Studio, 22032 Howell Drive, New Lenox
◆ Tickets, $15 for general admission, $12 for ages older than 61 and students with identification, and $10 for New Lenox residents who present a driver’s license or state ID when purchasing tickets
◆ A Mother’s Day special includes half-price tickets for the purchaser and his or her mother on May 13
◆ (708) 941-8294;
Updated: June 12, 2012 8:09AM
After the nearly full, full and full-to-overflowing houses for Spotlight Theater’s last show, the popular “Jake’s Women” by Neil Simon, the troupe is staging “All Over” in New Lenox.
The rarely performed work of emotional drama is by Edward Albee, one of America’s most thought-provoking playwrights and a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Albee is also a multiple Tony Award winner including the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
“Like much of Albee’s well-respected work (‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,’ ‘A Delicate Balance,’ ‘Three Tall Women,’ ‘The Goat or Who is Sylvia?’ and ‘The Zoo Story’ among many more), “All Over” is an emotionally charged, sometimes intense story filled with provocative ideas and unique, and occasionally volatile, situations,” officials said.
“Albee’s story is deceptively simple on the surface, but filled with great emotional and intellectual depth and complexity.”
It all takes place in the master bedroom of a famous and immensely successful man who lies dying, literally on his deathbed, while surrounded by his wife, his mistress, his best friend and lawyer, his feckless son and self-absorbed daughter.
The man is attended on by an elderly physician and nurse, while members of the media who have taken over the first floor, hungrily await the latest updates on his condition.
As they wait for what seems to be the great man’s inevitable end, his “loved ones” recollect past loves, wage wars new and old, make unexpected alliances, and seek some sort of understanding and fulfillment or closure until they are given word that it is “all over.”
“All Over” debuted on Broadway in 1971 in a production directed by John Gielgud and starring Jessica Tandy as the Wife and Colleen Dewhurst in a Tony Award-nominated performance as the Mistress.
Spotlight’s production is being helmed by Jeff Gamlin, the company’s president and cofounder, who has directed a number of plays in the troupe’s six years of existence.
These show includes his original adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit”; “The Graduate,” the first show Spotlight produced, in its first non-equity performance in Illinois; and “The Deadly Game,” the first show of this season.
He’s appeared on stage for Spotlight as well, most recently as Jake in “Jake’s Women.”
Gamlin, of Westmont, said of his cast for this show, “They’re a truly professional and talented group who has worked diligently to interpret the subtle shadings of emotion displayed by Albee’s fascinating characters.
“This material requires almost pinpoint concentration at times and they’ve risen to the challenge admirably. I’m looking forward to seeing audiences’ reactions to their performance of this very unique story.”
The uniqueness of the story is something that attracted Gamlin and Spotlight to this play, which is being presented by arrangement with Samuel French Inc.
“There aren’t many plays that take place in this setting and in this manner, with all the characters essentially confined in one room together with someone who lies dying on his deathbed, unable to leave without being verbally assaulted by the press who wait, almost literally, just outside the door, having taken over most of the rest of the house,” Gamlin said.
“Much of the action of the play is a group people sitting around talking, which on the surface may not seem very exciting, but their conversations and interactions are bristling with emotional energy as everything is intensified by the approach of the unseen character we all must meet with eventually — death, and by the mixture of relationships involved: wife and mistress vying for control over the dying man’s final arrangements, with the man’s best friend and lawyer throwing his hat in the ring for this conflict as well, mother and children with their damaged and dysfunctional relationships, and so on.
“And this kettle of tension and emotion is brought to a boil by their virtual confinement together. They become, at times, like the caged animal pacing its cage, anxious for release, and lashing out at the other inhabitants of their cage. And some of them are not ‘animals’ one would normally cage together, for fear they might tear each other apart.”
“All Over” — for which Mercy Pattawi, of Westmont, serves as assistant director — holds other alluring qualities for Spotlight.
“We try to find material that has not been overproduced, and this show is anything but that,” Gamlin said. “It hasn’t been produced in the Chicago area in many years and the rights are restricted, so not everyone is allowed to produce this show, making our production exactly the kind of rare opportunity we like to offer theatergoers.
“And more than that, Albee has said he likes to write plays that change the way people look at themselves and their lives, and that is certainly in line with our goals at Spotlight. We want to produce shows that entertain people, certainly, but also that make them think and perhaps even challenge their way of thinking, encouraging them to open their mind to things they would not have normally.
“A few of the characters in ‘All Over’ go through a change or come to some new, important realization, and if the show can be a transformative experience for the audience as well, we couldn’t be more pleased.”
“All Over” is being produced in Spotlight’s own newly renovated theater in New Lenox.
The venue has allowed the company to grow in multiple ways big and small from having complete control over the theater’s space, which affords total artistic freedom regarding the kind of material produced as well as allowing the troupe to build more complete, detailed and varied configurations of sets.
The performance space itself can be reconfigured to accommodate different seating arrangements and even a different stage size or shape.
For the production of “All Over,” Spotlight offers the added value of a raffle that awards the winners prizes of cash or gift certificates donated by local restaurants.
After “All Over” is all over, Spotlight will conduct auditions on May 21-22 for the controversial drama “Oleanna” by Flossmoor native and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, which will be the closer for the sixth season.
The cast (in order of appearance/speaking)
Carol Stein, of Chicago, as the Wife
Jeanne Scurek, of Aurora, as the Daughter
Catherine Thomson, of Chicago, as the Mistress
Rick Baiker, of Chicago, as the Doctor
Dan Scurek, of Aurora, as the Son
Dave Lichty, of Bolingbrook, as the Best Friend
Phyllis Bierdz, of Oak Forest, as the Nurse
Jeremy Moats, of Naperville, as the Photographer