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posted: 10/8/2013 11:55 AM

Glen Ellyn troupe's newest production examines life choices

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  • Michelle Randag as Maggy Burroughs and Lori Rohr as Maggie Mulroney in Catherine Butterfield's "Joined at the Head" at the Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn.

    Michelle Randag as Maggy Burroughs and Lori Rohr as Maggie Mulroney in Catherine Butterfield's "Joined at the Head" at the Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn.
    Courtesy Village Theatre Guild

By Robert Lundin
Village Theatre Guild

"Joined at the Head," a poignant and amusing work by New York playwright Catherine Butterfield, will take center stage this month at the Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn.

The play tells the story of Maggie Mulroney, who is on a promotional tour for her novel "Joined at the Head." She gets an invitation to visit with her old high school flame, Jim, and his wife (also named Maggy).

The two women strike up an immediate friendship, notwithstanding the total disparity in their characters: Maggie the novelist is intensely self-examining and analytical, while Maggy retains a warm and giving response to the world.

Maggie acts as the play's narrator from time to time, commenting upon the process of her writing while also shrewdly dissecting her relationship to her former boyfriend's wife.

In discussing the play, director Craig Berger evokes American playwright David Mamet, who divides all theater into two categories: escapism and engagement.

"'Joined at the Head' is engagement, which is more than just a fun dessert, it has substance that may help someone re-look at their relationships and own life path," Berger says.

"Jim, Maggie and Maggy help each other see the world as they each see it, and that allows each to accept the new difficult path they each are on."

To Berger, there is one primary artist in theater: the playwright. Actors, directors and designers are secondary artists who work together in partnership with the writer.

"I work to make the story clear to the audience and truthful to the primary artist, the playwright. I work hard to assist the actors to be real, not overacted," he says.

In this portrait of self-awakening, art and life come fluidly to interact. Maggie's instinct for the fictitious collides with a newfound yearning to relate to life through the immediacy of her newest, closest friend.

"Joined at the Head" was performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1992 and won the Robert L. Stevens/Kennedy Center award for excellence.

The play runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct 18 through Nov. 9, and 3 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 27 and Nov 3. Tickets are $18 and can be reserved by calling (630) 469-8230.

The Village Theatre Guild is Glen Ellyn's community theater company located northwest of the intersection of Park Boulevard and Butterfield Road. For details, visit

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