Janus Theatre's 'Beowulf' gets praise, final performances this weekend

  • Janus Theatre's production of "Beowulf By Anonymous" wraps up this weekend with front row, from left, Doreen Dawson, Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves Wilson, Heidi Swarthout, and Tiffany Jasinski; and back row, Claire Yearman.

    Janus Theatre's production of "Beowulf By Anonymous" wraps up this weekend with front row, from left, Doreen Dawson, Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves Wilson, Heidi Swarthout, and Tiffany Jasinski; and back row, Claire Yearman. Courtesy of Sean Hargadon

 
 
Updated 9/22/2022 11:33 AM

Janus Theatre Company wraps up its production of "Beowulf By Anonymous" this weekend under the pavilion at the Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin. Performances at 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25 are free and open to the public.

Reservations are encouraged at www.janusplays.com or bw.eventbrite.com.

 

This new look at the Old English epic features an all-female cast and tells the story in a highly engaging and original way. "The story of Beowulf fighting the monster Grendel, his warrior Mother, and the serpent dragon is well known," said Janus Theatre Artistic Director Sean Hargadon. "Scholars love it and teenagers tolerate it."

But in this new retelling, inspired by Virginia Woolf's idea that so many poems written by Anonymous were actually women, the acting company of six women becomes the modern-day scops and skalds of past poets. "The result is a reimagined Beowulf for today's audiences," added Hargadon.

And audiences have heaped praised on this stellar production:

"Beautiful setting, funny and moving script, and a drummer who is so on point with timing and tone he becomes another character and voice in this piece. But the best part … humorously, heartfelt, and brilliantly acted by strong females and spot on direction," said Lisa Dawn Curran.

"These six women told a fantastic story with language old and new, movement, simulated violence, striking makeup and costumes, vocal gymnastics, and a storytellers' art. Engaging and beautifully done," added Ken Kaden.

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"Truly an experience not to be missed … .energy, humor, drama, and did I say energy!??! Strong women rock this piece … I was mesmerized … could not take my eyes away … ..an offering from a director and cast that puts Janus Theatre in a category all by itself," said Diane McFarlin.

Janus Theatre's "Beowulf By Anonymous" continues this weekend at the Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve, 9N420 Crawford Road. Picnics are encouraged and picnic tables are provided.

The production is generously sponsored by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission and the City of Elgin.

For information, go to www.janusplays.com.