Take a trip to 'Spoon River' with GreenMan Theatre July 24-25

  • Churchville Schoolhouse, built circa 1850 and on the National Register of Historic Places, will be the site of an outdoor production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project" by GreenMan Theatre July 24-25.

    Churchville Schoolhouse, built circa 1850 and on the National Register of Historic Places, will be the site of an outdoor production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project" by GreenMan Theatre July 24-25. Courtesy of GreenMan Theatre

 
 
Updated 7/16/2021 11:36 PM

On July 24-25, GreenMan Theatre will present "The Spoon River Anthology Project" outdoors at the Churchville Schoolhouse and Cemetery in Bensenville.

Performances will be at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $10 for all ages, cash only at the door. There will be no advance ticket sales. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair or blanket to watch the performance.

 

"The Spoon River Anthology Project" is a compilation of stories drawn from the poetry of Edgar Lee Masters. In the piece, former residents of a fictionalized rural Illinois town speak directly to the audience from beyond the grave. Masters' "Spoon River Anthology" first appeared in 1915 and brought the author immediate fame.

Masters had left his boyhood homes in Petersburg and Lewiston, Illinois, determined to escape the small-town hypocrisy that he saw there.

At the time, the poems caused a scandal, as many of the fictional residents of Spoon River were clearly recognizable as real people in Masters' hometowns. Time has diminished the scandal, but not the power of the book, which has been reprinted numerous times and is widely read and studied.

Appearing in "The Spoon River Anthology Project" are Katie Lahey, Nikki Lahey, Debbie Proska, Rhys Read, Mary-Carol Riehs, Joe Schram, Kate Troc, and Lauren Visser.

GreenMan Theatre director David Soria and sound coordinator Steven Soria look over Churchville Cemetery, which will be featured in its July 24-25 production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project."
GreenMan Theatre director David Soria and sound coordinator Steven Soria look over Churchville Cemetery, which will be featured in its July 24-25 production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project." - Courtesy of GreenMan Theatre
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GreenMan's artistic director, David Soria, has adapted and directed the production, with assistance from Carolyn Thomas-Davidoff and Karen Soria.

Live music is provided by Lauren Visser. Becca Easley is running sound, and the dramaturge for the production is Mary-Carol Riehs. Support for the production is provided by the Elmhurst History Museum.

The audience will meet a wide range of characters, as the actors portray over 30 different roles during the show. The stories range from humorous to serious, sentimental to downright scary!

Many of the stories are interlinked. In one example, there is the tale of a husband who ran away from home and had wild adventures in Chicago, followed by the story of his wife, who understands her husband's departure in a completely different way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Churchville Cemetery, founded in 1859 by Immanuel Reformed Church, will be the site of GreenMan Theatre's outdoor production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project" July 24-25.
Churchville Cemetery, founded in 1859 by Immanuel Reformed Church, will be the site of GreenMan Theatre's outdoor production of "The Spoon River Anthology Project" July 24-25. - Courtesy of GreenMan Theatre

"One of the most fascinating interlinked groups is the McNeeley family," says director Soria. "The patriarch of the family starts out life with high hopes for his children, but they all disappoint him in some way. We also get to hear directly from two of the children, as well as the woman who ends up inheriting the man's estate."

The production is intended for adults, but middle school and older children are welcome to attend. "The Spoon River Anthology Project" is performed without intermission.

The Churchville Schoolhouse is located at 3N784 Church Road, just north of Grand Avenue in Bensenville. Parking for the event is free at the Lutheran Church on the east side of Church Street.

GreenMan Theatre Troupe is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide a source of cultural enrichment and pride for the community by presenting diverse, quality productions and providing opportunities for personal growth in the theatrical arts.

GreenMan has been presenting plays in Elmhurst since being founded in 2003 by Jill Perez, David Soria, and Carole Thorpe. Past productions include "Dracula," "Speakeasy or Die Hard," and "The Diary of Anne Frank."

GreenMan Theatre director David Soria and sound coordinator Steven Soria check out Churchville Schoolhouse, the site for its upcoming production, "The Spoon River Anthology Project."
GreenMan Theatre director David Soria and sound coordinator Steven Soria check out Churchville Schoolhouse, the site for its upcoming production, "The Spoon River Anthology Project." - Courtesy of GreenMan Theatre

GreenMan also offers classes and workshops for members and the community and welcomes new members and participants in all aspects of theater production. GreenMan programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Visit www.greenmantheatre.org.

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