Director: Alison C. Vesely
Scenic Designer: Angela Weber Miller
Costume Designer: Elsa Hiltner
Lighting Designer: Shelley Strasser Holland
Sound Designer: Christopher Kriz
Properties Designer: Michelle Raymond
Brilliant Journey through Time and Life
Some might define quality theater as what you remember and feel after the curtain comes down, and how long that memory lasts. “Underneath the Lintel” takes you on a mysterious birds-eye journey not only through different parts of the world, but through the spiritual, and explores ideas possibly related to your own life. The overlay of humor truly turns it into one of the most unique and impressive theater experiences, defying easy classification.
As in the play, all the stars lined up for a stellar team. Glen Berger originally wrote a male for the one-person monologue, but when theaters adapted the part for women, he wrote a female-lead option. Fortunately, Alison Vesely was a long time friend of Kristine Thatcher, and she only envisioned Thatcher in the lead role…an astute and wise decision. The Mayslake Mansion, where First Folio performs, contains a chapel perfectly suited for the required lecture hall. Angela Weber Miller’s choice of only sparse props (blackboard, suitcase, table and slide screen) add authenticity to the setting.
As the librarian, Kristine Thatcher’s amazing performance is story telling at its best! My guess is that as a playwright herself, Thatcher’s background helped her interpret her character, as did her twice prior direction of this very play. In an eighty-minute monologue with a Dutch accent, she plays a rigidly compulsive librarian. Her character’s perseverance to solve the mystery of the 113 year-old overdue library book draws you into an implausible story, as she unravels each clue. Thatcher’s marvelous acting ability blends naivete’ with humor, sadness and joy in a creative story, but you suspend disbelief and stay with her every step of the way.
Glen Berger, the playwright, writes such creative and compelling lines that I immediately felt I wanted to go back and hear the play again. He uses a balanced touch on profound ideas, and yet comes up with visual images that make you wonder, “How did he think of that”? For example, one analogy concerns millions of crickets dying behind the couches in London from lint. Those with any historical background will appreciate the various references both obvious and subtle.
“Underneath the Lintel” is intriguing to watch perseverance toward a goal with reckless abandon…the librarian’s dogged passion which punishes yet awakens. It leaves you asking the big questions, or reminds you of them. This play offers significant rewards for those patient enough to take the journey….a must see for many!
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2013
Performances: March 27 – April 28, 2013. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m.
and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets -$30 to $37; less for Seniors and students.
Call the box office at 630-986-8067 or purchase on line at www.firstfolio.org
First Folio Theatre –
Mayslake Peabody Estate
31st Street and Route 83,
Oak Brook. IL. (Free parking on the premises)