For three consecutive years, INDEPENDENT PLAYERS has taken a production from its current season to Crystal Lake and presented it for one weekend of RCLPC Theater’s Summer Season. Blythe Spirit, Tartuffe and Present Laughter experienced a new audience, and IP’s directors and actors loved being given the chance to perform each of these shows three more times. This fall, RCLPC Theater is reciprocating by bringing its most recent show—Morning’s at Seven by Paul Osborn—to Elgin for three weeks as part of IP’s 2019-2020 Season. Producer Steve Connell, Director Gina Belt-Daniels and their cast totally enjoyed their Crystal Lake run in July, “weren’t ready to let the experience end” and, very gladly, accepted IP’s invitation to bring their show to Elgin. This is our chance to introduce RCLPC Theater to Elgin audiences.”
Morning’s at Seven opens on September 27 and runs Fridays and Saturdays through October 12, 2019 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street, Elgin. It is directed by Gina Belt-Daniels (who directed Tribute by Bernard Slade for IP in 2000) and stars Steve Connell, Rob Cunningham, Elizabeth Dawson, Karen Greuel, Alison Hage, Judith Laughlin, Dan Scott, Paul Lockwood and Stephanie Wootten-Austin.
Written in 1938, Morning’s at Seven focuses on four aging sisters living in a small Midwestern town in 1928. Cora Swanson and her sister Ida Bolton, along with their husbands Thor and Carl, have lived next to each other for their entire married lives. In addition, an old-maid sister, Arry, lives with Cora and Thor. A fourth sister, Esther and her husband David, live outside the immediate neighborhood.
As the play opens, everyone is awaiting the arrival of Homer Bolton and his fiancée, Myrtle Brown. They are engaged, but this is the first time anyone in the family will have met her. When they finally arrive, Homer’s father, Carl, is frightened that he will not make a good impression, has one of his “spells” and is kept out of sight for the time being. Homer has no real desire to marry, in spite of the fact that his father has built and furnished a house, which has been sitting empty for some years, that will be his when and if he does marry. Myrtle is beginning to wonder if she has waited long enough.
Cora and Carl have reached a secret agreement; if Homer doesn’t make a wedding announcement, Carl will lease the vacant house to Cora, enabling her to live alone with Thor (who knows nothing about this plan). She plans to leave their present house to Arry. After many more complications involving every member of the family and Myrtle, Homer gets his house back because he and Myrtle are soon to be married, and Cora is reconciled by how everything eventually turns out for the best for everyone involved.
“In the final analysis,” writes Lawrence Henley, “the Gibbs sisters offer us proof that the pitfalls engendered by a lengthy family history of unresolved issues can be overcome, albeit with varying degrees of difficulty. By maintaining their faith in the strength of the family unit, the characters have the ability to brave the storm, and resurface with their bindings intact. The function of their dysfunction is catharsis, which results in a renewed understanding of what makes the others unique and deserving of love and respect. In the end, it purges the family of whatever bad blood exists, allowing them to overcome trouble in the worst of times. Most importantly, the final unearthing of their ‘skeletons in the closet’ enables them to extend and appreciate the most important gifts they receive—understanding and forgiveness.” Upon seeing this play, one may very likely realize that some of the awkward situations and crises may have happened in one’s own life or in those of one’s friends and acquaintances. This is what makes this play so special! It makes one aware of the fact that these ups and downs in life are universal and can be part of the life experience of any human being.
Morning’s at Seven will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays, September 27-28, October 4-5, and 11-12, 2019 with Curtain Time at 7:30 PM. The venue: Elgin Art Showcase, (in the Professional Building (Eighth Floor), 164 Division Street, Elgin.
Tickets are $15, with Senior Citizens (65 & over) at $12 and students (14-21) at $10. Tickets may be purchased online at www.independentplayers.org and at the door prior to each performance (cash or check only). For reservations / information: call (847) 697-7374.
The critics have loved this play throughout the years. “This charming portrait of small town America, eighty-plus years ago, . . is a total triumph … Absolutely entrancing. . . . Be sure to see this lovely play” —N. Y. Post. “An absolute charmer. . . . Four sisters, Chekhov would have smiled. So will you, and laugh out loud at times too.”—N. Y. Daily News “Wonderful! . . . Still has charm to burn.” —N. Y. Times.
Once again, INDEPENDENT PLAYERS thanks its friends at RCLPC Theater for bringing this delightful production to Elgin at the Elgin Art Showcase for three weeks. IP hopes that this collaboration between it and RCLPC will continue in future seasons. Everyone involved enjoys the experience and audiences get to see what another theater company is doing! It’s truly a win-win situation for everyone!!