Lyons Township play seeks to answer questions
Tess Wisher (form left), Emily Swanson, Teddy Salazar, Joey Bahena and Chris Zurowski rehearse a scene for "Curiousity," a play written by students. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
If you go
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22; 3 p.m. Sept. 23
Where: Performing Arts Center at the Lyons Township High School South Campus, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road, Western Springs
Tickets: $10, or $5 for children and senior citizens, available in the theater box office 30 minutes before the show
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:10PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Life at Lyons Township High School is full of questions, and an original student production, “Curiosity,” tackles many of them.
During the summer, students collected a myriad of what-ifs and whys to craft a series of vignettes woven together by themes. They broke into groups and brainstormed ideas, beginning Aug. 20, the first day of school.
Groups improvised skits to explore a question, and others watching offered suggestions, which were gathered in a constantly evolving script, explained director Ann Dudek.
“It’s 35 pages,” Dudek said. “We have scenes that are serious, as well as playful, and they’re blended for variety.”
Costumes and props are minimal, just enough to give the audience insight into the action on stage. The cast of 12 juniors and seniors plans to dress in black, relying on their faces and words to set scenes and tell stories.
The show’s first act poses questions on relationships, followed by a focus on spirituality and fears. The third act explores curiosity about the universe, including time travel.
Some scenes are dramatic and highly personal, such as an emotional portrayal of a young man facing fears of rejection from being gay. Other snippets are whimsical, such as a look at what zoo animals are really thinking.
And one scene is more than a little creepy with seniors Emily Swanson from LaGrange Park and Tess Wisher of La Grange as dolls coming to life as a little girl sleeps and they sing, “When you see a hearse go by…”
“A normal drama has ups and downs, and this show has a flow of serious and comedic moments,” Swanson explained.
Wisher, who worked on last year’s original script, “Flight,” said “Curiosity” was easier to develop in one respect because it wasn’t based on factual material of America’s military conflicts and soldiers’ experiences.
“This time, we had to create all the skits, but at least we could embellish them and didn’t have to stick to facts,” she said.
A cast favorite is back-to-back scenes on relationships contrasting the seven deadly sins with seven virtues. Women embodying pride, envy and other character defects manipulate a man by posing him like a puppet.
The following scene on speed dating introduces women who seem too good to be true, with names like Temperance, Chastity and Humility.
“I play both Pride and Humility,” said Western Springs junior Monica Donnelly. “My friends joked it was type casting, but they didn’t say which one.”
Donnelly, who has acted in 30 shows since the age of 8, said theatergoers will thoroughly enjoy the performance.
“There’s such an intimate grasp of what humans are wondering,” she said.