Text of article from
the Pioneer Press newspaper group
August 14, 2008
Experience theater on walk around Elgin
By LILLI KUZMA Contributor
Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage," and he would've been pleased and
impressed with "Walkabout: Theater On Your Feet."
An idea developed by Sean Hargadon, "Walkabout" presents a variety of artistic
entertainment, including five short one-act plays, music and mixed media art.
The event will entail groups being led by guides to various venues in and around
the revitalized downtown Elgin area. Like a progressive dinner party, the
audience will partake of artistic offerings at one venue, then move on to
another at regular intervals. The event will be held on three Saturdays, Aug.
16, 23 and 30.
Inspiration in Paris
"The seed was planted along these lines when I was on a trip to Paris with my
wife a few years ago," said Hargadon, who is the producing director for Janus
Theatre and a member of the Elgin Arts Commission.
"There was this Festival of Music going on in Paris, and everywhere, on streets,
sidewalks, cafes, there was music of all types, even Rage Against the Machine,"
he said. "It was hip without trying to be hip, and I thought why not do
something like this in downtown Elgin. We have lots of history, and it is being
revitalized, changing before our eyes."
"I pitched the idea to the Elgin Arts Commission and, with their blessing,
started putting this together," he said.
The theater walk begins at the Elgin Art Showcase, then proceeds to Lily Falls,
Ravenheart Coffee, Elgin Books, Elgin Public House and Al's Cafe. The local
theater groups involved in the event are Face-T-Face, Vex Theatre, Independent
Players, Nothing Special Productions and Janus Theatre. The theater group with
the best show will receive $500.
Live music will be provided by The Rory Miller Band (folk) on August 16; the
Elgin Symphony Orchestra Quartet (classical) on August 12; and the Ain't No
Nothin' Jazz Band (traditional, pop) on August 30. Thirty-two artists are
involved in the Alley of Art showcase area at DuPage Court, with about 10
displaying each week.
One of the plays, "Netherlands," presented by Palatine-based Vex Theatre,
concerns the tragic final days of Vincent Van Gogh, as his mental illness
progresses to his (implied in the play) suicide. Van Gogh (played by Adam
Krause) meets up with a mysterious "Dutch girl" in a park, played by Debbi
Dennison, of Schaumburg.
"Van Gogh is obsessed with his painting, and my character is obsessed with
everything Dutch, but the underlying thing is they're trying to connect, and
play a kind of tug of war game for attention," said Dennison. "How it ends is
left up to the audience. She may not be real, just a figment of his
Hargadon added: "The audience is your extra character in a play, and has an
integral part of the performance. Some of the pieces talk directly to the
Cathleen Ann, co-founder of Vex Theatre, commented on the unusual event: "We
like that the audiences will be exposed to many different theatre groups with
different styles in one afternoon. It will be a novel experience for most
Hargadon noted an incentive for early advanced registration will be goodie bags
with items like coupons and cover programs. Some of the businesses also will be
offering samples for visitors. There will also be a limited number of T-shirts