Text of article from The Daily Herald newspaper
November 6, 2008
Vex Theatre presenting thought-provoking Pinter play 'Old Times'
about yet another local production of "Little Shop of Horrors," or "Nunsense,"
or "Nunsense 2," for that matter?
Then get thee to Vex Theatre Company's revival of "Old Times" by Nobel Prize
winning author Harold Pinter, starting its two weekend run at the Elgin Art
Showcase on Friday, Nov. 7.
"Pinter has long been on our 'to do' list," said director and Vex co-founder
Rich Geiger of Palatine.
"There is something so special, almost magical, to Pinter's language."
"We chose 'Old Times' because it is a good play with good dialogue and
situations everyone will recognize. It offers a mix of comedy and drama."
The setup is simple enough: a long-married couple waits idly at home for the
arrival of the wife's former roommate and best friend, with whom she's had no
contact for years.
The relationship between Kate (played by Cheryl Rice, of Elmhurst) and husband
Deeley (Marc Jolley, of South Elgin) has become so comfortable, or perhaps, so
complacent, that they question and answer each other with sentences so slight
they almost seem to be composed of vapors instead of words.
"This stuff is tense," said Jolley, who readily admits he "didn't know much
about this particular play or playwright" before signing on to play a character
he pointedly describes as "a bi-polar, misogynistic control-freak in love with
the sound of his own voice."
Not that Jolley, a five-year member (and the current director) of Schaumburg
Park District's Time Travelers Improv group, is complaining; On the contrary.
"Wow! Pinter just adds layer upon layer from the very beginning of the show, and
the second act is way different from the first, going into surreal, borderline
absurdist territory. There's so much you can get just from the turn of a
Likewise, Vex co-founder Cathleen Ann of Palatine clearly relishes playing Anna,
the long-lost friend, whose arrival ignites the story's emotional brush fire.
"What I like about Anna is that she's the instigator, the provocateur that
causes tension in the relationship between this married couple," said Ann.
"She is also at times phony, deceptive, and evasive. She changes her tact often,
based on how people respond to her. That is a delightful challenge for any actor
"We have been joking amongst ourselves that people won't 'get it' until the next
day at breakfast, or Monday at work, when it will all suddenly make sense,"
"It's a good play to discuss after the show, and there is plenty to talk about.
But it is also a lot of fun while you're watching it."
In other words, it's theater for grown-ups.