Text of article from The Courier News newspaper
November 7, 2008
Vex brings 'Old Times' to the present
By ROMI HERRON
Sometimes memory serves correctly, and other times not so much.
Through a triangle of characters and their reactions to conflicted memories, Vex
Theatre Company will perform Old Times , written by Nobel Prize winner Harold
Pinter. The haunting yet comical play, which opens today, will be presented at 8
p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 16 at the Elgin Art
"The performance is one that just about everyone can relate to," said South
Elgin's Marc Jolley, who plays Deeley, the lead role. "Think about the tension
that is experienced at a Thanksgiving dinner table, when families get together
after not seeing each other for a long time. Well, the tension in this story is
that multiplied by 10."
The recipe for that dynamic is found in the chemistry between Kate, played by
Cheryl Rice of Elmhurst, Kate's husband Deeley, and Kate's former college
roommate, Anna, who shows up for a visit after 20 years. As recollections
surface, the characters are thrown into a struggle over whose memories are
accurate and what will result, said Cathleen Ann, who plays Anna.
"This play is unusual in its structure, because it doesn't have as clear an
ending as people might be used to," said Ann, of Palatine. "It reaches a point
where all the characters are exposed to an unexpected truth about the other two.
So it comes to a head at the end, but audiences are also left to wonder what
will happen with the characters."
Thought-provoking theater is what inspired the group's name, Vex Theatre,
according to Ann, who founded the company in 2004 with Rich Geiger of Palatine.
Geiger is directing Old Times.
"There is something so special, almost magical, to Pinter's language," said
Geiger. "It is simple, plain language with many rough, short sentences. ... It
really is a beautiful use of language, especially when he puts in his famous
pauses where the characters respond not with words but with silence."
The appeal of playing a character in a Pinter play lies in the writing of the
characters, their great depth and Pinter's extraordinary use of language, Jolley
said. "There is a lot of heavy meaning in everything that he writes. He is
Vex Theatre selects plays that give audiences a connection to their own lives,
according to Ann.
"Everyone can relate to the thought of trying to connect with someone who was
very important in your life at one time," she said, "and trying to mesh that
person with the people in your present life."