Tag: Paul Edwards
We Have Always Lived
in the Castle
Adapted and Directed by Paul Edwards
Thursday, April 29
|The Body Snatchers|
|City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago (map)
Guests will enter the reception area and be greeted by the soft sound of early 50s jazz music and be treated to a variety of decadent deserts and delicious coffee from event partners, Francesca’s Restaurant and Starbucks Coffee. After the reception guests will attend the production, which will then be followed by a talkback with the actors and adapter/director Paul Edwards. The Body Snatchers concerns a small-town doctor who discovers that the people around him are being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates. (our review – ★★★)
Event begins at 7 p.m. Show begins at 8 p.m.
TICKETS ONLY $30
For reservations call 773-293.3682 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention"Theater Thursdays."
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Pod people take over City Lit Theater!
|City Lit Theater presents|
|The Body Snatchers|
|Adapted and directed by Paul Edwards
From the novel by Jack Finney
at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
[ Thru May 9 | tickets: $25 | more info ]
Reviewed by Leah A. Zeldes
If the late-night creature feature is your idea of fun, you’ll love City Lit Theater’s clever and nostalgic version of The Body Snatchers.
Bringing science fiction to the stage often requires surmounting difficult problems of special effects. Creating futuristic worlds and horrifying aliens is a lot easier for moviemakers than it is for theater directors. Yet in this lively world-premiere staging, the horrors are all conveyed — wonderfully — by the actors, while the special effects evoke not the future, but the past.
Based on Jack Finney’s 1955 novel, which was in turn the basis for the seminal 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and remakes and sequels in 1978, 1993 and 2007, the production effectively uses video displays of the 1950s – the Atomic Age – to create mood, reminding us of the era, paying homage to the films and sometimes standing in for sets on the small and minimally furnished stage.
The original novel and the film were set in the 1950s simply because they were created in the ’50s. In 2010, however, that timing conveys a sense of solid normality, of a time of innocence and placidity against which the invasion of the emotionless vegetable people seems even more unspeakably alien than it would be amid the turmoil of our war-torn and politically weird 21st century. (Oddly, however, the adaptation dismisses the 1950s’ own political peculiarity, to which the original’s theme of infiltration partly alludes.)
In case you’ve somehow managed to miss all the versions of this eerie story, the plot follows the residents of a small Marin County, CA town who are gradually replaced by identical but impassive beings that grow in giant pods.
Brian Pastor plays Miles, the protagonist and narrator. A doctor, lately divorced, Miles is among the first to hear of the trouble when his old flame, the seductive Becky (Sheila Willis), also newly divorced, comes to him with her concerns over her cousin (Susie Griffith), who’s become convinced that their uncle isn’t really their uncle. Then more and more townspeople report such convictions about their relatives. Meanwhile, romance rekindles between Miles and Becky, though both are gun-shy.
After Miles’ frightened friends Jack and Theodora (Thad Anzur and Shawna Tucker) reveal a startling find in their basement, the foursome begins to tumble to the bizarre and terrifying truth, despite the glib efforts of Mannie (Jerry Bloom), a psychologist, to dismiss it all as mass hysteria, like the Mattoon Mania. No one’s immune, not even the police (Andrew Jorczak).
City Lit has loads of fun with this show, injecting humorous touches at every level, from the fake newspapers on the video screens to the twitching pod people to unexpected reactions on Miles’ asides to the audience. Pastor, with a keen sense of comic timing, takes the focus of the show, but fine performances feature throughout. The supporting characters — especially Bloom’s urbane Mannie, Kingsley Day’s creepy Uncle Ira and June Eubanks’ sly takes on two female roles — add subtlety and interest.
The whole cast follows ably along with Paul Edwards’ somewhat uneven script, lurching from the pure camp and shrill thrills of the B-movies to the novel’s reflective commentary on suburban married life — the point, of course, being that horrors don’t all come from outer space.