Cast Has Lived Parts in Play

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

Cast Has Lived Parts in Play


"Marvin's Room" moves into the Black Box Theater this weekend at the Batavia Fine Arts Center. It promises to be theater so gripping that playwright Scott McPherson's words may be with you long after the lights go out on the production.

According to the play's synopsis, "Marvin's Room" is an "emotionally charged and insightful look into the irrepressible nature of the human spirit in the face of death." It is so much more than that because of McPherson's way of peeling away the layers of family relationships. Just when his words have you grabbing for a pack of Kleenex, McPherson provides comic relief. In the face of sadness, the clever dialogue and chaotic comedy make you laugh out loud.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 24-26.

Two members of the Batavia High School cast, Jacob Livingston and Claire Heronemus, know all too well about dealing with death and debilitating illness. Livingston, who is assistant director and plays the title role of Marvin, has seen his share of sadness after losing his mother to cancer and dealing with his younger sister's challenges in dealing with the disease when she was in middle school.

"Before we began rehearsals, my sister, Sarah, came in and we shared our story with the cast," Jacob said. "I think it was helpful for everyone to talk about it."

Even though Livingston was familiar with the play, he admitted to finding the dialogue challenging.

"There were times I had to just turn away because it was too difficult for me personally," he said. "Everything was just too raw."

Livingston's experiences have helped the cast to understand the challenges of dealing with cancer.

"At one point, Kelsey (Skomer), whose character is dealing with leukemia, looks into the mirror," said Livingston. "We talked about how devastating it is for women to not just deal with the disease but to also deal with the shock of losing their hair."

Cancer, catastrophic illnesses, caring for the aged, divorce, caring for troubled children ... are all dealt with in this play.

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