College of DuPage (COD) College Theater presents Caryl Churchill’s “The Skriker,” directed by COD Professor of Theater Amelia Barrett at the McAninch Arts Center’s Playhouse Theatre, April 16 to 26. Preview is Thursday, April 16. This show contains strong language and subject matter that may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive theatergoers.
In “The Skriker,” Churchill takes a surreal ageless shape shifter drawn from obscure British folklore and brings it into the present to deliver a disturbing message about a world out of balance. The Skriker appears and torments the human souls she seduces and seeks to imprison in the underworld: a teenage mental patient, accused of killing her newly born baby and her pregnant best friend.
Barrett shares, “‘The Skriker’ begs the social question: Am I mad or is the world I live in mad? Am I responsible or are the people that came before me accountable? What is real – my perception or what I can touch? Answers are determined by perspective, which changes when you look in the mirror, or consider perspectives in 100 years or beyond. While the answer might never be finalized, one must determine how to move forward.”
“The Skriker” has been described as one of the strangest and cruelest plays written by Churchill, presenting a world filled with the supernatural, the harsh, and the cold-blooded. The New York Post calls it, “Nutty … science fiction for the James Joyce set…. A phantasmagoria about death and damage.” And the New York Times says, “Like the best fairy tales, it directly addresses the darker passages of the unconsciousness.” The Skriker premiered in 1994 at the London’s Royal National Theatre and the 1996
American Debut at New York’s Joe Papp Public Theatre starring Jayne Atkinson, Caroline Seymour, Angie Phillips and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Caryl Churchill (playwright) is an English dramatist known for her use of non-naturalistic techniques and feminist themes, dramatization of the abuses of power, and exploration of sexual politics. Her early work developed Bertolt Brecht’s modernist dramatic and theatrical techniques to explore issues of gender and sexuality and from 1986 onwards, she began to experiment with forms of dance-theater. Her numerous awards include two Obies for Playwriting: “Cloud Nine” (1981), “Top Girls (1982); one for Best New Play: “Serious Money” (1987); and one for Best Sustained Achievement (2001). In 2010 she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
The cast hails from 19 Chicago suburbs including Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Brookfield, Burr Ridge, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Hanover Park, Itasca, LaGrange, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Plainfield, Roselle, Streamwood, West Chicago, Warrenville and Wheaton. It features Victoria Depa (Lily) and Amber Ramos (Josie). Incarnations of Skriker will be played by 13 actors including: Hunter Bachar, Grace Beifuss, Reen Bernasor, Rick Chong, Cassie Ciardullo, Mary Therese “Pip” Di Piero, Christina Freiboth, Renata Hatcher, Conner Lindquist, Jennifer Schwartz, Marisa Warner, Tenleigh Wells and Auguste Viskonte. Timothy Bode, Jacob Coats, Abbey Corona, Josh Dennison, Ed Garzaro, Jordan Goldstein, Max Kennedy, James O’Byrne, Katya Pospisil, Ryan Sinclair and Tim White are featured in the Ensemble.
The design team for Skriker includes Glen Ellyn’s own Amelia Barrett (director), Aurora’s Michael Moon (scenic/properties/sound design), Chicago’s Allison R. Amidei (costume/ makeup/hair design) and Glen Ellyn’s Jon Gantt (lighting design). Glen Ellyn’s Patrick Wood is stage manager and Kara Barrios (Aurora) is assistant stage manager.
Amelia Barrett (director) is professor of theater at College of DuPage. Barrett has directed COD productions of “The Troll Booth,” “The Bully Plays,” “Almost, Maine,” “It’s Just a Box;” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “One, Two…What Comes Next;” “Recent Tragic Events,” “Sleeping Beauty;” “Dark Play,” “Dracula;” “Of Mice and Men,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Disco Pigs,” “Aladdin,” “The Glory of Living;” “Robin Hood,” “Lucky Stiff,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Alabama Rain;” “As You Like It,” “Godspell,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “What She Found There” and “Heartland.” She has directed professionally for multiple Buffalo Theatre Ensemble productions, where she was also a member of the acting ensemble. As an actor, she has appeared with regional companies including Idaho Repertory Theatre, internationally at the Edinburgh Festival and in Chicago venues including City Lit. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association as well as the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the University of Texas at Austin and a Graduate Certificate in Laban Movement Analysis from Columbia College, Chicago.
Offering an Associate in Arts degree, the COD College Theater Department offers a variety of courses including Acting, Acting for the Camera, Audition, Combat, Dance Theatre, Directing, Improvisation, and, Stagecraft, Stage Management, Stage Movement, Stage Make-up, Technical Production, Theater Appreciation and Voice Over Acting. Support is made possible by a generous gift from the College of DuPage Foundation’s Dr. Donald and Helen (Gum) Westlake Fund for Student Productions.
College of DuPage (COD) College Theater presents Caryl Churchill’s “The Skriker, at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Ill. April 16-April 26. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14. For tickets or more information call 630.942.4000 or visit AtTheMAC.org. This show contains strong language and subject matter that may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive theatergoers.
About the MAC
McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of
is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 820-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org. You can also learn more about the MAC on Facebook at facebook.com/AtTheMAC or on twitter at twitter.com/AtTheMAC.
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McAninch Arts Center (MAC) is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit cod.edu/foundation or call 630.942.2462.
Programs at the MAC are partially supported through funding from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.