Thursday September 21st 2017

“Stones In His Pockets”

Stones-Brian Vaughn, David Ivers What a fitting time to open an Irish play- St. Patrick’s Day week-end , as Northlight Theatre celebrates with a quaint Irish tale, “Stones In His Pockets”, written by Marie Jones. It is a story about a small town in Ireland where an epic American film is being filmed and many of the townspeople get the opportunity to make some money as extras. But, is it the extra money that they will earn that Ms Jones is writing about? Or is it in fact what the filmmakers will do to their land and their lives during this period of time. Being a small and poor community, each of the townspeople have their own stories and in this roughly two hours of story telling , we get to meet some of these people, all played by the two actors in the show,Brian Vaughn and David Ivers. Ivers plays Jake Quinn ( as his main character) who has just come home from a dream visit to New York where all his dreams were crushed. Now he is an extra in this epic and as the days go on, he begins to dream of his discovery for the film world. many of his friends and even his cousin Sean all appear to have this dream and hope.

Charlie Conlon( the powerful Brian Vaughn) just lost his local business, a video store and has a movie script in his pocket, hoping that one of the powers to be will take a look-see and will want to make this film allowing for Charlie to get his fame and fortune. As you can see, this is a story of hope, in some cases, desperate hope, and dreams ( often easily smashed). Directed by J. R. Sullivan on an almost bare stage, this is an energetic little story involving a great many characters, all played by our two actors. I might call this choreographed instead of directed due to the movement that each actor takes as they slip into and out of each of the characters they portray- smooth as silk and always allowing the audience to know who they are and what is happening. This is a difficult task, in particular with accents and over a period of two acts ( almost 2 hours in total).

The title stems from a character, Sean Harkin, a dreamy boy who loved his life as a lad, dreaming of one day owning his own farm where he could raise milk cows and a family. When the times grew bad, his father sold off a great deal of the farm and  the cows, making Sean see that his dream would not come true. Now, as an extra in the film, he finds himself wanting this life and of course is attracted to the star Caroline, who rejects his offers and leaves the bar with his cousin. A despondent young man who has yet seen another dream crushed finds it is time to end it all and so he fills his pockets with stones and enters the water, coming out for more stones until he can  no longer do so.We never see any of this, but we do hear a great deal from the other characters- brilliantly done, by the way!Stones, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn

This is not a happy story, but there are some happy scenes and some fun times to go along with the sheer tragedy of life for people and their egos, dreams, hopes and aspirations. Life can be cruel and in this story we can see just how cruel people can be to others. Despite the tragedy of the story, it is the story telling that is unique and different and a pleasure to watch. These two fine actors playing a dozen or so characters with merely a change of  stance, voice, demeanor or jacket are astounding. At the close of the play,  as they come out for their curtain call, with them are the empty shoes of the other characters they have just presented to us.

The technical part of this play is purely the sound (Lindsay Jones),lighting (Casey Diers),costumes (David Kay Mickelsen) and the props ( Scott Davis, who also designed the sparse set). These are the fringe items to the two strong actors who tell us the tale in a delightful manor as prescribed by director  Sullivan. “Stones” will continue at Northlight through April 14th with performances as follows:

Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ( no matinee on 4/3 and no evening on 4/10)

Thursdays 7:30 p.m.

Fridays 8 p.m.

Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sundays at 2:30 p.m. there will be  7 p.m. performances April 7th and 14th) and NO PERFORMANCE of EASTER SUNDAY

Tickets range from $25-$72 and are available at the theater box office  located at 9501 Skokie Boulevard ( in The North Shore Center For Performing Arts), by phone at 847-673-6300 or online at www.northlight.org

Plenty of free parking and lots of dining in the area.                                                                                                       Stones-250x100

To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click “Stones”

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