One of my favorite spots in Oakbrook is that little hidden treasure known as The Mayslake Peabody Estates, located just off 31st street and just west of route 83. This is a glorious setting ( in the summer when they do Shakespeare- on the lawn, it is entrancing) where First Folio Theatre makes its home. In what was at one time a chapel, with its Cathedral ceilings and a fairly plain stage area, they manage to bring us some of the greatest small shows, both drama and high comedy. They are currently offering “Underneath The Lintel”, a one woman show written by Glen Berger, depicting the tale of a Dutch librarian, who is hosting a seminar to tell of her adventure regarding her previous employment. As a librarian, one day, she found a book returned through the after hours slot that was 113 years overdue. yes, 113 years! Part of her job is to get in touch with the offender and of course collect the fines. Inside the book, in which the borrower cannot be identified ( he is listed as A> in the records), she finds laundry ticket and for the next 80 minutes we join her as she tells of her adventure in tracking down the “Wandering Jew”!
Each place she travels reveals yet another clue and as she tells of her travels and the stories that go along with them she also shows us slides of the places she has visited along the way and the mountain of clues which she calls her evidence a sif she is about to take someone to court to collect these late fines. Kristine Thatcher is divine as “The Librarian” as she moves about the stage ( again, very open with various prop pieces to set up a lecture hall atmosphere. Her desk, a suitcase ( well traveled, I might say) filled with all of her evidence/clues, a projection on a stand, a screen and a few other pieces. Director Alison C. Vesely has her action spaced so that everyone in the audience gets the feeling that “The Librarian” is actually talking to them, as an individual.
On the whole, this travel book has indeed worked some magic, for until this event, our Librarian, was a lonely person who went to work each day, did her duties, returned home and enjoyed her evening of solitude with her television set or a good book. Her travels to unravel the mystery of this man, A. take her all over the world as she meets many people and learns of some of life’s miracles. While her taking a vacation which was supposed to be two weeks, continues on for weeks and weeks, her thirst for knowledge about this mystery man will not allow her to quit. While it does cost her the job she cherished so much, her adventure gives her a new lease on life and allows her to see that there is far more to life than just “existing”.
Ms.Thatcher is amazing as she opens her heart and soul to us as this character. Doing a one person show, and being onstage for 80 minutes ( no intermission) can be quite an ordeal for an actor, and requires a great deal of love for the script/story they are telling. Ms Thatcher becomes her character, which makes every moment believable, from start to finish. We learn about “The Lintel” ( most of us did not know that this is the door frame), we learn about some of the Jewish traditions, some meaning to the second coming and a great deal more. Mostly, we learn how important it is for one to grab on to life an dto live it to the fullest- that each day is a “gift” and that we should embrace it with all we have in us.
Wednesdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 3 p.m.
The tickets range from $30-$37 ( a bargain for theater of this quality) adn can be purchased by calling the theater at 630-986-8067 or online at www.firstfolio.org
There are discounts for seniors and students
To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com , go to Review Round-up and click on “Underneath The Lintel”
Plenty of free parking and you are just minutes away from Oakbrook where there are many dining spots to select from.