‘Picnic’ returns to Riverfront Playhouse
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media May 24, 2012 9:38AM
♦ May 26-June 30
♦ Riverfront Playhouse, 11 S. Water St., Aurora
♦ Tickets, $12-$15
♦ (630) 897-9496
Updated: May 24, 2012 9:38AM
When David Morris directs “Picnic” for the Riverfront Playhouse, a company he founded, he will turn 85 years old during the run of the show.
“Picnic” by William Inge runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from May 26 to June 30 at the Riverfront Playhouse in Aurora.
“It’s a play about people, is the best way to describe it,” he said. “It’s about people we used to know, (and remembering) what it was like 50 years ago, when women had to wear skirts, and there was sex but nobody talked about it, and there was a different boy-girl relationship all around.”
Morris has directed the play “four or five” times over the years, going all the way back to 1962 when he directed it for his Master’s project at the Goodman School of Drama.
The play is about relationships, between parents and children and men and women. The show has a cast of 12, he said.
The action begins with a handsome young man named Hal arrives in a sleepy Kansas town just as its residents are preparing for a Labor Day picnic.
“He’s a nice guy. Not the brightest kid in the world, but sex just oozes out of him. It’s one of those things,” Barry said.
Hal’s visit stirs things up, especially for beauty queen Madge, her smart but awkward sister Millie and their overprotective mother, Flo.
A neighbor suggests Hal take shy Millie to the picnic as his date, but he’s attracted to Madge. Drama, comedy, passion and fighting ensue.
It’s set in Kansas in the 1950s, which was a dry state at that time.
“There’s a drunk scene and a dance scene,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a cell phone and there’s no such thing as a computer. Girls had to wear skirts.”
The challenge has been to impart upon the females in the cast that notion of gender roles at the time, he said.
“It’s very difficult to make the girls realize that girls were girls in those days,” he said. “They were different from boys, and they knew it. They lived in a different world.”
Expect an evening of a lot of laughs and some remembrances of times passed, he said.
“It’s well-written play. There’s something there for everyone. Even younger people will find it amusing too. It’s one of my favorite plays.”
“Picnic” includes Frank Warpeha of Oak Brook as Hal, Tanya Alina Jonsson of Aurora as Madge, Katrina Syrris of South Elgin as Millie, Kristen Duerdoth of Geneva as Flo, and Vicki White of Batavia as Mrs. Potts.