‘Men are Dogs’ takes on battle of the sexes
By Kathy Cichon For Sun-Times Media January 8, 2014 4:08PM
Daniel Patfield, left, and Nancy Braus appear in the Elgin Theatre Company production of “Men are Dogs,” a comedy by Joe Simonelli. | SUBMITTED PHOTO
‘Men Are Dogs’
♦ Jan. 10-26
♦ Kimball Street Theater of Elgin Academy, Kimball Street and Dundee Avenue
♦ Tickets, $12-$15 adults
♦ (847) 741-0532
Updated: January 8, 2014 4:08PM
It’s a new take on the battle of the sexes.
Psychologist Cecilia Monahan runs a support group for single and divorced women in Joe Simonelli’s “Men Are Dogs,” the latest production presented by The Elgin Theatre Community. The show opens Jan. 10 and runs weekends to Jan. 26.
“The funny part about it is the therapist herself is the one who is most resistant to trying to move on and trying new relationships,” said Director Linda Collins. “It’s just a great comedy.”
Part of the therapy Cecilia plans for her patients involves role-playing sessions, in which the women take out their anger on an actor/bartender hired to play the men during difficult moments in their lives. The idea is for them to get out their angst and aggression.
“He’s hired and doesn’t really know what he’s going to be getting into,” Collins said. “The ladies roleplay with him during the session, and he definitely takes the brunt of their anger towards men.”
After the actor quits because he can’t take the abuse, Cecilia hires her new delivery man, Bob Crowley to fill the role.
“He turns out to be quite different from what the ladies expect,” Collins said. “And they are rather charmed by him, so it’s a whole different scenario when he comes in to the role playing assistant in the session.”
Bob is also not what Cecilia expects, with the play taking a look at the relationship between the two.
“It’s really funny, but it’s a relatable thing,” Collins said. “Certainly relationships are difficult for everybody.”
The show features an eight-member cast from Elgin and the northwest suburbs. Some of the cast members will also appear in a short skit, “Poker Party,” before the play.
Written by cast member Daniel Patfield of Crystal Lake, the original piece is a bit of a switch, with the women having a poker night instead of the men, Collins said.
“We wanted to do a theme of the ongoing battle of the sexes, and how there’s certain stereotypes associated with the relationships men and women have,” she said. “We turn the tables a little bit on the men.”
While the winter weather has provided a bit of an obstacle to rehearsal times — one cancelled and others shortened, the production also had to hold additional auditions after a couple of original cast members had to drop out for health reasons.
“The cast that has come together is fantastic,” Collins said. “They work together beautifully, and we have a lot of fun.
“We crack each other up all the time because again, I think everybody can relate to the stories that are told,” she said. “And that is what I think makes it so much fun.”
As members of community theater, the cast is not paid to be there. They come because they love the theater and love to entertain, Collins said.
“For people to come three, sometimes four times a week of their own volition is a pretty admirable and cool thing,” she said. “That they’re that dedicated to the project and that they want to really entertain the members of the community who come to see the show. And I definitely know they will be entertained and have a great evening out.”
Tickets for “Men Are Dogs” are $15 for adults and $12 for youth and seniors. Group rates are available. For reservations or more information, call (847) 741-0532, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit elgin-theatre.org.