Sauk Valley Community College’s Theater Department will break new ground with its upcoming original full-stage adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s The Euphio Question. This is the first time this full production of will be shown in the area.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday November 18; Friday, November 19; and Saturday, November 20, in the Mathis Theatre. There will also be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 21.
This production is adapted and directed by Jason Hedrick, Sauk’s director of theater. Sauk’s production of The Euphio Question has a history unique to the Mathis Theatre. A stripped-down show with a different cast was presented at the 2009 Petit Jean Performance Festival and Mathis Theatre's Spotlight Hour. The show was so successful as a festival piece that Hedrick and cast were invited to Southern Illinois University’s Kleinau Theatre to perform the show in July 2009. A number of original cast members from that show, Andrew Mihel, Jake Beck, and Andrew Burke, are studying performance at SIU.
Now Hedrick and Technical Director Andrew Kida have turned this small festival piece (originally done with eight chairs and some sound equipment) into a main-stage technical production. The script has been expanded and the show re-cast (although three original actors remain with two of them reprising their original roles).
Originally a short story from Vonnegut’s collection Welcome to the Monkey House, The Euphio Question was written and set in the 1950s. It involves naive scientist, Fred Bockman who discovers he can channel cosmic rays with a special device called the Euphoriaphone. Radio host Lew Harrison wants to exploit it. Caught in between is the Professor who wants to protect this invention from being discovered because while it makes everyone who comes into contact with it indescribably happy, the Euphoriaphone also has harsh consequences. This comedy/satire uses music, dance, and a wash of science fiction references that is appropriate for all ages.
The cast features Ethan Waters, Rock Falls, as the Professor; Kenneth Roberts Barrett Jr., Dixon, as Dr. Fred Bockman; John Paul Wirchnianski, Sterling, as Lew Harrison; Erica Dimmig, Sterling, Susan Tyler Young, Rock Falls, as Eddie; Patty Bush, Morrison, as Marion (Nov. 18 + 20); Laura Kuroda, Sterling, as Marion (Nov. 18 +19); Jorge Chirinos, Sterling, as the Milkman; Carlye Schweska, Sterling, as Girl Scout 1; Mona Weitz, Sterling, as Girl Scout 2; Sam Twining, Sterling, as the State Trooper; and Nathan Waters, Rock Falls, as the Western Union Boy.
Lighting and Stage Design is by Andrew Kida, the assistant director is Sarah Fassig, and the Mathis Theatre stage is managed by Spencer Aurand.
This one-act show runs without intermission. Tickets for The Euphio Question are $10 for adults, $5 each for seniors, children, and groups of 10 or more, and $2 for Sauk students. For reservations, call Sauk’s Information Center at 815/288-5511, ext. 385. There will be a reception to meet the cast following the Saturday, November 20 performance in the East Mall.