Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Northeastern Illinois University’s Stage Center Theatre will debut its latest production, “Gregor and the Squonk,” on Thursday, Feb. 19.

This play is a modern fairytale with a bit of a twist. It tells a story of Margaret Courtepy and her undying desire for beauty, which has led her to an obsession with plastic surgery. Meanwhile, husband Gregor Courtepy is in search of a mystical squonk, who has the ability to grant eternal beauty.

“Fairytales often teach us lessons,” said Angie Sweigart-Gallagher, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media and Theatre and Director of “Gregor and the Squonk.” “A lesson is conveyed about beauty and our health and how it can be distorted. We fail to realize that we are beautiful. This play recognizes that.”

This is a play that has poignant moments and moments of comedy, all of which are reflective of modern-day life that almost anyone can relate to, Sweigart-Gallagher said.

Crafting this play was a unique experience for Sweigart-Gallagher and had many “firsts.” Although this play is the third she has directed at Northeastern, it is the first time she has worked alongside a playwright with NEIU students.

Dan Caffrey of Tympanic Theatre, the playwright of “Gregor and the Squonk,” has been very involved in production.

“Dan was generous with his time and worked very hard with the students,” Sweigart-Gallagher said.  “He also edited the script and adapted it to make changes to cater to Northeastern and the actors.”

It is also the first time a student has contributed to creating music for a play at Northeastern. Tyler Miles is a junior Music major with a minor in Communication, Media and Theatre. "I want to do the music and theatre thing once I get into the real world, so at the beginning of every semester I ask the directors if they could use any music in the shows they're doing," said Miles. "I've never written so much music in such a short time in my life. I think it amounts to 30 minutes of music written in three weeks. I'm really really proud of my art and the show I'm part of."

“It will be fun to get it up on its feet and to an audience,” said Sweigart-Gallagher who is eagerly anticipating opening night.

Here are the dates of the scheduled performances: Feb. 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27 at 7:30 and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.