Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth / Michelle Gilbert, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

October 10, 2008

School of Theatre and Dance presents
epic British comedy ‘Revengers’ Comedies’

DeKalb — A failed attempt at suicide and a resultant pact for revenge is actually funnier than it sounds in the upcoming School of Theatre and Dance production, “The Revengers’ Comedies,” by playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

The second production of the School’s 2008-2009 Subscription Series season, “The Revengers’ Comedies” is a dark and epic British comedy, presented in two parts and opening Thursday, Oct. 23.

The comedy unfolds through the eyes of down-and-out businessman Henry Bell and depressed aristocrat Karen Knightly. These two characters meet on the bridge from which Henry plans to jump. His intention is interrupted when he discovers Karen has already tried to jump but gotten hung up on the way down and now hangs by her belt.

After long discussion and mutual congratulations on surviving their attempted suicides, they each learn what brought the other to the bridge. Over drinks and hot tea into the early morning hours, they convince each other to get even with the causes of their emotional states.

Henry will take revenge on Karen’s enemies, and in return, Karen will take revenge on Henry’s enemies. The plot line begins to twist as Henry unintentionally forms a relationship with Karen’s foe, and then Karen receives an executive position at the very place Henry was fired from.

Chicago-based director, playwright and singer-songwriter, Eric Ziegenhagen, will guest direct the production. Ziegenhagen is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, spent a year researching bilingual theater in Canada and Europe on a fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and in 1999 was named by American Theatre magazine as one of 15 up-and-coming theater artists under the age of 30. 

“The Revengers’ Comedies” is a large production that runs in two parts and features 20 different characters. The show will be presented on different days and times in order to provide patrons options for how they wish to attend, whether attending consecutive evenings, all day, or on the same evening over two weeks.

“The Revengers’ Comedies” Part 1 runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct 25 and Nov. 1, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26.

“The Revengers’ Comedies” Part 2 runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.

The Saturday performances will include both parts, but between Part 1 and Part 2 there will be ample time for a dinner break. The house will open a half-hour before show times.

The O’Connell Theatre is located in the Stevens Building, behind the McDonald’s and Pizza Hut restaurants on west Lincoln Highway. Tickets can be purchased from the Stevens Building box office or by calling (815) 753-1600.

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