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Theater

Elmhurst's GreenMan Theatre to present closing weekend of 'A Tale of Two Cities'

ELMHURST – Although "A Tale of Two Cities" is a familiar story, GreenMan Theatre Troupe hopes audiences will appreciate its fresh approach to the story.

"It's a really exciting script, I think, for the audience," said GreenMan Theatre Artistic Director David Soria, who is directing the production.

The production opened May 5 at First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York St., Elmhurst, and will continue through May 21. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.

GreenMan Theatre Troupe's version is an adaption by Christopher Walsh, a Chicago-based actor and writer, of the Charles Dickens' novel. Soria said audiences have been warmly embracing the production.

"They have been really swept up by the action and caught up in the intrigue of the characters and have been surprised at how relevant the story still is," Soria said. "I have talked to other people who may be a little new to Dickens who said, 'Gosh, I really have to go read that book or re-read it.' They've just been really taken by it. So I'm excited with how the production is coming together."

He said people who love Dickens and the book should enjoy the fact that the production remains true to the novel.

"In a way, it is a very faithful adaptation of the book, while at the same time, bringing it more into a dramatic context, highlighting the action and the interaction between the characters, the focus on the two men, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, and their relationship with Lucie Manette," Soria said. "The backdrop, certainly, is the French Revolution, and that's obviously an important part of the story that impacts their lives. But I think what the audience will find is that the play takes them on a headlong journey with the characters as they move forward faster and faster towards the inevitable as they get drawn into the events of the French Revolution."

The production features a cast of 10. Four of the actors have appeared in other GreenMan Theatre productions, Soria said.

He noted several of the actors were particularly excited to be part of the production.

"Barbara Anderson, who plays Madame Defarge, is a former teacher at New Trier High School and she taught this book for almost 30 years, and she said it is just an absolute thrill to be in the play," Soria said. "Justin Vidovic, who plays Sydney Carton, and Jennifer Schreiner, who plays Lucie Manette, both commented to me about how they remember reading the book when they were younger and really being caught up in the action and were very excited about the opportunity to bring the play to life. And Toria Hollyn, who plays the seamstress, also commented on how meaningful she found the book when she read it in context."

Soria co-founded the nonprofit GreenMan Theatre Trouple in 2003. He is pleased with what the theater company has been able to accomplish.

"Our hope is to bring really exciting plays to the community, to be a source of pride for the community, and we continue to grow every year," Soria said. "We still run into folks who live in Elmhurst who say, 'Oh, gosh, I didn't know there was a theater right in town.' But more and more, we're running into folks who live in Elmhurst that say, 'Oh, yeah, you're from GreenMan. I need to get out and see a show.' Hopefully, folks who live in Elmhurst and the surrounding area will increasingly discover us and feel that this is a place where they will be entertained and occasionally challenged."

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If you go

What: GreenMan Theatre Troupe's production of "A Tale of Two Cities"

When: 7:30 p.m. May 19 and 20, 2 p.m. May 21

Where: First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York St., Elmhurst

Cost: $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors

Info: 630-464-2646; greenmantheatre.org

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