CHICAGO – A play written by the former theater director at Sauk Valley Community College is debuting in Chicago this weekend.
Jason Hedrick’s “Vanya on the Plains” will premiere Sunday at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave., in Chicago’s West Loop; it will run for 6 weeks.
Hedrick, of Manlius, was director of Sauk’s Mathis Theatre from 2001 to 2011. He attended Manlius High School, now Bureau Valley, and is a Sauk graduate. He teaches speech at John A. Logan College in Carterville and directs the O’Neil Theatre.
“Vanya on the Plains” is a drama about a future totalitarian society in which 79-year-old Elijah convinces his friends and family to perform Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” even though they’ve never read the play and don’t understand the art of acting.
“It’s part sci-fi with a touch of environmental collapse and a dash of noir,” Hedrick said. “Strange, funny and a bit grim – in other words, Chekhov meets Phillip K Dick.”
The play first took shape at the Marion Kleinau Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2017 and explores a society detached from human interaction and focused more on digital virtual reality.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me as a writer,” he said. “The Artistic Home creates a unique connection and intimacy between performer and audience – and that’s the kind of theater I thrive on.”
Shaw Media reporter Dave Cook contributed to this article.
Go to theartistichome.org for more information or to buy tickets for the play "Vanya on the Plains," which debuts Sunday and will run for 6 weeks at The Artistic Home in Chicago.