January 9, 2013 • 03:40:49 p.m.

Theater Undreground to stage ‘Doubting Thomason’

By JAMI KUNZER – jkunzer@shawmedia.com

(Photo provided)

The theater company dedicated to “flipping the perception of live theater” in McHenry County is at it again.

On hiatus since November 2011, Theater Undreground will return this weekend with its latest show, “Doubting Thomason.”

Based on “Killer Joe” by Tracy Letts, which was made into a film now available on U-Verse with Emile Hirsch and Matthew McConaughey, the play was performed by a theater company in Los Angeles.

Corey Keane, a member of Theater Undreground, saw it live and suggested the Richmond-based group put it on. The writer agreed. And with Keane and Christian Baker as co-directors, the show opens Jan. 11.

“It’s like a play within a play,” said Tim Mosbach, Theater Undreground co-founder.

Loosely based on a true story, “Doubting Thomason” tells the story of a theater company, similar to Theater Undreground, that must come up with a new play five days before the show is set to go on.

Unbeknownst to the company, another local competing theater company already had obtained the rights to the play and is putting it on themselves.

The main character, “Thomason,” the company’s artistic director, vows to write a new play that the company can put on in five days.

He sits down and begins writing on stage. He then leaves the stage, and his words basically are acted out before him by the members of the company, who’ve become characters in his play.

Originally written with “a lot of nudity,” Mosbach said the writer agreed to let Theater Undreground to change up the script a bit and lessen the nudity from full-on to partial. The show does include violence, and should be viewed as rated “R,” its creators say.

“It’s almost like a Quentin Tarantino type of script, but very comedic as well,” Mosbach said. “There’s high drama, gun toting, ‘I’m going to shoot you because you’re cheating with my wife.’ One scene, you might be afraid and scared. ... The next, you’re probably laughing.”

As is the case with all of its shows, Theater Undreground donates a portion of ticket sales to area nonprofit groups. For this show, $2 of every $10 ticket will go to TownSquare Players, which operates out of the Woodstock Opera House as the oldest area community theater company.

Also a nonprofit, Theater Undreground began in a basement based on a love of theater before expanding to the Memorial Hall Civic Theatre in Richmond. Its members encourage local actors, writers, directors, singers and musicians to take part in an effort to “make it so the community is entertained and involved.”


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