Mundelein Theatre performs different kind of production this season


photo courtesy of Dylan DeBord

In the winter play “Curious Savage,” Mrs. Savage , played by senior Katie Staroszyck comforts Mrs. Paddy, who was played by senior Paige Steiner.

Dylan DeBord, Staff Reporter








Even though Mundelein Theatre’s latest production, “The Curious Savage” took place in a mental hospital, the story actually wasn’t quite as sad in contrast to the fall production, “The Elephant Man.”

With the success of “The Elephant Man” from Nov. 21-23, Theatre Director Jonathan Meier directed a show with a similar theme but a different tone in “The Curious Savage.”

“Within a season, we try to get a nice variation in literature,” Meier said. “I picked ‘Elephant Man’ for our fall play first, so that kind of led me to needing a comedy for winter.”

Mundelein Theatre performed its third production of the season from Jan.30-Feb. 2.

“[‘Curious Savage’] is a very sweet and sentimental story, so it would fit nicely into our season,” Meier said. “It’s a show I’ve always liked and have known about for years and years–since I was in high school actually.”

The play is about main character, Mrs. Savage, a widow whose husband has left her a large sum of money. Her hope is to keep the money away from her foolish stepchildren by giving it to charities.

Mrs. Savage was played by senior Katie Staroszyck in the principal cast performance and by sophomore Katie Myrant in the understudy cast performance.

The understudy cast and the principal cast duo has been featured in Mundelein Theatre’s winter shows for two-to-three years now.

Miss Willie was played by junior Megan Saunders in the understudy cast performance.

“The audience can connect with the humor of the play,” Saunders said. “It makes the audience feel special and loved in a way because the story is so heartwarming.”

One aspect of the play that creates this heartwarming feeling is the main character Mrs. Savage.

“[Ethel Savage] sticks to her morals and is very cunning when dealing with her stepchildren,” Staroszczyk said. “What I love most about her is that although she leads her stepchildren on a wild goose chase, she has this kindness to her and treats everyone like a real person, no matter what their peculiarities might be.”

Staroszczyk also described that one of the most challenging aspects for her while playing her character on stage was learning to find moments of vulnerability. Staroszczyk wanted audience members to see that even when Mrs. Savage keeps her head held high in the face of adversity, she doesn’t have all the answers at some moments in the play.

Another unique aspect to this year’s winter play was the set. Meier stressed that most of the theatre program’s sets are built to look more representational and impressionistic to the audience rather than realistic, but this year the theatre technicians set out to build a more realistic set.

“{The play} has what’s called a unit set,” Meier said. “It’s a big, interior set… [representing] the inside of a mental institution.”

Meier said the mental institution is supposed to be upscale and residential, so the technicians built a set with windows, doors, walls and platforms for different levels and stairs.

Meier added such a set isn’t built too often by the theatre technicians.

Meier said prior to opening night, “Our technicians are going to have a lot of fun building that.”