A Room With a View

October 13 – December 3, 2006

This classic love story is a passionate exploration of how we can live and love more truthfully. Forster’s rich and eccentric characters populate this boldly physical and highly theatrical production, creating a visceral experience only the stage can give.

Based on the novel by E. M. Forster 
Adapted by Christina Calvit 
Directed by Dorothy Milne

  • Hillary Clemens (Lucy Honeychurch)

    Hillary is delighted to be making her Lifeline debut. Recent Chicago roles include Donna in Hurlyburly (The Gift Theatre Company), Anne Frank in And Then They Came For Me… and Mayella in To Kill a Mockingbird (Apple Tree TYA). Regional credits include Hero in Much Ado About Nothing(Heart of America Shakespeare Festival), Amy in Little Women (Coterie Theatre), and three seasons of A Christmas Carol at Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

  • John Coriell (Mr. Emerson)

    John has worked as an actor and voice talent for over 18 years. You may have seen or heard him in commercials for Office Max, Lennox, Portillo’s, and the Majestic Star Casino with Mike Ditka. Theatre roles include An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf with Appetitie Theatre, Bang the Drum Slowly at Steep Theatre in Chicago, and The Dining RoomI’m Not Rappaport, and The Dresser in Ohio.

  • Patricia Donegan (Catherine Allen, Mrs. Vyse)

    Patricia is delighted to be making her first appearance with Lifeline. She recently appeared with Strawdog Theatre in Curt Colombus’s Jeff Award winning translation of Three Sisters (After Dark Award for Best Ensemble). She has appeared in numerous Griffin Theatre productions including Picnic, and The Fifth of July. She was featured in Steep Theatre’s Jeff Nominated production of Book of Days and had the pleasure of working with David Cromer in Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Hot L Baltimore. Other Chicago credits include several Steppenwolf productions, Collaboraction’s To Kill a Mockingbird as well as The Lower DepthsEscape from Happiness and Frozen Assets with Shattered Globe Theatre. She has also appeared at Court Theatre, Lookingglass, Organic, Stage Left, Bailiwick and Chicago Dramatists. Patricia’s feature film debut will be in the upcoming Unconditional Love.

  • Bryson Engelen (George Emerson)

    Bryson recently appeared in Lifeline’s production of Johnny Tremain. He has also worked with several theaters around Chicago including Oracle Productions, Strawdog, Piven, and the Free Associates. Bryson is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago where he was allowed to do plays, circuses, movies, performance art, dance, fashion shows, and all sorts of other cultural stuff. While there he also interned at Court Theatre (acting), the Goodman (PR/Marketing), and Steppenwolf (casting).

  • Robert Kauzlaric (Rev. Eager, Cecil Vyse)

    Robert is a member of Lifeline’s artistic ensemble, and has appeared in numerous productions here during the past six seasons, including Return of the KingAround the World in 80 Days (Jeff Citation—Supporting Actor), The Killer AngelsStrong Poison and The Talisman Ring. Other acting credits include A Whistle in the Dark (Seanachaí Theatre Co.), Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV (Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre), The Nose (Greasy Joan & Co.), Balm in Gilead (the Hypocrites), Tartuffe (City Lit), Candida (Circle Theatre), and A Christmas Carol (New American Theater).

  • Lawrence Kern (Freddy Honeychurch, George Understudy)

    Lawrence is making his Lifeline debut with A Room With A View. He received his BFA from Southwestern University in his home state of Texas and recently finished up his MFA at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of his favorite roles he has played include the title role in Henry V, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Oscar Rolfe in Judgment at Nuremburg.

  • Morgan McCabe (Eleanor Lavish, Mrs. Honeychurch)

    Morgan is delighted to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the first time. She has appeared at various Chicago and regional theatres including Stonington Opera House (ME), Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Madison Repertory, The Gift, Ursa Major Ensemble (NYC), Lookingglass, Next, Apple Tree, Court, The Commons, International Performance Studio, Fox Theatricals and the Vienna English Theatre. She is a member of Stage Left Theatre Ensemble, and has an active career in on-camera and voice-over work.

  • Mark Richard (Mr. Beebe, Sir Harry Otway)

    Mark last appeared at Lifeline as Puddleglum in The Silver Chair and in the first production of Pride and Prejudice and Christmas on Mars. He also adapted Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister for Lifeline (Jeff Citation). Elsewhere he has appeared with Timeline, Writers Theatre, Remy Bumppo, and many others. He was artistic director of City Lit Theatre (1993-2000) where he adapted and appeared in (or directed) many adaptations, most notably the Jeeves stories of P.G. Wodehouse and the poetry of Raymond Carver.

  • Sandy Snyder (Charlotte Bartlett)

    Sandy is a founding member of Lifeline. Over the past 23 years favorite performance credits on the Lifeline MainStage include Strong Poison(Joseph Jefferson nomination for Supporting Actress), Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceLizard MusicThe Servant of Two Masters, and A Wrinkle in Time. Most recent KidSeries performance credits include Giggle, Giggle, Quack and Somebody Loves you, Mr. Hatch.

  • Hilary Williams (Minnie Beebe, Lucy understudy)

    Hilary is excited to be making her first appearance on the Lifeline stage. Her Chicago credits include The Changeling and Arabian Nights at Columbia College Chicago. Other credits include Thomasina in Arcadia (Blue Barn Theatre-Omaha, NE), Leisle in The Sound of Music (Omaha Community Playhouse-Omaha, NE), and several characters in the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s tour of A Christmas Carol.

  • Christina Calvit (Adaptor)

    Christina is a Lifeline ensemble member. She has written over a dozen theatrical adaptations which have been performed throughout the United States, including Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Joseph Jefferson Citation, 2004), Far from the Madding CrowdJane EyrePistols for Two (Joseph Jefferson Citation, 2000), The Talisman Ring (Joseph Jefferson Award, 1996) and Pride and Prejudice (Joseph Jefferson Citation, 1986). Her most recent adaptation, created with Composer/Lyricist George Howe, Queen Lucia, was awarded a 2005 After Dark Award and a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Citation for New Work. Original plays include Snowflake Tim’s Big Holiday AdventurePurloined PoeChaos (co-writer), and Several Voices from The Cloud (Agnes Nixon Award, 1981).

  • Dorothy Milne (Director)

    Dorothy is a Lifeline ensemble member and has been artistic director since 1999. She has directed numerous shows for Lifeline, including last season’s The Talisman Ring and Gaudy Night. Elsewhere in Chicago, she directed Stardust for Griffin Theatre and will also direct Be More Chill for them this spring. Dorothy is a writer/performer/director for the solo-performance collective Sweat Girls. She also serves on the organizing committee of the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, an annual arts/music/theater festival here in the Glenwood Avenue Arts District.

  • J Branson (Scenic Designer)

    J is delighted to be making his Lifeline Theatre debut. For 17 years, J has been a Chicago-based designer and is currently a resident artist for several Kansas, Wisconsin and Connecticut theaters. Recent national-tour credits include Beauty and the BeastBrigadoonand The Music Man, and original productions include Shockwave (Disney), Jungle Man and A Tale of Two Cities. J has done extensive work with Appletree Theatre, such as Three Tall WomenA Man of No ImportanceOld Wicked Songs, and Assassins. Additional Chicago-area productions include Stardust (Griffin Theatre), Company (Pegasus Players) and The Wizard of Oz (for which J received an After Dark Award). Regional credits include Thoroughly Modern MillieSmokey Joe’s CaféJekyll and Hyde, and Chess. J has an array of industrial design credits and has received three National Addy Awards.

  • John Sanchez (Lighting Designer)

    John has worked extensively in theater, dance, and television. On Lifeline’s stage he has lit Johnny TremainThe ShadowThe Sirens of Titan as well as Rikki Tikki TaviSophie’s MasterpieceCricket In Times Square, and remounts of Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type. Currently he is the Master Electrician/ Lighting Consultant for The Oprah Winfrey Show. He feels honored to work with the great talents of Lifeline’s ensemble, designers, and cast members.

  • Elizabeth Shaffer (Costume Designer)

    Elizabeth is an Artistic Ensemble Member with Lifeline Theatre. Recent shows include Kiss of the Spiderwoman with Bailiwick Theatre, Josephine Tonight with The Theatre Building, La Cecchina and Threepenny Operawith Northwestern University Opera, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife with Appletree Theatre, Design for Living with Circle Theatre, and 110 Degrees in the Shade and The Sound of Music with Light Opera Works. She spent 5 seasons as the Assistant Designer for the annual Baroque Handel Opera Festival in Göttingen, Germany. Elizabeth is the 2004 recipient of the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, and the 2005 winner of the Chicago After Dark Award for her costume design of Queen Lucia with Lifeline Theatre.

  • Victoria DeIorio (Original Music and Sound Design)

    Victoria is an ensemble member of Lifeline Theatre and has designed numerous shows for Lifeline including Gaudy NightTalisman RingSirens of TitanLong Way from ChicagoStrong PoisonThe Shadow (Jeff Citation), Far From the Madding Crowd, and Around the World in 80 Days(Jeff Citation). Victoria has worked with many Chicago theatre companies including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens, Northlight Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The Next Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Light Opera Works, and other storefront theatres in Chicago. She served as the Associate Designer with Actor’s Studio, Primary Stages (Off-Broadway), People’s Light and Theatre (PA), Milwaukee Rep, and Geva Theatre (Rochester, NY). She was nominated for three Jeff Citations, and received 2 Jeff Citations and 2 After Dark Awards (The Shadow and Fiddler on the Roof). She holds a BFA from Syracuse University and studied at RADA and LAMDA in London. For more information visit www.victoria-sound-design.com.

  • Phil Timberlake (Dialect Coach)

    Phil returns to Lifeline where he appeared as Peppino, the Guru, and others in Queen Lucia (Jeff Citation Nomination, Best Supporting Actor – Musical), Gollum and Legolas in The Two Towers and coached dialects for Strong Poison and Gaudy Night. Other dialect coaching includes Private Lives at First Folio, Fellow Travellers at Stage Left, and She Stoops to Conquer at Signal Ensemble. Phil is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech at DePaul University.

  • Paul S. Holmquist (Movement Consultant)

    Paul is a new Lifeline Ensemble member where he has acted in Strong Poison and The Talisman Ring and directed the KidSeries production of Rikki Tikki Tavi and Other Just So Stories. He is also a member of the Griffin Theatre Company where he Assistant Directed Stardust under Dorothy Milne and acted the title role in Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging (Jeff Citations Adaptation and Ensemble). Recent acting work includes The General From America at Timeline and TS Eliot’s The Cocktail Party with Caffeine Theatre. Paul holds a BFA in Acting from the Theatre School at DePaul University and a Graduate Certificate in Laban Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago.

  • Jennie Cleghorn (Stage Manager/Assistant Director)

    Jennie returns to Lifeline where she previously stage managed Rikki Tikki Tavi. Theatres worked for include Steppenwolf, Lincoln Square Theatre, Griffin, Bailiwick, Chicago ScriptWorks, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, The Neo-futurists, and Metropolis. Her upcoming projects include directing Last Letters Home, a co-production of the Griffin Theatre and the City of Chicago; and stage managing The Homage That Follows and The Lady from Dubuque for Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. Jennie has a BFA in Theatre Studies with a specialization in playwriting and directing from Southern Methodist University.

  • Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)

    Cortney is excited to be working with Lifeline Theatre for the season. Previous and current production management positions include Ellen Under Glass for the House Theatre of Chicago, Marathon ’33 for Strawdog, One False Note for Plasticene, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake for the last 3 years. Cortney is also a company member of 20% Theatre, where she often acts as production manager, lighting and set designer, and dramaturg, among other things. During the school year Cortney can be found at St. Scholastica Academy, where she has been the resident designer (scenery and lighting) and technical theatre instructor/director for the last eight years.

  • Charlie "Ziggy" Olson (Technical Director)

    Charlie just recently started with Lifeline Theatre and couldn’t be happier. He freelances around Chicago at CityLit, A Red Orchid, and Chicago Shakespeare.

  • Nourbal Meirmanov (Circus Training Coach)

    Nourbal is a skilled athlete and a professional acrobat who has been a leading circus performer and an amazing circus, acrobatic and gymnastic coach for over 20 years. He is a graduate of the world famous Moscow State Circus School with a Master of Sport in several disciplines. A leader of his own acrobatic act, he developed an act with his son Almas, and performed with many circuses including Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey circus with both the Blue and Red Units. Nourbol Meirmanov has been recruited by circuses to teach performers new acts. He is a private coach for professional performers and athletes including those competing in gymnastics, bodybuilding and fitness competition. He is the president and founder of Meirmanov SportsAcro a not for profit 501 (c) (3) Public Charity.

  • Almas Meirmanov (Circus Coordinator)

    Almas is a second generation circus performer from Kazakhstan, Russia. Almas has been in the circus ring since the age of 3 performing with his father all over the world with circuses like Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Circus Flora, Tarzan Zerbini Circus. Almas has won many awards for his hand balancing artistry including the silver medal at the International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, the special prize at the International Circus Festival Circo de Latina in Italy, and the silver medal at the International Circus Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam. Almas was also featured as Ares in Hephaestus at the Lookingglass theatre.

From the Chicago Tribune

‘Room With a View’ offers panoramas

October 24, 2006

At the start of the Lifeline Theatre’s lovely new adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “A Room With a View,” we see the aptly named heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, supine on a trapeze.

It’s not an image Forster would have immediately recognized – his Miss Honeychurch indulged the limited sensual expression available to a well-bred young woman of 1908 by playing the pianoforte. But the stage is not a page. And in theatrical terms, Dorothy Milne’s inspired idea to represent musical escapism with an acrobatic maneuver perfectly evokes the central personal mystery of this great coming-of-age tale. Be it piano or trapeze, the point is that this is Lucy’s one chance to break out of her corset.

Figuratively, at least.

Images of confining fabric – and the contrasting freedoms of art and nature – continue to haunt this impressive show, which features a beautifully crisp and unflashy adaptation from Christina Calvit, the talent behind innumerable fine prior Lifeline versions of literary classics, often created with Milne. But even by Calvit and Milne’s standards, this show is especially good.

That’s mostly because the narrative staging, while less pretentious than you might see at other theaters around town, is uncommonly vivacious and fluid. As lovely Lucy (Hillary Clemens) and her handsome but unsuitable beau George Emerson (played by a brooding Bryson Engelen) putter through English puddles and the like, you’ll swear you can see the pools of water on the stage floor, even though it remains dry.

The tone is pitch-perfect – winsome and droll but rooted in social realities and very much aquatinted with the muddle of life. And if you want to be true to Forster (as this show surely manages), muddle is almost everything.

The cast is uncommonly good. Lucy – spunky but wholly a guileless creature of her time – is a tough role to play without either stooping to condescension or stomping on her enthusiasm for budding modernity. Somehow, newcomer Clemens avoids both of those traps. She creates a remarkably likable character who positively glows with that virginal blush of sensual possibility. Even if you’ve never read the book, you’ll surely become wholly invested in her not marrying that boringly suitable loser Cecil Vyse (played, odiously, by Robert Kauzlaric).

There are a few pulpy moments. So goes the novel. But the vast majority of this show feels literate but never stuffy; intellectually stimulating but vulnerably human; wide-eyed but understanding. This affordable show especially deserves theaters full of mothers and rapt daughters, probing together how the perils of growing up have changed and how they surely remain the same.



From the Chicago Sun-Times

‘View’ comes of age with zest, charm

October 24, 2006

Highly Recommended

The latest little charmer from Lifeline Theatre is a wise and witty stage adaptation of A Room With a View, E.M. Forster’s classic novel that is both a coming-of-age story and a zesty comedy of British and Italian manners.

Notable for the breezy way it dances around the popular 1986 Merchant-Ivory film — proceeding on its merry, winking way by employing simple yet highly effective theatrical tricks — the show is most sharply focused on that all-important thing called character, and its development.

What’s more, in Hillary Clemens, the young, winningly pretty, exceptionally skillful actress who plays the crucial role of Lucy Honeychurch (a proper English girl who blossoms before our eyes, or, as one onlooker puts it, finds the ideal mix of light and shadow in herself), this production has discovered an ideal interpreter. Clemens hits each and every note of her character’s transformation from girl to woman with precision, and she seems entirely natural even when exercising her considerable guile.

Of course there is something about Lucy Honeychurch herself that is full of potential from the start. When we first see her in this Lifeline production — sensitively adapted by Christina Calvit and ingeniously staged by Dorothy Milne — she is lounging on a trapeze in her Edwardian finery. And she confides that she is invariably a little “peevish” after playing Beethoven on the piano.

Lucy will grow even more peevish — and a great deal more luminous, too — after she visits Florence, Italy, with her cousin Charlotte (Sandy Snyder), a bit of a Victorian relic, and encounters the middle-class, socialist-bohemian Emersons (the delightfully self-possessed John Coriell as the imperturbable father and Bryson Engelen as his handsome, brooding son George). It is the first unexpected but not at all unwelcome kiss she gets from George — during an excursion to Fiesole and a field of violets (a place conjured with nothing more than bits of light-catching metallic paper) — that will do real wonders. Yet it won’t change everything. It will only hint at possibility, and along with many other epiphanies, ultimately undo any real possibility for a match between Lucy and the bookish, upper-class Cecil Vyse (deft work by Robert Kauzlaric), a man incapable of real human intimacy.

Love and adventure and the need to trust one’s instincts are at the heart of Forster’s deceptively deep story. And there is more than a little mystery in how people react to the stirring of their souls — a mystery that this production captures with easy panache, playfulness and keen intelligence. Youth and death are in continual tension here, yet that natural balance is captured with an almost feathery touch.

The funerary sculpture in the Santa Croce church comes to life by way of white-faced actors. A doubles tennis match is played without a net. And three fellows scamper (in the nude) in a swimming hole conjured from nothing but gauze curtains, fine sound effects and actors having a ripping good time. (One of them, Lawrence Kern, plays Lucy’s brother to terrific comic effect.)

The ensemble (Mark Richard, Morgan McCabe, Hilary Williams and Patricia Donegan) is full of easy shapeshifters playing multiple roles. And Elizabeth Powell Shaffer’s costumes are nothing short of sublime.