Get to know the community of Western Springs with our Theatre of Western Springs Spotlight feature! This week, we meet Willowbrook’s Dick Jacoby who joined the Theatre back in 1970. He’s here, in this special edition, to share his reflections on the last 42 years at TWS.
It’s January outside, yet figuratively much colder inside on our stage. Cal Turner, John Frendreis and I are sitting far down stage right, nearly in the audience’s laps. Cal is in serious pain from gangrene and will soon crawl off stage to die.
Exposure and starvation are taking the lives of the members of Commander Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition; all of whom will be dead within a matter of days. No one knows this yet, while Scott’s men compete with another expedition to reach the pole first.
At this point one evening, as Cal’s character prepares to die, four audience members suddenly stand up and leave the theatre. Right in front of us. Now that was a surprise. THAT’s theatre.
In one way or another, that’s the kind of emotional response that theatre is about. Whether it’s dying right in front of the audience’s eyes in “Terra Nova,” produced at TWS in 1986, or belly-busting laughs engendered by the comedy, “Unnecessary Farce,” twenty-eight years later.
I have been privileged to be a member of this group of thespians a long time and not only as an actor. We at TWS believe that all activities are important in whatever way they contribute to a production. For example, I was the dramaturg for “Unnecessary Farce.” As the fellow who prepares background information, I, too, was part of the production. But that is now.
When I began work in theatre, it wasn’t as an actor but as a lighting designer in sixth grade at school. A call came down that the student who volunteered to light our school play would be given special privileges. My hand shot up and thus began increasing involvement as a stage lighting designer.
Years later, a TWS play called “Wings,” tossed me a big challenge to create lighting as the production’s primary effect. The stage’s entire background was hung with reflecting plastic sheets (Mylar), on which I designed almost any kind of light show that the director wished. It was very brilliant and dramatic lighting.
Our theatre is a place for families as well. My wife, Peggy, shared the lighting duties. Our daughter, Alison, was cast in several roles in Children’s Theatre. Lots of families spread their talents in TWS.
Mainly, we respect everyone’s talents in our Western Springs community theatre.