[J. Joseph Cox is the playwright behind "Koalas."]
As the koala, Esteban Andres Cruz infuses edgy unpredictability in the critter's behavior. Cruz said the character's iterations range from clown to Greek Chorus.
Fifth-grader Leo Sharkey, who plays Ray's child as well as the young Ray, said he's excited to be learning from his fellow performers, including that making mistakes is part of refining the acting process.
The outstanding cast also stars Eddie Dzialo as Ray, Michele DiMaso as Ray's neighbor and friend, and Michael Holding as Ray's brother John.
"Koalas" concludes the intimate downstairs theater's Season of Heroes offerings. Before the night's performance, Managing Director Marissa McKown said the team is elated to have the theater receive four Jeff Award nominations. The winners will be announced Oct. 22.
Artistic Director Ann Filmer recently unveiled the new Season of Shadows and Light, which will open in January with "Small Jokes About Monsters." The lineup will feature three new plays by Chicago authors Steven Strafford, Julie Ganey and Loy A. Webb, as well as a one-nighter of "The South Side" by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore and a new play series curated by Nancy García Loza.
The theater previewed the coming 12th season by asking: Do we need to throw another under the bus in order to save ourselves? Ambition or activism … and can we have both? In our fervor for our own kids to have the very best, have we lost shared community? What is lurking in the shadows of our American consciousness, and will we find the light again?
If you go
WHAT: World premiere of "Koalas"
WHERE: North Berwyn Park District’s 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn
WHEN: Thursday to Sunday, except Oct. 14, through Oct. 27; two shows on Saturdays
INFO: 708-795-6704, firstname.lastname@example.org, 16thstreettheater.org