Category Archives: recap

One Two Punch – Twelfth Night Finishes Opening Weekend

We had Wilde. Then we had Shakespeare.

We just finished the opening weekend to Twelfth Night by Shakespeare and everything went fantastic. The actors, set, lighting and sound all came together for a memorable weekend.

Following the strong performances of The Importance of Being Earnest during the first week, this was a wonderful opportunity to add to the acting chops already on display during our Rep series at the Elgin Art Showcase.

What can I say? This is one strong acting company. From the leads to the supporting roles, everyone has shined throughout the process and delivered some wonderful work. Now both shows will start alternating nights, which is where the real fun begins. But first, we need an audience.

That’s right. I said it. Audience. Sure, we’ve had people come out and see the work, but when you start seeing more empty chairs than people, it starts to wear on you.

Sometimes I am surprised to find that the arts destination that is Elgin is regrettably lacking in support of the artists. Sure, this is a longer run than one weekend and we know that the classics are not everyone’s cup of tea, but still, attention should be paid when a modest theater company tackles something so large.

Well, westward ho, as the saying goes. Here are some pics from Twelfth Night, courtesy of John Congram.  Makes you want to call the Box Office right now – 847-841-1713. Doesn’t it?

Chris Bibby as Sir Toby and Justin Schaller as Sir Andrew


Liz Vanderhoof as Viola

Joe Hoover as Malvolio


Ross Patrick Frawley as Orsino


Kate Donoghue as Olivia and Tyler Thompson as Feste


So There You Are Again

Well. Here we are. The 2010 season is over. We’ve had time to rest and recharge.(Although you never really rest.)

Now we’re gearing up for 2011. This year we’ll build on last year and also throw some new things into the mix. We’ll be talking about that later.

But for now, here’s a quick announcement: Janus Theatre will be offering a workshop on April 16 at the Elgin Art Showcase. This will be led by Terry Domschke, one of the co-founders of the company. There’s more information on Facebook.

One of the goals for Janus years ago was learning. We’ve never strictly been about putting on a show. In fact, that is the least interesting thing about what we do. We like to explore. This can be the text of the play, the ideas behind it, and what makes good acting and directing. Years ago, I was pretty dogmatic about all of this. Then I noticed people would politely avoid me. Now, I’ve become much more subtle. It’s about the little things we do that make the biggest changes. Forget the grand gesture for the moment.

Terry has been an inspiration since the first day I met him in 1995. Open and warm, critical but highly supportive, he’s always been a student of the game of theater. 

What’s more, he’s been around. He’s worked with some fascinating people and has learned much in his travels throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. We’ve held workshops before, and this year we want to get back into that habit. This could only benefit actors that work throughout the suburbs. The truth is, there really isn’t much adult training going on unless you want to go to Second City.

What we’re providing is an opportunity for local actors to go beyond themselves and possibly learn something new that frees them of their own clichés and tricks. It’s about furthering the understanding of what an actor does and how they can grow. Too many times, we find ourselves settling for what we already know and refuse to develop beyond that point. The workshops coming in 2011 will provide everyone who attends them a chance to grow deeper in their art.

Okay, enough of the heavytones. Other reasons to attend a workshop is the building community and having fun. How many times do you find yourself rehearsing a show and there is no time to really dig into the work. There’s always the pressure to produce the show. Now there will be sometime to explore the possibilities and get to know the people you are working with.

Every Ending Has A Start

People need to tell their stories.

That’s one of the lines from The Guys. I never get tired of hearing it. And with this production, there are many stories to tell. The play resonated with everyone I talked to and they all had a story to tell about that day.

Sean Hargadon (Director), Jim Pierce (Nick) and Lori Holm (Joan) in front of George Kokines' "St. Nicholas" made out of iron, plaster and wood

The last three days have truly been a memorable experience. Presenting this play in tandem with George Kokines’ artwork in early September created an event that was completely relevant and moving. We can’t thank enough all the people who attended the production, the people who worked to make it happen, and the artist and playwright who created the work.


But this ending has created a new beginning.

Next Saturday, September 11, Janus Theatre will present The Guys in a special free performance following the dedication of George Kokines’ art installation “September 11”. The play will be performed in one of the community rooms at approximately 11:00 a.m. It will be a raw performance with just the actors and the audience, so if you’re around next Saturday, please come out and see Lori Holm and Jim Pierce reprise their roles.

Another little humble beginning happened this weekend when Madeline Rose Hargadon (yes, she’s my 4 year old daughter) became our official “Program Girl” passing out programs at our Sunday performance with Erin Hargadon (yes, that’s my wife) who is due to give birth to another little Hargadon – Will – in October.

Box Office Mom (Erin) and Program Girl (Maddie)

Start of a New Year

Last year Janus turned ten. To celebrate, we churned out five shows in three venues featuring over thirty actors. It was a good year. Over 1,300 people saw us perform Oedipus, Miss Julie, Romeo & Juliet, repete w/Madeline and a short piece in Walkabout. And considering the economy was in the tank, we made it through the year in one piece as a theater company. Not bad.

Last year was our unofficial “season of tragedy” with our promenade production of Oedipus Rex, the hyper-intimate Miss Julie, and an all-female production of Romeo & Juliet dominating the ballroom at the Elgin Art Showcase. Each show was unique, but the theme remained – life is hard. I don’t know how this last year came to pass, but it was extremely fulfilling to work on these classic plays. And the people who worked with us were phenomenal.

Last year also made it clear that Janus Theatre Company is planning on staying around another ten years. So with that in mind, 2011 will find us making some changes. We’ll be posting these changes on this site. In fact, we want to share with our fans what the experience of running a small, fringe style theatre in Chicago’s northwest suburbs is like – so stay tuned.