Showing posts with label Veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Veterans. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2019

REVIEW: Griffin Theatre Company's FOR SERVICES RENDERED May 19 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Griffin Theatre Company Presents
By W. Somerset Maugham
Directed by Robin Witt

May 19 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre

(left to right) Lynda Shadrake, Israel Antonio, Ella Pennington, Krystal Ortiz, Tim Newell 
and Cindy Marker 
All Photos by Michael Brosilow.

by bonnie kenaz-mara

FOR SERVICES RENDERED is a great period piece with gorgeous costumes, a lovely set, compelling characters, and a biting message. Griffin Theatre's  excellent production not only crosses the pond, but spans nearly a century to remain eerily relevant. As long as homeless veterans line our highway on ramps, and an average of 22 US servicemen commit suicide daily, this production should awaken equal parts compassion and rage, and a burning passion to change the way we treat our returning soldiers. 

(left to right) Marika Mashburn and Robert Quintanilla 
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

We still live in an era where earmarking funds for caring for injured soldiers' physical and mental health is considered too expensive, and yet the military industrial complex gobbles up billions annually in an ever expanding budget. 

(left to right) Marika Mashburn, Ella Pennington and Krystal Ortiz 
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

FOR SERVICES RENDERED offers an array of interesting, nuanced, female roles with depth and insight unusual for the 1930's. They provide a glimpse into the lives and inner lives of those who bear the brunt of the caregiving when soldiers return injured and/or traumatized. These women have desires, dreams and schemes apart from the men in their lives, and it's refreshing to see them making unpredictable choices. 

Sure, some of the opportunities for women have improved since this play's 1932 inception, and the unmarried aren't automatically relegated to old maid purgatory. Yet a shocking amount of the abhorrent behavior of older, married men toward teenage girls is still occurring in our current #MeToo climate. And women are still too often held hostage to the economic and philandering whims of their partners. 

(left to right) Krystal Ortiz and Matt Fletcher
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

(left to right) Krystal Ortiz and Matt Rockwood
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Kristal Ortiz as desirable daughter, Lois Ardsley, Israel Antonio as injured veteran, Sydney Ardsley, and Lynda Shadrake as matriarch, Charlotte Ardsley, are particular standouts among a superb cast. I caught the opening Memorial Day weekend, and this is an excellent and timely choice as Chicago's veterans in need become more visible in the spring and summer months. Highly recommended.

(left to right) Israel Antonio and Lynda Shadrake 
Photo by Michael Brosilow. 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: (adult) & (family friendly). 

(left to right) Ella Pennington and Krystal Ortiz
Photo by Michael Brosilow.


Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to continue its 31st season with W. Somerset Maugham’s classic war drama FOR SERVICES RENDERED, directed by ensemble member Robin Witt*, playing May 19 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre (Upstairs Main Stage), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830. The press opening is Sunday, May 26 at 7 pm.

FOR SERVICES RENDERED features Israel Antonio, Eddie Dzialo, Matt Fletcher, Jennifer Huddleston, Cindy Marker, Marika Mashburn, Tim Newell, Krystal Ortiz, Ella Pennington, Robert Quintanilla, Matt Rockwood and Lynda Shadrake*.

Years ahead of its time, W. Somerset Maugham’s 1932 landmark play shows the impact of war on civilian life and suggests that the ideals of honor, patriotism and glory mean nothing if we show no care for the victims of conflict. A blistering portrait of the devastating aftermath of war and its effect on its survivors. FOR SERVICES RENDERED continues the Griffin’s exploration and mission to unearth rarely produced classic plays from the past (Men Should Weep, London Wall and Time and the Conways) with relevance to today and introduce them to Chicago audiences for the first time.

The production team for FOR SERVICES RENDERED includes Sotirios Livaditis (scenic design), Aly Renee Amidei (costume design), Brandon Wardell** (lighting design), Thomas Dixon (sound design), Rachel Watson (props design), Adam Goldstein (dialect coach), Lucy Carapetyan (casting director), Spencer Ryan Diedrick (assistant director), Emily Kefferstan (production manager), Derik Marcussen (technical director), Hannah Beehler (stage manager) and Rachelle ‘Rocky’ Kolecke (assistant stage manager).

*Denotes Griffin Theatre ensemble members   **Denote Griffin Theatre artistic associates

Cast (in alphabetical order): Israel Antonio (Sydney Ardsley), Eddie Dzialo (Leonard Ardsley), Matt Fletcher (Howard Bartlett), Jennifer Huddleston (Gertrude), Cindy Marker (Gwen Cedar), Marika Mashburn (Eva Ardsley), Tim Newell (Dr. Prentice), Krystal Ortiz (Lois Ardsley), Ella Pennington (Ethel Bartlett), Robert Quintanilla (Collie Stratton), Matt Rockwood (Wilfred Cedar) and Lynda Shadrake* (Charlotte Ardsley).

Understudies: Aida Delaz, Harrison Hapin, Darren Hill and Tom Jansson.

Location: The Den Theatre (Upstairs Main Stage), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Regular run: Thursday, July 30 – Saturday, July 6, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, July 4.

Tickets: Previews $28. Regular run $37. Students, seniors & veterans $32 ($23 previews). Group discount are available for groups of ten or more. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830.

About the Artists
W. Somerset Maugham (Playwright) was an English novelist, playwright, and short-story writer whose work is characterized by a clear unadorned style, cosmopolitan settings, and a shrewd understanding of human nature. Maugham was orphaned at the age of 10; he was brought up by an uncle and educated at King’s School, Canterbury. After a year at Heidelberg, he entered St. Thomas’ medical school, London, and qualified as a doctor in 1897. He drew upon his experiences as an obstetrician in his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), and its success, though small, encouraged him to abandon medicine. In 1908 he achieved a theatrical triumph – four plays running in London at once – that brought him financial security. His reputation as a novelist rests primarily on four books: Of Human Bondage (1915), a semi-autobiographical account of a young medical student’s painful progress toward maturity; The Moon and Sixpence (1919), an account of an unconventional artist, suggested by the life of Paul Gauguin; Cakes and Ale (1930), the story of a famous novelist, which is thought to contain caricatures of Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole; and The Razor’s Edge (1944), the story of a young American war veteran’s quest for a satisfying way of life. Maugham’s skill in handling plot, in the manner of Guy de Maupassant, is distinguished by economy and suspense. In The Summing Up (1938) and A Writer’s Notebook (1949) Maugham explains his philosophy of life as a resigned atheism and a certain skepticism about the extent of man’s innate goodness and intelligence; it is this that gives his work its astringent cynicism.

Robin Witt (Director) For Services Rendered is the fifth play Robin has directed for Griffin where she is an ensemble member. Other Griffin productions: London Wall, Men Should Weep, Flare Path, and Stage Door. She is also an ensemble member at Steep Theatre where her productions include Linda by Penelope Skinner, Lela & Co. by Cordelia Lynn, and Wastwater by Simon Stephens. Robin recently directed A Doll’s House Part 2 for Steppenwolf and A Number at Writers Theatre. She is an Associate Professor at UNC Charlotte and she holds a BFA from NYU and a MFA from Northwestern. Next up: Alistair McDowall’s Pomona at Steep Theatre (July/Aug. 2019).

The Griffin Theatre Company's 2018/2019 Premiere Season Sponsors are Michael and Mona Heath.

The Griffin Theatre Company is a Blue Star Theater and is proud to support our military enlisted and veterans. 

About Griffin Theatre Company
Established in 1988. the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

The Griffin Theatre Company is the recipient of 115 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for theater excellence in Chicago. The Griffin was honored with four 2018 Jeff awards for Ragtime including Best Ensemble, Best Musical, Best Director-Musical and Best Performer in a Supporting Role-Musical. Additionally, the company was the repeat winner of the 2016 Jeff Award for Best Production of a Play for London Wall having won the same award in 2015 for its production of Men Should Weep.

The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For additional information, visit

(left to right) Eddie Dzialo, Israel Antonio, Krystal Ortiz, Marika Mashburn, Ella Pennington and Matt Fletcher in Griffin Theatre Company’s production of FOR SERVICES RENDERED. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Google Analytics