North Central’s Student Director Series presents “Cynics”

Oct 20, 2014

North Central College’s Student Director Series features the original play “Cynics” by senior Emma Smith Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Three performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1 in North Central’s Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $5/adults and $3/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit There is strong language in the play and dark subject matter.

Smith, of Downers Grove, is a theatre major with a minor in writing and has performed in multiple North Central productions, including “Sirens” in 2013 and Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 2014. In writing “Cynics,” her first original play, Smith looked to link her direction of the play and its story to her senior College Scholar Honors thesis, which explores representations of depression in theatre.

“Depression is a topic that’s often misunderstood,” Smith explains, “and my cast and I are working to provide a realistic image of it.” Through the use of scenic design and lighting, “Cynics” intends to create a visual representation of depression and approach the topic in different ways, including how it’s perceived by society.

In the play, a 19-year-old college student’s depression sends her home to live with her mother—an arrangement only complicated by a visit from a long-absent aunt and skeptical sister feeling overlooked. Smith says, “Although the subject matter is somewhat dark, there is humor in the show. I would label it a comedy/drama. There is humor in any situation, and we’re trying to capture that.”

The cast for “Cynics” includes (role, actor, town, year, major):

Alex: Rae Lindenberg of Wilmette, Ill., a senior majoring in theatre (photo, far right)
Jean: Sarah Fons of Stoughton, Wis., a sophomore majoring in musical theatre
Jo: Laura Ebsworth of Jarrettsville, Md., a freshman majoring in musical theatre (photo, left)
Lauren: Amanda Peck of Woodridge, a senior majoring in theatre

In North Central’s Student Director Series, members of the College’s theatre faculty invite students to submit a proposal to direct their own theatrical productions and only the best are chosen. Smith’s is one of three selected for the year.

North Central College offers majors in theatre or musical theatre and a minor in dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and nonmusical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College’s four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty.