Tag Archives: God of Carnage


In an effort to do something with the next two hours of my life that doesn’t involve getting anxious about tonight’s performance of God of Carnage, I’ve decided to give you all a mash-up of the random little dodads that have been happening in and around Camp Crystal Lake.

A few weeks ago, I posted about our trip to Maine for our friends’ wedding. There were a couple of mini-adventures that weren’t directly wedding-related, so I didn’t include them. But here, in our miscellany post, they’re perfect!

Cristen and Jayson took us to the Glen Cove Motel for a spectacular photo shoot:

Glen Cove Motel 1

Trevor and Jayson

Glen Cove Motel 2

Jayson and Cristen

Cristen and Laura

Cristen and Laura

So, it’s clear that I look good as a lobster and that I will pursue this as my next career.

We also went to the Maine State Prison gift shop. The products — beautiful woodwork and leather goods — are crafted by the inmates. The detail in everything from the wooden salad bowls to the model ships is meticulous, and the prices are reasonable. If we’d had more room in our suitcases, we’d have gotten a lot more. We picked up a couple of gifts for friends and family, and of course, something for ourselves:

Maine State Prison Travel Mug

While we were in Maine, I figured out the likelihood that we’d be able to sneak over to Bangor for an afternoon drive past the house of my favorite writer, Stephen King. Roadside America lists his house as an attraction (weird, right?) and I really, really, really, really (really) wanted to go check it out.

His house has a cobweb gate! A cobweb gate! (Photo credit: Pixdaus)

But Trevor refused (why? why, Trevor, why??), and realistically, we didn’t have time (I guess that’s why [boo! (j.k. I love you, Trevor)]). So I guess that means we’ll have to book another vacation just to Bangor. From this vacation, I settled for a copy of Carrie that I snapped up from the Stone Soup Books in Camden.

Carrie Paperback

Is this book as good as stalking one of my literary heroes? No. But it’s a good book.

The rest of my haul from Stone Soup Books

The rest of my haul from Stone Soup Books

A couple weekends after we got back from Maine, our neighbors, Joe and Mary, invited us to go boating with them at a quarry they hang out in Cary (the town over from Camp Crystal Lake). They go to the quarry to water ski, BBQ, sit on the beach, and enjoy life. We very thankfully joined them and had a great time.

Quary Horses

These are the horses that hang out by the quarry.


Quarry Beach

The quarry has a nice sandy beach

Quarry swimming raft

We absolutely jumped off of this diving board.

When we got home, we (read: Trevor) built a fire on the porch. It had been a moderate day and the night was clear and cool. We stared at the fire for a few hours before going to bed. It was great.

Summer Fire

On the Fourth of July we went to the Lakeside Fest in Crystal Lake. We drank some beer, ate some ice cream, and watched a lot of teenagers put their lives in the hands of this death machine:

Lakeside Fest Zipper


Trevor assembled our planter, and I got our miniature garden going a couple of days ago:

Raised Garden

And last night we had dinner with my old roommate, Jenn, and her husband Jeremy. Jenn and Jeremy live in Seattle and are visiting for the weekend; I have performances tonight, Saturday, and Sunday, so I was so happy they were able to meet us for dinner the night they flew in. I haven’t seen them in years and years, but we picked up right where we left off and had a great time while stuffing ourselves with Thai food in our old Wicker Park neighborhood.

Me and the amazing Jenn!

Me and the amazing Jenn!

And that’s all of our random news from Camp Crystal Lake!

Now, I’ve successfully focused on something other than my nerves about tonight’s show! We have three more shows, so you should absolutely come to see it. It’s cheap. It’s short. It’s been well reviewed. And it’s full of swear words!



You can make a reservation by calling 815-455-8746 or emailing Jay Geller at jgeller[at]mchenry[dot]edu.

Check back for more posts about the God of Carnage Family, Friends, and Fun weekend with the Power clan and our Glen Cove Motel friends Jayson and Cristen; and for posts from our final week of the Lake Projects Online Writing Group. See you soon!

Summer of the Play

Since we’ve been in Crystal Lake (it was two years last month), I’ve nicknamed our summers. Our first summer was The Summer of the Move, and didn’t really count as summer since we got out here in late June and spent the following two months unpacking, settling in, and trying to avoid the 18,000,000 mosquitoes that had made our backyard their home.

Our first picture in front of our first house!

Our first picture in front of our first house!

Last summer was The Summer of the Screenplay, because I worked on a horror screenplay with a former student of mine. I am 99.9% sure that it will ever be made (or read by anyone, ever), but it was a weird and interesting experience and now I can say that I’ve written a screenplay. A good screenplay? Well, let’s just move on.

Roo oversees the writing process

Roo oversees the screenplay writing process

This summer has been The Summer of the Play because this summer I’ve been rehearsing for a play that opened last night. (Do you notice how amazing my nicknames are? I am the most creative person you know!) The play is God of Carnage, and I wrote about it a bit last week. Here are my castmates and me, posing like happy, well-adjusted people:

Me and my GOC castmates

Me and my GOC castmates (Photo Credit: Brian Bieschke Photography)

And here we are, being…not happy:

Although we’re four of the angriest, saddest, most frustrated people on stage, we’ve been having a hell of a lot of fun backstage.

A dressing room selfie with me and the amazing Shannon Mayhall

A dressing room selfie with me and the amazing Shannon Mayhall

Our sound technician Paul and assistant stage director/"Monica"/clafouti server Danielle

Our sound technician Paul and assistant stage director/”Monica”/clafouti server Danielle

Maggie comes in to give Patrick a haircut before final dress

Maggie comes in to give Patrick a haircut before final dress

And our comfortable, relaxed, and frequently silly backstage energy fed us last night, for the opening night of the show. Our ninety-seat black box theater space had an audience of about sixty, and let me tell you, they were terrific. They laughed and cringed and reacted visibly and audibly. It was a wonderful relief. I’d forgotten how funny this play is — our director and crew have sat through it about a dozen times; we’re used to them, and during tech early this week they were much more concerned about lights, sound cues, and costuming than they were about laughing at us. But having a room full of strangers laugh where you want them to (and laugh where you don’t expect them to) was new, fresh, and fantastic.

One of the audience members was Bill Geheren (a.k.a. Sir William), co-host of the 2 Dudes and The Duchess radio show on Huntley Community Radio, where we appeared last week to promote the play. And post-play, while some of the cast came to Camp Crystal Lake to eat, drink, and debrief about the performance, Sir William was writing a generous and flattering review of the show. It was lovely of him and we are grateful for his support.

Sir William, setting it all up

Sir William, setting it all up

Sir William (Bill Geheren), The Duchess (Kate Curtin), and Franklin/Alan (Patrick Thompson)

Sir William (Bill Geheren), The Duchess (Kate Curtin), and Franklin/Alan (Patrick Thompson)

Patrick, Bill, Kate, and Me, at Huntley Community Radio station

Patrick, Bill, Kate, and Me, at Huntley Community Radio station

Trevor is coming to the show tonight with Mom and Dad Bork (he might try to sneak Roo in, too…). I told them to get to the theater early enough to enjoy a piece of clafouti, which will be served for the first twenty minutes that the house is open.

Apples and pears? Apples and Pears!!!!!!!!!

Apples and pears? Apples and Pears!!!!!!!!!

Danielle in the kitchen

Danielle in the kitchen, serving up clafouti

If you’re looking for something to do tonight or next weekend, come out to Camp Crystal Lake to see the show. It’s only eighty minutes and you’ll get to see me do things you have likely never seen me do before. Yes. You’re intrigued. So make a reservation now.


God of Carnage Wordle

God of Carnage

In a post a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the new play I’ll be in, and now I’m going full out with some shameless self-promotion: come see my play; it opens on Friday, July 10!

The play we’re doing is God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza. Reza’s play won a Tony in 2009 and was adapted for film by Roman Polanski in 2011. The characters have been played by Ralph Fiennes, Ken Stott, Tamsin Greig, and Janet McTeer;  James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis; John C. Riley, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, and Kate Winslet. So the bar has been set pretty damned high.

It’s a funny, brutal, and smart play, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I play Annette, a mother whose child has hit his schoolmate. I’ve brought my husband to apologize to the parents of the injured child, and the four of us have a…conversation. Of sorts. The pace is fast, the play is only about eighty minutes, and we volley the insults and aggressions back and forth like nasty little grenades.

Our cast, from Left: Michael (Jay Geller), Veronica (Shannon Mayhall), Annette (me!), and Alan (Patrick Thompson) -- Photo Credit Brian Bieschke

Our cast, from left: Michael (Jay Geller), Veronica (Shannon Mayhall), Annette (me!), and Alan (Patrick Thompson) — Photo Credit Brian Bieschke

God of Carnage is the inaugural production for The Black Box Summer Theatre at McHenry County College. Typically, the college produces shows during the fall and the spring semesters, but the space is dark over the summer. This year, though, we’re lighting it up!

God of Carnage at MCC

The director, Kellee Stall, is the founder of Inhabit Theater Company, a company that “makes its stage wherever [they] go: empty houses for sale, warehouses, coffee shops and local businesses.” Kellee directed Our Town at MCC in March 2013, so we already knew that she was talented. Working with her has proven that she works just as well with a small cast as she does with a large one, and as well with an American classic as with a contemporary work.

Kellee gives us post-rehearsal notes

Kellee gives us post-rehearsal notes: Photo Credit Kate Curtin

This week we’re in promotion mode: we were featured in today’s Northwest Herald, and tomorrow we’re taping an interview for the 2 Dudes and The Duchess radio show.

Northwest Herald

Northwest Herald “Play” Section — please notice we’re sharing space with Channing Tatum.

NW Herald Play Inside 7.2.15

You might have noticed that the picture in the paper features three of the four cast members, and that I’m missing. I was kind of bummed about it, so I decided to make a quick adjustment:

There I am! With my nephew Leo, who won't be in the play, but is super cute.

There I am! With my nephew Leo, who won’t be in the play, but is super cute.

Opening night is next Friday (July 10), so get your tickets now (now!):

  • Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 19, 2 p.m.

Call 815.455.8746 or email jgeller[at]mchenry[dot]edu for tickets (only $12, what a steal!)

Screen and Stage

On Tuesday, June 2, Trevor and I went to Midwest Independent Film Festival “First Tuesday” show at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Lincoln Park.

This month’s showing was a celebration of female filmmakers, and our friend Cristen Leifheit was featured in the program. Of course we had to go to support Cristen, cheer on her amazing animated short film, Power(less), and check out what some other female filmmakers in the Midwest are up to.

Turns out, they’re up to a lot of good stuff:


Cristen’s film was the only animated short on the agenda (and can I say it was the best one on the agenda? [oh, guess what? It was the best one on the agenda. BAM! I just said it]) and it was terribly exciting to see it on the big screen.

Here are some of the gang during the pre-show cocktail hour:

Cristen and her mom, Laura

Cristen and her mom, Laura

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

All of you should check out Cristen’s website for more of her work — she’s pretty much the best.

The weirdest part of the evening happened as we were walking into the theater. I ran into these adorable faces greeting the festival-goers:

Those two cuties are Emily and Matthew, students at MCC! (kwhat?! I know, weird, right??) They’d volunteered to be ushers for the event, and I loved seeing them, randomly and fifty miles out of my usual school context.

Emily and Matthew segue nicely into the stage portion of this post, because the two young actors appeared in MCC’s Spring 2015 production of columbinus. Some of you might remember that I helped out with the props for this show, and I was proud to be a part of such an interesting and thoughtful production.

And next month, I’ll be a part of another school production, the first summer show in MCC’s history (someone fact check that; I don’t know if it’s accurate…): God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

God of Carnage at MCC

My character, Annette, has previously been played by Hope Davis (in the Tony Award-winning 2009 production) and Kate Winslet (in the Roman Polanski film version). So that’s freaking me out. And it’s actually scarier than filling Liza Minnelli’s shoes when I did Cabaret last year. I don’t know how this is possibly scarier than Cabaret, but it is.

We’ve been rehearsing for almost four weeks now, and all is going well. It’s a terrific play with a lightening fast pace, which makes memorizing lines a little tricky, but the four of us are doing well. Kellee Stall of Inhabit Theater is directing this show, and the crew — many familiar people from Cabaret — are kicking ass in the creativity and helpfulness departments.

God of Carnage Table Reading

Pre-rehearsal chats

Pre-rehearsal chats

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

I’ll have more about the show as we get a bit closer, but mark your calendars for the second and third weekends in July — and you’re all welcome to spend the night at Camp Crystal Lake (maybe not all of you…).

Come back on Monday for a new post about our Lake Projects Summer Writing Group. Until then, have a lovely weekend!