Chicago stage veteran Mary Reynard to direct “Boys in the Basement”

Widely acclaimed Chicago theater and screen veteran Mary Reynard is joining the 2nd Act Players as director of its planned November, 2015 production of the emotionally charged new play, Boys in the Basement.

Reynard carries an impressive directing resume, having received rave reviews for her work on such plays as A Body of Water at Chicago’s Redtwist Theater and Roundhouse Productions’ Macbeth at Chicago’s New Rock Theater.

Mary Reynard will direct "Boys in the Basement."
Mary Reynard will direct “Boys in the Basement.”

Reynard impressive career spans dancing, acting, coaching and directing. Early in her career she studied acting in Chicago with Ted Liss, Shakespeare in London at The Royal Academy of Performing Arts, and also taught improv with Chicago legend Del Close.

“Having Mary join us represents a major step forward for the 2nd Act Players,” says 2nd Act Creative Director and Co-founder John N. Frank. “This will be our third production since we launched in 2013 and I’m sure it will garner the biggest audience yet for us.”

Boys in the Basement is the bawdy yet poignant story of men coping with the pain and heartbreak of divorce. “I’m excited to see how Mary’s creative vision will blend with ours to bring the story of these angry, depressed and, in some cases, downright misogynistic men to the stage,” says Frank, who wrote the two-act play.

“Working with resident playwright John Frank and the 2nd Act Players is an exciting opportunity,” says Reynard. “Boys in the Basement addresses an underserved topic: the lives and feelings of men weathering the terrors of separation from their families, impending divorce and the re-invention of themselves in the aftermath.

“I find this play to be challenging and enlightening. I hope to approach it truthfully and without judgment,” she said.

The show will open the first weekend in November at the Piven Theatre in Evanston.

Reynard broke new directing ground with her Macbeth, staging a massive battle that is more often only referred to in the Shakespeare classic.

“Under the direction of Mary Reynard, this cast of 37 conjure up their own poignant potion. For a small-budget production, [Reynard] fills the space with a bounty of warriors and witches. Individual scenes are actualized tightly and intensely,” said Chicago Theater Beat in its review of the 2012 production. said of her work on A Body of Water, “The dialogue between these two characters is divine and the comic touches a delight. Mary Reynard’s slick direction uses the small space to full advantage.”

The 2nd Act Players is an Evanston-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit theater company whose mission is to foster emerging talent through performances that explore 2nd acts in people’s lives. Its 2013 production, New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House, dealt with the trials and tribulations of an immigrant family trying to Americanize itself during the turbulent 1960s.

Its 2014 show, Talking with My Dad, examined the troubled relationship of a man and his father as major health issues loom. In early 2015, it also launched its 2nd Act Players Improv Wing, performing at an improv festival at the Piven Theatre Workshop.

The 2nd Act Players is in the midst of a major fund-raising campaign, seeking out founding sponsors to further its mission. Click here to contribute and help this company growth.

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