Move-in Day for New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House

Saturday was move-in day for the 2nd Act Players’ fall production of New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House. That meant four board members and a volunteer helper spent the morning transporting furniture from our garage workshop to our theater.

“This will be the most elaborate set we’ve ever had,” says 2nd Act Cofounder John N. Frank. “The play takes place in 1960 and 1961, so we’ve been searching garage and rummage sales, as well as alleys around town on bulk trash pick-up days, looking for vintage furniture from that era.”

Among the finds: a drop-leaf, lion’s foot dining room table, a sideboard with mirror, vintage dining room arm chairs and a stereo console just like many homes were buying in the early 1960s.

“We restored finishes on most of the wood pieces and we’ve recovered the seats on the chairs with a large flower-print fabric that everyone’s grandma had in 1960,” says Frank, who wrote the play based on his own family.

The 2nd Act Players began five years ago in the black box space at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, meaning it never built fake walls to simulate rooms in its plays. It’s continued that tradition of a black backdrop for plays its done at its new home in Northminster Presbyterian Church, Evanston.

“We want to allow the audience to create the spaces in which our plays take place. So we bring in furniture and other touchstone items to get them started but then trust their imaginations, plus the incredible skills of our actors, to make those space real,” explains Frank.

New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House will be performed Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons starting Nov. 3 and running through Nov. 18.

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