Wheaton Drama’s ‘Full Circle’ takes place in Berlin
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times March 14, 2013 11:24AM
♦ March 15-April 7
♦ Wheaton Drama Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton
♦ Tickets, $13-$16
♦ (630) 260-1820
Updated: March 14, 2013 11:24AM
Sean Ogren, who is directing “Full Circle,” a play set in Berlin at the end of World War II, finds that delving into the motivations of characters is the best way to start mounting a production.
“I have to approach the show from the characters: where they come from, what they are going through,” Ogren said. “The cast and I had discussions about being in Berlin those seven or eight years surrounding the war. In rehearsals, we are stopping and finding out what each moment is about. The character has to come first.”
Wheaton Drama will present “Full Circle” from March 15 to April 7 at Wheaton Drama Playhouse in Wheaton.
Set in Berlin at the end of World War II, “Full Circle” centers on a bitter woman who becomes involved with an escaped political prisoner. The two discover that sometimes there are more important things in life than just surviving. When a Gestapo Captain begins to suspect who they really are, everyone struggles with their own identity, love and responsibility.
“Full Circle” was written by Erich Maria Remarque and Peter Stone.
“There is intrigue,” said Ogren about the play. “It is a drama, with an essence of Alfred Hitchcock.”
Ogren said one of the challenges of the production is having the characters speak with different dialects. All eight cast members will speak with a German and/or Russian accent.
“We work with a dialect coach almost every night we have rehearsal,” he said. “It is not like the TV show ‘Hogan’s Heroes.’ Everybody has a German dialect and two people play German soldiers and then play Russian soldiers later in the show. Our dialect coach is Lars Timpa. He is of German descent and is a Wheaton Drama member.”
Ogren also noted that the sound design is more challenging for this play than on some other shows.
“The City of Berlin is like another character in the show,” he said, “so we hear what is going on outside through the course of the show. That is something we have to adjust to.”
Ogren believes that the appeal of the play stems from its realistic nature.
“What struck me about the show was the realism,” he said. “It is an incredible story. It is a history lesson of what it was like during that time. I was drawn to the story and the characters. Even the minor characters, who may be on stage for only six pages of the script, they have a great story arc in those six pages.”
As a director, Ogren finds satisfaction on two levels.
“First, I have to like the characters, and I like the characters in this play,” he said. “Second, after reading the script, there is one moment I am always excited about getting to and see if it affects the audience like it affected me. In this show, there is more than one moment like that.”