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North Central College students stage ‘this is not a reunion’

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North Central College students stage 'this is not a reunion'

North Central College students direct a new play about old friends from summer camp that turns into a ghost story murder-mystery.

Senior acting major Chris Talia of Carol Stream directs “this is not the reunion” by Maddie Dennis-Yates. The play, the last in the college’s student series, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. April 10, 11 and 13 and 2 p.m. April 13-14 in the Madden Theatre at North Central College in Naperville.

“It’s a premiere production about a group of five women who go back to their old summer camp that they attended as children,” said Talia, who is making his directorial debut.

“They go back to plan a reunion, but things start to go very wrong when the ghost of an old camper appears and the women are faced with their worst childhood camp fears.”

Talia found the play on a website called the New Play Exchange, a site for playwrights and screenwriters to upload new works.

“I fell in love with it immediately,” he said. “It’s a very monumental production for the school and all of us involved because it is a world premiere and we’ve worked very closely with the playwright.”

He has a cast of 10 women.

“What I really loved about the play was that it’s an all-female cast,” he said. “When I decided I was going to submit a production to direct for the school year, I knew I wanted a play for an all-female cast because it was something I thought was really important. That drew me off the bat – and just how spooky it was also drew me.”

He was also drawn to the themes of the play, like childhood memories and nostalgia, he said. “Which is something I love a lot, even though I’m only 21,” he said. “Also, the characters are all around the same age that all of us are that are performing in it and working on it. The characters in the show are just out of college and being thrown into the adult world.

“I thought there was a lot of relatable moments in the play between characters about their financial insecurity or unsureness of the future and what it holds for them, but they know that have this summer camp they used to go to. They can go back and reminisce about better times that weren’t so scary.”

His cast is doing incredibly well, he said.

“The cast has gotten along so well and rehearsals are super fun,” he said. “They’ve been super excited and ready to jump in. We’ve done some cast bonding activities and we made friendship bracelets in one rehearsal because that is something you would do at summer camp.”

Talia started at North Central College in the fall of 2022, a transfer student from the College of DuPage. He is double majoring in acting and theatrical design and technology. A performer since childhood, he acted in middle and high school as well.

“I always wanted to learn as much as I could with theater so that’s why I decided to try directing,” he said. “North Central has given me a lot of great opportunities to do those different things.”

He thinks audiences will be surprised by “this is not the reunion,” but hesitates to give away too much.

“It’s not a secret that there are ghosts in the show because that’s in the show description,” he said. “Our poster of the show is obviously kind of spooky and eerie. I think audiences are going to be left trying to figure out what they saw. If you love psychological thrillers, you’re going to love this play.”

Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for The Naperville Sun.

‘this is not the reunion’

When: April 10-14

Where: The Madden Theatre at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville

Tickets: $10-$14

Information: 630-637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/show



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