Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

January 11, 2008

NIU School of Theatre and Dance pesents
world premiere of ‘17 Tolbiac’

DeKalb — Voyeurs and people watchers are encouraged to bring their binoculars to Northern Illinois University’s next theater production. Really.

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance will on Thursday, Jan. 31, open its world premiere mainstage production of a new play, “17 Tolbiac,” in the Stevens Building O’Connell Theatre, and the theme is all about watching people go about their daily lives.

Written by residing playwright, Robert Schneider, he describes his play as a “slice of life.” He says, “There is no hidden meaning or even serious undertone.”

Instead, he says “17 Tolbiac” allows the audience to simply have fun peeping into the lives of others through apartment windows, guiltlessly play the voyeur and piece together the stories of the characters.

He wrote his play, he says, “… to exploit the extraordinary openness of French windows.”

After reading the script, the show’s director and school faculty member Patricia Ridge knew there was only one way to make the audience feel as if they were active participants in keeping an eye on the neighbors. The audience will be elevated equally with the three-story set as if they are looking out from their own apartment and across the street into their neighbors’ apartments.

Although the play is spoken in French, Ridge says that knowing the language and what is said is not the point. There are short stories in each apartment, she says, each told with emphasis on body language and physical action.

“The play is a nice break from the challenges of day to day life,” she says. “I think the both the actors and the audience will have fun with this one.”

Schneider also has written “The Flaubert Project” and “Did I Promise You Moliere?” and premiered both at NIU in the school’s Studio Series. 

The play runs Thursday, Jan. 31, through Sunday, Feb. 3, and Thursday, Feb. 7, through Sunday, 10. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students. For additional information and ticket reservations, contact the School of Theatre and Dance box office at (815) 753-1600.