Locked in a room for five days to write a screenplay would be tough enough, but on a strict diet of bananas and peanuts, what outcome can one expect?
Miraculously, legendary producer David O. Selznick, played by Stef Tovar, famed screenwriter Ben Hecht and Wizard of Oz directory Victor Fleming come together and complete the screen play for what would become one of the most beloved movies of all time, “Gone with the Wind.”
It wasn’t easy, as we learn during the course of the two-act play “Moonlight and Magnolias,” now being staged by the Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.
Set in 1939, Ron Hutchinson’s comedy about what happened when these three great movie-making minds were locked in Selznick’s office for five days comes to angst-ridden and often hilarious life in the hands of director, Dennis Zacek.
Selznick has a vision of the widely read 1,000-plus page novel by Margaret Mitchell becoming what we now know it to be: An epic tale of a troubled time in America. But just three weeks into production, Selznick realizes the screen play isn’t working, fires the director and shuts down the set. With just a handful of days to get back on track he calls in the noted screen writer, Ben Hecht, played by Dennis Grimes.
There’s just one problem, Hecht hasn’t read the book. He knows nothing about the story and appears quite unimpressed by the entire project.
Flabbergasted that Hecht hasn’t read the book, the one everyone in the world but he has read, Selznick calls in Director Victor Fleming.
Make no mistake about it; this sleep-deprived trio is not having a good time. It’s their frustration with the project and each other that make this show a great time for those of us in the audience.
When Fleming, hilariously portrayed by Weston Blakesly, is at his breaking point and acts out the story we all know so well, inspiration finally strikes our formerly unmotivated writer.
When the second act opens, the pristine office where the entire show takes place is littered with banana peels and peanut shells. These gentlemen have been “working!”
The entrance of the long-suffering and until now almost forgotten secretary, played by Delia Baseman is priceless and garners one of the heartiest laughs of the play. Her understated loyalty to Mr. Selznick is beautifully displayed in her appearance. She has obviously been at her desk for the duration of the project.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” is a fun romp into the world a big-time movie-maker moguls and well worth a look.
The show runs through March 11, 2012. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. The show is rated PG-13 due to strong language.
Pheasant Run Resort is located at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, IL. For tickets, call the Pheasant Run Box Office at 630-584-6342, or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Additional performance information may be obtained at www.foxvalleyrep.org.