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VTG Veteran Relishes Challenge of Directing Comedy from the Couch

Chuck Bernstein (left) gives directions to Jason Taylor (Bob) and Charlotte Mitchell (Charlotte) in the Village Theatre Guild’s upcoming production of “Beyond Therapy.”

Chuck Bernstein (left) gives directions to Jason Taylor (Bob) and Charlotte Mitchell (Charlotte) in the Village Theatre Guild’s upcoming production of “Beyond Therapy.”

Chuck Bernstein has been at work directing the Glen Ellyn Village Theatre Guild’s production of “Beyond Therapy” for nearly 6 weeks, and he’s certain that his interpretation of this “comedy from the couch” will entertain even the stodgiest of theatergoers. Opening May 25, “Beyond Therapy” is the last in the VTG’s 2011-2012 season.
Bernstein is an all-round theatre man. Born on the south side of Chicago, a certified public accountant, Bernstein’s long time avocation has been in drama. He’s worked half-way around the world pursuing acting, directing, and stagecraft in places like New Jersey, Chicago, and Tel Aviv.
By way of accounting, Bernstein became a sales and marketing man, working with a software company in Schaumberg for the last 18 years of his career. A man with considerable gumption, Bernstein once memorized 50 pages of monologue in four weeks for an Evelyn Waugh piece which he says he finally nailed the day before the production opened.
“‘Beyond Therapy’ is a very well written and a very funny piece,” he says, “I really love what it has to say about conventional wisdom in general and therapy in particular.”
“It is a comedy and a satire on people looking for answers in the wrong places and the even crazier people whose occupation it is to provide those answers!”
Bernstein remarks that Durang has a wonderful sense of language. “In addition to being very witty and funny his writing has a cadence that makes it almost musical. There is, at bottom, something very real about the characters in ‘Beyond Therapy.’ Something that I think audiences will find very easy to relate to… and to laugh at.”
The director has a specific task according to Bernstein.
“As actors we all need different things at different times. In general a director, because he observes the scenes of the play from the audience perspective, can see things that the actors can’t.”
“The director ought to give a unifying style to the acting. The director needs to find ways to be of help to the actor. Sometimes it means suggesting a stronger intention. Sometimes it means suggesting ways to fulfill that intent.”
Bernstein says that no one should be offended in seeing psychiatry satirized in “Beyond Therapy.” The two psychiatrists in the play, Stuart and Charlotte, are outlandish, portrayed in light-hearted fashion.
“Beyond Therapy” opens May 25th and runs weekends through June 16th. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8:00 p.m. with 4:00 p.m. matinees on Sunday June 3rd, Sunday June 10th, and Saturday June 16th, Tickets are $18. The Village Theatre Guild is located near the northwest corner of Park Blvd. and Butterfield Road. For tickets or information call 630-469-8230 or visit the VTG website at www.villagetheatreguild.org.

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