Barrington 12-year-old Quintin LeMire had just two weeks of acting experience when he landed the role of Everett Jr. in the James Downing Theatre’s production of “The Cemetery Tree.”
Written by Paul Barile and directed by Tom Akouris, the play follows three men who make weekly trips to the cemetery to visit their deceased wives.
“In the play, there are three old guys who were all married at one time but their wives had all died,” said Quintin, who delivered a monologue during the second half of the play.
Quintin said the character of Richard, who played Everett’s son, gets married in the play. When planning the wedding, a widow named Mabel sets her sights on Everett. However, Everett is more interested in visiting his wife’s grave with his friends, Stan and Lou. Shortly after Richard is married, Everett passes away.
“Then it jumps ahead,” Quintin said. “I was the second to last scene. I was asking about his friends Lou and Stan and about Eleanor, his wife.”
Quintin said it took him less than two weeks to memorize his lines for the play, which was performed in downtown Chicago. He said they performed about 10 productions over the summer.
“I wasn’t sure about it, but after considering, I thought I’d give it a shot,” Quintin said of his acting debut. “I really did enjoy it. The more I did it, the less nervous I got.”
Quintin said the play, which had a cast of seven, usually attracted a sizable audience.
“We were in a tight space, so we could only fit about 30 people,” he said. “But we still got a good audience.”
LeMire said the little acting experience he had prior to “The Cemetery Tree” was through Harper College’s InZone Enrichment and Sports Camp program. Quintin said he was contacted by the playwright while the production team was looking for a young actor to play Everett Jr.
“I got it right away,” he said of the part.
Quintin, a student at Prairie Middle School, said although he currently isn’t in any other productions, he would consider another acting role if a good opportunity comes along.
“If the opportunity comes up, I might pursue it,” he said.
Quintin concluded that the last scene of the play takes place in heaven, where the three old friends are reunited with their wives.