A post-matinee panel discussion is crucial component of every Heartland Theatre Company production.

But the one planned for its first offering of the new year, "For the Loyal," seems especially important, say those involved.

The discussion will follow the 2 p.m. Feb. 18 matinee, and is free and open to the public.

Comprising the panel will be Peter Rankatis, executive director of Project Oz; Tony Walesby, Illinois State University's Title IX coordinator; Darcy L. Greder, Illinois Wesleyan University dean of students and Title IX deputy coordinator; and Ginny Nappi, retired Unit 5 school district counselor.

Though the panel presentation is scheduled for the sake of discussing issues raised by the performance just given, Heartland Theatre Company's artistic director, Rhys Lovell, says it can be used in another way.

Because of the highly sensitive subject matter tackled by "For the Loyal," Lovell knows that some potential theatergoers might be uncertain whether they want to spend 90 minutes seeing them dramatized.

"I would suggest that you might think of coming to that (the panel discussion) first to decide whether you want to see the play," he says.

"It might answer questions like 'will this be upsetting to me?' Or, if you have kids you think should see this, you could make your decision  based on what you see and hear at the discussion."

Editor's note: Another useful guide to content and suitability will be Pantagraph theater critic Nancy Steele Brokaw's review, scheduled to appear early next week.

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