SRU Theatre Department raising the virtual curtain on fall season with ‘Home and Belonging’
Oct. 14, 2020
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Since theatergoers are unable to attend shows in person due to COVID-19, Slippery Rock University's Theatre Department has decided to bring the theater to patrons' video screens with its performance of "Home and Belonging." Performances will be 7:30 p.m., Oct. 15-17 via Zoom.
Directed by Laura Smiley, associate professor of theatre, and Malic Ma'at, a guest artist and 2015 SRU graduate with a degree in theatre, "Home and Belonging" is a series of performances woven together as the protagonist Lilah's fever dream transports her through time and space during an existential exploration.
The subject matter of the performances is timely in that it encompasses civil unrest in the face of police brutality, unequal access to health care, cancel culture and self-doubt. The play addresses these topics and more through Lilah's personal understanding of, and experience in, today's United States. The production is meant to get audience members thinking about the current state of the nation through both collective and personal experiences.
"At its core, this devised piece is a manifestation of time spent together exploring the madness in the world around us and unpacking the ways in which we hold ourselves and each other accountable within it," said Ma'at.
The approximately 90-minute production is composed of seven smaller performances with each covering a unique topic linked by Lilah's fever dream. Each segment was directed by students and alumni guest artists before being weaved into one larger performance.
The various productions include:
- "Zap," co-directed by Naomi Bates, a senior dance and theatre dual major from Slippery Rock; Smiley; and Ci'Era Spencer, a 2014 SRU graduate with a degree in theatre.
- "Woke Tribunal," story development and direction by Kevin Moore, a 2013 SRU graduate with a degree in social work.
- "Waiting Room," written and co-directed by Kiersten Hope, a senior theatre major from Vero Beach, Florida, and co-directed by Spencer.
- "Emotional Labor Hotline," written and directed by Moore.
- "Home and Belonging," written by Rao and Tyler Blackburn, a sophomore acting major from Warren; directed by Smiley and Isha Rao, a 2020 SRU graduate with a degree in theatre.
- "Baggage and Misinterpretation," directed by Bates and Rachael Holfelder, a senior theatre major from New Wilmington.
- "The Gap," written by Deanna Sparrow, an assistant professor of theatre, and directed by Ma'at and Spencer.
"This production did not grow from a script, but instead, grew from the collective stories, experiences and creativity of the artistic team," said Smiley. "It brings together a variety of people for a creative collaboration in order to shape the entirety of the project."
Cast, artistic staff, crew and staff include:
- Bates, artistic collaborator.
- Blackburn, ensemble cast member.
- Michael Boone, technical director and technical director for the College of Liberal Arts.
- Valerie Bowman, ensemble cast member and sophomore acting major from Connellsville.
- Shane Calderone, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from Ambridge.
- Coleton Edwards, ensemble cast member and junior acting major from McKees Rocks.
- Nick Edwards, a guest artist and 2013 SRU graduate with a degree in marketing.
- Shawn Faraoni, ensemble cast member and sophomore acting major from Pittsburgh.
- Sophia Geitner, public relations specialist/poster designer and junior communication major from Saint Marys.
- Vincent Gencarelli, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from Point Pleasant Boro, New Jersey.
- Matthew Gill, scenic designer and post-baccalaureate theatre major from Mercer.
- Hailey Herrmann, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from Cranberry Township.
- Mary Rances Hodson, costume shop coordinator and costume coordinator for the Theatre Department.
- Holfelder, artistic collaborator and props designer.
- Hope, artistic collaborator.
- Ethan Jaap, sound/video designer and junior accounting major from Cresson.
- Maison Kairush, assistant stage manager and freshman theatre major from Canonsburg.
- Gwen Lillycrop, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from Westminster, Maryland.
- Katelyn Loss, ensemble cast member and junior acting major from Montoursville.
- Alawna Mallory, ensemble cast member and sophomore acting major from Crafton.
- Rebecca Morrice, costume designer and associate professor of theatre.
- Tyler Parsonage, assistant lighting director and sophomore theatre major from Murrysville.
- Gordon Phetteplace, lighting designer and associate professor of theatre.
- Brandon Pierce, production assistant and sophomore communication major from Gibsonia.
- Deven Runge, ensemble cast member and sophomore acting major from Califon, New Jersey.
- Laura Shope, production stage manager/public relations specialist and senior theatre major from Venetia.
- Rachel Simms, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from Gibsonia.
- Sparrow, artistic collaborator.
- Shane Treloar, ensemble cast member and freshman acting major from McDonald.
- Erik Warmbein, assistant stage manager and senior history and theatre dual major from Pittsburgh.
- Daniel Young, sound/video designer and junior communication major from Pittsburgh.
The production is recommended for mature audiences only.
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