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Lafayette College Theater will present outdoor performances of Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest on the grounds of McKelvy House, High and Brodhead Streets, 7 p.m. Sept. 28-30.

The play is directed by Suzanne R. Westfall, associate professor of English and theater. Tickets cost $6 and may be ordered by calling the box office of Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts, (610) 330-5009.

Lit by torches and accompanied by live musicians, A Tempest seeks to connect its audiences with the rituals that unite diverse theater practices across time and among cultures. Freely adapted from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Césaire’s play transports Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, and other characters from the original to a world where the traditions of Africa and the Caribbean come into conflict with the forces of imperialism.

Friday’s performance of A Tempest will be preceded by a “carnival” from 4-6 p.m. West Indian foods will be offered against a backdrop of steel drum music. Items will be displayed and available for purchase in an African market.

McKelvy House is home to the McKelvy House Scholars Program, in which 20 Lafayette students of high academic achievement and promise reside together and participate in shared intellectual and social activities. McKelvy House was built in 1888 overlooking the Delaware River. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, it is one of the College’s finest pieces of architecture. Originally the John Eyerman residence, it was given to Lafayette by the heirs of Trustee Francis G. McKelvy in 1960.

English major Katherine Rewinkel ’03 (Sunnyvale, Calif.) portrayed Miss M. Muse and a beauty contestant in Lafayette College Theater’s Skin Of Our Teeth in fall 1999 and Liverlips Louie in the Marquis Players’ Guys and Dolls in spring 2000. She is making her debut as stage manager.

“Part of the challenge for me was that I had never done this before and therefore didn’t know what to expect or what would be expected of me,” she says. “I’ve been involved with many aspects of the production — sitting in on auditions and giving some input on casting, helping with costumes, along with making sure people know when to come, where to be, what to do, and when to do it. It’s been a really interesting experience. I still get to spend time with the actors, something I enjoy, but I also have been more involved in and learned more from being stage manager.

“I was responsible for knowing and recording where certain characters were supposed to be during a given scene, something important to keep in mind for later scenes, especially when each part is blocked and rehearsed (at first) out of orderIt’s complicated and all aspects are interconnected. From this show, I now have a greater appreciation for all the time and effort people put into a show behind the scenes. As an audience member or an actor in the cast, I didn’t have the same appreciation or understanding.”

The hard-working cast has been enthusiastic, she adds. “With everyone working to design their own costumes and masks, we got to see some of everyone’s creativity — the things they came up with were interesting and they all had a good time. It was in some ways like a return to childhood — paint, feathers, glitter. It was fun to see.”

Rewinkel is stepping back into the theater program after spending last semester in Lafayette’s study abroad program at Middlesex University in London. “I had a wonderful time over there — I enjoyed the classes and traveled around a bit,” she says. “Even though the language is essentially the same, the culture is different — the way people live, act, and relate to one another. It was a very good experience. My favorite part was experiencing the culture — going to the galleries, museums, and, especially the theatres. Over the course of the 18 weeks I was there, I saw roughly 30 shows.”

Rewinkel is treasurer of the German Club and a resident of the German floor in Keefe Hall. She is a Writing Associate and a member of the student groups Questioning Established Sexual Taboos and Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection.

Government and law major Kenya Flash ’03 (Coopersburg, Pa.) says the most challenging and interesting aspect of playing her character, Gonzalo, is that he is not very aware of his surroundings. “I think that like him, I am an idealist, but we differ in that I take notice of the world around me,” says Flash. “I wanted to be in this play because it was said to appeal to a Caribbean idea of things, dealing with colonialism and its effects.

“I really enjoy the message of the play and I believe that it educates others about the harms of intellectual and cultural imperialism. Hopefully, people will be able to see this message in the play and learn to respect people from different cultures. I hope one day to go on to make a difference in the way people see the world and others.”

Flash is a member of the Forensics Society, which competes in events stressing speech and debate performance, and Lafayette African and Caribbean Student Association. She also is a resident advisor and a calculus tutor. She plans to participate in Alternative Spring Break this year.

Victor Mrosso ’04 (Tanzania), who plans to major in economics and business, received a taste of acting at Lafayette last year in the role of Mike in Unspeakable Acts, a first-year student orientation play. “In this role, I tried to portray a ‘good guy’ having a debate with his ‘angel side’ and his ‘devil side’ as to whether or not to pursue a pretty girl at a party,” he says. “My role as Caliban (in A Tempest) is extremely intense because I’m trying to portray a very angry character who’s had everything stripped from him by colonial ‘addicts’ and I find myself relating it to Africa and all the events associated with colonialism,” he says. “I find it hard to say some of the very negative things that Caliban utters towards the other characters as times have obviously changed, but it’s theater, so I can pretend.”

The experience has helped Mrosso learn valuable time management and voice projection skills, he notes. Mrosso is a member of the Residence Hall Council in Keefe Hall. Last year, he served as Freshmen Class Council president.

A.B. engineering major Alyssa Spiro ’02 (Ewing, N.J.) is serving as assistant stage director. She has participated in the Marquis Players productions of Guys and Dolls and Chess, as well as in two fashion shows. She is interested in becoming an elementary school science teacher. “I’ve always wanted to work on an outdoor show,” she says. “Working back stage can be just as challenging as being on stage, except there’s less stage fright.”

Spiro is vice president of Hillel Society. She is a member of the Lafayette chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and has served the group as president. She also is a member of Leonardo Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, Association for Lafayette Women, and Questioning Established Sexual Taboos. She works in the admissions office and spent a January interim session studying abroad in Germany.

Marquis Scholar and history major Rachel Korpanty ’04 (Summerville, S.C.), who played Lady Britomart in last year’s College Theater production of Major Barbara, is taking on the role of Stephano. “He is basically a drunk, and I personally find that very hard to pretend to be,” she says. “Most challenging is the fact that Stephano is my first really ‘comic’ character — I’m not a comedian, and I’m a little nervous about this.”

Korpanty calls A Tempest “an outdoor, surreal sort of performance.” “The characters aren’t realistic, per se, and I think that’s the real challenge — trying to create character personalities that are believable and likeable, yet still retain that air of difference,” she says.

Westfall’s direction has been excellent, adds Korpanty. “Professor Westfall is a very talented director, and ideally suited for a production such as this. She believes in looking outside the box, and allowing each actor to bring his or her own identity to the characters and the play.”

Cast and Crew
Heather Badamo: God, Creature, Spirit
Fayola Bostic: Ariel
Dane Brodber: God, Creature, Spirit
Amanda Carey: Iris
Simmone Chaddan: Mistress of Ceremonies
Mary Ellen Cravens: Miranda
Andrew DiFazio: Trinculo
Ricardo El-Darwish: Prospero
Tim Fargus: Antonio
Kenya Flash: Gonzalo
Emmanuel Kirunda: Eshu
Rachel Korpanty: Stephano
Anja McCarthy: God, Creature, Spirit
Vilas Menon: Alonso
Suzanne Montgomery: God, Creature, Spirit
Victor Mrosso: Caliban
Leigh Nichols: God, Creature, Spirit
Rashada Norman: Juno
Rose Pilato: God, Creature, Spirit
Alison Purcell: Sebastian
Katherine Rewinkel: Stage Manager
Tymur Shlusaver: Captain
Bill Simmons: Ferdinand
Janille Smith: God, Creature, Spirit
Alyssa Spiro: Assistant Stage Manager
Keli Whitnell: Assistant Director
Emefa Woananu: Ceres
Suzanne Westfall: Director

Categorized in: Academic News