Shepherd University Presents ORLANDO
This weekend, Shepherd University's Department of Contemporary Art & Theater celebrates the opening of Orlando adapted by Sarah Ruhl, directed by kb saine. Ruhl's play is based on the Virginia Woolf novel of the same name. Although the story was published almost a century ago, the story's themes still ring true.
Paola C. Torres, a strategic and new media communications major from Smithsburg, MD, is tackling the role of Orlando. "Orlando is a young person we meet in the 16th century. They go through a journey of self-expression and self-exploration to really discover themselves. Their journey of growth and self-preservation is huge."
Torres continues to reflect on the themes and history of Orlando, "we are not just who we are in the present moment. We are not the same person we were ten years ago, but we carry that person with us. We are all of the people we've ever been. That's what Orlando discovers."
After completing her Associate of Arts from Hagerstown Community College, Torres wanted to earn her Bachelor's. "The faculty at HCC is amazing. I never thought I would feel that connection again," Torres confesses. "Then I met the faculty and staff in Shepherd's communications and theater programs, including Orlando's director kb saine, and I knew that Shepherd was the right place for me to continue my education."
Although Torres is has been heavily involved in theater throughout the region since she was a child, she has never experienced a rehearsal process quiet like Orlando's. "Working on this play with kb, who is a very generous director, has been amazing. She's like no other director I've had before. We, the entire cast and kb, are building something together. The cast really has to listen to each other and know all of the lines in the play, not just our own. It's about listening.
"kb sat me down very early in the rehearsal process to discuss themes in the novel and play. The novel, which was published in 1928, explores how society addresses the issues of sex and gender identity. I'm glad Ruhl's adaption gives us this opportunity to continue the conversation. I'm excited to share this story, and involve Shepherd University and the community in this dialogue," Torres concludes.
Orlando will performed at the Marinoff Theater at Shepherd University, located at 62 W. Campus Drive in Shepherdstown, W. Va. Performances are November 8, 9, 14, and 15 at 7:30pm, and November 16 at 2:30pm.
Tickets for Orlando are $10 for the general public; $8 for seniors and military; and $5 for Shepherd University faculty/staff and non-Shepherd students. Admission for Shepherd University students is free and SU students should be prepared to show their rambler. Tickets are available at the door one hour before each performance and can be purchased with cash or check; credit cards are not accepted.
The Orlando cast is comprised entirely of Shepherd University students. Danielle Beauclair, a theater major from Martinsburg, W. Va. portrays Sasha; Jack Dempsey, a theater major from Myersville, MD portrays Chorus; Isaiah Hall, a theater major from Glen Burnie, MD portrays Chorus; Paola C. Torres, a strategic communications of new media major from Smithsburg, MD portrays Orlando; and Jason Whitaker, a theater major from Woodbridge, VA portrays Chorus.
In addition to the talent on stage, Shepherd students are taking a lead on designing the production. Lighting design is by Danica Rodrigues, a theater major from Martinsburg, W.Va. Costume design is by Gracie Spinney, a theater major from Bunker Hill, W. Va. Properties design is by Leighann Hengemihle, a sculpture major from Martinsburg, W.Va. Original music composition is by Andelena Jackson, a music major from Hagerstown, MD. The assistant director is Patrick L.F. Rao, a theater major from Shepherdstown. W.Va.