Presented by the BRIT Program
University of South Florida, Tampa FL
Performed Feb 20 - 2nd March 2014
Directed by Helen Tennison
Playwright: Kate Kerrow
Sound Design and Composition: Matt Eaton
Video and Projection Design: Eva Auster
An original play exploring the lives of three courageous women across history against the backdrop of an ever-changing America.
Notes from the Director:
When I was approached with the initial brief for Ravens I was hugely excited for three reasons. The first reason was that I was absolutely delighted to be able to work with all the students and faculty at USF again. The second reason was the opportunity to make a piece about women’s experience. The theatrical cannon offers greater visibility and diversity in its portrayal of the male meaning that there is a wealth of unexplored female experience just waiting to be staged.
Finally, the devising process is inspiring, deeply creative, and particularly empowering for young actors. You begin with no script and the piece emerges gradually through the collaborative work of all involved- anything could happen! All of the themes explored and characters created came from the ideas of the group as a whole and all the choreography and scenes that you see in Ravens are based on improvisations created with the actors over the last 6 weeks. During these improvisations we found a collective interest in the symbolic nature of the bird. We loved that birds captured the essence of freedom, yet we wanted to challenge the traditional image of women as a fragile, beautiful birds - just as the characters in our stories challenge or are challenged by the traditional gender identities assigned to them. We chose to call the show Ravens because in Native American lore, the Raven symbolizes transgression, transformation and empowerment.
Supported by the British International Theatre Endowment.
The narrative occurs in three interwoven eras: 1858, 1926 and 2014
The Schafer home, a small family farm just outside Knoxville, East Tennessee.
Ellen Schafer, Eldest Sister - Hannah Martin
Marian Schafer, Middle Sister - Jenna McCarthy
Alice Schafer, Youngest Sister - Louisa Pastorius
Hannah Marshall, Activist - Sigourney Forrester
Charles Schafer, Uncle - Josh Moody
The action takes place in and around the Clam House, an underground cabaret club in Harlem which allowed inter-racial mixing and was the hub of the lesbian and gay network.
Also Hazeldene House, Cora’s home.
Ida Milsom, Headline Cabaret Artist - Kaena Hood
Cora Hazeldene, Flapper - Sarah Norris
Grace Hazeldene, Cora’s Mother - Jenna McCarthy
Thoda Hood, Cabaret Artist - Sigourney Forrester
Mina Miller, Wife of Clam House Owner - Selena Frey
Mable Penfold, Ventriloquist - Shelby McDonell
Flappers and dancers played by the ensemble
The Hernandez family home in Tampa
Theresa Hernandez, Mother Shelby McDonell
Ana Hernandez, Sister Selena Frey
Carmen Hernandez, Bride Cristina Blanco
Zola Swaby, Mother’s Friend Sigourney Forrester
Celia Perez, Bride’s cousin Louisa Pastorius