The Stephens College Playhouse Theatre Company will present “Night Witches,” a devised piece featuring the stories of courageous Soviet women bombardiers during World War II. The play, which is rated PG-13, will be performed for a one-weekend run, Oct. 21-23, 2016.
“Night Witches” comes to Stephens from Philadelphia, where it was devised and performed for fringe theatre by Butter & Serve Theater Company and enjoyed a sold-out run. Butter & Serve was founded by Alicia Crosby, Vanita Kalra, Riva Rubenoff and Sara Vanasse, who are all devisers of the Stephens production.
Kalra, who serves the duo role of director said, “We worked hand-in-hand with the performing arts students at Stephens to build a full-length piece that exists in this time and space only, and which will vanish from whence it came, as a piece rooted in the imaginations, bodies, breaths and voices of this new ensemble.”
The play tells the heroic story of the 588th Regiment of the Soviet Air Force, known as the Night Witches, which flew harassing, bombing missions against invading German troops during World War II. The stories of the courageous young women (between the ages of 17-26) are told in a compelling fashion through simulated oral histories, storytelling, creative movement and naturalistic scenes.
“The staging is fluid and continuously moving, weaving the Night Witches’ stories and entwining their lives,” Kalra said.
The stories of the Night Witches are told through five main characters: “Vera,” played by Madilynn Mansur, a second-year theatre student; “Irina,” played by Natalie Botkins, a first-year musical theatre student; “Alexandra,” played by Hannah Sutton, a first-year theatre student; “Galina,” played by Adrieanna Sauceda, a second-year theatre student; and “Anna,” played by Delainey Phillips, a second-year musical theatre student.
“While set in the years before and during World War II, ‘Night Witches’ carries timeless messages about bravery, sacrifice, the importance of friendship, and belief in the face of a highly visibly threat,” said assistant to the director/dramaturge Anna Torchia, a third-year Stephens theatre student. “The women’s stories, always supremely brave and selfless, remind us of the tenacity of women in times of hardship and can inspire us to ask ourselves what we are willing to risk in the name of our own beliefs.”
“We hope the audience will enjoy our re-telling of the extraordinary lives of the Night Witches, smashed together, pulled apart, re-configured, and re-remembered from the woefully small information documented about them,” Kalra said.
The play starts at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 21-22, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Oct. 23, in the Macklanburg Playhouse. Tickets are $14 general and $7 student/senior and can be purchased by contacting the Box Office at (573) 876-7199 or [email protected]
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