Penn State Berks Theatre Department presents ‘Independence’

Berks Theatre Presents Independence
Credit: Penn State

The Penn State Berks Theatre Department will present "Independence,” written by Lee Blessing, at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 20-23, in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium. This production is free and appropriate for the entire family.

According to The setting is the small town of Independence, Iowa, the lifelong home of Evelyn Briggs. Her oldest daughter, Kess, is a university professor in Minneapolis, but she has come home at the request of her sister, Jo, who is concerned for Evelyn's mental health. Kess, a professed lesbian, wants to cut her family ties once and for all; Jo, an incurable romantic and longtime virgin, has now become pregnant; while Sherry, salty-tongued and amoral, wants only to finish high school so she can leave home for good. In the end, there is no accommodation possible but, instead, only a kind of arbitrary independence for each of the protagonists, as they come to realize that each must find her own heaven—or hell—in her own way.

The production will be directed by adjunct theater faculty member Samantha Clarke. Tessa Eberlein will play Evelyn Briggs, the mother; Marie Durkota will play Kess Briggs; Ifeoluwa “Ife” Ogunyinka will play Jo Briggs, and Nicole Velazquez will round out the cast playing Sherry Briggs.

The creative team is composed of theater major Vincent Coughlin, who will serve as stage manager. Once again, the college’s engineering students are lending a hand to the team with senior electro-mechanical engineering technology major Raymond “R.J.” Bonham on lighting design and first-year engineering major Heather Alexander on sound design. In addition, Alyssa Maluchnik is the costume and make-up designer and Mike Peters is a design/tech assistant.

The Penn State Berks Bachelor of Arts in Theatre provides students with a solid foundation to become successful theater artists and effective theatre educators. The degree program also trains students in the skills to become effective communicators and professional program managers.

For more information, contact James Brown, program coordinator for theater, at 610-396-6419 or [email protected].