The Show Must Go On!
Catherine MacKay and Brooke Echnat ’21
Bryan Vandevender, Theatre and Dance
Anjalee Desphande Hutchinson, Theatre and Dance
Theatre and Dance Department
The Theatre and Dance Department periodically awards the honor of an Individual Production Project to seniors who have demonstrated advanced work and a deep commitment to an area of theatre production. This project allows students to assume a leadership role for a mainstage production under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Brooke Echnat and Catherine MacKay were awarded Individual Production Projects to serve as the Director and Dramaturg for Bliss (or Emily Post is Dead) by Jami Brandli.
Bliss follows the Ancient Greek characters Medea, Clytemnestra, Antigone, and Cassandra, now pill-popping housewives, in 1960s NJ. Cassandra, a black woman, is gifted with the art of prophecy but cursed by Apollo that no one will believe her visions. She seeks to prove these women can have control over their lives in this modern era. Can we reclaim our “fates” or are our fates predetermined by societal structures set in place?
As Director, Brooke engaged in various mediums and methodologies as she navigated directing in a pandemic. She utilized both virtual and in-person rehearsal processes. Along with the efforts of her cast, crew, and collaborators, she was able to create a piece of theatre at a time when many theaters in our country are still shutdown.
As the Dramaturg, Catherine researched many topics related to the play such as Greek Mythology and Emily Post’s Etiquette to help the production team and actors better understand the world of the play. Catherine’s research provided foundational material that informed the creative decisions of the play.