Next week the Goshen College theater department will top off the semester with a pair of senior theater recitals by Vanessa Jones and Sammy Rosario.The first of the two shows, “Almost, Maine,” is a collection of two-person vignettes that all take place at the same time on a snowy starlit night in a small, fictional town in Maine. Jones and her cast, Paul Zehr, Jay Mast, Lucas Nafziger, Christina Hofer and Liz Core, will perform five scenes from the full production, directed by 2012 GC alum Phil Weaver-Stoesz.
Jones first saw the production at the American College Theater Festival. “I thought it was witty and charming, and the piece has been in the back of my mind ever since,” said Jones.
She also identified with the characters because of her small town upbringing in South Dakota. Jones, who has mostly played dramatic roles while at GC, is looking forward to performing some comedy. “It is a bit of a crowd pleaser — it’s funny, it’s dramatic, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh — I think the audience will have a lot of fun — and hopefully enjoy a break from studying for finals!” she said.
Although this is Jones’s capstone undergraduate work, she expressed deep gratitude for all of those who have worked on the project, noting that “it’s been my goal from the beginning for this to be a collaborative process.”
The following evening, Rosario will take the stage in a very different production, an autobiographical show titled “Libertad: The Truth Shall Set You Free.”
The recital incorporates multiple elements, including the film “Libertad,” the GC Troupe of Actors — a group featuring Emily Trapp, Stefan Baumgartner, Martin Flowers, Rhianna Cockrell and Rosario — in an off-Broadway show, and music written by GC alum Patrick Ressler and Jake Smucker, a sophomore, in addition to other “surprises,” said Rosario. For him, each part of the recital “comes from a very personal place.”
The goal of the production is to spark conversation in the Goshen community about issues that Rosario himself has struggled with and to engage the audience in Rosario’s personal journey. As a gay rights activist, among other things, Rosario said, “I wanted my senior recital to be an instrument of justice and hope for those who are still afraid, and in the process, give them liberty.”
Each show will serve as a piece of self-expression and the culmination of these actors’ work at GC before they graduate at the end of this month.
Jones will perform her show Wednesday April 23 at 8 p.m. in Umble Center. Rosario’s show will follow on Thursday evening at 8 p.m., also in Umble Center.