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The Antipodes

Poster Design: Sydney Dye
World Premiere produced by Signature Theatre, New York City.
Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director; James Houghton, Founder

“The Antipodes” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

Director’s Note

Like most of Annie Baker’s plays, The Antipodes captures everyday life in all its detail and complexity. However, as the play progresses, the familiar begins to reach out in order to touch the unknown. To navigate this journey, our ensemble of creators has focused on three questions—three lights that have guided us through the forest of this play during the rehearsal process.

1. What is the point of telling stories when the world is crumbling around you? In the Hollywood writers’ room that is the setting of The Antipodes our characters try to keep the outside world at bay and concentrate on creating. However, the outside world—most acutely in the form of natural disaster—inevitably encroaches. It’s hard to separate global concerns from local, daily life. Likewise, particularly for those in the creative industries, it has become increasingly important in the 21st century to question the relationship between artmaking and the world. Faced with violence on a national and international scale, is the best use of our time to tell a story? Faced with a climate crisis that threatens human extinction, can we justify rehearsing another play? What if the answer to these questions were “yes”?

2. Can we resist overemployment? Due to the privilege of their excellent liberal-arts education, most of our graduates will not struggle with unemployment when they leave our campus. They will, however, struggle with overemployment. Our graduates will work at jobs in which they will be expected to be working or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The access to information labor that computers and cellphones enable means we are never “off the clock” in today’s world. There are always emails to answer, texts to send, content to create. And those in the creative industries may feel more sharply the pressure of overemployment because they are regularly told (and usually deeply feel) how lucky they are to be doing this work.

3. Who gets to tell whose story? The writers’ room in The Antipodes, like most writers’ rooms in Hollywood today, are still dominated by white men. Considering this lack of diversity, Baker is concerned about whether such rooms are qualified to speak for everyone. When telling stories, is everything/everyone’s story up for grabs? Are the myths and legends from other cultures material we should feel comfortable using? In addition, how much of our own lives are we willing to turn into “content” for the public. If offered the opportunity, would you be willing to turn your life story into a salable commodity? Late in the play, Sandy, the man in charge of this writers’ room, asks his writers to think back to their childhoods and remember a story that changed their life. In that moment, I encourage you to do so as well and to consider, How much is that story worth to you?

These are some of the themes we’ve found in The Antipodes. I’m excited to hear what you find. I hope you enjoy this strange, mysterious (yet familiar), beautiful play.

Special Thanks

Connie Book, Rebecca Kohn, Gabie Smith, Fred Rubeck, Natalie Hart, Kimberly Rippy, Chris Fields, David McGraw, Kevin Otos, Kim Shively, English Department, Seabrook Brown, Cary Worthy, Carpet One (Shannon, Angie & Paul), Brian Faucette from Graham Recreation & Parks, Hotel Liquidation Store, and Kirby Wahl for voicing the character Max

Cast

SandyConrad Hall
SarahKatie Kapp
EleanorSara LiBrandi
AdamSean Mikesh
Danny M1Graham Boggess
Danny M2Nik Salah
JoshDylan Levison
DaveAlec Wilson
BrianGavin Blayne
u/s Sandy/BrianSeth Upchurch
u/s SarahKelly Donovan
u/s EleanorCaroline Moore
u/s AdamMJ Schaeffer
u/s Danny M2Parker Bowen

Production Team

DirectorScott Proudfit
Assistant DirectorJuliette Hill
DramaturgSusanne Shawyer
Student DramaturgsKayla Jordan
Owen Parker
Anabelle Sumera-Decoret
Brett Turnbull
Scenic/Props DesignerEliza Gregory
Scenic/Props AdvisorChris Fields
Costume DesignerJonathan Jensen
Hair & Makeup DesignerKayla McBratney
Costumes/Hair & Makeup AdvisorKayla Higbee
Sound DesignerJasmine Smith
Sound AdvisorMike Smith
Lighting DesignerCasey Spielman
Lighting AdvisorGregory Thorn
Technical DirectorLuis Silva
Stage ManagerMatthew Bobzien
Assistant Stage ManagerLillian Chen
Production ManagerCharles Johnson
Costume Shop ManagerHeidi Jo Schiemer
Props CoordinatorJeff A.R. Jones
Light Board OperatorElla Stewart
Sound Board OperatorElla Schultz
Props CrewOwen Harsch
Makenzie Pridgen
Wardrobe CrewOwen Harsch
Front-of-House SupervisorDavid McGraw
House ManagersKeri Anderson
Ella Huestis
Emily Moxon
Poster DesignSydney Dye

Bios

Susanne Shawyer

Susanne Shawyer

Matthew Bobzien

Matthew Bobzien

Keri Anderson

Keri Anderson

Katie Kapp

Katie Kapp

Kayla McBratney

Kayla McBratney

Kayla Jordan

Kayla Jordan

Sara LiBrandi

Sara LiBrandi

Sean Mikesh

Sean Mikesh

Jasmine Smith

Jasmine Smith

Alec Wilson

Alec Wilson

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret

Gavin Blayne

Gavin Blayne

Kelly Donovan

Kelly Donovan

Owen Parker

Owen Parker

Parker Bowen

Parker Bowen

Dylan Levison

Dylan Levison

Graham Boggess

Graham Boggess

Conrad Hall

Conrad Hall

Lillian Chen

Lillian Chen

Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore

MJ Schaeffer

MJ Schaeffer

Makenzie Pridgen

Makenzie Pridgen

Scott Proudfit

Scott Proudfit

Susanne Shawyer

Susanne Shawyer is a dramaturg, theatre historian, and Associate Professor of Theatre at Elon University. Her research on dramaturgies of protest and theatre pedagogy has been published in such journals as Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Research in Drama Education, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Performance Matters, as well as multiple anthologies. She is Affiliate Faculty—Dramaturgy Specialist with Theatrical Intimacy Education, an organization dedicated to training students and theatre professionals in theatrical intimacy best practices. She is currently Editor of the journal Theatre Topics. Education: PhD in Theatre, University of Texas at Austin.

Matthew Bobzien

Matthew Bobzien is a Senior from Raleigh, NC double majoring in Drama & Theatre Studies and Arts Administration. Matthew’s credits include Semicolon (Lighting Designer), John Proctor is the Villain (Dramaturg), Game Over (Lighting Designer), Alone Together (Director), Devine (Lighting Designer), She Loves Me (Technical Supervisor), Concord Floral (Assistant Director), Antigone (Technical Supervisor) and Shock and Awe (Stage Manager). He is a member of Elon Performing Arts’ improv troupe, Instant Laughter. They are also president of Elon NewWorks and a member of the 2024 Queer Arts Festival steering committee. Matthew would like to thank his family, friends, and mentors for their support.

Keri Anderson

Keri Anderson is a junior BFA Acting and BA Arts Administration double major with a minor in Business Administration. Past Elon credits include: Clue (Assistant Director), Concord Floral (#5 (Rosa Mundi)) and Sense and Sensibility (Ms. Dashwood u/s & Margaret u/s). Professional credits include: Macbeth -  Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Witch #2, Ensemble)

Katie Kapp

Katie Kapp is a Junior BFA Acting major. She is thrilled to be a part of The Antipodes. Her previous roles at Elon include Madeleine in The Inferior Sex and Fanny/Lucy Understudy in Sense and Sensibility. She is incredibly thankful to all who have helped me grow!

Kayla McBratney

Kayla is a senior Arts Administration major with a minor in Theatrical Design and Technology. As the designated "hair and makeup friend" she is so excited to make her Hair & Makeup Design debut! Previous Elon credits include Costume Designer (John Proctor is the Villain) and Assistant Stage Manager (Sense and Sensibility). She would like to thank ALL of the TDT faculty for their support and mentorship throughout her time at Elon.

Kayla Jordan

Kayla Jordan is a junior DTS and TDT major from Nashville, Tennessee. Recent Elon credits include The Bridges of Madison County (Assistant Stage Manager) and Spring Awakening (Props Artisan). Other credits include Steel Magnolias (Stage Manager) and Murder on the Orient Express (Stage Manager) at Weathervane Playhouse. Kayla is thrilled to now be a dramaturg for The Antipodes! She’d like to give special thanks to both Dr. Shawyer and Scott Proudfit for their support.

Sara LiBrandi

Sara is a senior Musical Theatre major and is thrilled to be in her first play here at Elon! Sara was most recently seen as Martha in Elon’s production of Spring Awakening. The Antipodes is one of her favorite plays and she is so excited to share it with all of you tonight. She couldn’t imagine a better show to end her Elon MainStage career with. She would like to thank her family and friends for their support the past 4 years. Enjoy the show! Instagram: sara_libi

Sean Mikesh

Sean Mikesh is a Junior BFA Acting major at Elon University who is very excited to return to Elon after a semester abroad in London! At Elon, Sean has been involved with the 2022 season’s spring show The Cherry Orchard as the part of Trofimov. Also, Sean understudied for the other plays from that season including: Heart of Shrapnel (Y) and Sense and Sensibility (Edward/Col. Brandon). Sean is also a member of the Improv troupe Instant Laughter.

Jasmine Smith

Jasmine Smith (she/her) is a senior BFA Acting major with a minor in Theatrical Design & Technology. Her previous sound credit includes John Proctor is the Villain (Elon, 2023). She would like to thank the design team and the faculty advisors for all their support during this process.

Alec Wilson

Alec is a Senior Acting and Computer Science double major at Elon University. His previous works at Elon include Heart of Shrapnel (X and Y), Clue (Mr. Boddy, Motorists, Chief of Police), and Macbeth (Macbeth U/S). He would like to thank all of his friends and family for supporting him throughout college and continuing to support him as he gets ready to graduate.

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret

Anabelle Sumera-Decoret (she/her) is a Sophomore BFA Acting Major from Seattle, Washington. Elon credits include: Concord Floral (8 (Fox) U/S) and Clue (Cook, Telegram, Cop, & Auxiliary Scarlet U/S), and John Proctor is the Villain (Student Chorus, Beth U/S), as well as dramaturgy for The Antipodes. Instagram: @reality.asd

Gavin Blayne

Gavin is a Senior Acting major. The Antipodes is his third show at Elon, previously understudying in both The Cherry Orchard and Concord Floral. Gavin is thankful for all of his professors and friends who have helped him grow and is excited to grow more with them in his last semester.

Kelly Donovan

Kelly Donovan is a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is majoring in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Geography. Her previous credit at Elon includes Antigone (Renegade, 2022). Kelly is also a Music Director for Elon Muses Show Choir, an Elon College Fellow, and is a member of Elon Women in STEM. She would like to thank her family and friends for their constant love and support.

Owen Parker

Owen is a first year Arts Administration major and is thrilled to be making his dramaturg debut for The Antipodes! Recent credits include: Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Mamma Mia!, Grease, and more. Owen is also a current intern for the first national tour of The Cher Show, where he creates social media content. He would love to thank Dr. Shawyer and Scott for their support and effort. @owenhparker

Parker Bowen

Parker is a first year BFA Acting major from Spartanburg, South Carolina and is thrilled to be working on his first show at Elon! He would like to thank his family and friends for their continued love and support.

Dylan Levison

Dylan Levison is a first-year BFA Acting major from Short Hills, New Jersey and is very excited to be performing in his first Elon production! Some of Dylan’s favorite past credits include Millburn High School: Clue: On Stage (Mr. Green) and Paper Mill Playhouse Children's Theatre on Tour: Into The Woods (The Baker). He wants to give a special thanks to the entire cast and crew of The Antipodes for making his first show at Elon an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the show! Instagram: @dyllev

Graham Boggess

Graham is a first-year acting major, and he's very excited to be making his mainstage debut in The Antipodes! He starred in the NewWorks production of Cardboard Boxes last semester, and productions of Sweeney Todd, Footloose, and Disney's Descendants in high school. When he's not acting, he's singing in the a cappella group Twisted Measure. He's below average height, but he pretends he's tall for some reason.

Conrad Hall

Working on this show has been an incredible experience. I am so proud of all the work put into this production and I am grateful that I got to work with such a great group of dedicated artists. I want to thank everyone involved in putting this impactful show together. We’re very excited to share this story!

Lillian Chen

Lillian is a first-year Elon student from New Jersey and is so grateful to be taking part in the Black History Month Dance Concert as a stage manager! She is double majoring in Theatrical Design & Technology and Strategic Communications and when not taking part in shows, she also works as a house manager for the performing arts productions. She hopes you enjoy the performance!

Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore is a first-year BFA Acting major at Elon! She is from Raleigh, NC and has loved to perform since her grandma introduced her to the world of theatre at age 9. She would like to thank her friends and family for their endless support! Instagram: @Carolinegmoore

MJ Schaeffer

MJ is from Memphis, TN and has been doing theatre since 2018. They graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and performed in two plays in their year there: King Riel in Sun in Ya Hands and Stage Manager in It’s Our Town, Too.

Makenzie Pridgen

Makenzie Pridgen is a first year BFA Acting major from Baltimore Maryland and is excited to be a part of her first play at Elon! She has been performing since middle school and has been featured in productions such as Roland Park Country School: Once on This Island (Storyteller), Descendants the Musical (Evie), and Gilman School: Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Mother, Granny, Giant, and Sleeping Beauty).

Scott Proudfit

Scott Proudfit is an Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of the Drama & Theatre Studies program at Elon University. He has co-edited three volumes on collective creation and devised theatre for Palgrave. Recent scholarship includes an essay on Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate in Theatre History Studies and a book chapter on Annie Baker’s John in the upcoming volume The Figure of the Monster in Global Theatre and Performance (Routledge, 2024). Before obtaining his PhD from Northwestern University, he worked with the Actors’ Gang and the Factory Theater in Los Angeles and with Irondale Ensemble Project in New York, often on devised plays. In addition, for almost a decade he worked as an editor for the newspapers Back Stage and Back Stage West. This is his directorial debut at Elon.