Here is the program for our most recent production: La Llorona and The Orphan Sea

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La Llorona
By Cecelia Raker
Directed by Susan Stroupe
Stage Manager: Betse Lyons

There will be one 15 minute intermission

CAST
Emily Sucher …………….............. Rachel
Natanya Sheva Washer …….… Molly
Marina Mia Ybarra ………………. Maria
Mani Yangilmau ……..............… La Llorona
Laura Malkus …….….............….. Mom
Jonathan Jacobs ….…............... Gatekeeper
Chara Bauer  ………................… Gatekeeper
Mika J Nakano ……..….............. Gatekeeper
Christian Gonzalez ….............. Gatekeeper

ARTISTIC AND PRODUCTION STAFF

Susan Stroupe ………...… Director
Betse Lyons …………..…... Stage Manager
Abby Cady ...................… Dramaturg
Elizabeth Ung …….……... Costume Designer
Helen Garcia-Alton …... Lighting Designer
Jess Rassp …………………. Scenic Designer
Meghan Stanton ……..... Sound Designer
Alisa Glenn ………..………. Properties Designer
Brad Norris ………..……... Fight Choreographer
Emily Sucher ……........… Intimacy Choreographer
Caitlin Carbone ……..…. Production Manager
Allison Bloechl ………….. Scenic Artist
Daniel Wiessglass …….. Electrician 

SPECIAL THANKS

United Evangelical Church,  Baltimore Center Stage, Single Carrot Theatre, CCBC, Pumpkin Theater, Amy Wedel, Tamar Geist, Michelle Rassp, Jeff Miller, Heather Johnston, Heiko Spieker, Jane Jongeward, Marcia Norris, and all who helped us to make these productions possible. 

La Llorona was originally produced by Fresh Ink Theatre in Boston, MA

The Orphan Sea
By Caridad Svich
Directed by Susan Stroupe
Stage Manager: Betse Lyons

There will be one 15 minute intermission

CAST
Mika J Nakano ……...................…. City Chorus
Emily Sucher ……….................…... City Chorus
Marina Mia Ybarra …………...…... City Chorus
Chara Bauer  …….................…..... Odysseus Chorus
Christian Gonzalez .…................. Odysseus Chorus
Mani Yangilmau …....................… Odysseus Chorus
Jonathan Jacobs …...................... Penelope Chorus
Laura Malkus ……......................... Penelope Chorus
Natanya Sheva Washer ….......... Penelope Chorus

ARTISTIC AND PRODUCTION STAFF

Susan Stroupe ………...…. Director
Betse Lyons …………..….... Stage Manager
Abby Cady .....................… Dramaturg
Elizabeth Ung …….……….. Costume Designer
Helen Garcia-Alton …….. Lighting Designer
Jess Rassp …………………... Scenic Designer
Meghan Stanton ……...…. Sound Designer
Alisa Glenn ………..………... Properties Designer
Brad Norris ………..……..... Fight Choreographer
Emily Sucher ……..........… Intimacy Choreographer
Caitlin Carbone ……..…... Production Manager
Allison Bloechl ……………. Scenic Artist
Daniel Wiessglass ………. Electrician 

SPECIAL THANKS

United Evangelical Church,  Baltimore Center Stage, Single Carrot Theatre, CCBC, Pumpkin Theater, Amy Wedel, Tamar Geist, Michelle Rassp, Jeff Miller, Heather Johnston, Heiko Spieker, Jane Jongeward, Marcia Norris, and all who helped us to make these production possible. 

The Orphan Sea originally was commissioned and premiered at the University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Theatre under the direction of Kevin Brown.

The Orphan Sea is produced by special arrangement with the Playwright.


A Note From The Director

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
-Walt Whitman

We are living in an age of myth-building. From Hamilton to Black Panther to Wonder Woman and many others, we in the US are ripping open our history not to disprove fact or revise history, but to expand our mythologies. The wonderful thing about myths, as opposed to historical fact, is that myths are malleable enough to contain a multitude of truths, which is what often makes them better than historical fact at helping us understand our messy humanity, particularly in complex times such as these.

This Rep of two plays, La Llorona and The Orphan Sea, both explore complex myths in complex ways. They both ask us to see and experience the stories of the characters on multiple levels at once. They ask us to open our imaginations to the possibilities of multiple truths, in the myths portrayed, and in our own mythologies.

As you watch this incredible ensemble weave their way through these stylistically different but thematically connected shows, consider your own mythologies, your own stories. How many multitudes do you contain?
— Susan Stroupe, Director

Notes from Cohesion

What is actually wrong with us? Why would we do this to ourselves? Do you know how hard this is right now?

These are just some of the things we’ve been asking ourselves since we first had the idea to put two plays together in Repertory. As an independent theatre company that sometimes struggles to come out on top at the best of times, this was a monumental idea. And it’s not Shakespeare, which might have actually been easier to manage. Both shows are Baltimore premieres. One was still being revised in January, and the other is entirely poetic with no staging directions to go on. The answer to what is wrong with us is complicated, and probably relates back to some severe trauma we’re collectively working through, but in short, we’re doing this because we think it’s important.

The ideas and themes that both La Llorona and The Orphan Sea explore connected with us so vividly as we read them, we knew these were the kind of plays that needed to be seen by audiences, and we want Cohesion to be the kind of place that produces works like these. They also gave us a great opportunity with the diversity of stories being told, to find that diversity in the artists we were able to bring into this project, and to connect with the culturally unique communities within these stories to better serve them as artists. We are incredibly fortunate to reside in Baltimore, a cultural melting pot, and epicenter of talent, where we have access to the immensely gifted and thoughtful artists who have made these plays come to life. We are hopeful that the conversation that both pieces generate together will change the way audiences think about the stories they want to see on stage, and who they want to see telling them.

It’s been a long road to get here, but now we are so proud of the work that’s been done, it is our pure joy to say, “Welcome to Cohesion Theatre Company’s first ever Repertory.”
— Brad Norris, Co-Founder, Artistic Producer

BIOGRAPHIES

Susan Stroupe (Director) is a Baltimore-based theater maker who mostly directs now, but does a lot of other stuff too like being a Teaching Artist with Center Stage and sometimes puppets and sometimes acting.  This is her first project with Cohesion (yay!).  Other recent projects include The Goodies with Iron Crow, and as Co-Director for HT Darling's Incredible Musaeum and The Mesmeric Revelations! of Edgar Allan Poe with Submersive Productions, with whom she is an Artistic Associate. Susan loves all things New Mexico and Greek mythology, and also this amazing ensemble of cast and crew. 

Betse Lyons (Stage Manager, Artistic Producer) is an actor and director in the Baltimore area; she is also Artistic Producer at Cohesion, Founder and Managing Director of WeHUB, and a board member at the House of Bankerd. Betse has filled many on- and off-stage roles in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. You may have seen her recently in Love is a Blue Tick HoundSea Voyage, or Sally McCoy.

Abigail Cady (Asst. Director, Dramaturg) is a freelance dramaturg and stage manager based in the Baltimore/DC area and the Education Apprentice at the Everyman Theatre. Recent credits include ...The Death of Walt Disney (Single Carrot Theatre), Heavy Hors D'oeuvres 3 (Interrobang Theatre Company), Sally McCoy (Cohesion Theatre Company), Promenade: Baltimore (Single Carrot Theatre), Bully(Interrobang Theatre Company), Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Iron Crow Theatre), Exit Pluto (The Strand Theatre Company), and The Tempest (Annex Theatre Company). Upcoming projects include Cohesion Theatre's Playwrights Fellowship plays. Abigail has interned in the literary departments of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh. She holds a Master’s Degree in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Miami University.

Elizabeth Ung (Costume Designer) is a theatre artist and actress based in Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Previous Costume Designer credits - Studio 3/UMBC Department of Theatre: Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. Costume construction credits include - Imagination Stage: Beauty & the Beast; National Players Tour 67 at Olney Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream; UMBC Department of Theatre: RhinocerosAgnes of GodThese Shining LivesA Game of Love and ChanceNora; and various cosplay projects. Education - University of Maryland, Baltimore County, B.A., Theatre. Website/Portfolio - www.elizabethung.com. Eternal thanks and love to Sheree Ung.

Helen Garcia-Alton (Lighting Designer) is excited to be working again with the fabulous Susan Stroupe, and the lovely, talented Jess Rasp, as well as the cast of this show. Helen is a local MD lighting designer who will be an MFA candidate in lighting design at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this Fall. 

Meghan Stanton (Sound Designer) is an actor, director, and sound designer from Baltimore City who can most often be spotted groggily unlocking the doors to Single Carrot Theatre, where she is an ensemble member and full-time marketing coordinator. Previous sound design credits include Midlife (SCT) and Savage/Love (SCT). You can catch her on-stage with the BROS in Incredibly Dead this spring, or observe her handiwork as a director in this year's 10x10x10 Festival at Fells Point Corner Theatre. Other recent onstage credits include: The Death of Walt Disney (SCT); Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play (Cohesion); Promenade: Baltimore (SCT); and more. 

Alisa Glenn (Properties Designer) is costume and props designer working in Baltimore and DC. She is currently a fellow at Single Carrot Theatre and has designed props and costumes for many of their shows including Lear and The Death of Walt Disney. Her main love is large scale puppetry because she loves making wondrous and absurd things.

Jess Rassp (Scenic Designer, Technical Director) is a Theatre Artist whose background in painting and sculpture fuels her work in puppetry, props, and scenic design.  Other credits include: Cohesion Theatre Company (Mr. Burns, Sally McCoy, Men on Boats, Schoolgirl Figure), Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (The Winter’s Tale, Othello), Submersive Productions (BATSH.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum), Iron Crow Theatre (The Goodies), and Single Carrot Theatre (Savage/Love, Midlife, Year of the Rooster). Jess received her B.A. in English Literature and minor in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University in Boston.  jessrasspdesign.com

Brad Norris (Fight Choreographer, Artistic Producer) is a Co-Founder and Artistic Producer with Cohesion Theatre Company, Artistic Associate with Submersive Productions, Production Manager at CCBC, and freelance Director, Actor, Stage Manager, and most especially, Fight Choreographer in the Baltimore area. You have seen his work without even knowing it at The Strand Theater, Spotlighters Theatre, Submersive Productions, and right here at his home, Cohesion. He is grateful for your presence, and would be even more grateful if you clicked right here and threw a few extra Hamiltons at the cause: www.cohesiontheatre.org/support 

Christian Gonzalez (Gatekeeper, Odysseus) is a Colorado native excited to make his Cohesion Theater debut! Recent credits include The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff) Iron Crow Theatre, In the Heights (The Piragua Guy) ASGT, The Full Monty (Malcom) ASGT, Joseph…Dreamcoat (Joseph) Miracle Players, The Rocky Horror Show (Brad) H.D.Y.L.M.N Productions, 50 years under the stars (performer) ASGT, Rent (Collins) ASGT and The Addams Family (The Gambler) ASGT. Don't forget to catch Christian in Cohesion Theatre’s next production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Christian would like to thank the cast and crew for all their hard work and collaboration. He wants to thank Susan for letting us play and be our goofy selves. He also sends a BIG thank you to his friends (thank you for not disowning me) and his TEK Systems team (Thank you for indulging my Diva Complex). Last but not least, a big thanks to Sean for all the support, love and cookies. Enjoy the show!

Mani Yangilmau (La Llorona/Odysseus) is a Palauan playwright and theatre creative, currently based in Baltimore. A recent graduate of the BFA acting program at Towson University (TU), Mani is interested in the intersections of ritual theatre and healing, and the performance styles of Indigenous Pacific peoples - with intent towards a PHD integrating both. Recent endeavors : Current participant in Baltimore Center Stage's 2018 Playwrighting Collective, Jan 2018's Pasifika Storytelling Event in Portland, OR (performance artist), Lear (Assistant Director at Single Carrot Theatre), and In the Blood (Director at TU). Currently seeking opportunities and representation, you may reach Mani at maniyangilmau@gmail.com

Larua Malkus (Mom/Penelope) is a 27 year veteran of Baltimore’s small stages. She was most recently seen in Single Carrot Theatre’s award winning international collaboration, Promenade:Baltimore – commonly referred to as ‘that bus play.’ Other favorite roles include Brooke in Other Desert Cities, Valerie in The Weir, and Harper in Angels in America. She is also a writer and singer/songwriter. Laura spends her daylight hours as an arts administrator and advocate and encourages everyone to donate to courageous local arts orgs like this one. She extends overwhelming gratitude to Susan, this extraordinary ensemble of artists, and to Hermes who is everything.

Marina Mia Ybarra (Molly/City) is making her great return to the stage after a brief hiatus, and is excited to be playing Molly in La Llorona and the City Chorus in The Orphan Sea. She graduated from Towson University in ‘13 with a Degree in Acting. Marina was last seen in a Baltimore staged reading of Manahatta as Jane. She comes from a long lineage of actors and was raised in the dual cultures of her Native Yaqui and Chicana roots. Representation Matters. In her free time she writes and sings. 

Mika J. Nakano (Gatekeeper/City) is excited to debut for Cohesion Theatre Company as the Gatekeeper for La Llolona, and City Ensemble for Orphan Sea. She has previously been seen fighting and dancing in Everyman Theater's M. Butterfly, and skipping about in her role as Ariel for Annex Theatre's The Tempest. She would like to throw hugs for all the amazing support her friends, fellow performers and directors, and family has provided. 

Jonathan Jacobs (Gatekeeper/Penelope) is thrilled to be returning to Cohesion Theatre Company, having appeared in Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play earlier this season. Other credits include Romeo and Juliet with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, The Cradle Will Rock with Iron Crow Theatre, The King of Howard Street with Annex Theater, and Utopia Parkway with Single Carrot Theatre. Jonathan received a BFA in Acting from UMBC. In addition to performing, Jonathan works for Baltimore Youth Arts, an arts education and job readiness program focused on young people involved with the justice system.

Chara Bauer (Gatekeeper/Odysseus) is excited to be in the theater performing again with Cohesion! Chara has been seen in other cohesion productions such as School Girl Figure, Henry the 5th, Porn: a love story, Here be Dragons, and most recently Mr. Burns, a post electric play. Chara hopes everyone enjoys both shows and would like to thank everyone in the cast and crew for being here, on this earth. 

Emily Sucher (Rachel/City) is thrilled for her second Cohesion collaboration! A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Emily has performed regionally with Shadowland Theatre (Ellenville, N.Y.) and with local professional theatres such as Imagination Stage, The Welders, Best Medicine Rep, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Venus Theatre, and others. She is also a director, teaching artist (Adventure Theatre MTC and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company), and dabbler in sketch and stand-up comedy. Emily has recently expanded her work in theatre education by helping teach Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to prison inmates as a facilitator with Voices Unbarred. She is also training to become a certified Intimacy Director, and is excited to be part of the ground-floor effort in creating truthful and safe theatre. Heaps of gratitude to Susan, Betse, and the rest of the team for their passion and hard work. Emily is an Equity Membership Candidate. 

Natanya Sheva Washer (Maria/Penelope Chorus) is delighted by the opportunities to work alongside this very talented cast with Cohesion Theatre Company. She is usually known for her vocal performances, having her solo voice recorded and archived for posterity by the Maryland Historical Society. Her theater debut was with CenterStage in 2014 and she has since appeared with Submersive Productions, Baltimore Annex Theater, Peabody Opera Theater, New Lyric Theatre, and The El Paso Opera Company. Her loving boyfriend is happy this projects has taken her away from napping and Netflix to collaboration with such an amazing group of people on such beautiful text.