Students stage high drama on a grand mythic scale May 8-11

May 02, 2014

The play “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” by American playwright Ellen McLaughlin will spotlight North Central College student actors May 8-11.

Four performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. May 8-10 and at 2 p.m. May 11 in North Central College’s Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $10/adults and $8/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit This play contains strong language and may not be suitable for young audiences.  

Directed by Kelly Howe, assistant professor of theatre at North Central College, “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” features McLaughlin’s poetic and feminist adaptation of works by Greek playwrights Euripides and Sophocles. The play compiles ancient stories, featuring classic themes of Greek tragedy as McLaughlin tinkers with time and place in vibrant, creative and funny ways.

In the play, the ongoing House of Atreus story is introduced at one of its most famously high-stakes moments: the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father in order to appease the goddess Artemis. The ultimate journey of this play consists in the fallout of monumental, violent choices primarily made by Iphigenia’s parents, and the affect their decisions have on the next generation.

“Iphigenia and Other Daughters” is high drama on a grand mythic scale and Howe’s production will deliver all the bold theatricality and ambitious, ethical questions of ancient Greek tragedy. This also includes McLaughlin’s emphasis on women’s perspectives. While the majority of older versions of these stories often highlight men’s experiences, McLaughlin’s version does the opposite, bringing a host of powerhouse women to the stage.

“I wanted to direct a play that let students stretch their classical acting muscles but still had strong, complex roles for women,” says Howe. “Classical acting asks for particular skills, especially the need to really dig in and do muscular work with words.

“This play may be tragedy, but it’s an awfully witty tragedy. McLaughlin makes these myths feel relevant and exciting in our time.”

The cast and chorus feature these students (role, actor, town, year, major):

Iphigenia: Rosa Reinemann of Madison, Wis., a senior majoring in theatre
Clytemnestra: Maddie DePorter of Orion, Ill., a junior majoring in theatre
Electra: Savanna Rae (photo, above left) of Terre Haute, Ind., a senior majoring in theatre
Chrysothemis: Bethany Schick of Yorkville, a senior majoring in theatre
Orestes: Grant Schumache of Indianapolis, a senior majoring in marketing and theatre
Chorus: Alexis Black of Plainfield, a junior majoring in English
Chorus: Olivia Crary of New Glarus, Wis., a junior majoring in theatre
Chorus: Megan O’Neill of Naperville, a senior majoring in theatre
Chorus: Zoe Roechner of Joliet, a freshman majoring in musical theatre
Chorus: Emma Smith of Downers Grove, a junior majoring in theatre
Chorus: Natasha White of Elk Grove Village, a junior majoring in broadcasting communication

North Central College’s 2013-2014 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by USG Corporation and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Season supporters include BMO Harris, Bulley & Andrews, Casa by Charleston, Grant Thornton, J.P. Morgan, Main Street Promenade, Marquette Properties, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Turner Construction Company, U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve and Water Street Development.