Program Information for Unbecoming

UNBECOMING by Emma Catherine Watkins

Presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater on

January 15, 2021 at 7 PM
January 16 at 2 and 8 PM
January 17 at 2 PM

 

PROGRAM NOTES

Run Time

Approximately 85 minutes with no intermission.

Setting

Wales, the late 1830s.

Content warning

The play includes abstracted depictions of sexual violence.

Special Note

In order to follow COVID-19 precautions and social distancing, the cast of Unbecoming quarantined together for the fall semester. The performance was recorded without a live audience, and all interactions with the production team outside of the pod of performers occurred in a remote or socially distanced fashion.

Reproducing this recording in any form, whether by video, audio, or photograph, is strictly prohibited.

 


CAST

Roles

Lady Charlotte Guest — Paige Elizabeth Allen ’21*
Blodeuwedd — Nora Aguiar ’21*
John Guest/Llew/Lady Beatrice — Naomi Park ’21
Maria/Lady Mary — Eliyana Abraham ’23*
Susanna/Gronw/Tegid — Hannah Wang ’21
The Wife of England/Gwydion/Lady in Waiting — Eliana Cohen-Orth ’21*

Musicians

Violin, Guitar, Cello, Voice — Delaney McMahon ’22*
Piano — Ned Furlong ’22

Musicians for “A Poppy in the Snow”

Conductor — Delaney McMahon ’22*
Violin — Joseph Prentice ’22
Viola — Preston Johnson ’21
Piano — Maddie Wu ’21*

 


PRODUCTION TEAM

Director — Eliana Cohen-Orth ’21*
Music Director — Halle Mitchell ’23*
Composer — Delaney McMahon ’22*
Acrobatics/Movement Coach — Ruth Schultz ’22*
Choreographer — Paige Allen ’21*
Technical Director & Video Editor — Adam Olkin
Set Designer — Isabella Hilditch ’22*
Costume Designer — Noelle Quanci
Lighting Designer — Naomi Park ’21
Sound Designer — Minjae Kim ’21*
Dramaturg — Paige Allen ’21*
Stage Manager — Nora Aguiar ’21*
Sound Engineer — Nora Aguiar ’21*
Assistant Stage Manager — Casey Beidel ’24*
Camera Operators — Rachel Olkin, Ava Rand, Owen Ristic
Run Crew — BT Hayes ’22*, Gaea Lawton ’23*
Welsh Consultant — Sioned Davies

*denotes a certificate student in the Program in Theater

 


FACULTY ADVISORS

Lawrence Moten — Set Advisor
Tess James — Lighting Advisor
G Clausen — Sound Advisor
Will Davis — Production Advisor

 


LEWIS CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Chair: Tracy K. Smith
Executive Director: Marion Friedman Young

PRODUCTION AND ADMINISTRATION

Director, Producing Artistic Director, Theater And Music Theater Season: Jane Cox

View all staff profiles »
Producer: Darryl Waskow
Production Manager: Chloë Z. Brown
Production Stage Manager: Carmelita Becnel
Resident Musical Director/Composer: Vince di Mura
Assistant Stage Manager: Rob Del Colle
Costume Shop Manager: E. Keating Helfrich
Assistant Costume Shop Manager: Julia Kosanovich
Draper: Caitlin Brown
Technical Director: Timothy Godin
Assistant Technical Director: Jesse Froncek
Theater Technician: Torrey Drum
Lighting & Stage Supervisor: Matt Pilsner
Props Master: Allie Geiger Khanna
Scenic Artist: Melissa Riccobono
Master Carpenter: Michael A. Smola
Sound Supervisor: Kay Richardson
Director of Communications: Steve Runk
Multimedia Specialist: Zohar Lavi-Hasson
Visual Communications Specialist: Tracy Patterson
Web & Multimedia Strategist: Jonathan Sweeney
Communications Associate: Jaclyn Sweet
Communications Assistant: Hope VanCleaf

 


LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Unbecoming was rehearsed and filmed on occupied land that is part of the ancient homeland and traditional territory of the Lenape people. We pay respect to Lenape peoples past, present, and future, and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora.

 


TALKBACKS

On Saturday, January 16, immediately after the 8 p.m. show (talkback starts at about 9:45 p.m. EST), join us for a live audience talkback discussion with director Eliana Cohen-Orth, technical director and video editor Adam Olkin, and other members of the team about the process of making this unique filmed theatre piece in pandemic conditions.

REGISTER FOR THE JANUARY 16 TALKBACK

On Sunday, January 17, immediately after the 2 p.m. show (talkback starts at about 3:45 p.m. EST), join us for a live audience talkback discussion with playwright Emma Watkins and scholar Sioned Davies to discuss The Mabinogion, Charlotte Guest, and the arts of translation and adaptation. Davies is a Professor Emerita at Cardiff University, where she was the first female professor of Welsh. She is the first woman to translate The Mabinogion since Charlotte Guest and her translation is the first to place emphasis on the tales’ oral origins, translating the tales with regard to the rhythm and tempo of the originals, preserving their formulaic elements, and displaying the rhetorical passages.

REGISTER FOR THE JANUARY 17 TALKBACK

 

ACCESSIBILITY

closed captioning availableThe film will be closed captioned and the conversations will be live captioned. If you are in need of other access accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email LewisCenter@princeton.edu at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date.

 

 


PROGRAM NOTE

Doing our senior thesis in the backyard of an Airbnb with a six-person quarantine-pod was not on either of our 2020 bingo cards.

Paige was introduced to Unbecoming in January 2020 through a short development workshop hosted by the Lewis Center. Working through the script with a group of talented students and alumni, Paige fell in love with Emma’s words, Charlotte’s personality, and Blodeuwedd’s story. Paige showed the script to Eliana who shared Paige’s enthusiasm. We were excited by the piece’s directorial design challenges, emphasis on women’s voices, engagement with history, and potential for ensemble storytelling. Though Unbecoming is set in the early 19th century, we found its themes of bodily autonomy, gender performativity, and responsible storytelling spoke directly to our world. With Emma’s close collaboration and the Lewis Center’s backing, we took on the play as our senior thesis.

Last summer, it became abundantly clear that it would be impossible to produce Unbecoming in the Berlind Theater with a live audience as originally planned. As we mulled over how best to proceed, we introduced the play to our fall-semester housemates (who, lucky for us, were a group of multi-talented theatre-makers), and pitched the crazy idea of doing the show in our backyard. When they agreed to join us, we embarked on a theatrical adventure unlike anything we’d experienced.

While performing a variety of roles onstage and offstage, and literally living with the show, the six of us staged the show outdoors amidst (welcome) interruptions from birds and rabbits and (less welcome) interruptions from rainstorms. Throughout the process, we collaborated remotely with a brilliant team of designers. Most excitingly, as we rehearsed the first fully staged production of Unbecoming, we were able to workshop revisions of the play with Emma and watch it transform in so many exciting ways. After nine weeks of rehearsal, we worked with Adam to translate our staging to film (in 36 degree weather!)!

For the first time in our theatre careers, the final performance of the play did not equal closing night. Since the end of October, Adam, Minjae, and Dela have been working hard to pull together sound and video into a cohesive blend of theatrical and cinematic magic. After many translations and transformations, we are beyond thrilled to be sharing this story with an audience.

Nora, Elly, Naomi, and Hannah, we cannot thank you enough—for joining us on this journey, for braving the cold and rain, for letting the show physically into our living space, for taking on so many roles in this production, and for offering gorgeous performances and brilliant ideas. We couldn’t imagine a better cast, household, or group of friends.

Izzy, Minjae, Noelle, Dela—thank you for your artistic brilliance. You brought the world of the play to life—even though you couldn’t join us physically!

Adam—thank you for navigating both artistic and meteorological challenges with such commitment and thoughtfulness.

Casey—who would have known that when first-year Paige gave you a tour of Princeton three years ago, we’d end up working together on her senior thesis?! Thank you for always going the extra mile.

Reed, Regan, Tobi, Tess, Lawrence, Sarita, and Jane—thank you for generously offering your perspectives, insights, and creativity in Theater 400. Our discussions in class had a real impact on the play we produced, and we are so grateful.

Thank you to the amazing LCA staff for supporting us on this wild ride from Zoom production meetings to contactless drop offs. Special thanks to Allie Geiger for your last-minute problem solving, Will Davis for your wise advice, and Jane Cox for your invaluable feedback, support, and garden shears.

Thank you to Daniel Krane and everyone who participated in the January workshop for bringing this play to the Princeton community and for planting seeds that have grown throughout subsequent drafts of the script. Thank you to PlayPenn and Cardiff for their earlier collaborations with Emma that laid the foundation for our process.

Thank you to Theatre Intime and Princeton University Players for the incredible communities we’ve called our theatrical homes. Without our experiences with these student theatre organizations, we would not have had the tools and adaptability to make theatre in these unexpected and unpredictable circumstances.

And last but not least, Emma—thank you for trusting us with your beautiful show and for being such a wonderful collaborator. And, of course, for providing your highly important botany knowledge.

— Paige Allen ’21 and Eliana Cohen-Orth ’21

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