A ‘Train Wreck’ comes to DeWitt Theatre

The Hope College Department of Theatre will present “Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck!” on Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 5-7, and Thursday-Saturday, Oct 13-15, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
“Roustabout” tells a story of the cost of war, the beauty of humanity and the power of redemption, while it builds a narrative for those lives that were lost in history.

Written by Jay Torrence, “Roustabout” is set in the early 1900s, a time when clowns, elephants and circus tents were popping up all over the country.

After a devastating collision between a U.S. military train and railway cars belonging to the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus in 1918, this play weaves together the story of war, humanism and redemption.

“Like so many of us, I have always been fascinated with the circus. As a child, the animals, the spectacle, the danger, the skill and the mystery of it all, made me dizzy with wonder,” director Richard Perez of the Hope theatre faculty said. “When I learned of the mass grave filled with 56 unidentified circus performers who perished in a horrible way, I decided I wanted to pay tribute to those forgotten souls, those people that lived for one thing and one thing only: to be part of the greatest show on earth. This production honors them by telling their stories.”

In addition to Perez, the production team for “Roustabout” includes faculty members Richard Smith as scenic and properties designer and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer. Staff members Andrew Souders and Paul Anderson serve as costume shop manager and technical director.
Students involved in the production include the stage manager Nathan Gingrich (’18) and the assistant stage managers Abby Kroening (’20) and Makeya Royer (’20). Kierney Johnson (’17) serves as costume designer with faculty mentor Michelle Bombe, and Sydney Luse (’17) serves as the assistant costume designer. The choreographer is Rachel Hibbard (’17), and Rachel Kennedy (’18) serves as a dramaturg.

The cast includes Sean Zorn (’17), Jake Mate (’17), Sydney Luse (’17), Sam Hill (’18), Rachel Dion (’19) and Timothy Doorenbos (’20).
Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff and free for Hope students and children 18 and under. Tickets are available at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office can be called at (616) 395-7890. Tickets are also available online.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.

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