Cameron University to present two one-act plays focusing on the experience of immigrants to America

The Cameron University Department of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts continues its 2017-2018 theatre season celebrating “American Identities in the 21st Century” with Maria Irene Fornes’ tragicomedies, “Letters from Cuba” and “Manual for a Desperate Crossing.” These one-act plays will be presented in the Studio Theatre from Thursday, February 22, through Sunday, February 25.  The curtain goes up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens, military, Cameron faculty and staff, and non-Cameron students. CU students receive one free admission with their CU I.D.  Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 580-581-2478.

Both of these one-act plays look at the immigrant experience. “Letters from Cuba” moves back and forth in time and place and spirit, linking a young dancer and her relatives in Cuba. “A Manual For a Desperate Crossing” is based on interviews with some of the thousands of Cuban balseros ("rafters") whose economic desperation drove them to set out for Florida on homemade rafts. This production contains material that some people may find objectionable.

Student designers for the production are Emily Whatley, Duke, who is designing the set for “Letters from Cuba,”  Kelsey Hood, Oklahoma City, who is designing the costumes for “Letters from Cuba”; Jacob Parkhurst, Lawton, who is designing the lights for “Letters from Cuba” and Mandi Dowd, Lawton, who is designing the costumes for “Manual for a Desperate Crossing.” Faculty designer, Judd Vermillion is designing the set and lights for “Manual for a Desperate Crossing.  Abbey Rinestine, Lawton, is the stage manager for both productions.  George Weaver, Lawton, is designing the sound and is the cinematographer for both shows.  Payton Williams, Comanche is serving as the Dramaturg. Both productions are directed by Dr. Deidre Onishi, Associate Professor.

The cast for “Letters from Cuba” includes Hector Perez-Aponte, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, as Luis, and Lawton residents Ciara Renée as Fran, Curtis Myers as Marc, MacEwan  Sanders as Joseph, Spencer Klein as Jerry/Gerardo and Nathan Timpson as Enrique.

In “Letters from Cuba,” Hood relinquishes her behind-the-scenes role and steps onstage as Balsera B in “Manual for a Desperate Crossing.”  Myers (Balsero 1 and Chorus), Sanders (Balsero 2), Renée (Balera A) and Klein (Chorus) are joined onstage by Hannah Mentel, Lawton, as Balsera C; Sharan Khanal, Baglung, Nepal, as Balsero 4 and Chorus, and Shekayla Love, Lawton, as a member of the Chorus.

The crew for both shows includes Payton Williams, Comanche, light board operator; Cole Nowlin, Anadarko, sound operator; Dakota Barbee, Walters, props; Joy Christie, Augusta, Ga., assistant stage manager; Shalyn Bowles, Geronimo, wardrobe,  and Samuel Brewer and Sandi Colby, both of Lawton, as crew members.  Working on the crew for only “Letters from Cuba” are Khanal, Love, Mentel  and Richard Carl Johns.

Perez-Aponte is the dialect coach “Manual for a Desperate Crossing” in addition to serving as a crew member.



February 15, 2018