By Jeff Murphy, October 26, 2020
WARRENSBURG, MO – Providing an evening of entertainment at the fingertips of its audience, the University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance will present the play “Tilikum” on the UCM Theatre and Dance YouTube channel at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30. No tickets are necessary for this free presentation, and virtual doors open at 7:15 p.m. Links to the shows can be found at ucmo.edu/theatre and on Facebook at @UCMTheatreandDance.
The play is being presented in a virtual environment due to COVID-19. By utilizing remote technology such as Zoom, the actors will be located in separate places but will act together on screen. These productions are performed live, and are recommended for audiences age 14 and above.
“Tilikum” is a new play by writer Kristiana Rae Colón. “Tilikum, the infamous SeaWorld killer whale, has died.” That was the headline in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 6, 2017. “Tilikum” takes the story of that sea creature and creates a poetic, percussive fantasy that demands that the audience pay attention to a range of social justice issues regarding Black lives in America. Colon asks the audience to envision a world without prisons or police: “Close your eyes. Imagine the sound of the ocean. Imagine a world without cages. Imagine a world without borders.”
The production is directed by guest artist Dréa Lewis. Lewis is a director, educator, actor and owner of Dream of Dréa Productions. She is directing “Tilikum” remotely. When asked about the show, Lewis stated, “In a year filled with so many constraints, connecting to the theatre community is still very much desired. Watch ‘Tilikum’ to access your imagination again with storytellers living on your screen.”
In addition to Kristiana Rae Colón and Dréa Lewis, UCM Theatre and Dance has also welcomed professional dramaturg Lindsay “LJ” Jenkins to the production. Bringing in such accomplished guest artists has been made possible by generosity of the Meredith Harmon Sauer Guest Artist Series. The guest artists, in addition to their efforts on the production, provided workshops for students.
UCM Theatre and Dance Performance Major Emily Layt stated, “The workshops have been immersive and inspiring, and I'm so grateful to have learned from such accomplished artists. I've learned so many things that I will take with me in my professional journey and beyond, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to study with them.”
The cast features Danny Gage as Tilikum, Shanna Sinow as Dawn, Holden Childress as owner, TiJhana Hines as Waresa, Bobbi Gums as Koosa, Jade Seraaj as Thixo, and Daisha B. Jackson as Lambo.
The production team includes: Artistic Director, Dr. Julie Rae Mollenkamp; Director, Dréa Lewis; Dramaturg, Lindsay “LJ” Jenkins; Production Manager/Digital Scenic Designer, Ken George; Stage Manager, Caitlin Whitehead; Lighting and Sound Technical Advisor, Lili Garcia; Lighting and Sound Technical Faculty Designer, Benjamin Gonzales; Digital Music Composer, Kevin Wanner; Costume, Hair and Makeup Designer, Demetrius Hampton; Costume, Hair and Makeup Faculty Designer, Jenn Van Buskirk; Assistant Stage Managers, Bailey Collins and Madison Skiljan; Assistant Directors, Alyce Wilson and Derek Caswell; Student Producer/Public Relations Liaison, Sabrina Ortiz; Assistant Dramaturgs, Emily Layt and Anthony “AJ” Johnson; Assistant Digital Scenic Designers, Grace Heath and Alexander Sharfenberg; Props Master, Luke Habjan; Assistant Lighting and Sound Technical Designer, Stephanie Heathcock; Master Electrician, Kelsi Richardson; Publicity and Marketing Director, Dr. Aaron Scully; Assistant Publicity and Marketing Director, Mekdelawit Keller; Publicity and Marketing Team, Joshua Barner, Cloe Pohlman, Bryce Van Hooser and Ryann Hill; Trailer Editor, David Gildehaus; Office Professional UCM Theatre and Dance, Jane Tackett; College of Arts, History, and Social Sciences Administrative Assistant, Heather Stringer; Theatre and Dance Office Assistants, Emily Layt and Tony Smith.