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People on a canoe, going down a river

Men on Boats

Four figures in a canoe on a river

Men on Boats

By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Shannon R. Davis

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

Tickets are on sale now, and in-person attendance will require masking and proof of either vaccination or recent negative Covid test. Live streaming option also available!

Forum Theater
October 7-16, 2021

Michael Lincoln and Josh Coy

Welcome to Tantrum Theater’s production of Men on Boats by Jacklyn Backhaus.

When we scheduled this production, we hoped to be past the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet, but we still felt it vital to present this story to you with actors on an actual stage! Whether you are reading this in the theater with empty seats maintained for the actors’ and audience safety or online where you will experience our new in-house camera streaming experience to increase accessibility, we know you will enjoy this modern take based on John Wesley Powell’s journals of the exploration of the Colorado River in 1869.

Men on Boats began two years ago as a proposal for a School of Theater student led production by Roberto Di Donato, who is serving this season as Tantrum’s Assistant Artistic Director. We loved the play at the time and found the perfect place for it to begin Tantrum’s sixth season. With its themes commenting on the colonial “discovery” of this continent by white European men, we are excited to welcome a director who uses “an intercultural lens [and] traditional movement & contemporary issues to explore societal inequities and raise awareness” in Shannon R. Davis.* It is through the preparation of this production that we better understand the meaning of the occupation of land upon which Ohio University rests, the traditional homeland of the Shawnee and Wahzhazhe (also known as the Osage).

Shannon is supported by a creative team of Tantrum professional guest artists (*) and students: Emmy Weldon*, a 2015 MFA alumna from Chicago designing scenery, Kayla Higbee*, a 2021 MFA alumna, designing costumes, SooA Kim*, from New York City, designing projections, Abigail Coppock a third-year MFA candidate, designing sound, and Michael Lincoln*, Professor Emeritus, designing lighting.  Rounding out the Tantrum guest artists for the Men on Boats team are Actors’ Equity stage manager Molly Norris* from the Philadelphia area, and actors Jessica Ranville* and Shayna Jackson* both coming to us from New York City.  Joining all of these artists are the student actors you’ll see onstage and the many students behind the scenes.

In other news, Tantrum is again facilitating a collaboration this fall between the Nest Theatre of Columbus and Athens’ own Passion Works Studio. We will soon be able to announce a commissioned play written by Jacqueline Lawton about the Barry Hotel of Athens, a collaborative effort between Tantrum and the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society. In the spring we will offer a reading of that play in preparation for a full production to follow. We are thrilled that we received our first National Endowment for the Arts grant funding to launch this project.

And don’t forget that our COVID postponed production of Ohio University alumnus Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, will end our season this spring!

Even through the pandemic Tantrum’s educational outreach continues to grow and engage students of all ages in the region with workshops and school visits. Check the Tantrum Theater website for upcoming offerings.

The pandemic has been an extreme test for all arts, but we are learning and growing in strength and willpower to bring you the best possible theater. We look forward to developing our new partnerships in the Athens region and continuing opportunities for conversation, collaboration, and inspiration.

Thank you for joining us!

Michael Lincoln
Artistic Director     

Josh Coy
Producing Director


Band of Misfit Adventurers

In 1869 Major John Wesley Powell embarked on a perilous journey with his recruited group of nine men to learn more about the Green and Colorado Rivers in Utah, encountering wonderous sights like the Grand Canyon in the process. His recruits, ranging from mountain men, like John Sumner, to British gentlemen, like Frank Goodman, were thrust into a wild adventure of making their way through the raging rivers. Premiering at Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks Festival in New York in 2015, Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus quickly took its place in reimagining this moment in history. Backhaus’ script opens conversations of the gender spectrum, masculinity, femininity, race, and ethnic-specific casting; specifying that although historically the characters are cis-gendered white men, the cast should be made up of anything but.

Upon hearing about the 1869 Powell expedition throughout her childhood, Backhaus sought to live this adventure. Realizing she could do so vicariously, she turned to the stage. She recalls that she never felt as though she could assume the part of a nineteenth-century explorer. She includes a casting note informing that the actors should not only be racially diverse, but "female-identifying, trans-identifying, gender-fluid, and/or non-gender-conforming." The theme of inclusion lies heavily within this play. By disrupting the stereotypes of white masculinity, Backhaus creates an outlet that empowers many people in the modern era to feel as though they too can be on the frontier of something. From the intense scenes of the crew navigating the rapids, to the fraught and comical campground moments; these ten people tell one version of history in a re-envisioned way.

Through adventurous storytelling and intelligent banter, the absurdity of some of the aspects of this expedition shines through like the sun on a hot Arizona morning. The complexities of the characters based on real people help the audience relate to them, from the quiet and brooding Walter "Old Shady" Powell to the young greenhorn George Bradley, who is just excited to be there. Learning about the Howland brothers and William Dunn evokes deep emotions after seeing into the complexities their world. The budding "bromance" between William Hawkins and Andrew Hall reminds us of our friendships, with additional layers found in the performative articulations of playing at another gender. These are the feelings and sensations you do not often get reading about this expedition in a history book. Seeing ourselves in these characters helps us wonder if we, too, could be adventurers. Truly, what really separates us from the likes of J.W. Powell and his band of misfit adventurers?

By Taylor Mickey





Old Shady



Seneca/The Bishop

Goodman/Mr. Asa



Jessica Ranville*

EJ Williams

Jane Reagan

Colette Alfonso

Genevieve Shaftel

Colleen Clark

Shayna Jackson*

Kay Collins

Lexie Tillery

Lily Adams


Actors' Equity Association Logo



Understudy to Dunn, OG/Tsauwiat, & Seneca/The Bishop   River Coello
Understudy to Old Shady & Hawkins        Rowan Behrens
"Understudy to Sumner, Bradley, Goodman/Asa, & Hall"    Isabella Scanlon
Understudy to Powell    Jane Reagan

Jessica Ranville

Jessica Ranville (Powell) AEA guest artist. Tantrum Theater debut. Regional: Men On Boats (Dunn) Baltimore Center Stage. Off-Broadway: Stupid F*cking Bird (u/s Mash) The Pearl Theater. In NYC, Jessica has developed new work at The New Ohio Theater, La MaMa, Mabou Mines, The Drama League, NY Stage & Film, The Playwright's Realm and Eagle Project. She is an associate artist with Blessed Unrest Theater. MFA: The New School for Drama.


EJ Williams

EJ Williams (Dunn) MFA, Acting, First Year. Ohio University: Men on Boats (Dunn); Regional Theater: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (Girl in Yellow) BNR Productions, University of North Carolina at Charlotte: Blues for an Alabama Sky (Angel), Twelfth Night (Feste); Film: Peace for Christmas (Renee) Have Life Productions, Thony 2.0 (Corin) A Dr. Mets Film, My Roommates a Ghost (Pandora) Student Film; Commercial: Cone Health (Party Guest) Cone Health, ESPN (Fan) ESPN/ACC


Jane Reagan

Jane Reagan (Sumner, u/s Powell) (she/they) MFA, Acting, First year. Recent credits include: Maiden Voyage (Sledge), The Earth Room (House) Fresh Ink Theatre; King John (Blanche) Praxis Stage; 1776 (Samuel Chase/US John Dickinson), Animal Farm (Squealer), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena/Cobweb/Mechanical) New Repertory Theatre. BFA Acting from Emerson College.


Colette Alfonso

Colette Alfonso (Old Shady) [She/Her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Other: Dry Land (Reba) Ohio University Lab Show; South Pacific (Nellie) Broadway Blockbusters St. Mary’s HS; Once Upon a Mattress (Princess Winifred) Broadway BlockBusters St. Mary’s HS; Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney) Broadway BlockBusters St. Mary’s HS.



Geneviève Shaftel

Geneviève Shafte (Bradley) [she/her/hers] BFA, Musical Theatre, Second Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Anna) Tantrum Theatre. Other: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Marie), Almost Maine (Marvalyn) Hopewell Valley Central High School, Broadway Back to School (Soloist) Educational Theatre Foundation, Bright Star (Featured Ensemble) Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute.


Colleen Clark

Colleen Clark (O.G Holland/Tsauwiat) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theatre, Second Year. This is Colleen’s Tantrum Theater debut. Other: RENT (Mimi) Rock Ridge Performing Arts; Chicago (Roxie Hart) Historic Springhouse; Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown) Main Street Theatre.



Shayna Jackson

Shayna Jackson (Seneca/The Bishop) AEA Guest Artist. Other: The Spirit of the Valley (Lead) Perseverance Theater, Alaska. Sand Moon (Lead) Son of Semele, Los Angeles. Film: Jew in Choctaw Country (Lead) LA Skins. Running Shadow (Principal) AFI. Television: New Amsterdam (Co-Star) NBC. The Hub (Host) FNX. Shayna has a Vocal Performance degree from Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. She is of the Mdewakanton Dakota tribe.


Kay Collins

Kay Collins (Goodman/Mr. Asa) MFA, Acting, Third year. Ohio University: Blood at the root (Ensemble). Other: Leaving Idaho (Drunk Lady) CAHS.



Lexie Tillery

Lexie Tillery (Hall) [she/her] BFA, Acting, Second Year. Ohio University: A Woog Amongst the Waves (Nora), All to Bear in Heaven (Lovie), Pancake’s Pasture (Tyler), and Empathy Response (Jade).



Lily Adams

Lily Adams (Hawkins) [they/them/she/her] BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: People Places and Things (Ensemble) Tantrum Theater. Other: Drylands (Esther) LAB Show, An Abstinent Orgy; or Two Pigeons Fighting Over a Hotdog (Sammie) Zoom. 



River Coello

River Coello (u/s: Dunn, OG/Tsauwiat, & Seneca/The Bishop) (they/she/he) MFA, Acting, First Year. This is River’s Tantrum Theater assistant-directing debut. Other: The Icon Project (Diane Rodríguez) Violet Surprise Theatre; Lickety-Split (Nancy), Like a Drag Queen Scorned (Sylvia Rivera) Almost Adults Productions; The Concept of Gender (Christina) Triangle Rainbow Theater; Nine Lives of a Cat (Antonio Ligabue), Medusa (Perseus) Global Hive Laboratories. BA Drama Minor from University of Michigan.


Rowan Behrens

Rowan Behrens (u/s: Old Shady & Hawkins) BFA, Acting-Musical Theater, Second Year. This is Rowan’s first production with Ohio University and Tantrum Theater.



Isabella Scanlan

Isabella Scanlan (u/s: Sumner, Bradley, Goodman/Mr. Asa, & Hall) BFA, Acting, Second Year. This is their first show at Ohio University. Film work includes Family Night (Katelyn) Michael Williamson, Loss (Jasmine) Jayla Neal.


What can we tell you that watching the play cannot illuminate?

Our Process

This group of students and working professionals embraced decentralized leadership. The performers engaged in the conceptual process; centering the group dynamics, developed communal blocking, choreography, beat-making, serving as the arbiters of their own rehearsal process. Prioritizing people over product was key in this space. This meant harnessing collective creativity and sharing responsibility, employing transparency and community care. The product is nourishing when the process is.

The Play

Our dramaturg is going to talk about the ins and outs of the historical story the script is based on. This is where directors could potentially talk about what a radical and inclusive and new idea it is to have an all-woman and non-binary-identifying cast. And how revolutionary it is to have BIPOC-identifying and complex-identified individuals inhabiting the “body” of a cisgendered white man. We’d like to offer that this concept is not new nor revolutionary. Since time immemorial, in many cultures, women and non-binary people have been the storykeepers. BIPOC folks have been telling our stories and other stories since the dawn of time. It’s simply novel for a show like this with people who look like we do to appear in mainstream media or regional stages in this country at this point in time. And representation is important.

Your Role

Rather than prescribe what you should glean from the playwright’s intent in having women and non-binary and BIPOC folks inhabit these roles, we’d like to ask you to investigate that for yourself. Does this version of this story unlock anything for you? How does it feel to see people portraying historical people they do not look like? Why do you feel this way? What is the take-away message you get from this play?

So take that journey with us now. That boat ride, if you will. We invite you to laugh with us. To embrace any complicated feelings if you experience them. Lean into uncomfortability - there’s growth there.


Shannon R. Davis, Director                              River Coello, Assistant Director


Set Designer

Costume Designer

Lighting Designer

Sound Designer

Projection Designer

Stage Manager


Technical Director

Emmy Weldon

Kayla Higbee

Michael Lincoln

Abigail Coppock

Soo A Kim

Molly Norris

Taylor Mickey

Dan Denhart

Shannon R. Davis

Shannon R. Davis (Director) Guest Artist. MFA in Directing & Acting, UW-Madison. Studied with the Moscow Art Theatre. CalShakes Artist Circle member. Selected companies: American Conservatory Theatre, New Native Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theatre, CalShakes, Anchorage Opera Company, Theatre of Yugen, Berkeley Rep, MoxieArts NY, Tantrum Theatre, Ashland New Play Festival, Forward Theatre, Shotgun Players, TheaterWorks, Marin Shakespeare, San Francisco Playhouse, Renaissance Theaterworks, Playwrights Foundation, Vortex Rep, others.

Emmy Weldon

Emmy Weldon (Scenic Designer) is a Chicago based production designer who cultivates creations for film, television, theatre, and events. Credits include: Good Guy with a Gun (Production Designer) feature film One Shot Productions, Peacebook 2020 (Dir. of Production) Collaboraction, Steve Harvey St. Patricks and Halloween episodes season 5 (Associate Art Direction) NBC, Spies Are Forever (Scenic Designer) Tin Can Bros. Proud graduate of Ohio University’s School of Theater, with an MFA in Production Design.


Kayla Higbee

Kayla Higbee (Costume Designer) MFA, Costume Design, Ohio University. Ohio University: The Wolves (Costume Designer), Cabaret (Assistant Costume Designer), The Drape of Night’s Call - Dance Division 2019 Winter Dance Concert (Costume Designer), Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer (Costume Designer). Tantrum Theatre:  Objects in the Mirror (Costume Designer), This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic (Costume Designer). Other: Twelfth Night (Costume Designer & Shop Manager) Centre College, Assassins (Costume Designer & Shop Manager) Centre College, Superior Donuts (Costume Designer) AthensWest Theatre Company.

Michael Lincoln

Michael Lincoln (Artistic Director/Lighting Designer) Michael was instrumental in the creation of Tantrum Theater in 2015 and became Artistic Director in 2018. He also served as Director of the School of Theater from 2012-2020 and is now Professor Emeritus of Theater. Michael’s professional lighting design career numbers over 300 productions in theatre, opera and dance and includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and international venues. Highlights: Copenhagen on Broadway, The Bubbly Black Girl… at Playwrights Horizons in NYC, A Streetcar Named Desire for the Cleveland Playhouse and Tantrum Theater’s Next to Normal, Caroline, Or Change and Little Shop of Horrors. Michael’s extensive regional credits include long associations with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. His multiple Broadway credits as an Associate Designer include hit revivals of Guys and Dolls and Anything Goes and original productions of City of Angels, Six Degrees of Separation, and Lend Me a Tenor.

Abigail Coppock

Abigail Coppock (Sound Designer) [She/Her] MFA, Sound Design, Third Year. Ohio University: The Tragedy of Macbeth (Sound Designer/Composer), Angels in America (Sound Designer), Perfect Arrangement (Sound Designer), Effective Magic (Sound Designer), Pluto (Sound Designer). She has a BA in Theatre and Communication Arts from Gannon University.



SooA Kim

SooA Kim (Video & Projection Designer) Carnegie Mellon University, Tiger at the Gates (Designer), It’s in the Bag (Designer), Düsseldorf Festival, M.P.P. (Designer), Park Avenue Armory, Enemy of the People (Assoc. Designer), The Boston Lyric Opera, The Handmaid’s Tale  (Assoc. Designer), The Flea Theatre, The Fre (Assoc. Designer), 64th Obie Awards (Assoc. Designer), The King’s Jester with Hasan Minhaj Tour (Content Animator), LA Staples Center,  Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League (Content Designer), Fitz and the Tantrums Winter Tour 2020. (Content Designer).


Logan Thompson

Logan Thompson (Prop Master) BFA Prop Technology, Fourth Year. Ohio University. Martha Mitchell Effect (Assistant Prop Master), She Kills Monsters (Artisan), Silent Skies (Artisan), Rhinoceros (Artisan), Cabaret (Artisan), The Wolves (Artisan).



Molly Norris

Molly Norris (Stage Manager) [they/she]. Tantrum Theater Debut. Other: In 7 seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Production Stage Manager, Bring Down the House, Part IHow to Catch Creation. Assistant Stage Manager, Bring Down the House, Part II, Othello; Manahatta; Julius Caesar; Hannah and the Dread Gazebo; The Yeomen of the Guard; The Wiz, and many more. Production Stage Manager, Othello (American Repertory Theater). Stage Manager: A Little Bit of Death (Long Wharf Theatre). Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.


Dan Denhart

Dan Denhart (Techinical Director) has headed the Technical Direction Program at Ohio University since 1986. Favorite School of Theater credits include Knock Me A Kiss, What the Butler Saw, The Hostage, Holiday, In the Next Room: The Vibrator Play, and The 39 Steps, which featured a design by Men on Boats scenic designer Emmy Weldon. Dan was the Technical Director for the Brick Monkey Theater Company’s An Appalachian Christmas Carol.  His New York City credits include the Off-Broadway productions of Finding Claire and On Naked Soil both produced at the Theater for A New City. Dan’s contributions to Tantrum Theater include serving as Production Manager for the 2016 debut summer season, and as Technical Director for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cake, Next to Normal and Objects in the Mirror (canceled due to Covid-19).

Brigitte Bechtel

Brigitte Bechtel (Charge Scenic Artist) is a professional scenic artist. She and her paintbrushes have collaborated with Cobalt Studios, The Cape Playhouse, Emerson College, Mystic Scenic Studios, Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and Arizona Theatre Company, to name a few. She earned a MFA in Production Design at Michigan State University.


Roberto Di Donato

Roberto Di Donato (Assistant Artistic Director) MFA, Directing, Third Year. Roberto is a Venezuelan-American artist from the colonized territories originally known as home for the Tawakoni and Wichita nations of Texas. His translation of the Nobel Prize Laureate, Luigi Pirandello, has been seen in NYC and are projected for an Off-Broadway Revival in 2022. At Ohio University, Roberto’s work includes EverybodyThe Women of LockerbieEffective Magic, and AD on Tantrum Theater’s Rhinoceros. He is working on his debut novel that reflects the complexities of Latin identity in the world of capitalist art making. Roberto is also co-Executive Producer for Vibrancy Theater, producing the premiere of Absentia, as well as Associate Artistic Director of Frank Wo/Men Collective, the award-winning Austin-Based performance collective. Frank Wo/Men was named “The Best of Austin” for their work and listed as “Top Arts Related Thing to Do” by the Austin Chronicle.

Michael Lincoln

Michael Lincoln (Artistic Director) Michael was instrumental in the creation of Tantrum Theater and became Artistic Director in 2018. He began teaching at Ohio University in 2003, served as Director of the School of Theater from 2012 to 2020, and is now Professor Emeritus of Theater. Previously Michael taught for New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Southern California. His professional lighting design career numbers over 300 productions in theatre, opera and dance and includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and international venues. Highlights: Copenhagen on Broadway, The Bubbly Black Girl… at Playwrights Horizons in NYC, A Streetcar Named Desire for the Cleveland Play House and Tantrum Theater’s Next to Normal, Caroline, Or Change and Little Shop of Horrors. Michael’s regional credits include long relationships with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC as well as multi-year associations with Los Angeles Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Santa Fe Opera. His multiple Broadway credits as an Associate Designer include hit revivals of Guys and Dolls and Anything Goes and original productions of City of Angels, Six Degrees of Separation, and Lend Me a Tenor.

Joshua Coy

Josh Coy (Interim Producing Director) Josh is an arts administrator, arts advocate, and performer whose most recent administrative roles prior to joining Tantrum include Executive Director of the Wayne Center for the Arts, Executive Director of the Ohio Arts Presenters Network, and Director of Artists Programs at the Ohio Arts Council. For the past decade, his primary performance outlet has been as a banjo player across the Ohio valley region, and previous favorite theatrical roles include Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors), Feste (Twelfth Night), Uncle Jack (Dancing at Lughnasa), and Edmund (Long Day’s Journey into Night). He holds an MA in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University, a BA in Theatre from Westminster College (PA), and is currently pursuing an MA in Theater at Ohio University.


Rebecca VerNooy

Rebecca VerNooy (Director of Education) is a movement theatre artist, actress, and educator. Her early solo work was produced at Dixon Place, P.S. 122, and the Judson Church. She was the Artistic Director of VerNooy Dance Theatre from 1995–2006, developing and performing original work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Dance Theatre workshop, Joyce Soho, and many other NYC venues. Her one-woman show, Across Time, premiered at The United Solo Festival in New York (November, 2012), and won the award for “best movement.” Ms. VerNooy has spent twenty years creating her own brand of physical theatre and facilitating workshops designed to generate new theatrical work. She ran the Intern Program and an Acting/Writing Lab at E.S.T. from 1996–2001, directing and producing over a dozen evenings of new work by emerging theatre artists. Her most recent plays include Here, Somewhere (2014) and Elbows off the Table (2015). Rebecca is the founder of The Movement Educator’s Research Group (MERGE), a collaborative research group for movement educators across the country. She has a BA in performance from Hampshire College and a master’s degree from The Gallatin School at New York University. She is currently a faculty member in Ohio University’s School of Theater, and a founding member of Brick Monkey Theatre Ensemble.

Roberto Di Donato

Roberto Di Donato (Assistant Artistic Director/Covid Safety Manager) Roberto is a Venezuelan-American artist from the colonized territories originally known as home for the Tawakoni and Wichita nations of Texas. His translation of the Nobel Prize Laureate, Luigi Pirandello, has been seen in NYC and are projected for an Off-Broadway Revival in 2022. At Ohio University, Roberto’s work includes Everybody, The Women of Lockerbie, Effective Magic, and AD on Tantrum Theater’s Rhinoceros. He is working on his debut novel that reflects the complexities of Latin identity in the world of capitalist art making. Roberto is also co-Executive Producer for Vibrancy Theater as well as Associate Artistic Director of Frank Wo/Men Collective, the award winning Austin-Based performance collective. Frank Wo/Men was named “The Best of Austin” for their work and listed as “Top Arts Related Thing to Do” by the Austin Chronicle.

Samantha Pelham

Samantha Pelham (Marketing Intern) Samantha Pelham is an arts administrator and media relations specialist who is currently finishing her Master of Arts Administration degree at Ohio University and is currently a media relations specialist for Ohio University. Prior to joining OHIO, she was the Corporate Sponsorships Assistant for the New York Philharmonic and has worked on the marketing team for Roundabout Theatre Company. She is the Vice President of the Board for the Ohio Valley Summer Theater and actively performs in community theater productions with the ABC Players. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Ohio University (2017).

Brigitte Bechtel

Brigitte Bechtel (Scenic Charge Artist and Paint Shop Supervisor) is a professional scenic artist. She and her paintbrushes have collaborated with Cobalt Studios, The Cape Playhouse, Emerson College, Mystic Scenic Studios, Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and Arizona Theatre Company, to name a few. She earned a MFA in Production Design with an emphasis in Scenic and Costume Design from Michigan State University. A portfolio of her work may be viewed at


Arnold Johnson

Arnold Johnson (Assistant Technical Director) is Assistant Technical Director for Tantrum Theater and the School of Theater at Ohio University, relocated from California with a diverse artistic and industrial background in theater, education and specialty construction shops. Arne worked in theater intermittently for thirty-five years in prop shops, scene shops and design studios, where he drafted, designed and constructed.  He’s an accomplished scenic sculptor specializing in large carved forms and specialty construction projects. In addition to theater he worked in many different construction shops learning a wide variety of materials and techniques including; decorative Victorian mill-work, 3D printing and silicone mold making, bronze casting and 3D modeling for virtual and augmented realities. He earned his BA in Studio Art in sculpture at Humboldt State University and his MFA In Studio Art in sculpture and digital media from University of California at Santa Barbara. Arnold has university courses in: traditional animation, 3D modeling and animation, art history, sculpture, and wood and metal fabrication/ construction. His recent artistic works are investigating 3D printing, laser cutting, and experimenting with biodegradable and recycled materials.


Ledger Free

Ledger Free (Audience Services Coordinator) Audience Services Coordinator for the School of Theater, Tantrum Theater, and Arts For Ohio.



Drew Surovjak

Drew Surovjak (Administrative Associate) Drew joined the School of Theater in July of 2015 as the Administrative Associate and thoroughly enjoys his supportive role in assisting administrators, faculty, staff, and students navigate through academia. He was born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie and came to the region in 2008 to attend Hocking College. Something about the hills resonated with him and while he misses seeing the lake every day, he feels very at home in the hills of Southeast Ohio. Drew has had quite the meandering path up to this point and it looks to meander further. He has earned two associate’s degrees, one in business with a focus in banking and finance and another in ecotourism and adventure travel. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Specialized Studies focusing on outdoor recreation, sustainability, and anthropology and aspires to continue through grad school and eventually teach outdoor recreation at the collegiate level, sharing his passion for the environment and the responsible enjoyment of it. Prior to joining the School of Theater, Drew walked in many different shoes and wore many different hats. He has spent time as a cook, a banker, an account representative for a large advertising firm, a custom woodworker, an adventure guide, and even a field station manager in the remote rainforest of southern Belize. In his personal life, he enjoys camping, reading, hiking, woodworking, gardening, throwing darts, working on his house, spending time with family and friends, and is happiest in a canoe with a paddle in his hands.


Production Staff

Prop Master
Logan Thompson

Charge Scenic Artist
Brigitte Bechtel

Costume Shop Manager
Ashley Rutkowski​

Master Electrician
Alejandro Ridolfi

Assistant Artistic Director/Covid Safety Manager
Roberto Di Donato

Assistant Director
River Coello

Assistant Costume Designer
Sam Heilhecker

Assistant Lighting Designer
Gabriel Hrin

Assistant Stage Managers
Nick Bartleson, Annie Beller

Assistant Technical Director
Jaxon Meadows, Arne

Assistant Master Electrician
Kharla Landrau

Projection Engineer
SooA Kim

Lighting Draftsperson
Gabriel Hrin

Light Board Programmer
Quentin Kurtz


Shop Foreman
Baz Wenger

Lydia Ball
Sarah Bodi
Natalie Burke Garcia
Nicole Hankins
Cam Hofue
Arne Johnson
Alec Mackeown
Avery McDonald
Charley Peck
Jude Shreffler
Luis Silva
Bob Walters
Vivian Waye
Lillie Wright


Lead Scenic Artist
Chris Rees

Scenic Artists
Hannah Carey
Georgia Fried
Carly Huff
Alex Pio

Paint Crew
Chris Burns
Logan Clark
Kami Conway
Emilie Dexheimer
Wil Hoffman
Kekoa HuiHui-Andrew
Ayana Johnson
Lexie Tillery
Victoria Skok
Lily Welsh
Elliot Wortley


Prop Artisans
Nick Bartleson
Will Bierley
Duck Bracey
Grace Easterday
Connor Gothard
Lauren Harvey
Keely Heyl
Grace Larger
Cal Lippincott
Julia Lisowski
Fiona Martin
Eleanor Rauschenberg
Kaycee Scott


Sam Heilhecker

First Hands
Aspen Curry
Ren Emmerich
Amanda McClure

Grace Abule
Elizabeth Arnstutz
Aurora Asbill
Grace Breslow
Ben Griffith
Maddie Hammons
Melissa Levine
Katie Maccabee
Alexandra Marusich
Shelby Merchant
Joey Negrete
Kaya Roll
Alina Rosado


Crafts Supervisor
Micah Patton

Craft Artisans
Jackson Berhow
Chantel Booker
Alyssa Embry

Crafts Persons
Emma Adkins
Jada Ashmeade
Nikki Bentz
Sarah Biernacki
Hannah Boyers
Baylor Hawks
Adam Isenhart
Ivy Posey
Aidan Thomas
Andy Veladota
Zoe Zoller


Wardrobe Supervisor
Liz Haas

Wardrobe Assistant
Jasper Uldrick

Wardrobe Crew
Hannah Black
Robin Clement
Sarah Dykhuizen
Makayla Franklin
Abby Golden

Electrics Shop

Electric Shop Manager
Alejandro Ridolfi

Light Board Operator
Holden Evans

Lighting Crew
Chuck Gidden
Forrest Haasl
Madeleine Hebert
Gabriel Hrin
Quentin Kurtz
Kharla Landrau
Brandon Lipsky
Timothy Oh
Alejandro Ridolfi
Roberto Riesgo


Sound Shop Manager
Simon Marland

Sound Board Operator
Katie Leeds

Sound Crew
Daniela Chaparro
Harper Justus
Myranda Levins
Sidney McCarty
Taylor Pope

Projections & Streaming Crew

Alejandro Ridolfi
Simon Marland
Dani Chaparro
Harper Justus
Roberto DiDonato
Myranda Levins.


Erin Abney
Rowan T. Behrens
Nina Blair
Kay Collins
Cassie Cope
Christopher Duclos
Gia Frankito
Nathan Napoli
Austin Vega
Lindsay Wielonski


Playwrights Horizons, Inc. and Clubbed Thumb produced MEN ON BOATS in New York City, 2016

Initially developed and produced by Clubbed Thumb in 2015


Set in year 1869. Green & Colorado Rivers. From Wyoming to Big Canyon, USA (Also known as Turtle Island)


Merri Biechler: Director, School of Theater

School of Theater Faculty & Staff

The SHAPe Clinic

Special Thanks to Jody Daulton and Alli Kisker of Artistic Sign Languages Services

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