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This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic

This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic

This is Not What I Expected
When I Imagined a Republic

by Daria Miyeko Marinelli
Directed by ameenah kaplan

This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic is a historical triptych following the development of our nation from courageous nomads to cash-strapped IKEA millennials.

Part dance-theatre, part card game, and part good old kitchen drama, This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic challenges the Usonian* mythologies of what it means to be a republic(an), how that’s changed over time, and what you should do when you discover your supposedly future life partner has just voted Republican. And you are not “a Republican.”

*Usonian: Of, and or related to The United States.

This work is being created in a socially distanced but abundantly creative environment and developed by an ingenious team of tenacious artists. This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic premieres online as streamed content on Nov. 13, 2020. Join us and discover the unexpected!

Note from the Artistic & Producing Directors
Michael Lincoln and Josh Coy

Thank you all for joining us for the streaming video production of This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic by Daria Miyeko Marinelli, directed by ameenah kaplan! This play offers an examination of our country’s history through a 2020 lens and a probing but hopeful look at our current national situation. Dari and ameenah discuss the production with Kelee Riesbeck in a podcast you can listen to here. Also, please join us for the live talkback with ammenah and Daria after the performance November 13th. The discussion will be recorded and available after subsequent performances.

When we realized this past summer that the COVID-19 pandemic would prevent live production and we had chosen a play that could only be done live due to rights issues, ameenah leapt into action and found …Republic for us. Finding this play connected us to Daria, a terrific playwright who was willing to re-work her play for the slightly larger cast that was already in place for our original production. Daria, working in Los Angeles, and ameenah working in Orlando, agreed on a final script and we began rehearsals in October.

Producing for the streaming format combines aspects of theater and film. Fortunately, ameenah had extensive experience in both and she knew that the success of the project would rely heavily on an excellent video editor and sound. Ameenah connected us to Willis Hao who has done miracles with editing magic. We are also thrilled to welcome back alumnus sound designer Sharath Patel, who lives in Portland, Oregon. Faculty member Brigitte Bechtel, a scenic artist by profession, provided digital backgrounds and graduate student Kayla Higbee designed (and distributed) costumes.

Because of COVID safety protocols, no actor was ever in the same room with any other actor or crew member. Actors were working mostly in their own homes recording themselves with very limited space. The production budget was put to good use buying green screen fabric for 10x12 foot screens, IPads, ear buds and microphones so that every actor was working with the same equipment no matter where they were located. Matching sets of lighting equipment were distributed to all locations by lighting designer Caitlin Brown.

How was all the action coordinated by the director, who was herself located in Orlando, Florida? The ear buds made it possible for ameenah to direct the action through a Zoom call so that all actors were hearing simultaneous direction. Ameenah planned each screen look in advance, similar to story boarding a movie. Actors uploaded their raw videos to the cloud at the end of each night of rehearsal/recording. Ameenah sent editing ideas to Willis, who is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Willis applied his editing magic and that draft went to Sharath, who applied sound effects and composition to the video. The result of all these artists collaboration is what you see in the live stream. The pandemic has taught us to be creative it completely new ways and through this one project made Tantrum’s reach truly national.

Tantrum has been busy with several other endeavors this fall. Two of our projects, Stories of COVID-19, a podcast of seven conversations hosted by Charles Smith, and Insulted. Belarus(sia) a Staged Reading, can still be accessed on a The third project was a collaboration between Tantrum, Passion Works Studio and The Nest Improvisation Workshop from Columbus, made possible by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Tantrum Theater’s spring 2021 production will be the musical Spring Awakening in a concept by director Alan Kenny that contrasts Tik Tok style music videos with 19th century adults. The first stream is planned for April 9th, 2021. We’re excited to see this project unfold in the coming months. The previously announced Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has been delayed until spring 2022 when we can produce live in a theater.

But now, join us for the live stream of This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic!

Michael Lincoln
Artistic Director

Josh Coy
Producing Director

Director’s Note
ameenah kaplan

What a ride! When I came on board for this season of Tantrum Theater, I had no idea that we would change plays a few times and change concepts a few times even after we’d found a play! Thank you, COVID-19. No, seriously. If I’m trying to find gratitude in everything, then I have to say, thank you COVID-19. Not for all the crap you’ve dropped on us, but for making me and this incredible team have to be adaptable, creative, and persevere despite the odds. Thank you, Daria Miyeko Marinelli for writing a timely, complex, and fun play. And thank you for adapting it to this cast. Oh, and thank you for answering my email request to read it even though it wasn’t finished.

The play is about two opposing forces living in the same “house” who must remember why they love each other or risk destroying everything they’ve built together. Sound familiar? I hope so, because it’s a mirror to what we are going through right now. By we, I mean the entire human race. What’s at stake is much bigger than any one country or culture. What’s at stake is our very existence because if we cannot remember how to love one another, then we will most assuredly destroy each another. Republic reminds us of how many times we’ve flipped political allegiances and changed the definitions of words to suit our purposes. It reminds us of how the land that we’re fighting over didn’t originally belong to any of us. It reminds us of the importance of empathy.

That was a message I could get behind.

So, thank you Daria, for writing this play. Thank you COVID-19 for pausing the world. Thank you, team, for pressing forward, making art, and shifting the baseline towards the future. And, thank you audience for tuning in. This play is for you.

ameenah kaplan



The play takes place over the short history of the United States. We begin in a Native space in the 1800s and travel through time to what could be called present day. The acts chronicles the development of the country in that ACT I is an abstraction that takes place on Native lands just as the paradigm of their known reality is shifting, ACT II is a history lesson told through the lens of rapid development, and ACT III focuses on what happens within the four walls of a home in “today’s” time.

Program Note

2020 is an unprecedented year which has exposed political and identity issues in our country and around the world. Our production of the new play, This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic, is timely in a chaotic year of global pandemic, the rekindled Black Lives Matter movement and an extremely polarized national election. Playwright Daria Miyeko Marinelli invites the audience to consider how Usonian ideas—ideas “of, and or related to The United States”—have changed throughout American history. Because, as Marinelli points out, “America refers to the whole continent, like, literally.” Highlights of our country’s history, such as the Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation, universal voting rights, and the feminist movement, are all examined in this production. The triptych structure of the show presents a timeline from pre-western historic nomads through colonial America and traverses to the present-day United States. In Act I, we see a courageous dreamer faced with a decision to follow the footsteps before them or to set their own path A card game encompasses Act II, as we plunge into the political parties and how their views have altered over time. Act III concludes with cash-strapped “IKEA millennials” attempting to understand each other’s political points of view. Politics are currently at the forefront of our society. The election has revealed the growing internal conflict in our country that must be tackled if we wish to achieve equality and equity. While experiencing the performance, we challenge you to think: Does your political stance define who you are? Does it create or break relationships? How has the outcome of the 2020 election changed or reinforced you own political identity? What does it mean to be an American?

Land Acknowledgement

Ohio University acknowledges that, from the time of its founding 1804, it has occupied the traditional homelands of the Shawnee people, as well as the Wahzhazhe (Osage), and the Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient cultures before them. As the first federally legislated public university in the United States of America, as mandated by the 1787 Northwest Ordinance1, Ohio University’s founding in 1804 was an integral part of the U.S.’s westward expansion and empire building. The Ohio Country was at that time a convergence zone of some forty tribes, including the Mingo, Erie, Lenape, Wyandot, Miami, and others that shared in the rich hunting grounds and relative safety that these lands provided. As Ohio University has continued to expand its reach with campuses across the state, it occupies the traditional homelands of these tribes as well.  

In 1795, after at least a decade of war with the U.S., leaders from a dozen sovereign nations2 were forced to sign the Treaty of Greenville and cede lands comprising most of eastern, southern, and central Ohio to the U.S. government. A confederacy of tribes, united under the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, continued to resist U.S. aggression until 1813, at which time the U.S. began to enact its policy of forced removal. Many Shawnee were able to remain on reservation land in Ohio until 1831, when they were finally compelled to emigrate to Indian Territories west of the Mississippi River.

More than two hundred years later, Ohio continues to be a convergence zone for people from all over the world, and people from a broad array of Indigenous cultures continue to call this land home.  


  1. The Northwest Ordinance, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1787, focused the U.S.’s attention and strength on the Ohio Country. The first line of Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance is engraved on the Class Gateway that leads to Ohio University’s College Green. It states “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Not enshrined on campus, Article 3 continues, “The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.” 
  1. The Wyandot, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee, Ottawa, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Kaskaskia nations. 

Dan Dennis
Assistant Professor of Voice and Movement


Manda Neal

Manda Neal (Long Horizon Dreamer) (she/her/hers): MFA Acting, Third year. Ohio University: Silent Sky (Henrietta Leavitt), New Play Festival Sibyl (Dixi), 365 Days/365 Plays (Wife 3). Other: Oedipus an Appalachain Adaptation (Jocasta) Appalachain Artist Collective; Crimes of the Heart (Babe) J.B Sowers Theatre; Hedda Gabler (Thea) Alban Arts Center; The Lost Colony (U/S Queen Elizabeth I) Waterside Theatre Company; Edgar (I nothing am) (The Oval Portrait/Alone) Rawhide Theatre Company. BFA Theatre Performance and Dance Minor from Marshall University.


Philip C. Matthews

Philip C. Matthews* (Reppy Pub Hamlin/Percussion) MFA, Acting Third Year. Ohio University: Perfect Arrangement (Jim Baxter), Silent Sky (Peter Shaw), Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), 365 Plays/365 Days (Man).Other: An Iliad (Voice D) Brick Monkey, 86’d (Bob Broome) Staged Reading with Tantrum Theater and Musical Theatre Factory, The Weir (Brendan) Matchbox Theatre, Orpheus Descending (Val Xavier) Six Elements Theatre Company, The Wedding Singer (Glenn Guglia) Old Log Theatre Company.


Gillian Abrams

Gillian Abrams (Pragmatic Best Friend/Fancy White Lady) BFA, Acting, Fourth Year. Ohio University: Silent Sky (Margaret), Engagements (Allison), The Wolves (#8). Ohio University Film School: Go Stella (Stella), Love and War (Mary), Hell is a Gameshow (Maddie), Another Late Night (Woman), The Last Summer Night (Allison), The Killer (Sarah). Television: Notable Women of Columbus (Young Evangeline Reams) WOSU Public Media.


Daniel Cagle

Daniel Cagle (Graham) BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: Perfect Arrangement (Theodore Sunderson).




Rikkí Cupe (Eliza) BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: Absentia (Tanya), Unnatural Disasters (Juana).


Aaron Gates

Aaron Gates (Demtown Jackson) BFA, Acting, Fourth Year. Ohio University: Romeo and Juliet (Peter). Other: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Jehan/Ensemble) Ohio Valley Summer Theater.



Ian Kenyon

Ian Kenyon (Announcer 1) [he/him/they/them] BFA, Acting, Fourth Year. Ohio University: Sunny Days (Mike E), Effective Magic (Rip). Film: Dog Daze (Vincent Vacuum).



Justin Ly

Justin Ly (Announcer A/Colin) [he/him] BFA, Acting, Second Year. Ohio University: 86’d (Chance). Other Sanctuary (Arthur) Lovewell Workshop, Rumors (Lenny) Centennial High School.



Avery LaMar Pope

Avery LaMar Pope (Militant Revolutionary) BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: Romeo and Juliet (Abraham, DJ). Tantrum Theater: Rhinoceros (Café Proprietor), Objects in the Mirror (Shedrick Yarkpai).



Taylor Roberts

Taylor Roberts (Nes) [She/Her/Hers] BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: Absentia (Ester/Neo). Academy for the Performing Arts: Peter & the Starcatcher (Slank), The Actor's Nightmare (Meg), Ragtime (Harlem Ensemble), Julius Caesar (Ligarius).



Hannah McCauley

Hannah McCauley (Ilé) BFA, Acting, Fourth Year. Ohio University: She Kills Monsters (Lilith), Silent Sky (Williamina), Sunny Days (Marie), The Wolves (#00). Other: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Esmeralda), Pippin (Ensemble) Ohio Valley Summer Theater, The Odd Couple (Female Version) (Sylvie) Lost Flamingo Theatre Company.


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Production Crew
Daria Miyeko Marinelli

Daria Miyeko Marinelli (Playwright) [they/she] is a Japanese-Italian playwright who writes about the nearly impossible long-con, outcasts and underdogs trying to honor the wildness of their heart, and the things we take for fact that are really just cultural mythology. Their plays include Ravenous, A Departure, Beautiful Blessed Child, and This is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic. BA: Brown University. MFA: Michener Fellow | University of Texas at Austin.


ameenah kaplan

ameenah kaplan (Director) Ameenah is thrilled to helm this production of ...Republic! Thank you to the incredible design team and crew for their hard work. Thank you also to a supportive producing team and talented cast. Let’s do it again sometime, shall we? Break digital legs! Ammenah’s credits: Resident Director of Disney’s The Lion King North American tour. Academy of Art University Film School. New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Directing credits include Meet Vera Stark at Purdue Univ., How to Break at Village Theatre, Seattle, The Royale at ACT Theatre, Seattle. Molodi: Up Close And Personal the Las Vegas’ body percussion group, Modoli and Bash’d for Celebration Theatre, LA. She has twice directed for Noah Wylie’s Young Playwright’s Festival. Her short, Man With a Movie Camera premiered at Hollyshorts Film Festival in 2014. She directed The American Failure to multiple film festivals and awards. She has choreographed more than two-dozen shows for stage and TV, including The Grammys and Dancing with the Stars. She is the recipient of NAACP, LA Weekly, Gregory, and Ovation awards.


Brigitte Bechtel

Brigitte Bechtel (Scenic Design) Production, Design and Technology faculty. Brigitte is a professional scenic artist and designer. She has collaborated with Arizona Theatre Company, Brandeis University, The Cape Playhouse, Cobalt Studios, Emerson College, Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and Mystic Scenic Studios, among others. Previous design work includes Xanadu, The Lady Victory, Baby, Boy Gets Girl, She Kills Monsters, and South Pacific. Her MFA was earned at Michigan State University. Portfolio of work available at:


Kayla Higbee

Kayla Higbee (Costume Designer) MFA, Costume Design, Third Year. Ohio University: The Wolves (Costume Designer), Cabaret (Assistant Costume Designer), Holly Down in Heaven (Wardrobe Supervisor), The Drape of Night’s Call - Dance Division 2019 Winter Dance Concert (Costume Designer), Romeo & Juliet (Assistant Costume Designer), Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer (Costume Designer), Silent Sky (Assistant Costume Designer), She Kills Monsters (First Hand), Objects in the Mirror (Costume Designer). Other: Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2019/18/17/16/15 seasons (Wardrobe Supervisor), Twelfth Night (Costume Designer & Shop Manager), Hecuba (Costume Designer & Shop Manager), Assassins (Costume Designer & Shop Manager), In the Event of My Death (Costume Designer & Shop Manager), Boeing Boeing (Costume Designer & Shop Manager) Centre College, Superior Donuts (Costume Designer) AthensWest Theatre Company.


Caitlin Brown (Lighting Designer) MFA, Lighting Design, Third Year. Ohio University Lighting Designer: Effective Magic, Silent Sky, Stitched with a Sickle and Hammer; Rhinoceros (Assistant Lighting Designer). Other: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Lighting Designer) Hangar Theatre, Into the Woods (Assistant Lighting Designer) Hangar Theatre, A Christmas Carol (Spot Assistant) Indiana Repertory Theatre, Septem (Lighting Designer) The Nouveau Sud Project, Hand to God (Lighting Designer) Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte.


Sharath Patel

Sharath Patel (Sound Designer) Recent Designs: Portland Center Stage, Rep Theatre of St.Louis, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Folger Theatre, ACT Theatre, Artist Rep, American Rep, Seattle Rep, Cal Shakes, Alabama Shakes, EastWest Players, Marin Theatre Company. Additional work: New York City, Norfolk, Raleigh, Aspen, India, France, England, Germany, and Romania. Affiliations: USA829, Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, Arts Envoy U.S. Department of State, Resident Artists at Artists Rep. BFA: Ohio University, MFA: Yale School of Drama.


Willis Hao

Willis Hao (Video Editor) Other: 2020 Collision Project (Video Editor) Alliance Theater, Brave New Works (Anteros/Heinz) Theater Emory, For Peace I Rise (Ensemble) Theater Emory,  La Cage aux Folles (Bitelle) Out Front Theater, Children of Eden (Featured Dancer) Aurora Theater, Men With Money (Ensemble) Aurora Theater, Spring Awakening (Moritz) Oxford College. He has a BA in Theater/Dance from Emory University.


Jean Egdorf* (Stage Manager) [she/her/hers] is a stage manager, freelance dramaturg, and playwright, with a career-long focus in new work development. Previous stage management credits include: The Cake, Tantrum Theater, 2018; LOCAL Theater Company’s LOCAL LAB New Play Festival, 2014-2017; Creede Repertory Theatre’s 2012-2017 Seasons; Well Orchestrated Madness’ world-premiere musical, I AM ALIVE, by Emmy-Award winning composer Denise Gentilini and Singer-Songwriter Lisa Nemzo, 2015-2016. MFA in Playwriting: Ohio University.


Corey A. Zech

Corey A. Zech (Dramaturg) MA, Theater, Third Year. He has worked for theatre companies all over the world, ranging from London, England to Cincinnati, Ohio. This work has included many aspects of technical work from stagehand to lighting design. Past shows Corey has been involved with include Addams Family (The Ritz Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Heidelberg University), Picasso (National Theatre @ The Ritz Theatre), and Hairspray (The Ritz Theatre & Porthouse Theatre).


Baz Wenger (Technical Director) MFA, Technical Direction, Second Year. Ohio University Master Carpenter: Objects in the Mirror, She Kills Monsters, Rhinoceros, Silent Sky. Other: Berkeley Repertory Theater (Carpenter, Properties Artisan), California State University: East Bay (Technical Director), California Shakespeare Theatre (Interim TD, Carpenter), TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Properties Artisan), American Conservatory Theater (Properties Artisan). He has a BA from Kent State University.


Julia Lisowski (Props Master) MFA, Prop Technology, Second Year.  Ohio University Artisan: Silent Sky, Rhinoceros, She Kills Monsters. Other: Shenandoah Summer Music Theater, Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University and The Rose Theater. She has a BFA from Shenandoah University.


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Tantrum Theater Staff
Michael Lincoln

Michael Lincoln (Artistic Director, Tantrum Theater, was Director of the School from 2012 to 2020) is a professional lighting designer when working beyond Athens. He began his full-time teaching at Ohio University in 2003 and became Director of the School in 2012. Previous to that he taught for fourteen years at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and at the University of Southern California. His professional lighting design career numbers well over 300 productions in theatre, opera and dance and includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and international venues. Highlights: Tantrum Theater’s Next to Normal, Caroline, Or Change and Little Shop of Horrors, Copenhagen on Broadway, The Bubbly Black Girl… at Playwrights Horizons in NYC, and A Streetcar Named Desire for the Cleveland Play House. Michael’s extensive regional credits include long associations with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. Michael had 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.

Josh 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.

Shelley Delaney

Shelley Delaney (Associate Artistic Director) heads the Performance Area at the Ohio University School of Theater, encompassing the PATP and the BFA in Acting. Her professional acting credits include work at The Cincinnati Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Bay Street Theatre, Victory Gardens (Joseph Jefferson nomination for Free Man of Color), GeVa, Cleveland Playhouse, Capital Rep, Delaware Theatre Company, Virginia Stage, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Florida Rep, Two River Theatre and Dorset Theatre Festival, in plays ranging from Shakespeare and Shaw to contemporary world premieres. She most recently played Tammy Faye Bakker in Tammy Faye’s Final Audition in the first Tantrum Theater Season. Tammy Faye’s Final Audition received ‘best of’ awards at both the Capital Fringe and Cincinnati Fringe Festivals. In New York City, Shelley has premiered work at New York Shakespeare Festival’s Plays in Process, La Mama, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Circle Rep Lab, HERE, The Ice Factory at the Ohio Theater, The Women in Theater Festival and many others. Her film work includes Radio Days, and the independent feature films: Claire in Motion, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (Berlinale 2014), Hero Tomorrow, Relative Obscurity and Trailerpark. In addition to directing a range of plays encompassing classics and new work at Ohio University, Shelley has directed the world premiere of The Surrogate by Patricia Cotter at Centenary Stage Company, Blood Knot, The Crucible, The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue, and Doubt at the Monomoy Theatre, and two full-length plays and numerous one act plays at the 78th Street Theater Lab/Drilling Company in NYC. Other directing credits include Solo Arts, PSNBC and HBO/Aspen Comedy Festival.

Jeanette Buck

Jeanette Buck* (Production Manager) is an award-winning independent artist working in film and theater. She has written, stage managed, and directed for film and theater. She has taught stage management, directing, playwriting, and screenwriting at Ohio University, and stage management and acting and directing for the camera at Georgetown University. As a DC based Equity stage manager, Jeanette has stage managed at the Kennedy Center, Theater J, Mosaic Theater, Studio Theater, Woolly Mammoth and Horizons Theater as well as regionally in Hartford and San Francisco. During her career she has staged managed regionally for music festivals, worked as the Associate Producer for Theater J and as the Director of Production at the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Her film directing credits include: Heather Has Four Moms (shortlisted by the Kevin Spacey Foundation), Texting a Love Story, Kiss on the Bosphorus, Lie TogetherIn the Menstrual Hut and the feature Out of Season. As a playwright, her one woman show There Are No Strangers premiered at Theater J in Washington D.C. and was later performed at The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Her theater directing credits: Beautiful Thing, Rowing to AmericaMiraclesGretty Good TimeFather John does a Hail Mary, and Open Hearts.

Brigitte Bechtel

Brigitte Bechtel (Scenic Charge Artist and Paint Shop Supervisor) Brigitte 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) Arnold Johnson, 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.



Thank You

Merri Biechler, Director, School of Theater
Olivia Vessel, URTA
Wendy-Marie Martin
School of Theater Faculty & Staff
The SHAPe Clinic

Ohio University

Duane Nellis, Ohio University, Former President
Dr. Elizabeth Sayrs, Executive Vice President and Provost
Deborah Moon Shaffer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, CFO and Treasurer
Nico Karagosian, Vice President for University Advancement and President and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation
Matthew R. Shaftel, Dean, College of Fine Arts (CoFA)
Kari Saunier, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, CoFA
Drew Surovjak, Department Administrator, School of Theater



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About Tantrum

Tantrum was founded in the fall of 2015 by Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. The theater is a professional company and serves as a training ground providing apprenticeships for students in the School of Theater. The name Tantrum Theater comes from a group of Ohio University graduate students who discovered that one of the collective names for a group of bobcats is a Tantrum. The mascot of Ohio University is the bobcat. Tantrum’s mission is to create and propel forward a resident professional theater company and training conservatory in a partnership with the Ohio University College of Fine Arts.