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Objects in the Mirror

Objects in the Mirror

Tantrum Theater presents
Objects in the Mirror
By Charles Smith
Directed by Allen Gilmore

Premiered Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 8PM on WOUB FM

Flee through West Africa alongside Shedrick Yarkpai in this harrowing true story, as he endures a savage escape from Liberia, grasping at the opportunity to live a fuller life in a land of peace, safety, and security. Written by Ohio University Distinguished Professor, Charles Smith, Objects In The Mirror provides an account of this brave Liberian’s search for civility; showcasing the lengths one person must go to reclaim identity and assimilate with dignity.

Program Note
Michael Lincoln and Josh Coy

Thank you all for joining us for the radio broadcast version of Objects in the Mirror by Charles Smith, directed by Allen Gilmore! This has certainly been a season capping production like no other, and we hope you have a chance to listen in on Charles and Allen’s conversation with WOUB reporter Emily Votaw to hear their take on this unique experience.

We began this spring with veteran Chicago area director Chuck Smith planning to revisit his original 2017 Goodman Theatre staging of Objects in the Mirror here in Athens, joined by professional actor Allen Gilmore reprising the role of John. Chuck had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances, but we were fortunate that Allen agreed to step into the role of director. When actor Gary Kayi-Fletcher, recently seen in Tantrum’s fall production of Rhinoceros, graciously accepted the role of John, we began rehearsals energized and excited to bring this production to life. 

In mid-March, in what was an uncertain moment nationally, Allen invited us to sit in on the first rehearsal room run-through of the show. We left that rehearsal inspired by the quality of storytelling taking place, but operations quickly halted, as the very next day the pandemic virus response began to close down the state. We quickly decided that although we were not able to produce the live stage version, we could not allow the opportunity to share this story escape. Eventually, a partnership with WOUB developed and this fully produced audio version of the play became a reality. We are delighted to be working with WOUB radio in what we hope will be the first of many collaborations.

Objects in the Mirror sound designer and School of Theater faculty member Steven Leffue accepted the additional role of recording engineer. Our cast transitioned to remote online rehearsals to prepare for recording, which was accomplished over 3 days, with detailed editing extending another 2 weeks. Finally, Steven Leffue and Allen Gilmore collaborated on additional sound effects. Throughout this process we have learned things that we expect will continue to help Tantrum Theater deliver professional theater in Southeast Ohio through creatively challenging media.

To that end, we have also migrated our summer class offerings to digital online versions! Tantrum Kids (for artists aged 10-13) will take place June 1-5 and an exciting new partnership with the creators of The Girl Project titled Gen Z (for pre-college and high school students) is scheduled from June 8-19. This two-week course is a grassroots art-meets-activism program in which participants are empowered to tell their own stories through spoken word, theater-based movement, and writing techniques. It culminates in an original online theatrical performance that reshapes the representation of young people in American media culture. Visit the Tantrum Theater education page to enroll now.

And, finally, we are excited to announce Tantrum Theater’s 2020-2021 season. In the fall we will bring you Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, directed by Ameenah Kaplan, currently scheduled for an opening date of Nov 20, 2020. In the spring of 2021 will present the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, by OHIO alumnus Dave Malloy, scheduled to open on April 2, 2021. Tantrum Theater will be one of the first to produce this thrilling musical since its Broadway production. We are well aware that alternate methods of delivery may be required due to social distancing restrictions, so stay in touch at

We hope that you will join us on WOUB radio, FM 91.3, at 8pm May 31st for the broadcast of Objects in the Mirror and that it may serve to bring a small bit of quality theater during this troubling time. We are thankful to have been able to share this experience working on creative solutions with our amazing cast, designers, and crew (many of whom worked very hard on the canceled staged production). We all have been challenged to think smarter, be flexible, and as a result, discover a new/old way of making connections with you, our audience. 

Michael Lincoln
Artistic Director

Josh Coy
Interim Producing Director

Playwright’s Note

The Epistemology of a Play

Charles Smith

In 2009 I was invited to Adelaide, South Australia, to see Independent Theater’s production of my play Free Man of Color. A year later, Independent Theater asked me back for a production of my play Les Tois Dumas. Both productions featured a young Liberian actor named Shedrick Yarkpai. As I got to know Shedrick he told me about his ten-year odyssey from war-torn Liberia, through a number of desperately impoverished, disease-ridden refugee camps in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire before his final relocation as a refugee in Adelaide, South Australia almost 10,000 miles away. I found his story of survival – the challenge of leaving one world and jumping feet first into a completely different world with little or no possibility of return to be morally complex and virtually inextricable. I sheepishly asked him for permission to retell his story in the form of a play and he was delighted by the prospect of sharing his experiences through the art form he came to embrace after arriving in Australia. 

Years later, in a workshop at Goodman Theater’s New Stages in my hometown of Chicago, I found myself making adjustments to the play now titled Objects in the Mirror. Some of the changes I made to Shedrick’s story were small, some were more significant and at first, I had trouble justifying the changes. I had never lived in a war-torn country and was never forced to leave my home for a distant land in order to live. I had grown up on the Southside of Chicago, albeit in an area plagued with poverty and gun violence. A tour in the Army had taken me to Germany and Korea, my plays brought me across the U.S., Canada and abroad, and my teaching career landed me in the foothills of Appalachia, which often feels like a foreign country to me. And here I found myself in rehearsal, barely ten miles from where I grew up, yet culturally, socially, economically and experientially, it may as well have been 10,000 miles away. That’s when I realized that I was incorporating events from my own life in order to tell Shedrick’s story. Or perhaps I was using events from his life to tell mine. Finally, I stopped trying to discern between the two. That’s when I realized that the objects in the mirror really are closer than they appear.

Charles Smith

Director’s Note
Allen Gilmore

I've often been asked, "What is this play about?" The question would stifle me because of the complexity of the answer to such a simple, straightforward question. Having faced this daunting conundrum multiple times, regarding Objects in the Mirror, I've been able to devise an answer as simple, straightforward and perhaps as daunting as the question itself. "It's about everything. Objects in the Mirror is about everything."

It would not be enough to say that it's a coming of age story about an African youth. Nor would it be completely correct to say it's about the cruel vicissitudes of refugee asylum and international immigration, or the struggle for survival in very practical and then in more abstract, personal ways. It's not enough to say it is about the global circumstance of the black man, the nature of truth, or what one must risk and/or sacrifice for love. Objects in the Mirror is not simply about white privilege, the fight for social justice, individual will, and illusion versus reality. And as a cherry on top, the play is also (but not only!) about the need for --and the power of -- great storytelling and fine, nuanced, virtuosic acting. 

Objects in the Mirror is a singular theatrical phenomenon. Its words and images are as layered, epic, and indelible, as is this true story of Shedrick Kennedy Yarkpai. Objects in the Mirror is about everything.

Thank you for joining us, especially during a global health crisis, for this story of the journey of the few that eventually touches us all -- globally. In the face of crisis, we still need great storytelling. That is why you are here. That is why we made this work of art for you.

Allen Gilmore

Dramaturg Note

The Mano River Union: Life, Violence, and Escape in West Africa

Ivan Mosley

On the southern coast of West Africa lies the Mano River Union, an international association that includes Liberia, Sierra Lion, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast. The lingering ghost of European colonialism haunts these countries in their language, architecture, and national consciousness. Still, the citizens have preserved the region’s identity: you can hear it in the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of maringa in Sierra Leone or the percussive taps of the djembe in Liberia; you can smell it in the smoke from peanut stew—and you might even be invited in to share the meal.

From 1989-2007, violence overtook the region.

The conflicts started when Charles Taylor invaded Liberia to overthrow President Samuel Doe, starting the First Liberian Civil War. After Doe’s execution in 1990, Taylor ruled much of the country as one its most powerful warlords. Eventually, Taylor secured control of all of Liberia when he was elected President and the First Liberian Civil War ended. During his reign as warlord and President, Taylor supported civil wars in Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast with troops and ammunition. Meanwhile, his commanders attacked communities in Guinea. Taylor’s rule ended with the Second Liberian Civil War, in 2003, when rebel groups took back control of the country and he fled to Nigeria.

During this period, civilians suffered the most. Soldiers terrorized them with amputation. Children were forced to serve as soldiers, porters, ammunition carriers, and sex slaves.

Fearing for their lives, millions of people fled to refugee camps throughout the region, most notably in Guinea. Like Shedrick, the protagonist of Objects in the Mirror, born in Liberia, many refugees left Africa altogether and immigrated to North America and Australia. His journey requires Shedrick leave behind members of his family, sacrifice his health, and, most importantly, lose parts of his identity.

Although he endured considerable hardship to immigrate, Shedrick would tread an even rougher path to find refuge in the United States or Australia today. In the past two years, President Donald Trump has substantially reduced the numbers of refugees allowed into the U.S., while, under Trump’s orders, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is detaining and punishing non-criminal undocumented aliens, even going so far as separating children from their parents in detainment camps. In Australia, the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott formed Operation Sovereign Borders to prevent maritime asylum seekers from reaching the mainland, placing them instead in offshore detention centers on the islands of Manus and Naurus. Even worse, Abbott’s government has silenced media coverage of human rights abuses at the detention centers by passing the National Security Legislation Amendment Act, which punishes people who reveal information about the centers with prison sentences of up to ten years.

Ivan Mosley

Gary Kayi-Fletcher

Gary-Kayi Fletcher* (Uncle JohnTantrum Theater: Rhinoceros (The Old Gentleman/Botard). Includes performances at: Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Everyman Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin Stage Company, Meadow Brook Theatre, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theater and more. Film/TV credits include appearances in F.S. Key: After the SongAmerica’s Most WantedThe 6th Degree and the critically acclaimed web series Casters and Mythos. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity Association.


David Haugen

David Haugen* (Rob MoserPerformance Faculty. Ohio University: Romeo & Juliet (Friar Laurence), Macbeth (Duncan). Other: Peterborough Players: The Doctor’s Dilemma (Dr. Ridgeon), Arsenic and Old Lace (Teddy), Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble: Tammy Faye’s Final Audition (Jim Bakker), An Appalachian Christmas Carol (Scrooge). Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity Association.



Janai Lashon

Janai Lashon (Luopu) MFA, Acting, Second Year. Ohio University: Here Lies Vivienne Greene (Vivienne Greene), Holly Down in Heaven (Mia), 365 Days/365 Plays (Ensemble). Other: A Ligature for Black Bodies (Sandra Bland) Joliffe Theatre, Imani 22nd & First (Ms. Fisher) York Theatre, Chain (Rosa) Epic Theatre.



DeVante’ Malone

DeVante’ Malone (ZazaMFA, Acting, Second Year. Ohio University: Holly Down In Heaven (Dad), 365 Days/365 Plays (Ensemble). Other: The Glass Menagerie (Tom), Urinetown (Billy Boy Bill), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II).



Avery LaMar Pope

Avery LaMar Pope (Shedrick Yarkpai) BFA, Acting, Third Year. Ohio University: She Moves in Her Own Way (Josh), Romeo and Juliet (Abraham/DJ). Other: Tantrum Theater: Rhinoceros (Cafe Proprietor/Fireman). Film: Anatomy (Gary), Running Out of Time (Shai). 



Erik Armstrong

Erik Armstrong (Shedrick UnderstudyBFA, Acting, Fourth Year. Ohio University: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Saint Peter/Pontius Pilate), The Skin of Our Teeth (Dinosaur/Ensemble), 365 Days/365 Plays (Man 6/Ensemble), R​omeo and Juliet (Tybalt), She Kills Monsters (Orcus/ Ronnie). Other: Tantrum Theater: Rhinoceros (Jean), ​The Cake (Tim Understudy).



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Production Crew
Allen Gilmore

Allen Gilmore (Director) Visiting Director. Other Work: Acting: Othello (Othello/Iago), Cyrano (Cyrano De Bergerac), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Bynum), The African Company Presents Richard the Third, (James Hewlett), Endgame (Hamm), Sizwe Banzi is Dead (Sizwe Banzi), Man in the Ring (Emile Griffith), Waiting for Godot (Vladimir), A Christmas Carol (Ebenezer Scrooge), Objects in the Mirror (John Workolo).


Linda Buchanan

Linda Buchanan (Scenic Designer) ​Former Head of Scenic Design at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Buchanan has designed at theatres throughout the country and abroad.  Her work has been seen in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, the Paramount, and regionally at Arena Stage, the Alley Theatre, Indiana Rep, Cleveland Playhouse,  Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Kansas City Rep, Idaho Shakespeare Festival,  Milwaukee Rep, Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, Yale Rep, Resident Ensemble Theatre, and many others. Recent credits include: ​Stick Fly ​Writers Theatre, ​American Mariachi​ Dallas Theatre Center, Murder on the Orient Express ​Resident Ensemble Players​, You Can’t Take It With You​ Indiana Repertory Theatre, ​Having Our Say ​Goodman Theatre. Buchanan has received the Merritt Award for Design and Collaboration, Jefferson Awards for House and Garden (Goodman), Black Snow (Goodman) and I Hate Hamlet (Royal George), and a Helen Hayes Award for Dancing at Lughnasa (Arena Stage). Notable past projects include the premiere production of Marvin’s Room (10 regional productions, and commercial productions in New York and London), the musical Wings (Goodman Theatre and the Public Theatre in New York) and the American premiere of House and Garden (Goodman). Buchanan’s work has been published in American Theatre, Stage Directions, Entertainment Design (now Live Design), TCI (now Live Design), Interior Design, and Contract.  Buchanan was included in 2 USITT design exhibits (Women in Design, 1997, and Evolution of a Designer, 2010).

Bridgett Jackson

Bridgett Jackson (Dialect Coach) Bridgett is a Dialect Coach, Accent Coach, Speech/Diction Coach and a certified Speech-Language Pathologist. In addition, she is a teacher of voice, phonetics and communication. She is delighted to join the Tantrum Theater as a Dialect Coach. She has also been a guest lecturer at Gallaudet University and with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She holds a Master of Science degree from Howard University, with a specialization in speech and accents. She is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and was the recipient of the ASHA Ace Award in 2018. Her credits include Aint No Mo’ and Cullud Wattah with The Public Theater in New York, NY and Cost of Living (2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner) with The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. She recently was the Dialect Coach and guest lecturer at The Baker Theater at Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre and Dance for A Raisin In The Sun in Allentown, PA. In addition, she was the Dialect Coach for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis for Dreaming Zenzile in St. Louis, MO. Some of the regional dialects and accents she has coached include: General American, Southern, Western, Midwestern, Eastern, Xhosa, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Kentucky, California, Detroit, Chicago, London, Australia, West Africa, South Africa, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, just to name a few.

Kayla Higbee

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

Piper Kirchhofer

Piper Kirchhofer (Lighting Designer) MFA, Lighting Design, Second Year. Ohio University Lighting Design: Romeo & Juliet. Other: Georgia Ensemble Theatre: Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story, Morningside. Kirchhofer has also worked for The Hangar Theatre, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Georgia Shakespeare, and the Alliance Theatre.


Steven Leffue

Steven Leffue (Sound Designer) Assistant Professor/Head of Sound Design at the Ohio University School of Theater, and is an instructor of saxophone in the OU School of Music. His bases of operation include California, New York, and Washington DC. He is a co-founder and board member of JACK, Brooklyn ( He is a member of the International Computer Music Association, and a recent recipient of the 2019 Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Sound Design. 

Kristine Schlachter

Kristine Schlachter* (Stage Manager) Visiting Stage Manager. Recent Work Off-Broadway: Avenue Q, Emperors Nightingale (Nom. Off-Broadway Alliance Award)The Brothers Paranormal (World Premiere). Regional: Holiday InnThe Glass Menagerie, Long Days Journey Into Night, Singing In The Rain, Big RiverMacbeth, Twelfth Night, The Magic Flute, It’s A Wonderful Life, The 39 Steps. NYC: As You Like It, The Marriage of Figaro, Raisin in the SunThe Great SocietyFAME!, Cyrano De Bergerac, Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Roaring GirlHer PortmanteauTartuffe, Allegro, The Secret Garden. BFA Syracuse University. Proud member Actor’s Equity Association.

Daniel Denhart

Daniel Denhart (Technical Director) Dan has been the Head of the Technical Direction Program at Ohio University since 1986 and has recently been appointed Head of Production Design and Technology Program for the Theater Division. Recent Technical Direction credits include The 4th Sister (2005-06), Knock Me A Kiss (2007-08), What the Butler Saw (2008-09), The Hostage (2009-10), and The Holiday (2010-11). In 2002, Dan's position was adapted into a faculty position and he was awarded tenure in 2005. Dan has overseen numerous productions and has trained many technical directors that are successfully working in theaters across the country. Dan also enjoys working as Production Manager, Set Designer and/or Scenic Charge Artist (not all at the same time mind you) for the Ohio Valley Summer Theater which partners with the Ohio University Theater Division. Over the past 25 seasons, Dan has designed scenery for over 15 OVST productions. Recently Dan's technical direction work was seen in New York as he served as Technical Director for the Off-Broadway production of Finding Claire and Technical Advisor for the production of On Naked Soil both produced at the Theater For A New City on NY's lower east side. Dan has served on the National Conference committee for the United States Institute of Theater Technology, (since) 1995, in the capacity of Special Exhibitions Coordinator and Media Resources Coordinator. Dan currently is in his fourth term as VP Special Operations for USITT. Dan served as the Associate Exhibition Director& and Technical Director for the Inaugural World Stage Design Exhibition in Toronto Canada in 2005, the Producing Director for the USA-USITT National, Student Theater Design and Theater Architecture exhibit entries to the 2011 Prague Quadrennial and has recently accepted the request to continue in this position for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial.

Jazsmin L. Johnson

Jazsmin L. Johnson (Dramaturg) BA, English Literature & Theater, Fourth Year. Ohio University: Holly Down In Heaven.


Ivan Mosley

Ivan Mosley (Dramaturg) MFA, Playwriting. Mosley is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the former Literary Manager at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. He is also a proud alumnus of the Kennedy Center Summer Playwrights Intensive and the Advanced Playwriting Program at the National Theatre Institute. His play Evelyn & His Brothers was a semifinalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. His plays have been developed at the Greensboro Playwrights Forum, the John F. Kennedy Center, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Ring Theatre and Route 66 Theatre Company.


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Tantrum Theater Staff
Michael Lincoln

Michael Lincoln (Artistic Director, Tantrum Theater, and Director, School of Theater) 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 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.

Concepts, Sketches, and Models

Costume Renderings 

Orignal Costume Sketches

Scenic Sketches and Model Photos

Original Scenic Sketches
Original Scenic Models

Lighting Research 

Objects in the Mirror Lighting Research
Thank You

Olivia Vessel, URTA
Sean Hennessy, SAG-AFTRA Chicago
Mark Brewer General Manger WOUB Public Media
School of Theater Faculty & Staff
Arts For Ohio
The SHAPe Clinic
Jody Daulton of Artistic Sign Languages Services 
Dr. Luis Plascenscia, Ohio University law professor
Andrew Meyer, Didgeridoo

Ohio University

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

Special thanks

Shawna Bolin, Associate Vice President of University Planning
Matthew Cornish, Associate Professor, School of Theater
Rachel Cornish, Founding Producing Director, Tantrum Theater
Timothy Epley, Associate Director Business Operations, Event Services
Ledger Free, Audience Services Coordinator
Mathew Hall, Assistant Director of Health Promotion for Sexual Assault Prevention
Andrew Holzaepfel, Senior Associate Director for Student Activities
Jan Huebenthal, Assistant Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center
Miranda L Kridler, Senior Planner
Chelsa P. Morahan, Assistant Director, Patron Services, Event Services



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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.