The Hope College Department of Theatre will present “The Line Between” on Friday-Saturday, April 21-22, and Wednesday-Saturday, April 26-29, at 7:30 p.m. with an additional free matinee on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. All performances will be in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
From New York City, Hope College Theatre alumni Dan Kwiatkowski and Erik Saxvik, who are 2004 graduates, have returned to Holland to create a devised theatre piece with Hope students. Devised theatre is a collaborative, creative process in which the script develops through structured improvisation.
The production includes the voices of the ensemble — original text, poetry and lyrics. The ensemble has spent the past academic year generating content for the production through workshops, writing prompts and imagery. Previous devised pieces by Hope Theatre include Nathan Allen’s “Rose and the Rime” (2007) and The Hinterlands’ “Goodbye Beauty, Hello Dust” (2015).
“The Line Between” follows the hero’s journey through two worlds — a clean and crisp community separated from a band of wild, expressive nomads. With a clear boundary between them, the play discovers what it means to see the world from someone else’s point of view. With the bond of sisters, family and friendship, “The Line Between” explores the hope of humanity and the power of forgiveness.
Kwiatkowski and Saxvik have enjoyed every minute of this creative process.
Kwiatkowski knew from the first workshop that the production was going to be special. “When we started this process back in September, we had no idea what we were going to do and how we were going to execute it, but one thing was clear from the start. Everyone in the room was there because of their commitment to theatre and their commitment to each other,” he said. “The process has proved to be overwhelmingly rewarding and honest. As we have tried to unmask and unravel the idea of what it means to be different, we have questioned our own privilege here at Hope and how we use that to empower those who struggle to have their voice heard. This is incredibly inspiring group of young artists.”
Saxvik couldn’t agree more. “It has been an exciting and deeply meaningful opportunity to devise an original piece of theatre with the Hope students — to create a work that can generate discussion within the community is a great privilege,” he said. “The show has been a genuine group effort from the very beginning — there are 17 students involved and each of their voices are represented well. One of the themes of the piece is that we are stronger collectively than we are as individuals, something which has proven entirely true in our work on this production.”
In addition to directing, Kwiatkowski and Saxvik have contributed many other talents to the production. Kwiatkowski serves as scenic designer while Saxvik serves as lighting designer with the assistance of senior student designer Nils Fritjofson of West Granby, Connecticut. In addition, Kwiatkowski and Saxvik composed the production’s original score.
The production team also includes junior Kierney Johnson of Seattle, Washington, as costume designer; faculty member Michelle Bombe as costume design mentor; senior Claire Bouwkamp of Jenison as projections designer; and sophomore Megan Clark of Clymer, New York, as properties manager. Senior Aaron McEachran of Golden, Colorado, serves as stage manager, while freshman Jacob Starr of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and senior Jensine Waller of Naperville, Illinois, serve as assistant stage managers.
Staff members contributing to the project include Ken Chamberlain as sound designer, Paul Anderson as technical director and Darlene Veenstra as costume shop manager.
The cast includes junior J. Griffin Baer of Holland; freshman Gracen Barth of Dallas, Texas; sophomore Megan Clark of Clymer, New York; sophomore Rachel Dion of Clinton Township; sophomore Katrina Dykstra of Walker; junior Samantha Hill of Grandville; junior Kierney Johnson of Seattle, Washington; junior Anna Jones of Ann Arbor; sophomore Olivia Lehnertz of Bloomfield Hills; senior Jake Mate of Jenison; freshman Makeya Royer of Boston, Massachusetts; freshman Emmie Sandstedt of Lake Zurich, Illinois; senior Laura Schmidt of Yorktown, Indiana; junior Izzy Schonfeld of Oxford; junior Akia Nyrie Smith of Grand Rapids; junior Deana Velandra of Tiptop; and senior Sean Zorn of Clinton Township.
Tickets are $10 for regular admission, and $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff. Tickets are free for Hope College students and children 18 and under, and are available at the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth Street). The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890, although the office will be closed on Friday, April 14, because of the Good Friday holiday. Patrons may purchase tickets in person, online or by calling the ticket office.
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.