Fourteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Theatre Department is producing Catherine Filloux, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Joe Sutton’s The Breach. Set in New Orleans during the eye of the hurricane, this play intertwines three stories of residents fighting for their lives. The action of the play flows much like the waters that breached the levees: tumbling between an African American family trapped on their roof, a white bartender with multiple sclerosis caught in the raging waters, and a chorus of those who were left behind to fight for a piece of the nation’s conscience.
Asking the question “How does devastation like that which occurred after Hurricane Katrina happen in a country as well-resourced as America,” The Breach investigates institutional and structural racism, ableism, classism and the destructive power of climate change. The production is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Heather May, who selected the play for the season due to the urgent need to address these issues in light of the growing impact of climate change on vulnerable communities as well as for its profoundly imagistic, poetic and unconventional nature.
The Breach is part of the Theatre Department’s Season of Water, a collaboration with the Finger Lakes Institute’s Year of Water. HWS’ production features eight actors playing a fully embodied character of Water in addition to a host of other roles.
All performances will be followed by a discussion facilitated by a specialist in a field related to the production. The Breach runs Nov. 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in the McDonald Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5 and available at the Gearan Center box office 90 minutes before curtain.
The production team includes:
Actors: Eva Catanzariti ’20, Andrea Delgado ’22, Sal Fabio ’22, Kevin Johnson, Dominique Marshall ’22, Gabriela Nieves ’23, Christopher Otero P’18 and Michael Templeton ’23
Director: Heather May
Assistant Director: Kels Veeder ’21
Stage Manager: Adrian Bayless-Marr ’21
Assistant Stage Managers: Daniella Brown ’23, Willow Munn-Oberg ’23, Gordon Ho
Scenic and Lighting Designer: Ed Hallborg
Sound Designer: Kelly Walker
Costume Designer: Katharine Tarkulich