The Hope College Department of Theatre will present “Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck!” on Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 5-7, and Thursday-Saturday, Oct 13-15, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
“Roustabout” tells a story of the cost of war, the beauty of humanity, and the power of redemption, while it builds a narrative for those lives that were lost in history.
Written by Jay Torrence, “Roustabout” is set in the early 1900s, a time when clowns, elephants and circus tents were popping up all over the country. After a devastating collision between a U.S. military train and railway cars belonging to the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus in 1918, this play weaves the story of war, humanism and redemption together.
“Like so many of us, I have always been fascinated with the circus. As a child, the animals, the spectacle, the danger, the skill and the mystery of it all, made me dizzy with wonder,” said director Richard Perez of the Hope theatre faculty. “When I learned of the mass grave filled with 56 unidentified circus performers who perished in a horrible way, I decided I want to pay tribute to those forgotten souls, those people that lived for one thing, and one thing only: to be part of the greatest show on earth. This production honors them by telling their stories.”
In addition to Perez, the production team for “Roustabout” includes faculty members Richard Smith as scenic and properties designer, and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer. Staff members Andrew Souders and Paul Anderson serve as costume shop manager and technical director. The stage manager for the production is junior Nathan Gingrich of Potsdam, New York, and the assistant stage managers are freshman Abby Kroening of Nairobi, Kenya, and freshman Makeya Royer of Boston, Massachusetts. Senior Kierney Johnson of Seattle, Washington, serves as costume designer with faculty mentor Michelle Bombe, and senior Sydney Luse of Elburn, Illinois, serves as the assistant costume designer. The choreographer is senior Rachel Hibbard of Traverse City, and junior Rachel Kennedy of Naperville, Illinois, serves as a dramaturg. Senior Claire Bouwkamp of Jenison serves as assistant scenic designer and projection and video designer.
The cast includes senior Sean Zorn of Clinton Township; senior Jake Mate of Jenison; senior Sydney Luse of Elburn, Illinois; junior Sam Hill of Grandville; sophomore Rachel Dion of Clinton Township; and freshman Timothy Doorenbos of Seattle, Washington.
Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff, and free for Hope College students and children 18 and under. Tickets are available at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Tickets are also available online.
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.