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“Image of an Unknown Young Woman” to open next weekend

Molly Stone ’20, Quinn Ercolani ’18 and Nai’ya Willis-Hogan ’20 rehearse for “The Image of an Unknown Young Woman” in Flanagan Theatre. Photo by Elena Copell.

By Nana Okamoto

Be sure to grab your tickets to “The Image of an Unknown Young Woman” from the Bucksbaum box office next week. Professor Lesley Delmenico, theater and dance, is directing this play by emerging playwright Elinor Cook, which tackles difficult issues about politically charged images and how various people respond to them. The play’s lack of setting creates a universal narrative and transcends a specific space or time, making it an unusual and interesting production.

Delmenico describes the play as cinematic. It does not follow a linear progression and the dialogue is realistic and raw. Ahon Gooptu ’21, who will be playing the part of Ali, said that jumping from scene to scene makes it hard to keep the momentum going since there is so much energy in each scene.

Nolan Boggess ’19, the assistant director for the production, agreed.

“It’s been a little challenging getting the pace of the show but it’s also really exciting since it’s an experience that probably a lot of people won’t be familiar with.”

The play grapples with contemporary issues of how social media plays a role in disseminating images of oppression and revolution. Social media enables people to connect instantly, yet at times, “trends catch on just because you see it everywhere, without people really knowing what they’re fighting for,” said Vedika Haralalka ’18, who plays the part of Leyla.

“We’re so unsettled about what is truth at this moment, what we can believe, what images we can believe and how the same image can get used in different ways. And, ‘The Image of an Unknown Young Woman’ doesn’t provide any easy answers about that,” Delmenico said. “There’s a lot of ambiguity but there’s also a hopefulness in the play.”

This play is the third part of a series of productions titled “Embodying Self and Other.” This series came together over coffee at Saints Rest, when Delmenico, Professor Celeste Miller, theatre and dance, and Associate Chaplain and Rabbi Rob Cabelli discussed ways to reconcile views that are different from one’s own. The fourth and final production in the series will be Miller’s project, “Strangers in a Strange Land,” which will be performed in late April.

“The Image of an Unknown Young Woman” will take place in Flanagan Theatre from March 8 to 10 at 7:30 p.m. and March 11 at 2 p.m. On opening night, Cabelli, along with the director and cast members, will hold a post-show discussion about the issues that the play addresses.

Molly Stone ’20, Quinn Ercolani ’18 and Nai’ya Willis-Hogan ’20 rehearse for “The Image of an Unknown Young Woman” in Flanagan Theatre. Photo by Elena Copell.
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