TAD Senior Producing and Directing Fefu and Her Friends

Loyola Theatre Arts & Dance senior Kharissa Newbill is producing and directing Act II of Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes this semester. The show runs April 22-24 in the Lower Depths Theater, with two performances each night at 6:30 and 8:30. Due to COVID restrictions, only 12 audience members will be allowed at each performance. Newbill said she also decided to only produce Act II of an otherwise 2 ½ hour show because of COVID. 

Kharissa Newbill

Newbill said she decided to produce this show because Fornes is one of her favorite playwrights. 

“Her plays tend to focus on women —especially queer women— and female trauma which are topics that I really resonate with,” she said. Fefu and Her Friends is about and stars Hispanic women, which Newbill said is also important to her as a director. 

This play is about feminism in the 1930s featuring an all-female cast. Newbill said it centers female trauma and other problems in a very blunt way which makes for a bizarre, but poignant experience for audience members. 

“I think that the show is a good reminder of why the fight for women’s rights is never over,” she said.  

Newbill’s cast and crew is made up of over a dozen TAD students. It stars Gabriela Lopez Ruiz, Illeana Yanez Pastor, Mariola Chalas, Nico Cardelli, Caitlyn Ritchie, Gabriella Perez Santalla, Chiara Romano, and Francesca Lausen, though Lausen is not a TAD student. 

Jennifer Lepore is Newbill’s assistant director with Ti Zampino as the show’s technical director. The design team consists of Cass Poulin as lighting designer, Hilary Nguyen as assistant lighting designer, Meagan Daves as scenic designer, Max Piper as sound designer, Gabrielle Garcia as costume designer, Vivian Bulleit as props designer/usher, Cameron Maas as props designer, Noelle Timberlake as props assistant/usher, and Vidal Amador Flores III as an usher.

“Everyone has put so much love and effort into the show, and I’m so blessed to have them all at my side,” Newbill said.