Hope and Fear in the Face of an Epidemic: Students Perform ‘The Living’

News subtitle

The play considers humanity’s capacity for compassion and courage in difficult times.

Holden Harris '20, playing the role of John Graunt, performs a scene during the MainStage production's final dress rehearsal on Nov. 7
Holden Harris ’20, playing the role of John Graunt, performs a scene during the MainStage production’s final dress rehearsal on Nov. 7. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00.) 

The Department of Theater’s current MainStage production, Anthony Clarvoe’s The Living, is set in London in 1665 during the height of the bubonic plague. It follows the reactions—from hysterical to courageous—of a group of city residents as the epidemic intensifies.

Directed by Associate Professor of Theater Jamie Horton, the play runs through this weekend, with performances scheduled on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Moore Theater at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Originally produced in 1993 by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Theatre Company, the play is a critique of early responses to the AIDS crisis. Its central themes remain relevant to many global challenges facing humanity today, including epidemics and climate change.

The Hopkins Center website describes the play as powerful. “Heartbreaking, bitterly funny, and deeply moving, The Living celebrates the power of courage and compassion to combat a climate of overwhelming fear and darkness,” writes the Hop.

A “meet the cast” event will immediately follow the Friday evening performance, which will be open-captioned. Prior to Saturday night’s show, Associate Professor of Theater Laura Edmonson will moderate a discussion between Horton and Associate Professor of Medicine Elizabeth Talbot on the challenges posed by today’s international health crises. This pre-show discussion, “The Politics of Plague in 2019,” will take place at 7 p.m. at the Top of the Hop and will be recorded by Vermont Public Radio.

Cast members include Izzy Bresnahan ’20, Isaiah Brown ’23 , Nish Chalasani ’20, Caitlin Deerin ’22, Jenna Gallagher ’21, Nicholas Gutierrez ’20, Hannah Haile ’20, Holden Harris ’20, David Hoffman ’23, Lila Hovey ’23, Gabriel Jenkinson ’20, Chloe Jung ’23, Sophia Kinne ’20, Hannah LeBaron ’22, Maggie MacDonald ’23, Stacia Nugent ’23, Jordan Paff ’23, Kerrigan Quenemoen ’20, and Sophie Whittemore ’20.

Tickets for The Living are available for purchase through the Hop.

View an extended gallery of photos

Katie Hamlin can be reached at katie.hamlin@dartmouth.edu.

Katie Hamlin