Nichols School Advanced Acting Class Presents: Anon(ymous) on Dec. 1 and 2

Nichols School's Advanced Acting Class Presents: Anon(ymous), based on Homer's The Odyssey on Dec. 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. in the Flickinger Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $5 at the door.

The Cast of Anon(ymous)

Naja/Belen: Raiza Almonte

Nemasani/Ritu: Claire Blandino

Senator Laius/Zyclo/American Dad: Colin Brinson

Serza/Sewing Lady: Imani Dockery

Helen Laius/Pet Bird/American Mother: Vivian Hunt

Calista/Sewing Lady/American Daughter: Lindsey Haughton

Nasreen/Sewing Lady: Meghan O'Connor

Mr. Yuri Mackus/Strygal/Ali: Gabe Robare

Anon(ymous): John Tantillo

Pascal/Ignacio: David Williams

Tech Crew

Stage Manager/Lights: Virginia Lignos

Sound: Alex Aubrecht

Projections: Hailey Adams

Deck Chief: Mariel Gatmaitan

The Playwright

Naomi Iizuka was born in 1965 in Tokyo, Japan, to an American Mother of Spanish descent and a Japanese father. She has lived in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Washington D.C., Iowa, and L.A. Iizuka says her international upbringing influences the themes in her plays. She studied classics and literature at Yale University, and earned her MFA in Playwriting from the University of California-San Diego. Iizuka is one of the most commissioned playwrights in American Theater. Her plays include "36 Views," "Polaroid Stories," and "Language of Angels" among others. Select awards include the Whiting Award, the Gerbode Foundation Fellowship, Princeton's Hodder Fellowship, and the McKnight Fellowship.

The Play

Published in 2007, Naomi Iizuka's "Anon(ymous)" is inspired by Homer's "The Odyssey." Our hero is Anon, a young refugee, who must journey across the United States to find his mother. He encounters a wide variety of people along the way—some kind, some dangerous. From a one-eyed butcher, to a sweatshop owner and aspiring suitor, to an enchanting bartender, Anon must overcome many obstacles before finally reaching his goal of "home." We're hoping the Nichols community will connect with this play on several levels. Many of our students have read "the Odyssey," and should enjoy drawing parallels between the epic poem and our contemporary production. Additionally, this play's focus on the refugee experience should resonate with our school's community service and curricular initiatives that join us with the growing refugee population in Buffalo. Efforts like the Home Again Project and First Thanksgiving have encouraged us to consider the challenges faced by refugees, and offer us the chance to welcome and celebrate our neighbors. Our Acting Class spent some time researching the circumstances behind our global refugee crisis. We didn't have to dig deep to discover that some of the stories refugees have to tell are indeed worthy of an epic poem. Finally, we are tying in to the school-wide water theme through the play's moving ocean motif. Our decision to use masks was two-fold. The masks tie us to the Greek dramatic tradition, and serve as a reminder that the art of theatre celebrates diversity and universality. Each mask is unique, yet all are unified through their theatrical representation of humanity.