At the Rita: Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities

Act l - Outside a coastal spa - late morning, summer
Act ll - A sanatorium high up in the mountains - late afternoon
Act lll - A wild, high mountain ravine - early morning

The show runs approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission


Brian J. Gill

Assistant Director
Taylor Ireland *

Scenic & Props Designer
Jody Sekas

Costume Designer
Kayln Diercks *

Lighting Designer
Petr William *

Sound Designer/Composer
Kevin Gray

Hair & Makeup Designer
Michelle Catalan *

Stage Manager
Jenna Speer *

Technical Director
Jody Sekas

Scenic Charge Artist
Maggie Jay *

Intimacy Director
Rachael Swartz

Fight Choreographer
Brian J. Gill

* Undergraduate Student



Considered to be the "Father of Modern Drama," Norweigan playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote 25 plays throughout his literary career, ushering in an entirely new and revolutionary kind of theatre - Modern Realism. He was an author known for tackling taboo subjects such as societal hypocrisy, infidelity, and moral conflicts stemming from the dark secrets characters have struggled to keep hidden from society. Ibsen wrote for a new kind of theatre, one in which there was no clear delineation between "hero" and "villian", and the idea of what is right and wrong becomes much more complicated when introduced to the complexities of a much more realistic world. For decades, Ibsen challenged and outraged critics and audiences throughout the world, but in 1899, he proved to have one more shocking surprise to share. 

When We Dead Awaken is unlike any of Ibsen's previous works, perhaps influenced by the increasing popularity of expressionistic symbolism contemporaries such as August Strindberg were moving towards. As with many of Ibsen's stories, this one deals with a reckoning, when past decisions and what they have wrought return like ghosts and must be confronted. The entirety of this play takes place outdoors in epic landscapes, a far cry from the interior, often claustrophobic setting of many of his previous plays.

In researching When We Dead Awaken and investigating the world that might be most striking in which to set it, I discovered an unlikely friendship between Ibsen and the expressionist painter Edvard Munch (arguably most famous for The Scream). Throughout this friendship, Munch made over 400 illustrations of Ibsen's plays, and I became fascinated with the idea of When We Dead Awaken taking place in an expressionistic, Munchian enviroment. My hope was for an immserive theatrical expereince in which the design elements of the play heighten and complement some of the inherent oddities of this intrigung story and lend themselves to the more theatrical moments of the play. 

When We Dead Awaken would be Ibsen's last play; a stroke suffered the following year of 1900 would end his writing career. He would die 6 years later, in 1906.


Annagrace McCurdy

Quincy Wilson

Rebecca Finkbeiner

Matt Gould

Sister of Mercy
Hadley Ruetten

Maître D’, U/S Rubek
Cole Lebrecht

U/S Maître D’
Leonardo Alvarez

U/S Maja
Abby Bonham



ANNAGRACE MCCURDY (Irene) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include Burn: The Musical (Rosie), As You Like It (U/S Rosalind), The Wolves (Sound Board Operator), The Laramie Project (Sound Board Operator) and Spring Awakening (Wendla).


QUINCY WILSON (Rubek / Lead Carpenter) s a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Acting. He works as a Scene Shop Assistant and holds an AAS in Welding-Manufacturing Technology. Previous credits include Meteor Shower (Lead Carpenter), The Laramie Project (Ensemble, Lead Carpenter) at UW-Parkside, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed The Rock Experience (Grandpa Mole Rat) and The Stinky Cheese Man (Foxy Loxy) with the Cyclopedic Ensemble; Check Please/ Check Please Take 2 (Guy) with the Blue Springs Community Theatre; Puffs (Wayne Hopkins), Heathers (Kurt Kelly) and The Tempest (Gonzalo) at State Fair Community College.

Rebecca Finkbeiner

REBECCA FINKBEINER (Maja) is a first-year Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Acting. Previous credits include The Laramie Project (Ensemble) at UW-Parkside, Annie (Miss Hannigan) at the National Youth Theatre, Les Miserables (Ensemble), and Peter Pan (Pirate) at Christian Youth Theatre.


MATT GOULD (Ulfheim) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Acting. Previous credits at UW-Parkside include The Aliens (Jasper), As You Like It (Duke Senior/Charles the Wrestler), She Kills Monsters (Miles), The Penelopiad (Odysseus/Maid) and as deck crew and an uncredited role as a Janitor in The Thanksgiving Play. Matt is a native of Texas and a Veteran of the United States Navy.


HADLEY RUETTEN (Sister of Mercy) is a first-year Theater Major with concentrations in Musical Theatre and Acting. Previous credits at UW-Parkside include The Laramie Project (Deck Crew) and Burn: The Musical (U/S Natasha). She has also performed and worked backstage in numerous productions in the Oshkosh area.


COLE LEBRECHT (Maître D’, U/S Rubek) is a first-year Theatre Arts major with a concentration in acting. This is his first UW-Parkside production. Prior credits include Lettie (River) at Harper College. 


LEONARDO ALVAREZ (U/S Maître D’) is a first year Theatre Arts Major with a concentration in Acting. This is his first production at UW-Parkside. 


ABBY BONHAM (U/S Maja) is a first-year student majoring in Secondary Education with a minor in Theatre Arts. This is her first production at UW-Parkside. 

Assistant Stage Managers
Octavio Hernandez, Travis Siepl

Stage Management Faculty Advisor
Misti Bradford

Assistant Scenic Designer
Ali Lacson

Assistant Scenic Charge Artist
Alison Pinchard

Properties Assistant
Alyssa Ritacca

Head Carpenter
Quincy Wilson

Lighting Faculty Advisor
Jessica Baker

Head Electrician
Savana Andershock

Costume Design Faculty Advisor
Misti Bradford

Hair and Makeup Faculty Advisor
Misti Bradford

Wig Artisan
Elle Bayuk

Assistant Sound Designer
Sam Carlson

Sound Design Faculty Advisor
Kevin Gray

Props Faculty Advisor
Jody Sekas

Costume Shop Supervisor
Leslie Vaglica

Scenic Lab Supervisor
Jeff Brain

Light Board Operator
Mykah Melone

Sound Board Operator
Dakota Nionakis

Deck Crew
J Lofty, Juliana Garcia-Malacara

Wardrobe Supervisor
Braden Miller

Wardrobe Crew
Avyn Holliday

Makeup Crew
Michelle Catalan

Costume Shop Assistants
Kalyn Diercks, Kennedy Frick, Janet Jurado

Scene Shop Assistants
Ethan Bradford, Matt Gould, J Lofty, Travis Siepl, Quincy Wilson

Scenic Paint Crew
Maggie Jay, Alison Pinchard, Ali Lacson, Giuliana Soldatelli-Damo, Jade Moeller-Jordan

Scenic Construction Crew
Juliana Garcia-Malacara, Rebecca Finkbeiner, Alyssa Ramirez, Hannah Avery, Hadley Ruetten, Madison Davis, Lexi Rogers, Leonardo Alvarez, Genesis Correa

Props Crew
Alyssa Ritacca, Forge Dwyer, Annagrace McCurdy, Alistair Weime

Lighting Crew
Hugo Dums, Mykah Melone, Taylor Ireland, Zym Jackson, Josh Barnes, Juliana Campos-Taylor, AJ Lance, Christian Luvianos, Alex Ortiz, Olivia Mauritz, Cole Lebrecht, Yasmeen Harris, Amy Bates

Costume Construction Crew
Braden Miller, Avyn Holliday, Kali Avery, Sebastian Rivera, Percy Reed, Lea Perry, J Lofty

Sound Crew
Sam Carlson, Dakota Nionakis, Gavin Casillas, Dedrick Woods

House Manager
Audrey Jenkins

Janet Jurado, Jody Sekas

Program Layout
Riley Werve

Poster Design
Kim Sekas

Production Photographers
Alyssa Nepper, Petr William

Department Administrative Assistants
Joe Lambin, Edson Melendez

Director of Craft Services
Keith Harris

Theatre Arts Production Manager
Misti Bradford

Theatre Arts Department Chair
Fabrice Conte-Williamson



BRIAN J. GILL (Director/Fight Choreographer) is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts. UW-Parkside Theatre directing credits include Meteor Shower, As You Like It, Book of Days, Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Midnight and Moll Flanders, Love's Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, The Thanksgiving Play, and Book of Days. As a member of the adjunct faculty of the College of Lake County, Professor Gill directed Crimes of the Heart, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, She Kills Monsters, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Chicago acting credits include Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and Remy Bumppo. Milwaukee acting credits include Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage and Milwaukee Repertory. Regionally, Brian has performed with the Illinois and Texas Shakespeare Festivals, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Theatre at the Center, Allenberry Playhouse, and the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Internationally, he has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where he trained as a member of the first International Artistic Fellowship. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, and the Society of American Fight Directors where he holds the rank of Advanced Actor-Combatant.  

Taylor Ireland

TAYLOR IRELAND (Assistant Director) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Stage Management. Recent UW-Parkside credits include Meteor Shower (Head Electrician), The Laramie Project Stage Manager), Spring Awakening (Spotlight Operator), The Aliens (Stage Manager), As You Like It (Assistant Stage Manager) and The Wolves (Assistant Stage Manager). Taylor was also the Stage Manager for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales at Cyclopedic Ensemble, The Diviners, James and the Giant Peach, and Oedipus at State Fair Community College. Taylor was Assistant Stage Manager for The Old Man and The Old Moon and As You Like It at Door Shakespeare.


JENNA SPEER (Stage Manager) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre and a transfer student from State Fair Community College (Sedalia, MO). Her credits include The Little Mermaid (Arista) at the Racine Theatre Guild and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience (Grande) with Cyclopedic Ensemble. Recent credits include Meteor Shower (Corky), The Laramie Project (Asst. Stage Manager), The Aliens (Assistant Stage Manager), The Wolves (#2), Indecent (U/S The Ingenue), and Spring Awakening (Thea) at UW-Parkside.

Jody Sekas

JODY SEKAS (Scenic Designer/Props Designer/Technical Director) is a production/scenic designer for theatre & film, whose recent designs include the Off-Broadway debut of Boswell, and the upcoming feature film What Happened to Dorothy Bell. In 2021 he won the KCACTF National Scene Design award for his design of Stupid F##king Bird. He has worked for such venues as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, First Stage Children’s Theatre, Door Shakespeare, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Dell’Arte International, Rochester Civic Theatre, Omaha Theatre Company for Young People, The Western Stage, and on the films The Music Inside, Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes, FLEA, and The Wine of Summer. He taught Scenography for Theatre, Film, & Dance at Humboldt State University in northern California; Scenic/Lighting Design & Technology at UW-Eau Claire and was the resident scenic & lighting designer for the Sioux Falls Playhouse in South Dakota. He is now in his eleventh year at UW-Parkside as Associate Professor of Scenic Design & Technology and is a core professor in the Digital Design & Fabrication program. See examples of his work at

Kayln Diercks

KALYN DIERCKS (Costume Designer) is a senior Theatre Arts major with concentrations in Design & Technology and Acting. Recent credits at UW-Parkside include Spring Awakening (Assistant Costume Designer/Assistant Intimacy Director), Reasons to be Pretty (Intimacy Director), and The Aliens (Wardrobe Supervisor). This past summer, Kalyn worked for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as a costume apprentice on Much Ado About Nothing, Winter’s Tale, King Lear, One Man Two Guvnors, and Comedy of Errors. She has also appeared in UW-Parkside's productions of The Laramie Project (Ensemble), The Wolves (Soccer Mom, U/S #8, #11), Indecent (U/S The Middle), and The Penelopiad (Maid/Naiad Mother)

Petr William

PETR WILLIAM (Lighting Designer) is a junior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Design and Technology. Past credits include The Flood (Director), Meteor Shower (Projections Designer), The Laramie Project (Asst. Lighting Designer), Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Moritz cover, Head Electrician), Hir (Stage Manager), Reasons to be Pretty (Lighting Designer), The Wolves (Assistant Lighting Designer), She Kills Monsters (Head Electrician), Circle Mirror Transformation (Lighting Designer), and The Mad Ones (Adam U/S).  

Kevin Gray

KEVIN GRAY (Sound Designer/Composer) is UW-Parkside’s Sound Manager and Instructor, working with both the Theatre Arts and Music departments to produce art and events on campus. Kevin received a BA in Sound Design with a minor in Music Composition from Michigan Technological University. Design credits include The Aliens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Cinderella, and Stupid F##king Bird, for which he received a national award.

Sam Carlson

SAM CARLSON (Assistant Sound Designer) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include The Aliens (Evan), Spring Awakening (Asst. Stage Manager) and The Laramie Project (Ensemble) at UW-Parkside, and Lions in Illyria (Andrew/Sebastian), Into the Woods (Jack), and As You Like It (Silvius), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (Sound Board Operator) and Play On! (Sound Board Operator) at the College of Lake County.  


MICHELLE CATALAN (Hair and Makeup Designer) is a senior with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts. She works as a Costume Shop Assistant and has served on costume construction crew for a number of UW-Parkside productions, including Meteor Shower (Asst. Costume Design), Stupid F##king Bird, The Glass Menagerie, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Penelopiad, Indecent, She Kills Monsters, The Wolves, and As You Like It. Most recently she was an understudy for the Fresh Ink production of The Flood.


ALYSSA RITACCA (Assistant Props) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major. Recent credits at UW-Parkside include The Flood (Nahmuh), Meteor Shower (U/S Corky), Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Adult Woman Cover), The Wolves (U/S #7, #14, #25). She has been involved in multiple productions at Children’s Theater Academy (CTA) in Kenosha, such as Frozen (Sven), Moana (Moana), and Newsies (Ensemble) and designed props for CTA’s production of Newsies and scenery for their production of Seussical.

Maggie Jay

MAGGIE JAY (Charge Artist) is a junior Theatre Arts major with concentrations in Acting and Design & Technology. She recently worked as a Painter at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and will spend the summer of 2024 at the Texas Shakespeare Festival as a Scenic Artist. Previous credits at UW-Parkside include Meteor Shower (Charge Artist), The Wolves (Scenic Charge Artist), The Laramie Project (Ensemble/ Reggie Fluty), Reasons to be Pretty (Steph), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Narrator), and Circle Mirror Transformation (Theresa). Additional credits include The Aliens (Assistant Sound Designer).


ALISON PINCHARD (Assistant Charge Artist) is a junior with a major in English, a concentration in Film and Cultural Studies, and a minor in Theatre Arts. Previous credits include Burn: The Musical (U/S Rose & Tracy), As You Like It (Props Crew), Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Anna cover) and The Flood (Stage Manager) at UW-Parkside.  


ALI LACSON (Assistant Scenic Designer) is a third-year Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Design & Technology. Her prior credits include Story Book Club (Camera Operator, Deck Crew), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Scenic Designer, Costume Designer (Scene 3)), Lions in Illyria (Deck Crew), and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (Deck Crew) at the College of Lake County, and The Laramie Project (Props Artisan) and Meteor Shower (Props Artisan, Deck Crew) at UW-Parkside.


RACHAEL SWARTZ (Intimacy Director) teaches musical theatre, voice, movement, and on-camera acting at UW-Parkside and during the summer serves on the Acting and Musical Theatre faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Rachael is a proud union member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Some of her recent regional performance credits include: The 39 Steps (Annabella/Pamela/Margaret), The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), and Romeo and Juliet (Nurse). Recent on-camera credits include work with the Travel Channel, ID, Oxygen and TV One. She holds an undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University and her MFA in Theatre Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Donald Cress
Casa Capri for ongoing support


The College of Arts and Humanities with the UW-Parkside Foundation gratefully acknowledges the following individuals for their investment in the Theatre Arts Department and students.

Susan M. Cable, D.D.S. '81 *
Dr. Donald A. Cress *
William Dienhart *
Marie Kohler & Brian Mani *
Patricia Petretti *
Shirley Warter *

Keith Harris

David R. Koss, '06
Dr. Lesley Heins Walker

Darleen Chiappetta
Edwin & Flora Doody
Calvin Kaplan '71
Debra Karp & Stephen Smiley
Frances M. Kavenik
Heather McGee '90

You can enhance Theatre Arts Education.

In the same way that mounting a play requires a team, funding it is likewise a team effort. To produce our amazing shows, we rely on a combination of sources—ticket sales, the University, and private funding.

Play a part in advancing the student experience through your one-time or recurring contribution to the Dr. Donald A. Cress Theatre Production Enhancement Fund.

Donate today

Donations listed were received Jul 1, 2022-Aug 30, 2023. For omissions or changes to this donor list, please contact

*Denotes members of the UW-Parkside Chancellor’s Society.

About UW-Parkside

Since 1968, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has continued to build a reputation as an outstanding liberal arts institution with particularly strong fine arts programs. With The Rita Tallent Picken Center for Arts & Humanities, our state-of-the-art instructional facilities and stunning performance venues match our award-winning academic programs and provide even greater community access. UW-Parkside offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as specialized online programs. Each year, more than 100 College of Lake County graduates transfer to UW-Parkside to pursue a four-year degree. The award-winning Theatre Arts program is a popular destination for transfer students.

Theatre Arts Major  |  Theatre Arts Department  |  The Rita

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