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

The Altruists is performed without an intermission.

The Altruists is original produced by Nicky Silver. 

The Altruists received its world premiere at the Vinyard Theatre New York City, Febuary 2000


Percy Reed *

Stage Manager
Savana Andershock *

Costume Designer
Michelle Catalan *

Lighting Designer
Taylor Ireland *

Sound Designer
Annagrace McCurdy *

Intimacy Coordinators
Delaina Kuzelka
Kalyn Diercks *

J Lofty *

Dialect Coach
Rachael Swartz

* Undergraduate Student 



The idea of being politically “correct” holds so much weight in our modern-day society. Everything from the clothes you wear to the words you say hold the ability to fall on some end of the political spectrum. The characters in The Altruists fight so desperately to appear as far left on this spectrum as they can, all for the sake of appearing “correct”. Of being right. Of being able to say “I’m a good person” when someone inevitably brings up one of their many, many errors and failings. But the real point is that none of us should be doing the right thing for appearances or to prove a point. We as a people should choose to stand up for others for nothing else than because it is simply the right thing to do. Help should never be granted for the simple sake of your own consciousness. That is where Sydney, Ronald and the gang fall short. That is also, I hope, something you as an audience member can recognize in yourself as a habit. I hope, after watching this production, that you can step away and notice where you may have been Cybil or Ethan. Likely not to the same extent, of course, but we as humans always do things for our own image. Just remember that sometimes what matters goes beyond yourself. Live for the big picture, as Ethan claims.



As the world recovered from the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the United States emerged as the most powerful country on earth. While the 1990’s were an era of new prosperity for America, not every citizen reaped the rewards from this wealth and opportunity equally. In New York City, where The Altruists takes place, homelessness and unemployment were growing at a staggering rate. Crime was on the rise and the police response to it disproportionately criminalized and brutalized Black and brown people. The AIDS pandemic continued on from the previous decade, and racial tensions grew to a violent boiling point in events like the Crown Heights Riot. It’s only natural that some people would look at these issues and others happening across the country and around the world, and wonder what they could do to stop them.

However, not everyone who wishes for a better world is willing to put in the hard work and sacrifices necessary in order to achieve it. Some may act overly paternalistic, portraying themselves as a savior of those less fortunate than them. Some may say and believe all the right things, but the way they treat their fellow human day to day is disrespectful to an unacceptable degree. Some may emphasize the ways in which they themselves are marginalized, only to act discriminatory towards others of a different identity to them. Some simply do not care enough to do anything at all. The Altruists takes archetypes like these, which anyone familiar with activist circles will recognize, and satirizes them in a clever and creative way.

While it is important to recognize the ways in which the activism of oneself and others may be insufficient, no one should ever give up on fighting for what’s right. Identify savior narratives and reject them. Follow what’s going on in the world and in local communities and stay informed on who needs help and what can be done to help them. Listen to others about the problems facing them and what they believe is the best way forward. Recognize the politicians, companies, and powerful individuals responsible for others’ misery and hold them accountable. Most importantly, realize that no one is alone. No one person can save the world, and anyone who believes they can be that person is naive at best and domineering at worst. Real change comes from community, which is why empathy and cooperation are so important. This play is all about people who wish to drive others away if it means they get to be the one on top, when every activist movement of the past has shown that change comes when people can fight for the rights of many.


Octavio Hernandez

OCTAVIO HERNANDEZ (Ronald) is a junior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Directing. Octavio transferred from the College of Lake County, where his credits include The Story Club (Charlie), Eurydice (Big Stone), I Have a Story to Tell (self), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Doug), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Father), School House Rock Live! (Tom), Lions in Illyria (Asst. Director), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (Asst. Director), and The Squirrels (Director). Recent UW-Parkside credits include Meteor Shower (U/S Norman) and The Laramie Project (Assistant Director).


LEXI ROGERS (Sydney) is a junior Theatre Arts Major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include Disaster! (Marianne Wilson, Paint Charge), The Robber Bridegroom (Rosamund), The Addams Family (Pugsley Addams, Paint Charge) and Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Girl) at Cowley College Theatre, A 1940’s Christmas Carol (Judy Miller) and Flora and Ulysses (Tootie Tickham) at Act One Productions, and Burn: The Musical (Natasha) at UW-Parkside.


DYLAN PEROZZO (Lance) is a sophomore Theatre Arts minor, majoring in Geosciences with an Environmental Geoscience concentration. Previous credits include Spring Awakening (Georg/Dieter) and Meteor Shower (Gerald) at UW-Parkside.

Janet Jurado

JANET JURADO (Cybil) is a senior with a double major in Communication and Theatre Arts, a concentration in Acting, and a minor in Digital Media and Production. Previous credits at UW-Parkside include Spring Awakening (Adult Woman), The Wolves (#13), She Kills Monsters (Evil Gabbi), The Penelopiad (Maid/Melantho), Proof (Claire), The Wolves (Soccer Coach), Indecent (Wardrobe Crew), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Spotlight Operator) and The Laramie Project (Ensemble). Recently Janet performed in Avenue Q (Lucy) at The Rhode, and worked as a lead actress on a SAG-AFTRA horror movie directed by Jake Jarvi scheduled to be released in 2024.


ALEX ORTIZ (Ethan) is a junior Theatre Arts major from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Previous credits include The Flood (Brother), Meteor Shower (U/S Gerald), Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Otto & Georg Cover), As You Like It (Touchstone) and The Tourists (Dmetri).


RAIN HURM (U/S, Ethan, Ronald, Lance) is a first-year Theatre Arts Major with a minor in Music. This is their first show at UW-Parkside.


NOELLE RIDOLFI (U/S Cybil/Sydney) is a sophomore History major and a Theatre Arts minor. This is her first production at UW-Parkside. 



PERCY REED (Director) is a junior Theatre Arts with concentrations in Acting and Directing. Recent credits include Gruesome Playground Injuries (Doug), Indecent (U/S Lemml and The Ingenue), The Penelopiad (Suitor/Maid), The Aliens (Assistant Director), Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Adult Man Cover) and Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties (Director) at UW-Parkside.


SAVANA ANDERSHOCK (Stage Manager) is a junior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Design and Technology. Previous credits include When We Dead Awaken (Head Electrician), Meteor Shower (Lighting Designer), The Aliens (Light Board Operator), As You Like It (Assistant Stage Manager), The Wolves (Master Electrician), She Kills Monsters (Assistant Stage Manager), Indecent (Assistant Master Electrician), and The Penelopiad (Deck Crew). Recent acting credits include She Kills Monsters (Narrator) and The Thanksgiving Play (Logan). Last summer, Savana was a Production Assistant at American Players Theater in Spring Green, WI.  


MICHELLE CATALAN (Costume Designer) is a senior with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts. Previous costume design credits include The Flood (Assistant Costume Designer) and Meteor Shower (Asst. Costume Design). She works as a Costume Shop Assistant and has served on costume construction crew for a number of UW-Parkside productions, including, 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.

Taylor Ireland

TAYLOR IRELAND (Lighting Designer) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Stage Management. Recent UW-Parkside credits include When We Dead Awaken (Assistant Director), 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.


ANNAGRACE MCCURDY (Sound Designer) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include When We Dead Awaken (Irene), 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).


DELAINA KUZELKA (Intimacy Director) Delaina Kuzelka is an Intimacy Director from Southeast Wisconsin and is proud to return to her alma mater on this production. She dedicates her craft to cultivating environments that allow equity and art to coexist. Her recent credits in theatrical intimacy direction include The 39 Steps, The Spitfire Grill, The Last Five Years, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Kayln Diercks

KALYN DIERCKS (Intimacy Director) is a senior Theatre Arts major with concentrations in Design & Technology and Acting. Recent credits at UW-Parkside include When We Dead Awaken (Costume Designer), 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).


J LOFTY (Dramaturg) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a minor in International Studies. Previous credits include Meteor Shower (Props Lead), The Laramie Project (Dramaturg), Hir (Isaac), As You Like It (Assistant Props Lead) and She Kills Monsters (Assistant Props Lead) at UW-Parkside, as well as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at STEPS Performing Arts (Props Lead) and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Assistant Stage Manager) at Lakeside Players.


RACHAEL SWARTZ (Dialect Coach) 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. 

Faculty Directing Advisor
Brian Gill

Stage Management Faculty Advisor
Misti Bradford

Lighting Faculty Advisor
Jessica Baker

Sound Design Faculty Advisor
Kevin Gray

Costume Design Faculty Advisor
Leslie Vaglica

Head Electrician
Joshua Barner *

Sound Engineer
Maggie Jay *

Jody Sekas, Janet Jurado *

Program Layout
Riley Werve *

Poster Design
Kim Sekas

Production Photographer
Petr William *

Department Administrative Assistants
Joe Lambin, Edson Melendez

Theatre Arts Production Manager
Misti Bradford

Theatre Arts Department Chair
Fabrice Conte-Williamson


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

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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.

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