Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship
Award Winning Production
THREE ROMANCES FOR THE UNWELL AND OTHERWISE
By Elena Freck, BFA '22, Theatre
Directed by Joe Antoun
Loosely based on the relationships between four 19th century German composers, Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise explores the tangled love lives of indie musicians in modern-day Los Angeles. Clara and Robert navigate a complicated romantic relationship alongside their collaborative music's rapid rise to online prominence, which only becomes more complicated when their friend Seth introduces them to charming newcomer Joey. Relationships unravel as Robert's mental health takes a nosedive, and when all is said and done, the musicians are forced to confront questions about the nature of creation, attention, and what they owe to one another.
MARCH 24–27, 2022
All performances open to the public
Content Advisory: This play deals with issues of mental illness and suicide.
A note on COVID safety: Please know that as an audience member for any of our performances, you will be required to wear a mask and present your vaccination card before entering the performance space. Additional safety requirements may be added at any time at the discretion of Emerson College, the City of Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any prospective ticket buyer with concerns about health safety protocols is encouraged to call our Box Office at 617-824-8400.
THE VIDEOTAPING OR MAKING OF ELECTRONIC OR OTHER AUDIO AND/OR VISUAL RECORDINGS OF THIS PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTING RECORDINGS OR STREAMS IN ANY MEDIUM, INCLUDING THE INTERNET, IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, A VIOLATION OF THE AUTHOR(S)’S RIGHTS AND ACTIONABLE UNDER UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT LAW. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT: concordtheatricals.com/resources/protecting-artists
VIEW PRODUCTION MEDIA
Production Photos by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. View full album.
On this page you'll find detailed programmatic information
as well as notes from directors, designers, and the cast
about how our production of NEWFEST
took shape over the past few months.
A note from
Joe Antoun, Director
In spring, Emerson Stage grows new plays. I am thrilled to introduce you to the Rod Parker Award winning play Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise, Elena Freck’s remarkable and intricate play that weaves together the struggles of current day artists with the struggles of those that preceded us. Very loosely based on the relationship between nineteenth century composers and musicians Clara and Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Joseph Joachim, Elena’s play is a modern day story that investigates the characters’ quests for professional and personal success.This story is driven by romance, friendship, and balance as the characters pursue love and their artistic dreams.
Haunted by the suicide of his sister, Robert’s life is thrown off balance by his struggle with his mental health which takes over his deep love for Clara and his desire to conquer the music business in which he has invested his entire life . Clara’s love for Robert and desire to care for him begins to overtake her career ambitions even as she achieves individual success as the front person for the Schumann team.They are buoyed and balanced by the deep friendships of fellow musicians Seth and Joey.
Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise is a passionate play that not only looks at the human aspects of chasing artistic dreams, but sheds light on some of the realities which I hold very dear as a theatre artist and educator. I have long believed that a career in the arts is as much about living life as it is about pursuing gigs.
Love, loss, romance, family, and friendships are all deep parts of our artistic selves. And we do not do it alone.
ABOUT JOE ANTOUN
Joe Antoun is the founding Artistic Director of Centastage where he has developed, directed, or produced more than 70 new plays including six Boston Women On Top Festivals of new plays by women and four Boston Sings Boston cabarets of new songs. He is the recipient of the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Kenneth A. McDonald Award for Theater Excellence. Joe's new ten minute play Ghosting will be presented as part of the 2022 Boston Theatre Marathon on May 1. Additionally, he is a proud board member of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund. Joe is on the faculty of Emerson College where he serves as the Artistic Director of NewFest.
ELENA FRECK, BFA '22 Theatre
Emerson Stage credits: A Stroke of State (Playwright), The Late Wedding (Dramaturg), Everybody (Dramaturg), NewFest Short Work's Kings (Director), and Temperature (Director). Other Emerson credits: emShakes' Humble Boy (Director) and Cornflower Blue (Dramaturg); RareWorks Theatre Company’s Babel (Producer) and Buck Woods is a Good Man (Producer); Kidding Around's Home: A Playmaking Piece (Dramaturg); and Musical Theatre Society's Fun Home (Props Designer). Thank you to Isabel, Preslee, Jake(s), the box office, Joe, Annie, and my family.
Victoria Isotti, Dramaturg
AN ARTIST INSPIRED BY LOVE:
The Correlation Between Robert Schumann’s Music & His Life
Robert Schumann (June 8, 1910–July 29, 1856) is said to be one of the greatest Romantic composers of all time. His music was inspired by his own life, each piece growing out of his personal experiences and relationships. Many pieces take inspiration from his wife, Clara, and their marriage. Other pieces are affected or inspired by Robert’s mental health struggles, with him having been diagnosed with “Psychotic Melancholia,” which now could be considered Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder.
>>>READ THE FULL NOTE for the timeline of some of Robert’s music, and how it corresponds to his life, as well as a link to the Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise Spotify playlist.
TURNING HISTORICAL FIGURES INTO MODERN DAY CHARACTERS:
A Conversation with Elena Freck
Victoria Isotti: What initially drew you to the story of Clara and Robert Schumann?
Elena Freck: I grew up as a violinist; I played in orchestras all throughout school and my dad works for a symphony. I don’t know where exactly along the line I learned the story, but somewhere I heard it and I thought it was fascinating. It’s part classic love triangle and part tragedy about mental illness in Europe in the 19th century. It’s a story that definitely stuck with me. When I was thinking about what play I wanted to work on last summer, I thought for a moment about writing a biographical play about the Schumanns and Brahms, but then I realized that that would take a lot more research than I really had time to do and I wanted to make sure that if I was going to do that, I would get it right. I also was thinking about our lives as artists in our twenties, this time in our lives when we’re young and we’re figuring out how to make art and how to relate to each other. I combined these two ideas and ended up transposing the story of the Schumanns and Brahms to the modern-day, so I could play with it without messing with historical accuracy.
>>>READ THE FULL INTERVIEW for more about the playwright and their process.
ABOUT VICTORIA ISOTTI,
MA '22 THEATRE EDUCATION & APPLIED THEATRE
Emerson Stage credit: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Assistant Director). Thanks to Marissa for all of your guidance.
JULIA WONKKA, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: Marie Antoinette (Props Lead), This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Scenic Artist), Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister (Props Lead), Marisol (Assistant Scenic Designer), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Assistant Scenic Designer), and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Assistant Props Lead). Emerson College credits: OPIA (Props Lead); Mercutio Troupe’s The Room in the Attic (Director) and The Painted Handgun (Scenic Designer); EVVY40 (Props Lead); and Emerson Independent Video’s Man in the Box (Props Lead).
TIM SCALZO, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: RAGE (Co-Production Electrician), Marie Antoinette (Light Board Operator), and This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Fly Chief). Emerson College credit: 2022 Emerson Recognition & Achievement Awards (Co-Technical Director/Scenic Designer/Production Electrician). Thanks to my parents for their constant support.
CAITLIN JOHNSON, BFA '22 Theatre Education
Emerson Stage credits: Spring Awakening (Wardrobe Supervisor), This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Assistant Costume Designer), and As You Like It (Assistant Costume Designer). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around's 13! The Musical (Costume Designer) and Full Fathom Productions' White Witch (Costume Designer) and Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play (Costume Designer). All thanks to Chelsea Kerl and the lovely Costume DTs for taking me under their wing.
FELIX CLARKE, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: Corduroy (Wardrobe Assistant), Spring Awakening (Assistant Lighting Designer), The Late Wedding (Lead Electrician), Baltimore (Associate Lighting Designer), and Next to Normal (Production Electrician). Thanks to my wonderful friends, family, and educators for their continuous support.
BAZ KOUBA, BFA '23 Theatre Design/Technology
Emerson Stage credits: As You Like It (Production Electrician), Baltimore (Production Sound Engineer), and The Late Wedding (Associate Lighting Designer). Regional credits: Educational Theatre Collab's Carousel (Assistant Technical Director) and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest (Staff Electrician).
OLIVIA TIGHE, BFA '23 Stage and Production Management
Emerson Stage credits: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (1st Assistant Stage Manager), Spring Awakening (2nd Assistant Stage Manager), This Golden Day (2nd Assistant Stage Manager), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Production Assistant), and Next To Normal (Associate Production Supervisor). Other credit: The Eagle Theatre's Ragtime (Assistant Stage Manager). Team work makes the dream work!
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credit: Baltimore (Bryant). Thanks to Joe, the cast, and the crew for an incredible experience. Additional thanks to my family, friends, and especially Sebastian and Marco.
EALON BOUDREAUX—Understudy, Seth
BFA '22 Acting. Emerson Stage credit: Squeaky Fromme Love Song (Chicky). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Fun Home (Christian) and emShake’s The Winter's Tale (Dorcas) and Dead(ly)est (Gluttony). Thanks to mom and dad for the support.
SPENCER DANIEL (he/him/his)—Understudy, Robert
BFA '24 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credits: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Man/2/Peter) and Marie Antoinette (Understudy, Joseph/Mr. Sauce, Axel). Emerson College credits: emShake’s [Enter Messenger] (Chorus) and Interior with Peder and Marie (Peder), and and Full Fathom Productions' Life, Death, Bowling (Daryl). Thanks to mom and dads for their constant love and support.
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credit: This Golden Day (ensemble). Emerson College credit: Musical Theatre Society's Big Fish (Amos Calloway). Thanks to my family (especially Hank).
KATIE KENDRICK (she/her)–Understudy, Emilie
BFA '24 Acting. Emerson Stage credit: Dead(ly)est (Sloth). Thank you to the Three Romances team.
STEFANIE RICHARDSON (she/her/hers)—Understudy, Clara
BFA '23 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credit: This Golden Day (Soloist). Emerson College theatre credit: Musical Theater Society's Fun Home (Helen). Thanks to my friends and family for your love and support.
ALEXANDER SERINO (he/him/his)—Understudy, Joey
BFA '24 Theatre Education and Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Next To Normal (Henry) and Temperature (Mike). Emerson College theatre credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Big Fish (Don Price) and Full Fathom Productions’ Exposed (David). Other credit: Weston Drama Workshops’ Spongebob The Musical (Spongebob). Thanks to my family and my friends for the constant support. Stay epic.
JESSE SHAFROTH (he/they)—Robert
BFA '23 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage credit: Going to California (Laramie Logan). Emerson theater credit: emShakes’ Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio). Film credits: Spilled Milk (Ben), Occupational Hazards (Michael Corcoran), and Slims (Nick). Huge thanks and love to my Colorado and Emerson families. Keep Boulder weird.
ERIN SULLIVAN (she/her)—Emilie
BFA '24 Theatre Education and Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credit: emShake's Romeo and Juliet (Nurse). Other credits: Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth), Head Over Heels (Pamela), and Mamma Mia! (Tanya) So much love to the amazing team of people who's hard work made this incredible show possible. Special shout out to Rebecca, Sophie, Katie, and Jamie for being there through it all, love you lots.
ROBIN-SAILOR ZANDER (she/her/hers)—Clara
BFA '23 Theatre and Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: emShakes’ The Fog Around Us (Officer/Painter) and Full Fathom Productions' Mr Burns: A Post Electric Play (Colleen/Moe/Lisa), Other credits: Rock Meets Classic with Alice Cooper (Vocals) and Zander Family Band (Musician). Sending all my love to my mom, dad, and brother Robin, who've inspired me and supported me always.
Artistic and Production Staff
Vocal Coach VALERIE MADDEN
Assistant Director ANTHONY ALLOCCA
Assistant Director GABRIELLA GONZALEZ
Assistant Director ELI LAUZE-YESEYIAN
Assistant Director EMMA PAOLETTI
Assistant Director JAKE TOLENTINO
Assistant Scenic Designer BELLA PAGAN
Wardrobe Supervisor REBECCA DAHL
Associate Lighting Designer MADDIE HANLEY
Assistant Lighting Designers JO WILLIAMS
Production Electrician LAUREN HODGKINS
Lead Electrician OAK WALKER
Assistant Sound Designer BEN RUIGOMEZ
Production Sound Engineer KAI BOHLMAN
Assistant Production Sound Engineer DYLAN NORRIS
Assistant Stage Manager MICHAEL MENOR
2nd Assistant Stage Manager GRACE DINATALE
Production Assistant LUIS MENA
Production Supervisor MADISON SELBY
Assistant Production Supervisor DELENE BEAUCHAMP
Company Manager ALEX TAWID DI MAGGIO
Assistant Company Manager EMELINE SHEPARD
EMILIA ARAGON, MATEO BAILEY, CIARA BERARDI, ARI BIRD, LARA BRINKMAN, SEBASTIAN CAVIANO, BIANCA CORMIER, SUN GAMEZ, SHELL GARCIA, HALLE HART, BONNIE HU, JASON KORN, DEV MIRPURI
Emerson Stage Staff
Artistic Director—Annie G. Levy
General Manager—David Colfer
Production Manager—Timothey Sullivan
Technical Director—Kristin Knutson
Props Director—Ryan Bates
Costume Shop Supervisor—Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Resident Sound Designer—Elizabeth Cahill
Head Carpenter—Connor Thompson
Scenic Carpenter—Sam Kisthardt
Scenic Painter—Joe Keener
Sound Technician—Steven Deptula
Assistant General Manager—Alix Bigley
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor—Brian Choinski
Assistant Properties Manager—Lauren Corcuera
Stage and Production Management—Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design—Luciana Stecconi
Scenic Painting—Joe Keener
Costume Design—Chelsea Kerl
Lighting Design—Scott Pinkney
Sound Design—Elizabeth Cahill
Emerson Stage Office Assistants— Shannon Horsey, Alex Tawid Di Maggio, Jake Tolentino, Esther Chilson, Karli Fisher, Carly Mentis, Samantha Duggan
Production Management Assistants—Carleigh Allen, Anthony Feola, Olivia Tighe
Videographers—Benjamin Bernard and Jacqueline Thom
Scene Shop Staff— Casper Apodaca, Jonah Barricklo, Sean Dougherty, Marco Giacona, Emerson Hart, Sam Kisthardt, Davis Kranchalk, Baz Kouba, Dylan Norris, Mercedes Suarez, Josephine Wolfe
Scenic Artists/Painters—Elizabeth Fuire, Sofia Goldfarb, Sophie Hartstein, Yue Hua, Jennifer Naar, Ayaana Nayak, Fernando Rueda, David Staats, Garrett Trae
Paint Shop Assistant—Leah Heath
Stitchers— Tayla Dixon, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Amaya Gonzalez-Mollman, Caitlin Johnson, Lorence Jones-Perpich, Dominic Letterii, Greta Morgan, Amaris Rios, Ava-Sofia Settoon, Munroe Shearer, Molly Shaughnessy, Beatrice Ward
Costume Shop Office Assistant—Zhiyan Jin
Laundry Assistants—Aleah Bloom and Angelina Parillo
Stock Attendants—Lucile Lyon and Megan Decker