Twenty six student actors stage Dead Man Walking

By: Buff Lindau

Evyn Whiteley and Zac Pesner in Dead Man Walking
Sister Helen Prejean (played by Evyn Whiteley) struggles to help Death Row inmate Matt Poncelet (played by Zac Pesner) in Tim Robbins' theatrical adaptation of Dead Man Walking, to be staged at Saint Michael's April 11-13, 18-20.

Following a visit to a correctional facility, a conversation with sister Helen Prejean, the author of the book on which the play is based, and months of rehearsal, 26 Saint Michael's College students are ready to stage Dead Man Walking

Based on Sister Helen Prejean's book about her experiences as a chaplain on death row, the play is the 2013 major spring theater production and will be staged April 11, 12, 13, and 18, 19, 20, each evening at 7 p.m. in the McCarthy Arts Center. The show is free and open to the public.

Rather than being staged professionally, the play, written by Tim Robbins, was offered to schools throughout the United States to foster discussion about the death penalty. It is an intense, thought-provoking and moving drama, and contains mature content and language.

Directed by Professor Peter Harrigan, the show is part of a three-part Theater and Social Justice series that included a talk by Sister Helen Prejean and a faculty panel discussion on the death penalty. The student actors participated in all parts and did serious study of the context of the play, in addition to learning their parts, and coming to grips with the messages.

Professor John Paul Devlin is scenery and projection designer. Greg Sargent '13 is lighting designer; Geoff Brown '15 is sound designer; properties are created by Ashley James '15 and De Jai Cowles '15, and stage manager is Katelyn Whitman '14.

Cast of the show:

Female Roles

Sister Helen – Evyn Whiteley
Sister Marie/Woman #2 – Diamond Moyler
Lois Montoya/Woman #3  – Ashley James
Sister Colleen – Jill Holland
Lucille Poncelet, Matt's mom – Jordan Dekett
Gail Gilardi (asst. DA) – Michelle Kazanowski
Marybeth Percy, Hope’s mom – Ivana Andreani
Carol Delacroix, Walter's mom – Alexa Langford
Hope Percy/ Emily, her sister – Julia Bianconi
Sister Helen's Mother – Lizzy Nicolai
Woman #1 / Typist – Erin Woodman
Reporter/Nurse – Meaghan Diffenderfer

Male Roles

Matt Poncelet – Zachary Pesner
Guard/Reporter/Man 1 & 3 – Zachary Stone
Chaplain Farley – Russell Hammond
Hilton Barber – Adam Geffken
Clyde Percy, Hope’s dad/Man 2 – Craig Resendes
Earl Delacroix, Walter's dad – Dustin Kenyon
Walter Delacroix – Brendan Oates
Trapp – Dom Wood
Sgt. Beliveau – Dennis Sullivan
Warden Hartman – Richie Bernache
Gov. Fredericks – Dylan P. Ward
Mitch, Matt's oldest brother – James Devoursney
Herbie - Joel Salvador
Troy - Adam Morgan

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