Alma College Theatre Begins 2018-19 Season

Jane Austen’s ”Northanger Abbey” brought to the stage.

Alma College Theatre begins its 2018-19 performance season with an adaptation of Jane Austen’s satirical novel Northanger Abbey. Crafted as a parody of Gothic horror novels, this story incorporates comedy, drama, horror and romance. 

Theatre and Dance Department Chair Scott Mackenzie penned this adaptation of Austen’s popular novel. A version of the play was performed in 2012 at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Since then, the piece has undergone significant edits. 

Performance times are 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25; Friday, Oct. 26; and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28 in the Remick Heritage Center Strosacker Theatre. 

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information. 

At its heart, Northanger Abbey is a coming of age story. Catherine Morland, the novel’s young heroine, begins the story as an innocent and naïve young girl but goes on to navigate many struggles in her life. Along the way she suffers from misapprehension, betrayal and deception. 

“Due to the number of scene changes and large cast size of 25, we got off to a slow start,” says Mackenzie. “Fortunately, these struggles are now behind us. The students have been delightful to work with and have fully committed to the production.” 

A great deal of research has gone into this performance. Cast members have undergone dialect coaching and Associate Professor of Dance Ben Munisteri taught the cast English Country Dancing. A member of the Jane Austen Society instructed the cast on the dress and mannerisms of the time period to lend greater authenticity yet. 

“This is my first show at Alma College and I have loved my time with the theatre department thus far,” says first-year student Elizabeth Pechota of Cadillac who plays the heroine. “My high school and community theatre experiences were wonderful, but I feel as though I am diving so much deeper into the craft here.” 

“It is an honor to work with Dr. Mackenzie,” says Pechota. “His passion for both theatre and Jane Austen radiates from him and is reflected by the words of his script.” 

“Like much of Austen’s work, this play provides a fun evening in the theatre and a sharp look at the foibles of human nature,” says Mackenzie. “I strongly encourage people to come see this production.” 

Student actors include: 

  • Merek Alam, Davison junior
  • Daniel Barr, Troy first-year student
  • Jacob Bendele, St. Johns junior
  • Rachel Blome, Indian River junior
  • Jordyn Bradley, Clare sophomore
  • Jarrett Buikema, Rochester Hills sophomore
  • Daniel Chalice, Fennville sophomore
  • Carly Christie, Bay City sophomore
  • Lauren Dempz, Berlin first-year student
  • Hunter DeSander, St. Johns junior
  • James Ewald, Flushing senior
  • Maris Fett, Owosso first-year student
  • William Harrison, Belding junior
  • Gracie Lloyd, Alma first year student
  • Alexandria Maas, Olivet first-year student
  • Angelica Ortega, Akron, Ind., first-year student
  • Elizabeth Pechota, Cadillac first-year student
  • Alena Ramos, Saginaw first-year student
  • Xavier Shannon, Chicago, Ill., first-year student
  • Morgan Sweitzer, New Castle, Pa., first-year student
  • Kaelyn Wojtylko, Romulus first-year student
Story published on October 19, 2018