Dramaturgy Notes provided by Megan Schumacher
In 1859, Edmonia Lewis arrived at Oberlin Academy Preparatory School in Ohio. The child of a mixed-race couple and orphaned at a young age — her father was a freed slave of Haitian origin and her mother was mixed race, half Chippewa and half Black — Oberlin provided Edmonia opportunities not often afforded to people of color in antebellum America. While we will never fully know what it was like for Edmonia to attend this school so far from home, we do know that Edmonia’s experience at Oberlin was fraught. Accused of attempted murder, the victim of racial violence, and eventually expelled, Edmonia persevered going on to become the accomplished and celebrated sculptor that we recognize today.
For more information about Edmonia Lewis and the Ojibwe people, check out these sites:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary
Learn about The Death of Cleopatra:
Lewis’s sculpture, The Death of Cleopatra, had quite a journey before it found a home at the Smithsonian Institute.
Try your hand at this fun quiz to learn more about that journey.
Taloria Merricks (Edmonia) - Taloria Merricks is super excited to be playing the role of Edmonia in Edmonia. Being able to portray such a beautiful historic individual and share her story is truly an honor. Her past roles have included, Ensemble in Bright Star and Anything Goes, Follies Girl in The Drowsy Chaperone, and Leading Player in Pippin. Taloria continues to pursue her passion in all forms of the performing arts with the help and of God and her family.
Chelsea Cylinder (Karen): Chelsea is an actress, singer, teaching artist, and producer, most recently seen live as Tinker Bell in Peter Pan at The Broadway Theatre Of Pitman, and most recently seen virtually in Crossover: A New Pop Musical with Green Light Group Productions. She is a graduate of the University Of Pennsylvania. Other favorite acting credits include Chess (Florence), How To Succeed In Business…Trying (Rosemary), Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead (Rosencrantz), and The 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (Logainne). Chelsea would like to thank Steve, Georgina, the cast and crew, her parents, and Peter. @cecylinder
Michelle Pauls (Mrs. Dascomb/Miss Kastle/Prosecutor): Michelle is an Equity actor, singer, director, producer, teaching artist, playwright, and, most recently, web series creator! Michelle is writer, director, and one of the stars of the mini-web series, SPEAKING OF FAMILY. For over 15 years she ran her own theatre company in Philadelphia, Walking Fish Theatre, and won a Barrymore Award for Educational Excellence & Community Service. She was a founding member of the long-form improvisation troupe, Bright Invention. She teaches theatre at Penn State Abington. She is a trained facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed, which she has used to examine race, racism, gender issues, and more in her teaching and theatre work. Michelle loves Nature, exercise, good food, wine, and theatre!
View the mini-web series, SPEAKING OF FAMILY
Anthony Goss (Clifford): Anthony Goss is an actor from Boston, MA based in NYC. He has appeared on various New York City stages such as the Metropolitan Playhouse, Gene Frankel Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, and the hit Off-Broadway Touring play, Black Angels Over Tuskegee. He has worked on a growing list of independent film and TV credits including, Law & Order SVU and FBI. As a writer, he is currently developing several film projects and looks to continue to grow his craft. He believes in the power of theatre to positively impact the world and is an advocate for youth arts. It’s a great privilege to work on this project and represent the life of a trailblazing woman and artist in Edmonia.