OUT LOUD Theatre presents Ionesco’s ‘Rhinoceros’ at Mathewson Street Theater, Providence, April 12-25

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URI graduates, students to direct, perform in production

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 26, 2015 – Oh, fess up, Marc. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the very instant you saw Kira, did your heart fly to her service?

Yes, of course, says Marc Tiberiis II, who first set eyes on Kira Hawkridge when they were University of Rhode Island theater students, unfettered and full of beans.

Late-night chats fueled by coffee ensued, and they were soon happily cocooned in love, as they conquered the stage together. They went on to co-found OUT LOUD Theatre, a traveling troupe of theater artists based in Providence.

That coupling has resulted in many collaborations, including the latest, Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros,” opening April 14 at the Mathewson Street Theater in Providence. (A pay-what-you-can performance is April 12.)

“We work so well together and have such a rewarding artistic partnership,” says Hawkridge ’12. “Between the two of us we can make a show happen.”

“We had such a great experience at URI, and to work with her now is such a privilege,” says Tiberiis ’14. “I learn from her every day. She’s so talented at what she does.”

Considered an anti-Nazi work, “Rhinoceros” written by the Romanian writer in 1959, is a commentary on the struggle of individual truth in a mindless world. Villagers in a small town in France turn into rhinoceroses, with the exception of one man, who strives to keep his identity.

“I’ve wanted to explore this piece since I was about 18,” says Hawkridge. “I read this play as a URI student, years before OUT LOUD had even come into being. I immediately felt a connection and realized the possibilities it offered – both physically and conceptually.”

Growing up in Pawtucket, Hawkridge and Tiberiis lived 10 minutes away from each other, but never crossed paths. “We were on different sides of 95,” says Tiberiis. They both discovered the magic of theater as children, ending up at different charter high schools that focused on the arts. URI was the next stop: “We met studying theater,” says Hawkridge, “and fell in love.”

Hawkridge hails from an acting family. Her father, Alan Hawkridge, is a URI lecturer in the theater department and production manager. Her mother, Patricia Hawkridge, was chair of the theater department at Salve Regina University from 1999 to 2009 and is now dean of the arts at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket.

Last year, the Hawkridge clan – and Tiberiis – collaborated to present “Hamlet” at URI’s Providence Feinstein Campus. This time, Mom and Dad are happily taking on roles as members of the audience.

Plenty of URI graduates and students are part of the production. Hawkridge is the director and costume designer. Tiberiis plays the lead role of Berenger, the sole villager who rejects becoming a rhinoceros as his village descends into totalitarianism. He is also the technical director, designing the lights.

Joshua Christensen ’12, of Warwick, plays the role of Jean. Sarah Leach ’13, of Smithfield, plays the waitress and Mrs. Boeuf and is the sound designer. Chris LaChapelle ’15, of Westerly, is the gentleman; Emma Sacchetti ’15, of Norwalk, Conn., is the grocer’s wife; Erika Rethorn ’15, of Coventry, is the logician; and Katie Hand ’11 designed the play’s poster.

OUT LOUD Theatre, now in its third season, is going strong, thanks, in part, to the support of URI theater graduates and students.

“The URI theater community has continued to be a key element in our growth and development as a troupe,” says Hawkridge. “It’s so rewarding to continue to be inspired by the University’s up and coming theater artists. And we appreciate the foundation that was built during our time as undergraduates.”

In fact, Tiberiis will return to URI’s Kingston campus in April to design lights for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

“I love the theater department at URI,” says Tiberiis. “The faculty and staff are good and helpful and prepare you for the world.”

And the stage.

Other performances of “Rhinoceros,” all starting at 7:30 p.m., are April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, and 25. The Mathewson Street Theater is located at 134 Mathewson St., Providence. Admission is $15.

To make a reservation, email outloudtheatre@gmail.com with your name, number of tickets and the date of the performance you would like to attend.

Pictured above:

Left to right, Patricia Hawkridge, Kira Hawkridge ’12 and Alan Hawkridge, a URI lecturer in the theater department and production manager.

Photo by Marc Tiberiis.

Kira Hawkridge ’12 and Marc Tiberiis ’14, both of Providence.

Photo courtesy of OUT LOUD Theatre.