With the help of former students behind the scenes and onstage, Drama Professor and Associate Dean Jean Dobie Giebel is preparing for the world premiere of her acclaimed play Chasing the River at Manhattan’s Chain Theatre in February. Directed by Ella Jane New, Chasing the River was a finalist for the ATHE Excellence in Playwriting Award, and has been optioned for television.
The cast for Chasing the River includes Caroline Orlando ’19, who graduated from Hofstra this past May with a BFA in Theater Arts Performance. Her roles at Hofstra included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Tansy in The Nerd, and Clovis in Dream of a Common Language.
The idea for Chasing the River was born out of Giebel’s research on domestic abuse.The story revolves around Kat, who returns to her childhood home after having been recently released from prison. Haunted with memories and people from her past, she attempts to make peace and confront those who were complicit or inadvertently involved in her sentencing. As new revelations and unexpected reunions clash with her long-held beliefs, Kat realizes truth and memory don’t always intersect. Chasing the River is about survival, second chances, and making a bet on the healing power of love.
The Chain Theatre, led by artistic director and Hofstra alumnus Kirk Gostkowski ’05, has a reputation for providing opportunities for emerging artists and underrepresented voices in New York’s arts community. Professor Giebel and Gostkowski collaborated this past summer on a revival of Madeleine George’s relationship comedy The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. That production also featured direction by Giebel and a creative team of several Hofstra alumni.
Performances of Chasing the River are Friday, February 7, through Saturday, February 29. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. There will be an added Monday, February 10, 7 p.m. performance for press and opening. The Chain Theatre is located at 312 West 36 Street, 4th floor, in Manhattan. Tickets are $20 and available at chaintheatre.org.