Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Della believes there’s no problem so big it can’t be solved while eating one of her perfectly delicious cakes. When Jen, the daughter of a dear friend, returns home to get married, Della is thrilled to bake the wedding cake—until she discovers Jen’s groom is not a groom, but a bride. Della is torn between deeply held faith and her love for Jen, who struggles to reconcile her own conservative roots with her liberal life. In a nation deeply divided on social issues, this new play by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s This Is Us) is a delectable confection of humor, compassion, and Southern hospitality. How do we love when the political meets the personal?
Merri Biechler (Della) is a playwright, actor, and educator. She’s the Assistant Director of the School of Dance, Film, and Theater at Ohio University and the Managing Director of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble. She’s the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Boomerang Fund for Artists award. Her plays include Tammy Faye’s Final Audition (Tantrum Theater, Dublin, OH; Centenary Stage Company; Cincinnati Fringe 2015 – Best of Fringe; Washington DC Capital Fringe 2015 – Best of Fringe); Occupation (Hollywood Fringe 2016 – Dozen Best; Seven Devils Playwrights Conference semifinalist; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semifinalist; Perishable Theatre’s International Women’s Playwriting Festival finalist); Art in the Machine (Raue Center for the Performing Arts commission); An Appalachian Christmas Carol (Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble world premiere; Woodford Theatre, KY); Real Girls Can’t Win (Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series winner; Stavis Award nominee; David Mark Cohen Award finalist; Victory Gardens Theater workshop; and six college productions around the country); Bombs, Babes and Bingo (Mortar Theatre Company world premiere; New Orleans Fringe Festival; Artist’s Laboratory Theatre workshop; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semifinalist; Clubbed Thumb biennial commission finalist); Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver (Princess Grace Award finalist; Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award winner; Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist; WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory participant, and the recipient of grants totaling $40,000 to use the play as a teaching tool for medical students); The Shared Wife (Trustus Theatre annual playwriting competition finalist); and Dolley Madison and the Secret History Club (Kennedy Center/White House Historical Association commission). Merri received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University. As an actor, Merri studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and at his home on the island of Bequia, West Indies. She spent 18 months with the original Off-Broadway cast of Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, appeared in the films He Said, She Said; The Thing Called Love; Claire in Motion; Trailerpark; and Pieces of April; and guest-starred on episodes of Judging Amy, E.R., and Murphy Brown.
Brian David Evans
Brian David Evans (Tim) has performed at theaters including South Coast Repertory, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Human Race Theatre, CATCO, Porthouse Theatre, and the Colorado, Illinois, and Oxford Shakespeare Festivals. He was last seen at Tantrum as Michael in Dancing at Lughnasa. Film and Television credits include Chapelle’s Show, Judging Amy, Claire in Motion and Rocky, Farewell. In Los Angeles, he acted at venues including the Stella Adler Theatre, the Raven Playhouse, Metropole Theatre Works, Knightsbridge Theatre and Elephant Stageworks. Directing credits include Cymbeline with Available Light Theatre, Shakespeare’s Fight Scenes and Henry IV, Part One at Oxford Shakespeare Festival and Romeo and Juliet at Monomoy Theatre. Brian teaches at Ohio University and is an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework and a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. He received his MFA in Acting from UC, Irvine.
Constance Leeson (Jen) is tripping over herself with excitement to be returning to the stage after a two-year hiatus. Graduating from Ohio University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she did what any fresh college graduate with mountains of debt would do: started a completely new career and got married. Constance now works as an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Calhoon Company, Realtors (a mouthful, we know) and lives in Columbus with her partner, Ben, and their adorably large feline. Although Constance has not been seen on stage since the world premiere of Occupation: Dad, she has been actively participating in small films to keep her skills sharp. After her brief break, she is beyond thrilled to be collaborating with such a phenomenal cast and crew.
Kelsey Elyse Rodriguez
Kelsey Elyse Rodriguez (Macy) is thrilled to be joining Tantrum Theater for another summer. Prior to this production, she was in the first production of Tantrum Theater’s inaugural season, Little Shop of Horrors, in which she played Ronette. This past year she worked as an Emerging Professional Resident at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater where she was a part of many productions, including: Guys and Dolls, A Christmas Carol, Animal Farm, and Our Town. She received her BFA in acting from Ohio University and is a proud Bobcat. She looks forward to sharing this play with the Dublin community and hopes it impacts them in a way that promotes positive change.
Shelley Delaney (Director): Tantrum Theater Company: Tammy Faye Bakker in Tammy Faye’s Final Audition, 2016. Directing credits include the world premiere of The Surrogate by Patricia Cotter at Centenary Stage Company; The Crucible, Doubt, The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue and Blood Knot at the Monomoy Theatre on Cape Cod; Annapurna and two seasons of An Appalachian Christmas Carol for Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, and multiple productions for The Drilling Company in NYC. As head of the Performance Program at the Ohio University School of Dance, Film, and Theater, Shelley has directed four MFA thesis premieres as well as a range of plays including In the Next Room, The Library, Intimate Apparel, As You Like It, Well, Baltimore Waltz, Knock Me a Kiss and The Laramie Project. Shelley’s acting credits include work at The Cincinnati Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Bay Street Theatre, Victory Gardens (Joseph Jefferson nomination for Free Man of Color), GeVa, Capital Rep, Delaware Theatre Company, Virginia Stage, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Two River Theatre, Dorset Theatre Festival and Florida Rep. Shelley is married to director Dennis Lee Delaney, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.
Ben Stockman (Assistant Director) is a recent graduate of Ohio University’s MFA program in directing. Directing credits include: The Skin of Our Teeth; This Is How You Got Me Naked; Machinal; Middletown (Ohio University); Late, A Cowboy Song (Apron Theater Co.); Kiss Me, Kate (Main Street Arts); The Dumb Waiter; Deathtrap(Vermont Theatre Company); Cyrano de Bergerac; Comedy of Errors; The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New England Youth Theater Alumni Association).
Scenic and Costume Designer
Eduardo Sicangco (Scenic and Costume Designer) lives in New York City and enjoys a varied career designing sets and costumes for opera, musicals, plays, ballet, film, revues, and arena spectaculars. He has designed for Broadway, Off-Broadway, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Radio City Music Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, Houston Ballet, Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Asolo Rep, Center Stage, Theater Under the Stars, Goodspeed Opera House, Childrens Theater Company and a host of others. His work is featured in Lynn Pecktal’s Designing and Painting for the Theater and Costume Design: Techniques of Modern Masters, and the permanent collection of the Bakrushin Museum in Moscow. eduardosicangco.com
S. Watson is thrilled to be working with Tantrum! She has worked on a number of workshops for New York Stage and Film at the Powerhouse Theater including The Lightyears, Bright Star, The Fortress of Solitude, Hamilton, Taylor Mac – A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. New York Credits: Hamlet, Two Noble Kinsmen, Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Wrecks(Underling Productions), Our Town (St. Bat’s Players), If on a Winter’s Night(Everyday Inferno), Romeo and Juliet (Stages on the Sound), Considering the Lilies (FP Collective), Live from the Surface of the Moon, King Sisyphus (Stable Cable Lab Co), Man and Coconut(IRT Theater). She has also designed over 40 productions for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Favorites include Timon of Athens, King John, As You Like It, and most recently Othello. Other Regional credits: Twelfth Night (Centre College), The Tramp’s New World (Diogenes Theatre Co.), Dying City, Dead City, Bent, Jerry Springer: The Opera (New Stage Collective), The Secret Garden(Carnegie Performing Arts Center). Watson currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she works as a designer and a professor. She holds a BA from Centre College and an MFA in lighting design from Ohio University. www.swatsondesigns.com
Sharath Patel (Sound Designer) was raised between Appalachia and India while spending the following years studying across Europe and New England. Before arriving in the Pacific Northwest, he spent nearly a decade as a lead sound designer in New York City. Recent design highlights include Ibsen in Chicago (Seattle Repertory Theatre); WIG OUT! (American Repertory Theatre/Company One—Boston) The Crucible, The Royale (ACT Theatre—Seattle); As You Like It (California Shakespeare Theater—Oakland); Between Riverside and Crazy, Grand Concourse, Tribes (Artists Rep—Portland); Coriolanus: Fight Like a Bitch (12th Avenue Arts—Seattle); Free Outgoing (East West Players—Los Angeles); 26 Miles, Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Profile—Portland); The Piano Lesson, Jitney, King Hedley II, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse). Other regional international credits include designs in New York City, Washington D.C., Norfolk, Raleigh, Aspen, India, France, England, Germany, and Romania. Sharath recently completed a yearlong Visiting Assistant Professorship at Reed College and co-led the Light and Sound Training Program in Vietnam in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Consulate, and World Learning Inc. He has previously served as a lead designer, guest artist, instructor, or lecturer at Yale, Fordham, Columbia, Willamette, Ohio, Portland State, and Butler Universities. Sharath is a member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association (TSDCA) and is an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. He holds a BFA from Ohio University as well as an MFA in sound design from the Yale School of Drama and is very proud to be a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre. www.sharathpatel.com
Jean Egdorf (Stage Manager) is a second year student in Ohio University’s MFA playwriting program. She comes to Ohio from Colorado where she earned her BFA in applied theatre technology and design and BA in English writing from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and where she worked as a stage manager and dramaturg for over a decade. Her dramaturgical essays have been published in ArtsCentric for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Stage management credits include Boomtown! Improv Comedy, The History Room, Kind of Red, Good on Paper, Our Town, and Guys & Dolls (Creede Repertory Theatre), LOCAL LAB New Play Festival (LOCAL Theater Company), and the new musical I AM ALIVEby Emmy Award-winning composer Denise Gentilini and singer-songwriter Lisa Nemzo.