Les Liaison Dangereuse
A Note From the Director:
"Little by little, the old world crumbled, and not once did the king imagine that some of the pieces might fall on him."
-Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, adapted for the stage by Christopher Hampton, from the novel of the same name by Choderlos de Laclos, is set shortly before the chaos of the French Revolution engulfed the wealthy ruling class of the French Aristocracy; a time of unchecked gluttony and avarice. It is in this context we must view our dual Protagonists/Antagonists:
Le Vicomte de Valmont & La Marquise de Merteuil
Wealthy, privileged, and dangerously bored...
"Boredom: the desire for desires."
...and it is from this crippling ennui, that our characters reach beyond their total control of the material world into the complex recesses of the human spirit. Unsatisfied by the literal toys they possess, they make figurative toys of human beings.
"Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you.
Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused."
-from "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
In an effort to contextualize the conditions present for the characters who inhabit this period story for this generation of Students, I've tried to draw parallels between the conditions that led to the French Revolution/End of the Aristocracy and conditions we can currently see taking shape in the American economic system:
Concentration of wealth, producing massive income inequality
Concentration of political power, which, to some extent, disenfranchises the vast majority
Opulence and excess shamelessly displayed alongside scarcity and poverty
Commodification of fellow human beings
It is in this context, that the "Dangerous Game" played by Valmont and Merteuil makes pawns of all who enter their orbit, and, though it is easy to delight in the witty wickedness of it all, my hope is that the fatal flaws of these twisted souls serve as a cautionary tale, warning us against the kinds of objectification and commodification of humanity we see all too regularly in our modern world, lest we fail to see the looming threat of our own metaphorical guillotine.
-Scott Hunt, Director
La Marquise De Merteuil, Elayna Brock
Madame De Volanges (U/S Merteuil/Tourvel), Kamryn Mahoney
Cecile Volanges, Amelia Hammond
Major-Domo (U/S Valmont/Danceny), Jackson Helmholtz
Le Vicomte De Valmont, Nick Talion
Azolan, CJ Davis
Mme De Rosemonde, Lily Roth
La Presidente De Tourvel, Bri Clark
Emilie, Natalie Joritz
Le Chevalier Danceny, Jacob Frankart
U/S Volanges/Emilie/Cecile/Rosemond, Riley Gibson
U/S Azolan/Major-Domo, Jadon Muniz
Director, Scott Hunt
Intimacy/Fight Direct & Choreographer, Karla Kash
Assisstant Director, Benjamin Pollizi
Stage Manager, Autumn Perry
Assistant Stage Managers, Lexy Saxon & Sarah Jewell
Fight Captain, Nick Talion
Technical Director, Ben Bodart
Set/Lighting Designer & Production Manager, Sue Hlavinka
Assistant Set Designer, Ben Neiberlein
Scenic Charge, Bri Clark
Light Board Operator, Zaria Keys
Master Electrician/Assistant Lighting Designer, Lexy Saxon
Sound Designer, Serria Allen
Dramaturg, Jasmine Ridler
Costume Designer, Hannah Schoen
Props Masters, Natalie Joritz
Hair & Makeup, Wilhelmina Opferman
Marketing, Gavin Buurma & Chantress Dewitt
A Note from the Dramaturg
Can a vicious rivalry turn from casual entertainment to true jeopardy?
To be a part of French nobility during the 18th century, the height of the aristocratic era, was not all it seemed. True-- there are titles, riches, exquisite social events with a matching luxurious wardrobe and, yet, there was greed, corruption, humiliation, degradation, and danger.
The original story was penned by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in 1782, just seven years before the French revolution. Tensions were rising amongst the French empire with Louis XVI taking the throne-- he would later see the guillotine during the revolution, but that would come much later. All fighting efforts at this time were seen on the bays of the new world colonies, ironically aiding the British against American revolutionaries.
Perhaps what Laclos found distasteful was that the French Royal Army saw a recruitment format of some volunteers and majority drafted peasants. Only high ranking officers with noble blood could be knighted into court as part of knights of chivalry, everyone else was simply collateral.
And while the Royal Army fought and died and the king’s beck and call, the court at Versailles was a constant buzz with passion parties, usually described as unsavory, to say the least.
Simply put, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a biting critique of the hedonism and immortality that infected and blinded French aristocracy from seeing the ever-present French Revolution on the rise.
Jasmine Ridler, Dramaturg
Meet the Cast
Elayna Brock she/her (Madame La Marquise De Merteuil) is excited to perform her last show at Heidelberg. She has previously performed in Misery (Annie Wilkes), Chicago (Roxie Hart), A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Titania/Hippolyta), as well as other shows. Elayna would like to thank her friends and family for the continuous support through her theater journey here at Heidelberg.
Bri Clark (La Presidente De Tourvel) is a senior Musical Theater major and is on track to get her MBA. She has loved theater her whole life. Bri has been in multiple shows here at Heidelberg including Pride and Prejudice, She Kills Monsters, Addams Family, Wendy and Peter Pan and many more. She also participates as the Scenic Charge and Graphic designer for the theater department. Bri is excited for her future here at Heidelberg as well as what will follow once she graduates!
CJ Davis he/him (Azolan) is absolutely thrilled to begin his career on stage at Heidelberg University. He is a Psychology and Musical Theater double major with an Athletic Coaching minor, while also playing football here at Heidelberg. Throughout high school, CJ was in the pit playing bass guitar, behind the scenes with his parents who gave him his love for theater, and has recently shifted to performing on stage in shows like Monty Python’s Spamalot (Sir Lancelot) and The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later (Aaron McKinney). CJ is beyond excited to be a part of the theater family and can’t wait to see where it takes him.
Jacob Frankart he/him (Le Chevalier Danceny) is thrilled to put on this performance of Les Liaisons Dangereuses! During his time here at Heidelberg, he has been in a number of shows including last semester’s musical Chicago (Ensemble) and play Wendy and Peter Pan (Murt the Bat). Other notable shows and roles from his time in high school included Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour Krelborn), Mamma Mia! (Sky), and Arsenic and Old Lace (Dr. Einstein). Along with his acting work, Jacob has also assisted in lighting and building the set for many productions. Jacob would like to thank his wonderful friends and family for their constant support and love. He would not be where he is today without them!
Amelia Hammond she/her (Cécile Volanges) is so happy to perform in her third mainstage show of her freshman year! She is a first year Theatre major with a musical theatre concentration. Amelia has previously performed in Wendy & Peter Pan (Crocodile), and will be rounding out her freshman year with performances in We Have Apples and The Spongebob Musical. She would like to thank Scott Hunt for the fabulous experience it was to work with him, and hopes he returns to Heidelberg Theatre again!
Jackson Helmholtz (Major Domo, U/S Danceny & Valmont) is a Junior acting major. He has been in multiple productions at Heidelberg University including Wendy and Peter Pan (Peter Pan) Spooky Dog (Ted), My First Time, Pride and Prejudice (Ensemble), The Cake (The Voice), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Flute/Thisbe), Cinderella (Ensemble/Dance Captain), Chicago (AD/Ensemble), and now Les Liaison Dangereuses! He is so ecstatic to be playing the role of Major Domo. He'd like to thank his family and friends for their constant support that they provide, as well as director Scott Hunt for providing this opportunity for him. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Natalie Joritz (Emilie/Adele) is thrilled to be a part of this production. Natalie is a junior musical theatre major from Garfield Heights, Ohio, and is on the MBA track. Previous stage credits include: Mama Morton (Chicago), Charlotte (R+H Cinderella), and Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy (Pride and Prejudice). Outside of theatre, Natalie is a member of the new Studio 2 Stage ensemble, the Make-A-Scene improv troupe, Zeta Theta Psi, Alpha Psi Omega, and the honors program. Love goes out to her friends and family for all their support, the production team for making this show happen, and the wonderful Scott Hunt for lending his creativity to this production. Enjoy the show!
Kamryn Mohney (Mme De Volanges, U/S Merteuil/Tourvel/Emilie) is a musical theatre major and a business minor hoping to achieve her MBA at Heidelberg University. Kamryn is a senior and debuted on the Gundlach Theater stage as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret as a freshman. A few other roles Kamryn has enjoyed while being at Heidelberg are Medium Allison in Fun Home, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, Heather McNamara in Heathers, and Velma Kelly in Chicago. Offstage, Kamryn has stage managed Rodger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Wendy and Peter Pan. Kamryn would love to thank her friends and family for all of their support. She has been involved with theatre since the seventh grade and is delighted to be apart of her last show at Heidelberg.
Lily Roth they/them (Madame De Rosemonde) is a senior Integrated Media major who is delighted to be a member of a mainstage Heidelberg production after four years of watching from the audience (and loving it)! In the past, they have appeared in Heidelberg's shadow cast production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Rocky. They would like to thank the entire cast and production team that were terrific teachers and excellent displays of patience and diligence. An additional thanks to their friends and family for being their wonderful, perfect selves.
Nick Talion (Le Vicomte De Valmont) is a senior at Heidelberg and is so excited to return to Gundach for yet another production! He has been in previous productions here at Gundlach such as Cabaret (Ernst), She Kills Monsters (Miles), Dog Sees God (CB), My First Time, Pride and Prejudice (Darcy), Spooky Dog and the Teenage Mystery Gang (Scraggly), and most recently Wendy and Peter Pan (Nibs). He would like to thank his friends and family for all the support and for helping him make it this far, as well as the entire cast and the director for making this show a memorable one!
Meet the Production/Creative Team
Sue Hlavinka (Adjunct Professor of Theatre Production and Design at Heidelberg) is a 2013 University of Louisville graduate with a degree in theatre. She worked for Central Kentucky Community Theatre in Springfield Kentucky, first as Youth Company Director and as Musical Theatre Director from 2013-2022. She has designed lights, sets, and costumes for many shows, but her favorites include Jane Eyre, Mamma Mia, and Frankenstein the musical. She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regional winner, in stage management for Richard the III. This is her first show at Heidelberg University.
Sarah Jewell she/her (Assistant Stage Manager) is a freshman musical theatre major and Spanish and theatre education minor. She is so excited to be a part of Les Liaisons Dangereuse and do production at Heidelberg for the first time! Sarah has previously performed in Cinderella (Marie), Chicago (Hunyak) and Top Girls (Dull Gret/Angie), among other shows. She would like to dedicate this show to her mom who always supports her.
Natalie Joritz (Props Master) is very grateful to have this opportunity. This is her first time as prop master for a show here at Gundlach, and she could not have asked for a better experience. Previously, Natalie served as the music director for The Saga, and you can see her work later this semester as the costume designer for Porch and assistant costume designer for Spongebob. Love goes out to her friends and family for all their support, the production team for making this show happen, and the wonderful Scott Hunt for lending his creativity to this production. Enjoy the show!
Karla Kash (Intimacy & Fight Director/Choreographer) is an Associate Professor and Director of the Theatre program at Heidelberg University. Professor Kash is thrilled to be working with this group of talented and tenacious actors, designers, and the production team. Professor Kash is in her seventeenth year as a full-time Theatre Professor. Ms. Kash is over the moon to join the Heidelberg family and Tiffin community. Karla was born and raised in Dayton, OH. Professor Kash has previously taught at Iowa State University, Drake University (where she was tenured), University at Albany (SUNY), and Saginaw Valley State University. Ms. Kash is a professional Director and Choreographer (member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers) and Actor (member of the Actors Equity Association), as well as a Fight Director who is certified in six weapons (The Society of American Fight Directors).
Zaria Keys she/her (Light Board Operator) is a Sophomore and is currently double majoring in Psychology and Theatre with a concentration in Acting. She is excited to be up in the booth for this incredible show and can’t wait for the audience to be wowed by all the hard work of the cast and crew! She hopes you enjoy the show!
Ben Neiberlein (Assistant Set Designer) is a Junior at Heidelberg, majoring in Theatre. He has previously done production in the past at his second high school for theater, including productions of Little Shop of Horror, and the Imaginary Invalid. When not on the production team, he acts and sings as well. He has been in productions at Heidelberg including Chicago last fall and notably for his lead role his sophomore year as Oberon and Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Wilhelmina Opferman she/her (Hair and Makeup Designer) is a freshman musical theatre major. This is her first time designing for a mainstage show, and she had a ton of fun doing it! She would like to give a humongous thank you to Lexi Lang for helping with the wigs. Wilhelmina has previously performed in Top Girls (Waitress/Kit/Shona), Wendy and Peter Pan (Shadow, u/s Michael, Tootles, the Crocodile), Chicago (Ensemble), and was also the costume designer for the most recent production of Rocky Horror. Outside of theatre, she is a member of the Heidelberg Concert Choir and on the color guard of the Heidelberg University Marching Band. Wilhelmina is very proud of her friends for putting on such a great show and wishes she knew how to play piquet.
Autumn Perry she/her (Stage Manager) is a sophomore Theatre Production and English Literature major at Heidelberg University and is incredibly thrilled to be the Stage Manager for the main stage show, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, this February. Autumn has previously been involved in Heidelberg's productions of Eurydice, (Stage Manager) Chicago, (Stage Manager) Misery, (Sound Designer) Spooky Dog and the Teen-age Gang Mysteries, (Sound Designer) and Top Girls (Sound Designer). Autumn is very grateful for her production roles this semester and is looking forward to another wonderful year in the theater. Autumn would also like to thank her loved ones for all the support they offer her, as she would not be where she is today, all on her own.
Ben Pollizi he/him (Assistant Director) is a senior musical theatre major and is so excited to have served as assistant director for this production! Previous Heidelberg acting credits include Oliver Rivers (Puffs), Beethoven (Dog Sees God), and Bottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream). He will be playing Eugene Krabs in SpongeBob this upcoming semester. Outside of performance he also has served as the master electrician for the last three years, and has designed many shows as well, some of his favorites include 4:48 Psychosis, Chicago, and Wendy and Peter. Ben would like to thank all of his family and friends for their constant support, he hopes you enjoy the show!
Jasmine Ridler (Dramaturg), a Master’s student pursuing her degree in Business at Heidelberg, is honored to be the dramaturg for the Heidelberg production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Throughout her five years at Heidelberg, both undergraduate and graduate, she has done numerous productions with a variety of acting and production jobs. Recently, she has Directed Heidelberg’s Black Box production of Eric Pliner’s Spooky Dog. Some of her favorite roles during her undergraduate years were Marie in Cinderella and Fraulein Schnieder in Cabaret. She would like to thank her family and her partner, Leo Swain, for his love and support.
Lexy Saxon she/her (Assistant Stage Manager/Master Electrician) Lexy Saxon is a sophomore theater production major. This is Lexy’s first time assistant stage managing a mainstage show and she is very excited! She is also the master electrician for the Heidelberg Theater. Lexy has many production roles coming up this semester including stage managing Porch, assistant directing Spongebob the musical, and light designing Top Girls. She would like to thank her friends and family for always supporting her. She would like to thank this very talented cast for making this process so much fun for everyone involved. She hopes you enjoy the show!
Hannah Schoen (Costume Designer) is a graduate of Heidelberg’s theater department. During her time at Heidelberg, she was in 15 productions both performing on stage and working backstage with costumes. Recently She has come back to Heidelberg to design the costumes for Wendy and Peter Pan and now Dangerous. She also plans to attend Grad school for Costume Design next fall. It has been a joy to come back and work for this department and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
A special thanks to Carol Dusdieker, Pat Page, Elaine Gittinger, and the SMT faculty, staff, and students! We would not be able to do what we do without your constant support.