Drama Club Tackles Refugee Crisis in Winter Production


The national discussion on immigration, asylum and refugees is coming to Northwood School. Following a wildly successful fall production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the Northwood Drama Club is changing the pace and producing a topical play. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are currently more than 65 million people displaced worldwide—the highest number on record since the agency began collecting statistics. The Drama Club hopes to humanize the experience of these individuals who otherwise seem distant and different from us.

In the play Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka, a young refugee called Anon is separated from his mother and journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people — some kind, some dangerous and cruel — as he searches for his family. From a sinister one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies to a sweatshop, Anon must navigate through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape in this entrancing adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey.

Performances will be held on Tuesday, February 12 @ 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday, February 13 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. All shows will be followed by a discussion.

The cast includes actors from the United States, South Africa, China, Tibet, Guatemala, and Tanzania.

While The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee did have some topical themes, including LGBT relationships, religion, and politics, the tone was light and comical. Anon(ymous) will be decidedly more serious and is the most topical production in the Drama Club’s recent history.

For the first time, the play will be performed at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, the first of many collaborations with the local arts center. The school community will attend a performance of the play in the week that it runs, and there will be a discussion afterward.

Several of Northwood’s soccer players have roles in this production, which they couldn’t do in the fall because of their training and game schedules.

The play aligns perfectly with the discussions in politics today. With the United States government in partial shutdown due to political disputes about funding for the border wall and the humanitarian crises at the southern US border, asylum-seekers and refugees play a major role in the future of America.

Angelia Castillo ‘21 plays Nemasani in the play. “I like [Anon(ymous)] better than the fall play, because of the diversity and its kind of nice to see the soccer kids act,” said Castillo. “I also think the preparation of the play is causing this to come along smoother and faster, and I think because of the experience from the ‘Spelling Bee’ this one will be better. Because each time you do something you improve,” she added.


Sean Kgwakgwa: Anon

Angelia Castillo: Nemasani

Adelia Castillo: Naja

Aiden Williams-McCracken: Pascal

Haley Donatello: Calista

William Vanterpool-Stanford: Mr. Yuri Mackus

Alex van Schalkwyck: Ali/Ignacio/Barfly

Sara Ellsworth: Ritu/Serza/Sewing Lady #1

Jasmin Valenzuela: Nasreen/Belen/Sewing Lady #2

Charlie Purcell: Senator Laius/Strygal/Nice American Father/Barfly

Courtney Fairchild: Helen Laius/Nice American Mother/Mr. Zyclo’s Pet Bird

Quincy Pell: Mr. Zyclo


Chorus of Refugees:

Keith Mutunga

Eli Jean-Francois

Gesang Danda

All other actors move in and out of the Chorus throughout the play.

Additional Chorus members To Be Confirmed (see Ms Carmichael if you are interested in joining)


Design/Production Team:

Noel Carmichael: Director

Laura Finnerty Paul: Assistant to the Director/Head of Outreach

Sarah Sheridan: Set/Props and Costume/Make Up Design

Isaac Newcomb: Sound Design

Fallou Sylla: Set/Props Design

Margaret MacNeil: Lighting and Costume/Makeup Design


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