CitySpace & ViewPoint Theatre presents
Blood & Water; a love story
BOOK MUSIC AND LYRICS BY Francesca Hansen-DiBello
As we gather in this space tonight, we must acknowledge the legacy of colonization and its part in creating the land we occupy.
Easthampton, MA lies on the land of the Nipmuc, Pocumtuc, and Nonotok peoples. The subjugation and genocide through disease and conflict of these nations and peoples resulted in the European settlement of Easthampton and the surrounding areas.
We recognize our immense privilege in being here tonight with all of you, sharing space and art.
We hope that you will take the time to consider where we are and the legacy of colonization that has brought us here.
Director’s Statement, Francesca Hansen-DiBello
“Dearest friends, how lucky am I to be surrounded by such a loving community?”
These words, spoken by Christine in the play, were written by my mother in an email she wrote shortly after her cancer diagnosis. In writing, producing, and stepping in at the last minute to direct this deeply personal piece, my mother’s optimism, joy, and gratitude for every second of life has guided me. Blood & Water is a love story, but not the kind of love story we’re used to seeing. Although there is romantic love between Georgie and Christine, the focus of the play is the love this Queer family has for each other.
When I sat down to write Blood & Water I revisited the blog that my mother kept from her cancer diagnosis up until her death. The words felt evocative, rich, and painted a picture of her so clearly. I have always been an admirer of the playwright Charles Mee, who borrows text from other works and weaves it together in his plays.
My mother’s blog posts felt like they belonged in this play, and the monologues you hear Christine speak are my mother speaking directly through the character.
In staging this production, I wanted the audience to feel like they were in the same room as the characters. I didn’t want to encourage the distance that a proscenium (the more traditional theatre set up which places audience members on one side of the action) staging allows us to feel. With that in mind, I decided to place us in a French staging (with the audience on either side of the action). The way the script is written encourages the audience to lean in, to be a part of the community that surrounds the family at its center.
This is my directorial debut. I hadn’t planned to direct this production, but I am so glad that scheduling conflicts pushed me to take on this new role. It has been such a pleasure to work with the artists who have come together to collaborate on this project. I hope you enjoy the hard work that we have all put into this production. Enjoy the show.
With joy in my heart, and hope abbondanza,
Statement from ViewPoint Theatre Co-Founder, Producer, and Actor, Shevaun Keogh-Walker
Welcome to the first production of our nonprofit theatre company, ViewPoint Theatre: theatre with a strong point of view. Both Francesca and I are excited to be establishing a company that welcomes innovative and impactful productions; moving stories that tackle the more challenging issues we face as individuals, families and communities. ViewPoint Theatre is interested in new works and/or new perspectives on traditional theatre pieces.
This beautiful production, Blood and Water, a love story is based on a true story, the life of the playwright and fellow cast-member, Francesca Hansen-DiBello. It tells the story of two mothers and two daughters as one mother is diagnosed with cancer. It’s a story of love and grief, but also humor as the family dynamics emphasize the strength of this family as they grapple with illness and eventually, death. Blood and Water explores the meaning of family with its intimate production and honest dialogue and music. We hope this production will be a celebration of live theatre, new works, and the many ways to love.
Thank you for your patronage and enjoy the show!
Cast & Crew Biographies
Ezekiel Baskin is a freelance director, lighting designer, arts & public health educator, and stage & production manager. They are delighted to be designing the lighting for Blood and Water and to be supporting the development of new work! Directing credits include Plague Wedding (Theater Between Addresses), Night Train (Electric Lite Collective), Queer Intimacies (Eggtooth Productions), Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Hampshire College), and Caeneus (HC). Lighting design credits include the world premiere of NOW (Pauline Productions), A Little Night Music (Greater Worcester Opera), Athena (Real Live Theatre), The Life and Death of Queen Margaret (RLT) and The Final Say (Strident Theater). Ezekiel serves on the Boards of Directors of Silverthorne Theater and Valley Light Opera, and is a proud Governing Member of Real Live Theatre. They are also a Founding Member of Theater Between Addresses, a collective of theatre artists & writers focused on fostering and creating new work. Upcoming projects: directing an immersive production of Grail Knight at the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen (July 2022), directing an audio play adaptation of Caeneus, and producing a festival of short plays by emerging local playwrights.
Nikki Beck is a board member of CitySpace in Easthampton and thrilled to see this project coming to life in our Blue Room! She is the Production Manager for the Smith College Department of Theatre. She also works at the Academy of Music and as a freelance stage manager. Nikki runs the Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter which you can subscribe to – and submit your theatre events – at http://www.pioneervalleytheatre.com
greetings audience member, it appears you have stumbled across a cast bio. Well, in that case, Alivia would just like you to know how honored she is to be apart of the world premier of this very show! As a queer woman, she makes an effort to collaborate on and support works that create new opportunities for representation in the theatre. You may recognize her from acting around the valley in works such as Marisol (June) and Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Gin), or for her work as a costume designer on shows such as Our Town and Stop Kiss. She hopes you enjoy the show and encourages everyone to grab a tissue or two for this one, she’s never cried so much while putting on a show before!
Jackie Degiorgis is a “realistic actress” with a day job! She has taught Biology at Drury High School in North Adams, MA since 1993. Jackie was introduced to acting “later in life” at the ripe age of 43 when she was asked to play Auntie Em opposite her youngest daughter’s Dorothy. Once she stepped on the stage, she didn’t want to leave (those poor Munchkins never stood a chance!) Since then, she’s been in more than 23 productions, directed 5 full-length productions and countless one-acts. Her favorite roles, however, have been as wife to her husband, Butch, for almost 30 years, stepmom to Travis and Ella, and mom to Samantha.
I am a farmer and musician from Cambridge, MA who fell in love with the Pioneer Valley after attending UMass Amherst. I first started playing bass guitar in middle school and have been involved in many groups and bands ever since. This is my first musical and its been an honor working with such an amazing cast! In my free time I enjoy playing music with friends, hanging out by rivers and ponds, and rock climbing.
Zoë Dong is an artist and videographer based in Northampton, Massachusetts. Originally from the Rust Belt of Ohio, she moved to Western Mass in 2015 to pursue a degree at Smith College and has lived here since. She has produced videos for the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Zea Mays Printmaking, and was assistant producer for the documentary Where I Became, a recent award winner at the Toronto International Women Film Festival. Her video work can be seen at http://www.vimeo.com/zoedong.
Naomi Fortier is a recent Hampshire College graduate based in Greenfield, MA. Naomi currently works in administration and has worked on several fundraising campaigns and projects prior to joining the team for Blood & Water. Naomi is excited to be branching out into theater production and to see Blood & Water come to fruition.
Erika Fay Greenwood
Erika Fay Greenwood (Arabella) is a theatre artist from Cranston, Rhode Island. They received their Associates Degree in general studies at Community College of Rhode Island. They received their Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts in 2021. Their recent credits include directing Big Fish at Beacon Charter High School in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. They are the costume designer at Portsmouth Abbey School where they designed Hamlet (November 2021), Mamma Mia (March 2022) and Clue (May 2022). Their acting credits include Celia in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Glass Horse Theatre August 2021), Marianne in Constellations (BSU Alex Jacobs May 2021) and Mrs. Martin in Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano (BSU March 2020). They are the recipient of the award for Achievement in Costume Design for Totalitarians from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival 2021.
Francesca (she/her) is a Theatre Artist currently based out of Western Massachusetts. She earned her BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch school of the Arts at New Studio. Francesca’s musical Blood & Water, which she wrote the book and music for, was workshopped in New York City at The Kraine Theatre in 2017. In 2020 she was asked to write Golden Child, a short play for Workshop Theatre’s Out of the Hat festival. Francesca is excited to be working with Viewpoint Theatre to give Blood & Water new life.
Courtney began his journey in music from a young age. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Courtney grew up performing in orchestras and piano recitals around the city. Most recently, Courtney performed in the Boston Chinese Musicians’ Association’s The Sounds of China: Music from the Dream of the Red Chamber, as well as other collaborations with local musical artists. Courtney is combining academia with I am a farmer and musician from Cambridge, MA who fell in love with the Pioneer Valley after attending UMass Amherst. I first started playing bass guitar in middle school and have been involved in many groups and bands ever since. This is my first musical and its been an honor working with such an amazing cast! In my free time I enjoy playing music with friends, hanging out by rivers and ponds, and rock climbing. , as he is currently pursuing his doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University and focuses his research on creativity and self-expression.
Robin Johnson (she / her) is an actor, dancer, director, and sometimes-poet based in NYC. She earned her BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts alongside director Francesca Hansen-DiBello. She had the great pleasure of choreographing the 2017 incarnation of Blood & Water at The Kraine Theater in NY, and is thrilled to help bring this story to life again! She’s currently directing an original short film, Beach Day, produced by Sassy Mare Films and set to release Fall 2022. She’s interested in the arts as a healing modality for communities & individuals, and the intersections of radical social change, storytelling & magic.
Shevaun Keogh-Walker has worked professionally as a voice-over talent in Boston and NYC and has directed and performed on the Boston stage. Shevaun has also performed in several local television shows and movies and is the author of two musical plays for young people that were produced by the Boston Children’s Theatre.
Additionally, Shevaun was one of the founding members of The Theatre Company, Inc., located in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her most recent roles include Mother Superior in Re-Imagine Theatre’s production of Agnes of God and Hecuba in Troy Women. Prior to the pandemic, she performed in the world stage premiere of New and Used with Town Players in Pittsfield. Shevaun and her husband moved to Western Massachusetts in Fall 2018.
Najy is a self-proclaimed one woman theatre machine. She is elated to be the assistant director and rehearsal assistant for this production. Blood and Water is very close to her heart and hopes we all have a good collective cry together. Telling queer stories spanning time and genre (from Stop Kiss to She Kills Monsters and her own original pieces as a playwright) is Najy’s greatest passion as a theatre artist and is so happy to share this story with you all.
Caleb Koval is a member of the Chorus in this production of Blood & Water. He is studying theatre and education at Umass Amherst and has been involved in many different shows over his time involved in the arts. Notable roles include Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Crick in Late: A Cowboy Song, Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, and Luke in Dance Nation. He is very excited to show everyone Blood & Water and hopes everyone enjoys the show.
Delaney is back in her hometown of Southampton, MA after graduating from the University of Vermont with a BA in anthropology and a minor in music. She’s been keeping herself busy by working in restaurants, singing with the Northampton Pride chorus, and studying part time to prepare for a master’s program at the University of Rhode Island, which she will begin in the fall.
Marguerite Suozzo-Golé is making her return to musical theater for the first time in 10 years. Originally from Northampton, MA, she received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Brown University where she studied climate policy and youth activist movements. She then went on to work as a political organizer, first for the Democratic Party in the 2016 election, and then for Indivisible Project. Most recently, she was a Worker-Owner at Riquezas del Campo, an immigrant-led cooperative farm based in Hatfield, MA. Throughout her life, music has been an important undercurrent, whether having sing-alongs at summer family reunions, performing in high school musicals, singing a capella in college, or writing original songs. Being a part of Blood & Water has allowed her to reconnect with her creativity in an important way, and to share in a love for music and art with others.
John Walker is a man of many talents. He majored in Graphic Arts at Massachusetts College of Art and has been working as a professional musician in New England for decades. He has also recently rediscovered his passion for the visual arts and entered two of his art pieces in a juried exhibition. The two pieces of multi-media artwork won first and second prize at the New England Arts Festival in Mansfield, MA. His artwork has also been displayed at the Attleboro Fine Arts Museum in Attleboro, MA and at the Muddy River Gallery in Brookline, MA.
John is also a fine woodwork designer and builder and has built many fine furniture pieces for sale and for his own personal use. He has also designed and constructed theatre sets for several productions in Providence, RI; Boston, MA; and Pittsfield, MA.