Fefu and Her Friends

Fefu and Her Friends

March 4-6, 2022
Principal People: 

By María Irene Fornés

Kelsey Mesa, director

Event Attributes


For more information regarding accessible accommodations, please click here.

Estimated Length: 
One hour and twenty minutes, with no intermission.
Audience Advisory: 
This play contains adult subject matter, as well as gunshot sound effects.

Please note: This performance will not be livestreamed.

This play by Cuban-American writer María Irene Fornés explores the personal struggles of women against gendered stereotypes and societal expectations in a male-dominated world. Set in New England in 1935, Fefu and Her Friends is the story of a group of friends brought together by their loneliness, fears and secrets. With a diverse and multicultural cast, this production utilizes innovative design techniques to highlight interpersonal relationships between characters.

This event is part of Arts for All, a campuswide initiative which leverages the combined power of the arts, technology and social justice to address the grand challenges of our time.

The Clarice lobby concession bar Encore will be open for food and beverage sales on opening night, Friday March 4. It will not be open for the Saturday and Sunday performances.

Health + Safety

All patrons 12 years of age and older are required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken within 48 hours of the performance for entry into the venue (home tests will NOT be accepted). 

Please see our Health + Safety page for more information.




Fefu & Her Friends
By María Irene Fornés
Director: Kelsey Mesa
Scenic Designer: Brandon Roak
Costume Designer: Becca Janney
Lighting Designer: Eric Pitney
Sound Designer: Kaydin Hamby
Projection Designer: Devin Kinch
Weapons Consultant: Jenny Male
Stage Manager: Kate Wander
Camera Operators: Mari Burggraf, Alexander Diaz-Lopez
March 4-6, 2022
This performance will last approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.
This production is supported by the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance.
Fefu: Natalia Huitz Corvoisier
Sue: Hannah Damanka
Cecilia: Josie Danckaert
Christina: Gracie Guzman
Julia: Favour Ogbue
Emma: Leah Packer
Cindy: Celia Richardson
Paula: Carolina Tomasi
Christina: Layali Aljirafi
Emma: Kayleigh Gallagher
Sue: Michelle Gutierrez
Paula: Mirsa Hernandez
Cindy: Mel Mader
Fefu: Katie Quinn
Julia: Gabrielle Ryan
Cecilia : Subhatra Sivam
Time and setting: The New England countryside, spring of 1935.


Fefu and Her Friends is a play about existing in a space with others. That’s a relevant topic to ponder, given our two years of lockdowns, quarantines, precautions, distancing and Zoom boxes.
How do we find community with friends we haven’t seen in a while? If a friend thinks we’re the same person we were two years ago, how can we be honest? How can we share the pain we’ve experienced with friends who are denying their own? How do we bring our new selves into old spaces? If we believe in and yearn for new structures, do we need to still calibrate to the old structures society forces on us? What does it mean to be a woman in a space, and does it really have to mean that? Who decided?
These are some of the questions we hold as we surveil Fefu’s living room. Julia, once fearless, is paralyzed and restrained by a bizarre hunting accident; she’s seeing some of her friends for the first time in a year. One marriage has failed, another is failing, and Paula grapples with the aftermath of a secret love affair, while her friends dart in and around her. This is a group of eight women. They are feeling tremendous freedom to be silly and some measure of freedom to be vulnerable, while the men stay outside.
Before you go looking for it: there is no plot. (Though there are plenty of giddy moments, unfamiliar 1930s references and bizarre dreams.) Fornés asks us, the audience, to be witnesses to these characters and their relationships. We welcome you to see what you see, and wonder what you wonder about Fefu, Julia, Emma, Sue, Paula, Christina, Cindy and Cecilia.
I am grateful to every single artist who contributed to this production—particularly the actors and rehearsal team who filled our rehearsal room with such joy, care and generosity.
I am forever grateful to María Irene Fornés, whose work provided revulsion, fascination and perspective when I was a college student far away from home, and felt like a stranger in every room.
“Very, very nice. Very, very, very, very good. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
--Kelsey Mesa, director



Layali Aljirafi (Christina u/s) senior theatre major. Creative and Performing Arts Scholar. Outside Credits: Crucible, Montgomery College (Mercy Lewis/Sarah Good), Our National Museum of the Unforeseen Tragedy, Montgomery College (Elizabeth O'Neil), Sweet Charity, Summer Dinner Theatre (ensemble/fandango dancer).
Mari Burggraf (camera operator) freshman theatre major. College Park Arts Scholars. UMD credits: Experimental Performance Series: Chiffon (Ronnie), The Muses Original Works Project. Outside credits: Planet Claire, Maryland Ensemble Theatre (chorus leader); Matilda: The Musical, Other Voices Theatre (ensemble).
Natalia Huitz Corvoisier (Fefu) senior theatre major, Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor. UMD credits: The Revolutionists (Olympe de Gouges). Outside credits: Our National Museum of the Unforeseen Tragedy (Dr. LaPointe-Smith), Sweet Charity (Herman u/s), Nathan, the Wise (Daya).
Hannah Damanka (Sue) junior theatre performance major. Creative and Performing Arts Scholar. UMD Credits: Fearless New Play Festival: RAPunzel (Jenna), Hookman (Kayleigh u/s).
Josie Danckaert (Cecilia) senior theatre and environmental science double major. Honors Humanities program. UMD credits: A Tea Party (Lucy), She Kills Monsters (ensemble), The Visit (ensemble).
Kayleigh Gallagher (Emma u/s) junior theatre major. UMD credits: Little Women (Marmee u/s), Machinal (Young girl, Nurse 2), Fearless New Play Festival: The Ice Box (Stage Directions). Outside credits: Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), Beauty and the Beast (Belle).
Kailee Goldberg (assistant director) junior theatre major. UMD credits include: Hookman (Yoonji), New Beginnings Musical Theatre Revue, A Doll House (Dr. Rank u/s), Second Season: Soundtrack (Alice). Outside credits: Company (Jenny). Artistic director for Kreativity Diversity Troupe and UTAS director of advocacy.
Michelle Gutierrez (Sue u/s) freshman theatre major. College Park Arts Scholar. UMD credits: The Muses Original Works Project: The Gemini Saga.
Gracie Guzman (Christina) sophomore theatre and dance double major. College Park Arts Scholar. UMD credits: Little Women (Amy March u/s), The Revolutionists (Charlotte Corday u/s), The Muses Original Works Project: Arbor Day (Charlotte). Upcoming: Heathers: The Musical (co-choreographer).
Kaydin Hamby (sound designer)
Jillian Harvey (assistant stage manager) junior theatre major. Credits: Little Women (assistant stage manager), Experimental Performance Series (stage manager). Outside Credits: Everybody, Howard Community College (stage manager), I Love Luci, Howard Community College (stage manager).
Mirsa Hernandez (Paula u/s) senior theatre major. Outside credits: Good Kids (Dierdre), Montgomery College; She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms (Agnes), Montgomery College.
Becca Janney (costume designer) first year costume design M.F.A. candidate. First UMD credit. Outside design credits include: Baylor Theatre (Dancing at Lughnasa, Peter and the Starcatcher, Rhinoceros, She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms), WaterTower Theatre (Everything is Wonderful, Godspell, Harvey) and Stage West Theatre (Ada and the Engine). beccajanney.com
Devin Kinch (projection designer)
Favour Ogbue (Julia) fourth year theatre performance major. UMD credits: Revolutionists (Marianne Angelle u/s). Outside credits: South Pacific, Spencerville Adventist Academy (ensemble), My King & I, Spencerville Adventist Academy (ensemble), Oklahoma, Spencerville Adventist Academy (ensemble), My Fair Lady, Spencerville Adventist Academy (ensemble).
Mel Mader (Cindy u/s) junior theatre and English double major. Environment, Technology, & Economy College Park Scholar. UMD credits: Hookman (assistant stage manager), Fall 2020 M.F.A. Dance Thesis Concert (assistant stage manager), Martius (costume designer).
Jenny Male (weapons consultant)
Kelsey Mesa (director, she/her) Directing credits include The Pavilion, The Magi and Wish List at the Hub Theatre; and Othello, Antigonick, She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange, The Trojan Women and Charm at Taffety Punk Theatre Company, where she is a company member. She has directed for Young Playwrights’ Theatre, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and Theater Alliance’s Hothouse New Play Development Series. Kelsey is the manager of KCACTF and Theater Education at the Kennedy Center, where she coordinates the Kennedy Center Directing Intensive. She is a Miami native, a Northwestern University graduate and a Directors’ Lab North alumna.
Leah Packer (Emma) junior theatre performance major. Creative and Performing Arts Scholar. UMD: Hookman (Chloe u/s), New Beginnings (Performer). Outside: Other Girls (Narrator), 10 Ways (Jules), Santa's Got Talent (Holly), Going Viral (Katy), She Kills Monsters (Gabbi), Kindertransport (Faith).
Eric Pitney (lighting designer) third year M.F.A. design candidate. UMD credits: Fall MFA Dance Thesis Concert Fall 2021: Risk of Play (lighting designer), Subject to Change (lighting designer), M.F.A. Dance Thesis Concert Fall 2020: Ghost Bride (lighting designer), Ariodante (lighting designer), Little Women (assistant lighting designer), A Doll House (assistant lighting designer), The Visit (assistant lighting designer). Training: Abilene Christian University, B.F.A. in theatre: design/tech.
Katie Quinn (Fefu u/s) sophomore theatre and agricultural science double major. College Park Arts Scholars. UMD Credits: Fearless New Play Festival: Tiny Ruins (narrator), Second Season: Martius (Agon), Exousia (puppeteer). Outside credits: Monocacy (student #2). Upcoming: Heathers: The Musical (co-choreographer).
Madeline Redding (assistant stage manager) senior theatre major. UMD credits: Little Women (A2), Faculty Dance Concert (sound designer), Much Ado About Nothing, Maryland Shakespeare Players (sound designer).
Celia Richardson (Cindy) fourth year journalism and theatre major. Celia is thrilled to be a part of this production. Credits: Much Ado About Nothing (Hero), A Doll House (Torvald u/s), Troilus and Cressida (Menelaus/Andromache).
Brandon Roak (scenic designer, he/him) first year M.F.A. scenic design candidate. Fefu and Her Friends is Brandon’s University of Maryland debut. Outside credits: The Flick, The Warehouse Theatre (scenic designer); Cry it Out, Lean Ensemble Theater (scenic designer).
Gabrielle Ryan (Julia u/s) sophomore theatre and journalism double major.
Subhatra Sivam (Cecilia u/s) third year theatre major. Honors College: University Honors and Global Fellows.
Christina Smith (assistant lighting designer)
Carolina Tomasi (Paula) senior Spanish and theatre performance double major. Creative and Performing Arts Scholar. UMD credits: Little Women (Meg), Orlando (ensemble), I Have an Idea For a Play (Character A), She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms (Magic #1), Martius (Martius).
Kate Wander (stage manager) senior theatre major with minors in arts leadership and business. Creative and Performing Arts Scholar. Undergraduate Theatre Artists Society President. UMD credits: Hookman (stage manager), 2020 Fearless New Play Festival (production stage manager), She Kills Monsters (assistant stage manager), Flyin’ West (assistant stage manager), The Heidi Chronicles (assistant stage manager). Outside credits: Working in DC (production assistant).
Assistant Director: Kailee Goldberg
Assistant Lighting Designer: Christina Smith
Assistant Stage Managers: Jillian Harvey, Madeline Redding
Production manager: Jennifer Schwartz
Production coordinator: Bobby Hunter
Costume shop manager: Jennifer Daszczyszak
Assistant costume shop manager & draper: Susan Chiang
Costume crafts & draper: Lisa Burgess
Costume tailor & draper: Tessa Lew
Costume draper: Katie Stomps
First Hand: Amy VanderStaay
Costume graduate assistants: Clare Lillig, Connor Locke
Costume technicians: Layali Aljirafi, Katy Cawley, Karenna Foley, Mel Mader, Nicole Panebianco, Amelia Yasuda
Technology shop manager: Jeffery Reckeweg
Lighting coordinator: Carrie Barton
Lead electricians: Malory Hartman, Lauren Hawley, Christian Henrriquez, James Newman, Zachary Rupp, Cameron Smith, Christina Smith, Cassandra Sualski
Student electricians: Max Abramovitz, Stephen Lyons, Mel Mader, Emily Pan, Dylan Speiser, Evan Thanicatt, Hanna Zakharenko
Projections coordinator: Devin Kinch
Projections technicians: Sam Biuk, Deja Collins, Jerran Kowalski, Cassandra Saulski
Audio shop manager: James O’Connell
Audio technicians: Nick Cameron, Mike Houser, Neel Madan, Lindsay McElhinney
Props shop manager: Timothy Jones
Props graduate students: Abigail Bueti, Mark Williams
Prop shop student artisans: Marcus Campbell, Josie Danckaert, Troy Mohammad Gharibani, Adam Hawley, Roxy King
Technical director: Mark Rapach
Assistant technical director: Michael Driggers
Scenic artist: Ann Chismar
Scene shop coordinator: Reuven Goren
Lead carpenter: Earl Browne
Carpenters: Frank Bowles, Katy Cawley, Kailee Goldberg, Devin Kohn, Kelley Li, Carl Ostrenga
Student carpenters: Marcus Campbell, Elta Goldstein, Adam Hawley, Alana Isaac, Roxy King, Sabrina Lenett, Paetyn Lewis, Celia Richardson, Gabrielle Scott
Scenic charge coordinator: Ann Chismar
Scenic charge artist: Andrea Ball
Scenic painters: Bobbie Carter Dewhurst
Student scenic painters: Max Abramovitz, Sarah Bennett, Natalia Corvoisier, Brooke Melton, Nicole Panebianco
Technical coordinator: Sandy Everett
Stage crew leads: Steven Bronocco, Alexix Hayes, Cole Owens
Show Crew
Run crew: Jade Hull, Hayden Lipczenko
Light board operator: Kiefer Cure
Wardrobe supervisor: Wendy Walker
Dressers: Annabel Lee, Katrina Marinelli
Projections board operator: Davis Stack
Audio engineer: Evan Thanicatt
Audio/camera technician: Cameron Tucker Robinson
Jennifer Barclay
Amith Chandrashaker
Andrew Cissna
Daniel Conway
Crystal Davis
Adriane Fang
Leslie Felbain
Marielis Garcia
James Harding
Franklin J. Hildy
Helen Huang
Misha Kachman
Maura Keefe
Brian MacDevitt
Caitlin Marshall
Alvin Mayes
Jared Mezzocchi
Lisa Nathans
Sara Pearson
Kendra Portier
Scot Reese
Van Tran Nguyen
Patrik Widrig
Crystal Gaston
Bobby Hunter
Isiah Johnson
Susan Miller
Renee Nyack
Jennifer Schwartz
Kathleen Spanos
Ronya Lee Anderson
Lindsey Barr
Abigail Bueti
Deja Collins
J. Mitchell Cronin
Amber Daniels
Tara Demmy
Eran Eads
Jordan Ealey
Britney Falcon
Lauren Farnell
Mary Kate Ford
Luis Garcia
Cary Gillett
Matré Grant
Allison Hedges
Christian Henrriquez
Rebecca Hill
Kelley Holley
Rebecca Janey
Shartoya Jn.Baptiste
Casey Kaleba
Mina Kawahara
Devin Kinch
Tristan Koepke
Jarren Kowalski
Gerson Lanza Ruiz
Maggie Laszewski
Rashonda Lazar
Gianina K. Lockley
Ashlynne Ludwig
Q-mars Haeri
Alex Miller
John Monday
Gavin Mosier
Javier Padilla
Stephanie Parks
Eric Pitney
Andrés Poch
Kristopher Pourzal
Sean Preston
Heather Reynolds
Brandon Roaktheat
Christina Robson
Caroline Rocher Barnes
Victoria Scrimer
Zerihun Sira
Christina Smith
Rebecca Steinberg
Jared Strange
Melissa Sturges
Zavier Taylor
Taylor Verrett
Carlo Antonio Villanueva
Cody Von Ruden
Cyrah Ward
Mark Williams