NEWPORT, R.I. – A thesis project that included study of documentary theatre and a service trip to work with displaced animals in New Orleans will culminate on the stage when eight Salve Regina seniors will perform their production of “Because They Have No Words.”
The play, written by Tim Maddock and Lotti Louise Phariss, is inspired by the true story of Maddock’s animal rescue work in New Orleans after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the city in 2005.
Performances are at 8 p.m. on March 1-3 and at 3 p.m. on March 4 at the Megley Black Box Theatre, located in the Antone Academic Center on the campus of Salve Regina University, 100 Ochre Point Ave. While seating is limited, tickets may be purchased online at www.tinyurl.com/salvecasino or by calling the box office at 401-341-2250.
Suzanne Delle, assistant professor of performing arts and director of the production, was awarded a grant by the University Mission Committee to help incorporate the New Orleans service component into the students’ thesis project. The eight theatre majors and minors, along with Delle, traveled to New Orleans during their semester break in January. They met with Maddock and volunteered with Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO).
Since October 2005, ARNO has served as a no-kill shelter and triage center for animals. The students spent a week assisting in the care and cleaning of dogs and cats waiting for adoption at ARNO as well as experiencing the vibrant culture of the city of New Orleans in preparation for the performance of the piece.
“I believe that this project exemplifies Salve Regina University’s mission to serve others and encourage our students to be creative, empathetic stewards of the world,” Delle said. “Not only with the eight theater arts students benefit from this project but so will the entire University committee with the presentation of the thesis project, ‘Because They Have No Words.’”
Maddock, a playwright and actor, created the play with co-author Phariss using his own experiences and interviews conducted during his time in New Orleans three weeks after Hurricane Katrina. The play had its world premiere in Los Angeles in 2006 and premiered in the Chicago area in 2008.
Maddock returned to Newport to visit with the cast from Feb. 13-17, providing direction and guidance for the actors, and serving as a resource to answer questions about the content and development of the play.