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Bellarmine Theatre Department to put on “Angel Street”

By: Julia Watson

First-year student Jackson Schablik and senior Caroline Cox rehearse a scene from “Angel Street."

Bellarmine’s theatre department will present “Angel Street” beginning Nov. 18.

The play by Patrick Hamilton centers on the abusive relationship of a married couple, the Manninghams, in 19th century London, where the husband is determined to drive his wife to insanity.

The show stars students Caroline Cox, Jackson Schablik, Brady Sexton, Ava Vanderkolff and Katelyn Carter.

Each year, APO (Alpha Psi Omega), the theatre society on campus, chooses a show to be completely led and directed by students.

Junior Holly Kissel will be the director for “Angel Street.”

Cox, the producer and lead actor, initially brought the script of the show to Kissel, and Kissel said they both really enjoyed it.

“We thought it was very different from what we’ve recently been doing in the theatre department,” Kissel said. “So, we both sat down and proposed it together.”

Kissel said she enjoyed the play so much because it felt like an Agatha Christie novel with tension and deep character moments, especially with the main character, Bella.

“She goes through so much throughout it, and throughout the script it’s just building more and more tension until the final moment of the play where everything explodes,” she said.

Kissel also said she wanted the design aspect to lean into a maximalist Victorian era setting while adding the psychological thriller aesthetics over it.

She said this was done by including Victorian era books and globes and “playing with really harsh shadows, characters coming out of the light and coming out of the darkness.”

Senior Ava Vanderkolff rehearses a scene as “Nancy” with Cox.

Kissel said the original script the play is based on coined the term “gaslight,” where the technique is depicted.

Kissel said students should watch the play so they can see how the term isn’t just a social media buzzword.

“It is a real thing, and there are resources to help with that,” she said.

Cox plays the lead character, Bella Manningham, who for the past six months has been emotionally abused by her husband.

Cox said she is most looking forward to performing the last scene in the show where Bella finally is able to defend herself.

“She finds her inner strength and the ability to stand up to her abuser,” she said. “It’s a really powerful, poignant moment in the story.”

She also said it is essential to show these kinds of moments to audiences.

“I just think it’s important to display that sense of strength that resides in people without them necessarily knowing it,” she said.

Schablik plays Jack Manningham, the husband and antagonist.

Schablik said the audience will notice the gaslighting from his character by his actions.

“He’ll play all these little tricks on her like taking a picture off the wall and then blaming her for it,” he said.

Schablik also said the most interesting part of playing this character is to be able to utilize his voice to manipulate what role Jack is playing.

“Sometimes he is sweet and compassionate, and sometimes he’ll play the victim card,” he said. “It’s playing with that sort of vocal range that I think is really cool.”

The show also formed a partnership with the Center for Women and Families to be on site and provide information on gaslighting and abuse. It will give information to people who want to volunteer and will also offer aid to those who seek resources for their own situation.

“Using the play, both as a form of entertainment and as a form of education for resources, is very important,” Kissel said.

“Angel Street” can be seen in the Wyatt Hall Black Box Theatre Nov. 18 to Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 19 to Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $7 for students, seniors and groups of five or more.


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