Bracing for “Hurricane Diane,” NECC Theater’s Spring Production
Haverhill, MA (March 27, 2023)– Northern Essex Community College Theater has all the elements for success its upcoming spring production: climate change, Greek mythology, and sexual identity, with a dash of Real Housewives of New Jersey. They combine hilariously to create the perfect storm that is Hurricane Diane. NECC Theater will stage the production, penned by Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George, April 27-30.
“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be zippy, modern, and funny,” promises director and NECC Theater Professor Brianne Beatrice. “I’m working on the music and sound design right now. It’s going to be very intriguing to the audience.”
The title role Diane is played by Liberal Arts: Writing major Mirrorajah Metcalfe of Haverhill. AmericanTheater.org describes the character as “a permaculture gardener dripping with butch charm.” In reality, Diane is the Greek god Dionysus. She’s returned to the modern world to gather mortal followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than with four housewives in a suburban New Jersey cul-de-sac? The comedy serves as a commentary on the blind eye we all turn to climate change and “the bacchanalian catharsis that awaits us, even in our own backyards.”
Four more Northern Essex students round out the cast: Olivia Barberian, Madison Monahan, Jessica Newy, and Ana Barrera.
Beatrice first saw a production of Hurricane Diane at the Huntington Theater starring her good friend, Salem State Theater professor Esme Allen, about a year and a half ago. “I loved it. I loved the pace, the relationship to the environment, the representation of the LGBTQIA+ community,” remembers Beatrice. Esme later encouraged her to stage her own production at NECC. Beatrice was mulling it over when she saw Metcalfe and Monahan in this fall’s staged reading of Stop Kiss. “I thought, ‘That’s it. There’s Hurricane Diane.’ I realized this could really work here.”
The show will return to the outdoor setting used to stage Tiny, Beautiful Things in the fall of 2021, near the Bentley Library on the NECC Haverhill Campus. Shows are scheduled for April 27 and 28 at 4pm and April 29 and 30 at 2pm. The show runs an hour and a half, and due to some strong language and mild adult themes, it is recommended for audience members who are 18+. Tickets can be purchased here.
If you would like to learn more about theater at Northern Essex, you can contact Professor Brianne Beatrice.