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The cast of the International Theatre Program's production of Octavia: Standing, from left to right: Panache Hofisi '20 (Poppaea's Partisan); Samantha Richardson '19 (Seneca); Tori Powers '18 (Poppaea); Rebecca Sarin '21 (Octavia's Nurse). Sitting, from left to right: Yumeng (Lucinda) Liu '18 (Prefect), Claire Turvill '21 (Messenger); Meghan Yarussi '20 (Poppaea's Nurse); Kevin Bodhipasksha '18 (Nero); Andria Rabenold '21 (Ghost of Agrippina).

The International Theatre Program closes its fall semester with the production of Octavia, directed by Obie Award-winning guest director Ken Rus Schmoll. The show opens November 30, and runs through December 9. Attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca, the rarely staged play chronicles the dissolution of the marriage between Nero—the last emperor of Rome—and Octavia, his aristocratic wife. Octavia, a play ripped from the headlines—from the year AD 62, asks questions about the conduct of a ruler, discourse about a woman’s place, and musings on the degeneration of the world.

Students performing in Octavia are: Kevin Bodhipasksha ’18, Tori Powers ’18, Madeleine Fordham ’21, Rebecca Sarin ’21, Andria Rabenold ’21, Meghan Yarussi ’20, Panache Hofisi ’20, Claire Turvill ’21, Yumeng (Lucinda) Liu ’18, and Samantha Richardson ’19.

The set and costume design is by Marsha Ginsberg. The lighting design is Yuki Nakase and sound design and composer is Jane Shaw. The acting and voice coach for the production is Alexa Scott-Flaherty.

The production runs Thursday through Saturday (November 30 – December 2) and Thursday through Saturday (December 7 – December 9) starting at 7 p.m. There is a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 3.  All performances take place in Todd Theater on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. Tickets are $8 for University of Rochester students, $12 for alumni, faculty, staff, and for seniors (65+), and $15 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at (585) 275-4088. Tickets may also be purchased up to an hour before each performance at the box office.

University of Rochester photos / J. Adam Fenster

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