North Central College - Naperville, IL

Students star in theatrical production of Greek tragedy “Phedre”

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Ali Ledbetter portrays the Greek queen Phedre.
Ali Ledbetter portrays the Greek queen Phedre.

April 14, 2011—North Central College presents a classic tale of Greek tragedy when students perform “Phedre” April 28 through May 1.

French playwright Jean Baptiste Racine (1639-1699) published his best-known play in 1677 and based his work on the ancient Greek play “Hippolytus” by Euripides (484-406 BC). “Phedre” (pronounced FAY-druh) explores classic themes of forbidden love, deception, intrigue and power.

Four performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. April 28, 29 and 30 and at 2 p.m. May 1 in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $10/adults and $8/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

“Phedre” focuses on the title character of the play, the wife of Theseus, king of Athens. The action is set at the royal court in Troezen, a town in southern Greece on the Peloponnesus peninsula. The plot centers on Phedre’s forbidden love for her stepson, Hippolytus, and how she deals with it.

As the play begins, Hippolytus is determined to leave Troezen to search for his father, King Theseus, who has been missing for six months. The prince intends to find the king in order to gain his permission to woo Aricia, whose family is among Theseus’ enemies.

Phedre, the queen, has made herself sick over her forbidden love for her stepson. As the action unfolds, there are reports the king is dead, intrigue over the heir to the throne, deception after the king returns unharmed and tragic consequences for some of the characters.

The production is directed by Carin Silkaitis, assistant professor of theatre and theatre department chair. Performances will be true to English translations of Racine’s dialogue but the production’s set and costumes will be nontraditional.

“I wanted our production to be reminiscent of the Greek tragedy but with a more modern feel,” Silkaitis says.

The principal parts for North Central’s production of “Phedre” are:

Parts: Actor, town, year, major
Phedre: Alexis (Ali) Ledbetter of Coal Valley, Ill., a junior majoring in speech communication
Theseus: Harrison Ashley of Carol Stream, Ill., a junior majoring in musical theatre
Hippolytus: Tanner Smale of Elkhart, Ind., a junior majoring in musical theatre
Aricia: Lauren Smith of Byron, Ill., a junior majoring in psychology and theatre
Oenone: Colleen O’Connor of Mesa, Ariz., a sophomore majoring in musical theatre
Theramene: Bryan Renaud of Sugar Grove, Ill., a sophomore majoring in theatre
Ismene: Stephanie Rudakas of Valparaiso, Ind., a senior majoring in elementary education
Panope: Hannah Toriumi of Riverside, Ill., a senior majoring in psychology and theatre

Crew: Name, town, year, major
Assistant director: Angie Snodgrass of Byron, a senior majoring in theatre
Stage manager: Sarah West of Clarendon Hills, Ill., a sophomore majoring in theatre
Assistant stage manager: Zach Faber of Aurora, a freshman majoring in theatre
Lighting designer: Drew Ogden of Medina, N.Y., a senior majoring in theatre and management
Sound designer: Margaret Foley of Vernon Hills, a sophomore majoring in theatre
Costume designer: Chelsea Sullivan of Batavia, a freshman majoring in chemistry

North Central College offers majors in theatre performance, technical theatre or musical theater and minors in theatre or dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and non-musical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College’s four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty. Visit to learn more about North Central College’s theatre programs.

Founded in 1861, North Central College is celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2011. This community event is one of many ongoing programs at the College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

Contact: Ted Slowik, director of PR and media relations, 630-637-5307