Transforming MSU

 
 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Vignettes student-written and performed for the MSU Community.

Synopsis

Transforming Theatre Ensemble (TTE) has teamed up with the Department of Theatre to develop and present a series of student-written and performed video vignettes, as a commitment to positive change on campus. 

All Michigan State faculty, staff, and administrators are encouraged to attend. The student playwrights have written from their own experiences at Michigan State University and this is an opportunity to share in dialogue about disability, race, gender, national origin, and more. 

Each session will include the presentation of three video vignettes followed by small group dialogue in breakout rooms. The event will conclude with a Q&A with the playwrights.

How to Register & Participate

Thursday, April 8th

5:00 - 6:30pm

It’s a Big Deal to Me Alondra Alvarez
Two incoming freshmen who are set to be roommates meet online for the first time. Both are excited, nervous, and hopeful that the stranger they are meeting will eventually become a good friend. But what seems like a point of connection to one feels very different to the other.
Featuring: Rachel Voss as “Courtney” and Ayleen Perez as “Teresa”

What’s in a pronoun, Anyways? by C Rose Widmann
A Zoom class descends into chaos when a classmate makes hurtful, if well-intentioned, comments. What does true allyship look like? 
Featuring: 
Andie Nash as “Jessie”, Rachel Voss as “Sarah”, Greg Hayes as “Jason”, Michale Coffey as “Professor”, C Rose Widmann, Laniya Mason, Makayla Griffin as Extras

Microaggressions From Professors by Justice Fowler
Alexa is the only student in her class feeling frustrated by lack of help from the professor. She’s also the only Black student. What feels like a few minor incidents to her white classmates may end up having a big impact on Alexa’s life.
Featuring: Kiersten Wilcher as “Alexa”, Timothy Hackbarth as “Cameron”, Mary Claire Zauel as “Kelsey”

Wednesday, April 21st

6:00 - 7:30pm

I Hate Needles by Cole Dzubak
Tyler needs help from tutor Alex. But it’s Alex who’s asking questions when Tyler’s blood sugar monitor goes off during their tutoring session.
Featuring: Ben Barber as “Tyler”, Tim Hackbarth as “Alex”, Greg Hayes as “Jordan”

Common Ground? by Natalie Kagole
Kenji and Max are meeting for the first time in a get-to-know-you breakout room for the music appreciation club. By the end of their conversation, Max from Michigan comes away feeling connected and affirmed, and Kenji from Botswana is….well….confused. 
Featuring: Khanyisile Nawa as “Kenji”, Ben Barber as “Max”

“Diversity” Without Inclusion by Jasmine Piggott
A diverse student planning committee is generating a lot of great ideas. The committee leader is thrilled to see that her attempt at bringing a diverse team together is working out. So why are several members of the committee abruptly dropping out of the zoom early?
Featuring: Kiersten Wilcher as “Charlotte”, Ayleen Perez as “Maria”, Rachel Voss as “Taylor, and Andie Nash as “Stefanie”. 

Playwrights

Person with long black hair, wearing a blue top with short lace sleeves and denim skirt smiles before a wooden fence draped in leaves

Alondra M Alvarez

Alondra was proudly born and raised in Southwest Detroit. Ms. Alvarez is third year communication student, with a concentration in social influence. She currently serves as Vice President for Culturas De Las Razas Unidas, MSU’s largest Latinx organization. She also works as a peer mentor in the Detroit M.A.D.E program, and has held different positions throughout her 3 years at MSU, such as resident assistant and undergraduate research assistant. Alondra aspires to get her degree and go back to Detroit to continue doing advocacy, activism, and organizing to ensure that Detroit students and residents have the resources they need to be successful and that all their voices are heard and uplifted.
Person with short brown hair and a short brown beard wearing a brown button down shirt smiles before a painted mural

Cole Dzubak

Cole is a junior at Michigan State University from Mattawan, Michigan with a double major in Acting and Communication, and a minor in musical theatre. Cole has been heavily involved in theatre since he was five years old and considers himself a theatre creator. While Cole loves every aspect of theatre, his main focuses of study are in acting in dramas, writing social justice and political new works, and scenic carpentry. Cole is currently the president of Second Stage Playwriting, a group on campus dedicated to building new skills and confidence as writers. Cole has had three works selected for festivals in the past 2 years; Type 1 and Hoplo through Michigan State University, and Afterall through Flint Repertory Theatre. Outside of theatre, Cole loves listening to music, watching movies, playing card games, and spending time with friends and loved ones.

A person will long brown hair wearing a teal floral dress and black open toed shoes smiles before a background of greenery

Justice Fowler

Justice is a third-year Honors student under the College of Social Science, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Community Governance and Education, as well as minoring in Leadership of Organizations. Her area of undergraduate research studies is in race and ethnicity, specifically on the topics of discrimination and mixed-race identity. She serves as an acting member of the Writing Center Advisory Council at MSU and as a writing consultant, and also acts as a tutor, mentor, and student leader.

A black woman with long black hair wearing a black blazer with gold zipper smiles before a color print in the background

Natalie Kagole

Natalie is a current senior and Mastercard Foundation Scholarship recipient from Kampala -Uganda, majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Public Health and Leadership of Organizations. As a young leader, Natalie has been involved in on campus clubs since freshman year, serving roles like Public Relations Officer at African Leadership Association, Student Advisor on the Student Health Advisory Council, Mastercard Scholar Representative and is currently an active member of the Senior Class Council at ASMSU and serves on the core leadership team of the Collegiate Black and Christian Club. She has also excelled in different contests like the One Health Challenge 2018 where she her team emerged 1st place earning them a fully paid trip to the One Health World Congress in Saskatoon, Canada, the 2018 OISS International Essay Contest Winner, a 2020 Women’s Leadership Institute Photo Essay Contest winner and was recognized at the annual Excellence in Diversity Awards ceremony, 2019. Natalie has travelled to five countries outside her own so far and aspires keep travelling in order to learn more about different cultures and collaborate to find creative ways to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Her favorite things to do in her free time include; binge learning from Ted Talks and her favorite content creators on you tube, singing, spending time with people, networking on LinkedIn and speaking to family back home.

A black woman with short black hair wearing a blue patterned dress smiles while holding a tuba outdoors

Jasmine “Jazzie” Pigott

Jazzie began to play the tuba at the age of ten after accidentally choosing the trombone and playing that for a year; she quickly excelled.  As a college junior in 2018, Jasmine was invited to be a solo artist on the “Promising Artists of the 21st Century” concert series tour in Costa Rica. There, she realized her true passion for performing for people of marginalized backgrounds. Since then, Jasmine has become an activist for increasing the diversity in the field of classical music. With this mission, she has participated in several research projects, performed concerts in marginalized communities, and developed performance-based projects and presentations. In February 2020, Jasmine was awarded the first prize in the Michigan State University Running Start Competition for her grant proposal to commission composers of color to write tuba pieces in black music styles for an album. In addition to playing tuba, Jasmine is a mezzo-soprano with a voice that fits a diversity of styles. She also actively writes fiction and poetry with hopes to get published one day.

A person with long light brown hair wears a crown of purple flowers and grins in front of a flowering bush with pink flowers

C Widmann

C (they/them/theirs) is originally from Ashland, OR. They are a 5th year senior studying Theater and English with minors in ACM/Musical Theater/History. When not writing or working on pieces for their art business, they are working out on Zoom with the MSU fencing team or in the gym with the MSU Club Gymnastics Team.

Cast & Crew

Ben Barber

Ben Barber (Freshman)

Ben Barber is a freshman studying acting here at MSU. When hes not acting, he plays music, writes stories, and sings songs. He is grateful to be a part of this project and hopes to continue impacting my community through my work.

Michale Coffey (Freshman)

Michale Coffey is a freshman, double majoring in Theatre with a focus of acting and Criminal Justice. He loves everything involving music, performing and nature.

Timothy Hackbarth (Sophomore)

Timothy Hackbarth is a sophomore Acting major at Michigan State University. This is his second main-stage production. He is very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this production and to help spread awareness and start conversations regarding some of the many issues we face today. 

Greg Hayes (Senior)

Greg Hayes is a senior, raised in Saginaw Michigan. He is proud to say that Transforming MSU has been his first virtual theater production. Greg is actively engaged in bringing social and cultural awareness to the Michigan State community and the Lansing public school district. He feels that this production has been inspiring, and is proud to support his fellow peers in reconstructing a more compassionate society.

Andie Nash (Junior)

Andie Nash is a junior BFA Acting Major with a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and Arts and Cultural Management. She is the Co-leader of After School Special Improv and a member of Man Overboard Improv. She is also a comedy sketch writer for Roial productions and MSU telecasters. She was grateful to have the opportunity to tell such important stories and to work with such compassionate people.

Khanyisile Nawa (Freshman)

Khanyisile Nawa is a freshman international student from Botswana at MSU. She is currently majoring in Actuarial Science. She is a poet and a photographer. She loves the arts and has always had a passion for exploring the arts as a whole. She enjoys playing sports but also enjoys watching plays and performing.

Ayleen Perez (Senior)

Ayleen Perez is from Brownsville, Texas. Majoring in Theater and minoring in musical theater and Spanish. Shes a fifth year and will be graduating this spring, God willing! She has a passion for singing and teaching Spanish . Once she graduates, she plans on going to grad school to be able to properly teach theater and Spanish to elementary kids!

Rachel Vos (Sophomore)

Rachel Vos is overjoyed with opportunity to share these wonderful playwrights’ work with this zoom production! She is a sophomore BFA Acting Major with a Musical Theatre Minor. Being a part of this project is such a blessing and she wants to thank everyone involved for being so talented and kind! Go green!

Kiersten Wilcher (Senior)

Kiersten Wilcher is a Senior BA Theater Major at Michigan State University. She is currently double enrolled in an esthiology program where she plan on getting my esthetician license as well. She loves talking to her family and friends and playing with her dog! Shes from Detroit, Michigan but currently resides in East Lansing. Acting and singing have always been her passion, so she has many hobbies that she enjoys!

Mary Claire Zauel

Mary Claire Zauel (Sophomore)

Mary Claire is a sophomore English major, Musical Theatre and Film Studies Minor from Ann Arbor. Past productions at MSU include Medusa (Ensemble) and D.E.I. Audio Anthology (Director, Writer & Actor). She is thrilled to be a part of this production and would like to thank her family for all of their love and support!

Mollie Mills (Senior)

Mollie is a senior Stage Management and Arts and Cultural Management student at MSU. She is extremely grateful to finish her time at MSU focusing on diversity and hopes this project brings more attention to the microaggressions many students face. She currently lives in DC and works for PBS as a member of a team focusing on showcasing diverse female authors.