Professor Richard Perez stands on a stage without a set, with cast members Sam Hill Class of 2018, Olivia Lehnertz Class of 2019 and Akia Smith Class of 2018. The three women are wearing western costumes including cowboy hats and boots, denim, plaid, and vests. Akia holds a lasso. Another coil of rope is in the foreground on the floor.

The Play’s the Thing

Richard Perez, MFA | Assistant Professor of Theatre

Diversity and fresh starts were hallmarks of two of Professor Rich Perez’s 2017 projects. Summer took him to Chicago to direct the UrbanTheatre Company’s production of Richard Montoya’s Water & Power; Perez and Montoya updated the script to shift the gritty drama’s setting from Los Angeles to Chicago, with turns of phrase and cultural references specific to the Midwest. In the fall he began collaborating with Hope students to create a new play to give female actors powerful roles. They’re making it a western because in that genre, women usually get short shrift. (Here, left to right, Perez exchanges ideas with cast members Sam Hill ’18, Olivia Lehnertz ’19 and Akia Smith ’18 as they work on the new script.) Writing will continue through the winter, and the production will be staged at the DeWitt Center main theater April 20-21, and 26-28 at 7:30pm and April 22 at 2pm.