Speed of Light

May 09, 2014
Bella Poynton
Directed by: 
Ariel Francoeur
David Thayer Theatre


While the System is being invaded by mindless alien beings, Mayra Ecazin, a brilliant physicist, has discovered the secret to traveling at the speed of light. The race to get the machine made, however, proves more difficult than anticipated. Suddenly, everyone is interested in Mayra and her achievements, but their intentions are perhaps, less genuine. While Kantis, a nearby planet and home to Mayra's best friend Valki, fights for survival, Mayra herself struggles for life due to a severe drug addiction that allowed for her great discovery in the first place. The clock is ticking, and all involved are working as fast as possible--but is it fast enough?


Mayra Ecazin Elizabeth Hinkler
Frey Pevensey Nate Wasson
Tazmen Zandt Chris Rangel
Kippling (Kip) Rakai Ali Borchers
Nevik Kier Frankie Rose III
Ferrin Rubinowitz RJ McGhee
Valki Oveyna Melina Neves

Artistic Team

Playwright Bella Poynton
Director Ariel Francoeur
Dramaturg Madison Colquette
Scenic Designer Peggy Mead-Finizio
Costume Desiger Emily Bushá
Lighting Designer Matt Carney
Sound Designer Bri Atwood
Stage Manager Joe Pray
Assistant Stage Manager Dony Kim

Speed of Light contains some adult themes, including fictional drug use.


Cast Bios


Elizabeth Hinkler (Mayra Ecazin)
Elizabeth feels bittersweet about her final production at Iowa. She’s honored to play this intelligent woman who has selfless compassion for the ones she loves. Recent productions include: Pocketful of Sand, My Sister, Out of the Pan Into the Fire, Lady M, and Martha Clarke's In The Night. Elizabeth hopes that this production shares how precious life is—no matter which planet they are from. She'd like to thank everyone involved, especially M/D, Alex, and Emily!

Nate Wasson (Frey Pevensey)
Nate is a second year MFA candidate in acting at the University of Iowa. His performances at the university have included King Duncan in Lady M, Mr. Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer, Argan in The Imaginary Invalid, and Comte Arsenault in Makeover. Nate is extremely grateful to work with the amazing talents of everyone involved with Speed of Light. He would also like to thank his family and friends for their love and support!

Christopher Rangel (Tazmen Zandt)
Christopher is a second year MFA acting candidate, and is grateful to be working on such a phenomenal project with a stellar group of people. Chris comes from Texas where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and is a former Navy Corpsman. Previous performances include Pocketful of Sand, The Playwright, Water by the Spoonful, For the Falls, multiple Book Wings projects, and Champagne Gods

Ali Borchers (Kippling “Kip” Rakai)
This is Ali's final production at the University of Iowa. She will be completing her bachelor's degree in theatre arts this May. You may have seen her on the Mainstage before in productions of Spring Awakening, A Dream Play, You Lost Me, Big Love, and Antigone 2.0. She feels incredibly privileged to finish out her time here with such a talented group of people on such a stellar show!

Melina Neves (Valki Oveyna)
Melina is a graduating senior theatre arts major with a minor in Japanese. Her most recent University of Iowa performances include Medusa Undone (Medusa), The Aurora Project (Nora), and Out of the Pan Into the Fire (Elsie). Catch her this summer in RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women (Faith). She will move to Chicago at the start of August, but will eventually just go wherever Bella is and be her resident actor. This performance, like every performance Melina will ever do, is dedicated to her mother.

Artistic Team Bios

Bella Poynton (Playwright)
Bella is a third year MFA playwright and holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University. Most recently, her play The Aurora Project was produced at the Science Fiction Theater Company. Later this year, she will be working with Otherworld Theatre in Chicago on another production of Aurora. Bella is also the 2013-2014 Ginsberg Artist in Residence for the Iowa City Community Central School District, and is a core instructor at the Road Less Traveled Summer Theatre Institute in Buffalo, NY.

Ariel Francoeur (Director)
Ariel is a first year student in the MFA directing program. She has directed and acted in numerous productions around the country. In New York City she worked with Primary Stages, Estrogenius Festival, The Looking Glass Theatre, The Seeing Place Theatre, A Festival of Fools, Spontaneous Shakespeare, and many more. At the University of Iowa she directed Pvt. Wars by James McLure and Medusa Undone by Bella Poynton, and was the assistant director for Makeover

Madison Colquette (Dramaturg)
Madison is a first year MFA dramaturgy candidate. She most recently served as the dramaturg for The Playwright and Water by the Spoonful. She moved to Iowa City from Atlanta where she served as a dramaturg with several theatres in the city. Special thanks to Sarah Johnson and Kristi Banker for their unparalleled guidance this past year.

Peggy Mead-Finizio (Scenic Designer)
Peggy is a third year design graduate student in Iowa’s Department of Theatre Arts. Speed of Light is her first realized scenic design. Her most recent lighting design was for Iowa’s Department of Dance’s production of Presenting Norma. She has most recently been the Education Director and Production Manager for Florida Arts and Dance Company in Stuart, Florida. She enjoys combining her love of theatre and dance and is glad Iowa can offer these types of opportunities.

Bri Atwood (Sound Design)
Bri Atwood is a junior studying theatre arts and writing. This year, she was sound designer for three of the department's Mainstage productions including Water by the Spoonful, Makeover, and Slaughter City. She also mixed Makeover, as well as the university's project with the International Writing Project, Book Wings. Among these productions, Bri has also worked on several gallery shows as sound and lighting designer. This is her third year involved with New Play Festival and she would like to dedicate her work this year to her grandmother, Malola Atwood.

Chloe Waryan (Assistant Dramaturg)
Chloe is an undergrad senior with a BA in Theatre and English, and she is part of the Creative Writing Track. Through the university, Chloe has assistant directed Dr. Faustus, and worked on numerous productions including Collective Amnesia, For the Falls, Absurd Person Singular, and Slaughter City. She is currently the playwriting editor for earthwords, the undergraduate literary magazine. Chloe is thrilled to be involved in the New Play Festival again.

Joe Pray (Stage Manager)
Joe is humbled and excited to be stage managing on this year’s New Play Festival in Speed of Light. Past university credits include stage manager for The Aurora Project and Mold, assistant stage manager for The Imaginary Invalid and Dust & Ash, and director for Puddin’. He would like to thank the university for allowing him to further learn and develop his skills.

New Play Festival Information

Link to the New Play Festival homepage.