Cornell College and Riverside Theatre present “Birth Witches” starting Oct. 10

The Cornell College Department of Theatre, along with Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre, is producing “Birth Witches,” a dark satire by Iowa City playwright Jennifer Fawcett, and guest-directed by Leda Hoffmann. The production runs Oct. 10 through 13 on Cornell’s campus, and will be remounted at Riverside Theatre and run Oct. 18 through Nov. 3.

Birthwitches Horizontal Image
Actors noted left to right: Daniel Dempsey ’14, Per Wiger ’15 and Myra Duffour ’14

The show is set in 1606, when the witch craze came to London. King James rules a land steeped in superstition, trapped in politics and at the dawning of the Scientific Revolution. A new profession called “Physician” has become popular with the elite and the traditions of the midwives are called into question. As the new male doctors fight to replace the old female midwives, accusations of witchcraft overturn hundreds of years of tradition and release dark fears and acts of violence.  Fawcett’s dramatic satire offers a heart-wrenching and darkly funny look at the superstition and politics that transformed midwives into witches.

“Birth Witches” is performed by an ensemble cast comprised of both student and professional actors.  The cast includes Cornell students Luke Brooks, Daniel Dempsey, Myra Duffour, Dorothy Jolly, Haley Karlson, Millicent Marter, Melissa Trentacoste, and Per Wiger. Distinguished Artists in Residence Ron Clark and Jody Hovland, along with professionals Tim Budd, and Jaclyn June Johnson from Iowa City and the surrounding region, join the cast. The production is led by director Leda Hoffmann of Miluakee Rep, technical director and Cornell lecturer Don Schneider, costume designer and Cornell lecturer Jenny Nutting Kelchen, scenic designer Paul Sannerud, hair and makeup designer and Cornell student Mandy Chavez, lighting designer Courtney Schmitz Watson and sound designer Sean Christopher Lewis. Because of adult language and situations, this production is for mature audiences.

“Birth Witches” opens Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m in the Plumb-Flemming Black Box Theatre located in Armstrong Hall on Cornell’s campus. The production runs again Oct. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude with a matinee on Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. Because of limited seating, ticket reservations are recommended. The audience is invited to remain in the theatre on Friday night for a post-show discussion with the director, cast, and crew.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for non-Cornell students. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 10% discount on admission. Tickets can be purchased through the box office, by calling in advance at (319) 895-4293, by e-mailing, or at the door. Faculty, staff, and students of Cornell are admitted free with a Cornell ID, but are encouraged to reserve their tickets in advance.