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Esperanza Deterding, senior in communications portrays Emilia ‘one' on Feb. 22. Deterding portrayed Emilia's younger years for the play. 

PSU Theatre debuts Emilia  

Esperanza Deterding, senior in communications portrays Emilia ‘one’ on Feb. 22. Deterding portrayed Emilia’s younger years for the play. 

Alyssa Tyler editor in chief 

Pittsburg State University students, faculty, and those in the community were invited to sit back and watch the story of Emilia. A trailblazing poet from centuries ago was told in an interesting and unique way this past weekend.  

The PSU theater department has been working on this play for months now, working on collecting the cast, rehearsing, and getting ready for show night.  

“It’s been stressful, but it’s been a great experience. Because obviously, this is what I want to do moving forward. We have had a couple hiccups; we had some people actually end up having to leave the cast. There have been some trials and tribulations, but this cast has been really good at adapting to those hiccups. The overall process has been stressful, but very meaningful to me,” Jenna Russell, graduate student in communications and co-director of the play. “This show means a lot to me, and it has been an overall great experience, working with the cast, the crew and Gil.” 

Although the play showcases one woman, three different actresses play the role of Emilia. These three versions of Emilias take place at different points throughout Emilias life.  

When it came to casting, the directors, Russell and Gil Cooper, were tasked with finding people of color and/or of Jewish descent to be in these three lead roles.  

“It’s really cool to have someone who is Mexican, someone who’s African, and then someone is of Jewish descent. It was really cool that we all got to be the same person, though we look totally different,” Deterding said.  

Esperanza Deterding, senior in communications portrays Emilia ‘one.’ Corin Cooper, freshman in biology, portrays Emilia ‘two.’ And Khadija Ceesay senior in English portrays Emilia ‘three,’ the oldest of the three.  

Deterding focuses on portraying the first portion of Emilias life, focusing on her poetry, relationship with William Shakespeare, and her having children.  

Cooper’s portrayal focuses on topics surrounding anger and grief.  

“I do a few monologues, and one of them is talking about how men in general feel like they have some sort of superiority over women. And how William Shakespeare has a role that Emilia can’t ever reach in her time. And talks about Wiliam Shakespeare how he gets to write plays and put them on stages in front of everybody, while Emilia is left behind in the dark and in the shadows. I feel like some of the audience will relate to it,” Cooper said.  

Lastly, Ceesay narrates throughout the play. As the oldest of the trio, Ceesay described Emilia as empowered after living through all of these experiences. 

“It’s been a lot of long nights, but that’s how plays usually are. But it’s been really cool to see like how empowered everyone is, especially the closer we get to having an actual audience. It’s really nice to see people’s reactions… It’s nice to see all of our hard work pay off,” Ceesay said.  

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