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Thursday, September 26, 2013

URI Theatre season opens with Be Aggressive

Rhodes’ Scholar, URI grad Rachel Walshe directs production
Aggressive Cheers: This whole team 'takes no prisoners' with
cheerleading. Anya Fox of South Kingstown, Julia Bartoletti of
Worcester, Mass., Mia Rocchio of White River, Vt, Christine O'Connell
of of Newport, R.I, and Alex Walsh of North Salem, N.Y.
Bonnie Bosworth, URI

KINGSTON, RI—University of Rhode Island Theatre will open the new season with the high-spirited, yet dramatic production of Be Aggressive by Annie Weisman. 

The show will be staged Oct. 10 through 12 and Oct. 17 through 19, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct 13 and 20, 2013 at 3 p.m. in J Studio in the URI Fine Arts Center on the Kingston Campus. General admission for the performance is $20, $15 for seniors, URI faculty/staff, and $12 for students. 

Tickets can be purchased by calling 401.874.5843 beginning Sept. 23 or online at

The show is directed by guest artist Rachel Walshe ‘00, who became URI’s first Rhodes Scholar in 2002. Walshe is now a director for Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket and company member with Rivendell Ensemble, Chicago.

“When I chose Annie Weisman’s Be Aggressive, I knew it would be great fun for college students to work on. It offers young actors the opportunity to stage an upbeat, highly physical and fast-paced play about high school cheerleaders. But underneath the bubbly, ‘Valley-Girl’ style that pervades, Be Aggressive is the story of Laura, a girl whose life is upended when her mother is suddenly killed in a car accident. 

The tension between the superficial veneer of cheer and Laura’s very real struggle to find her true self amidst the chaos of teenage life creates what I hope is a thrilling theatrical experience,” said Walshe who majored in theater and philosophy at URI and studied dramatic literature and theater at Brasenose College, Oxford University for two years as a Rhodes Scholar.

Be Aggressive takes place in the Southern California community of Vista Del Sol where life was like paradise until Laura’s mother is killed in a gruesome hit and run accident. The teenager is thrown into the roles of wife to her distant workaholic father and mother to her precocious younger sister Hannah. 

Laura struggles to cope with grief, sudden adulthood, and the hell of high school life. She throws herself with total abandon into the world of cheerleading when she befriends popular cheerleader Leslie, a girl with a terrifying zeal for all things cheer. Leslie convinces Laura to run away with her dead mother’s Mobil card and some stolen cash to the “Spirit Institute of the South,” a hardcore, take-no-prisoners school of cheerleading. 

Be Aggressive is the offbeat telling of a classic tale of journey and catharsis in the complicated life of a teenage girl.

Be Aggressive costume design is by Associate Professor David T. Howard, sets by Associate Professor Christian Wittwer, lighting design by Senior Theatre Major Marc Tiberiis II, and sound design by Guest Artist Mike Hyde.

Actor, Hometown, Character
Julia Bartoletti of Worcester, Mass. as Leslie
Danielle Dube of Pawtucket, R.I. as Jody
Anya Fox of South Kingstown, R.I. as Cheerleader
Christine O’Connell of Newport, R.I. as Laura
Jacqui Pecora of Milltown, N.J. as Cheerleader
Erika Rethorn of Coventry, R.I. as Hannah
Mia D. Rocchio of White River, Vt. as Cheer Captain
Philip Ryng of Jamestown, R.I. as Phil
Laine Wagner of Narragansett, R.I. as Cheer Chorus Member
Alexander Walsh of North Salem, N.Y. as Cheer Chorus