E-Newsletter | I and You | Student Spotlights | Alumni Spotlight

Dear alumni, supporters, and friends,

The Department of Theatre’s first production of 2019 is Lauren Gunderson’s play, I and You. Gunderson was the most-produced living playwright in 2017, holds an MFA from NYU Tisch, and currently lives in San Francisco. The script for I and You is constructed using Aristotelian principles, including the unity of action and place. This means that the plot encompasses the exact amount of time that the audience is seated, watching the play, and the action takes place in a single location. In Aristotelian terms, this unity makes it possible for the audience to focus on the internal meanings and slow revelations of thought, as the characters are transformed throughout the play. Gunderson employs the Walt Whitman poem Song of Myself, to help create the emotional welling of empathy that joins the audience in a shared aesthetic experience. The play’s powerful conclusion is gradually revealed with remarkable finesse and ingenuity, poignantly reminding us of the importance of our shared physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns. Our umbrella theme of Illusion vs. Reality is made apparent at the end of the play when the two seemingly opposite characters discover their eternal connection. 

Please join us for this heartful production of I and You.
Erica Hoelscher
Chair and Professor of Theatre

 I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
– Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Buy Tickets
Students Donavon Harris and Aimee Teplitskiy in I and You.

Ellen Schaaf

Ellen Schaaf is a fifth-year President’s Scholar from Overland Park, Kansas. She is pursuing her degree in theatre and economics with minors in psychology and business. Her previous Lehigh credits include Betrayal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Laramie Project. She is a member of Lehigh’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, Martindale Student’s Associates, and African Renaissance dance group. 

“The most important thing I’ve learned is how crucial it is to communicate clearly, concisely, and consistently when in a leadership role. Frequent and open communication was an irreducible necessity in the development of a production that beautifully honors the story of I and You.”

After graduation, Ellen plans to move to California to explore works of theatre and film, and one day to establish a production company of her own.

Donavon Harris

Donavon Harris is a senior from Burlington, New Jersey. He is majoring in theatre with an entrepreneurship minor. His previous Lehigh credits include Gem of the Ocean, Clybourne Park, and Act Like You Know 10.0. Donavon is also the captain of Lehigh’s football team. Donavon is a recipient of the Theodore U. Horger '61 Performing Arts Scholarship.

“The most important thing I’ve learned being in this play is how to let the poetry of the lines sing. I studied the Whitman poem Song of Myself, since my character ‘Anthony’ is deeply involved with it and has made it his own sacred work.”

Donavon plans to move to California after graduation to pursue a career in acting.

Aimee Teplitskiy

Aimee Teplitskiy ‘22 is a first-year student from Queens, NY. She is majoring in bioengineering at Lehigh University. Her previous Lehigh credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Prior to Lehigh her credits include On the Town, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Aimee is also on the Ultimate Frisbee team and a member of Chabad.

“The most relevant thing I’ve learned from being in I and You is how precious each moment is, since you never know when circumstances will change for better or for worse. It’s important to appreciate life and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.”

Amy hopes to work with engineering initiatives in Third World countries to improve sustainability and suitability for the environment.

Nathanael Washam ‘04
theatre major

I fell in love with light at Lehigh University! I thought I would pursue computer engineering, but it didn’t meet my expectations. A theatre course opened a new world for me. The intimate atmosphere of the Department of Theatre, coupled with faculty and staff that were very knowledgeable and hands-on, convinced me to study technical production.

My experience switching from engineering to theatre taught me to value my desires and be willing to take risks. I vividly remember staring down at the blank piece of vellum on my drafting table (yes, this was pre-computer drafting!) and experiencing sheer panic. All I could think was, “I don't know how to do this! How can stationary lights make things look on-stage the way I envision in my mind?” Recalling that my professors and peers trusted and believed in me, I started with the first step and, wonder of wonders, was able to complete a lighting design that made the production look great. I ultimately left the theatre industry to start my own architectural lighting firm.
I have doubted my abilities and skills in design and other areas of my life since then, but the confidence and persistence I was taught in the Department of Theatre have stayed with me and pushed me to where I am today. I ultimately left the theatre industry to start my own architectural lighting firm. My theatre classes were a fantastic combination of art, philosophy, history, sociology, and practicum; in short, they prepared me to approach life holistically.
Keep up with Nathanael at his website,


Department of Theatre | Zoellner Arts Center, Room 301 | 420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: 610-758-3640 | Fax: 610-758-6543

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