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XDS Performs Macbeth, Winter Play Underway


The show goes on! The Xavier Dramatics Society (XDS) put on a grand performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth on Tuesday, November 2.

The play took place on Xavier’s very own quad during community period and was one of the very few productions the XDS has ever held outdoors. Faculty, staff, and students were able to enjoy from the quad and their very own classrooms with an overhead view of the quad.

“There has been lots of criticism circulating about whether you can or should cut Shakespeare down to under an hour,” said theater teacher Nicole DiMarco, producing director of the XDS. “I think it's better to cut it down and to fit it into a CP performance and give students access to his work, even if it is shortened, and other artistic choices. Since we had a fraction of the rehearsals we have for the upcoming winter play, it was important to cast correctly, and I think we nailed it,” added DiMarco.”

And nailed it they did. The performance drew in an audience large enough to fill the entirety of the quad for its community period performance, and its encore performance later that same night.

“It's been a while since my last Xavier play, so being a part of Macbeth was very meaningful,” said Cristian Naranjo-Mosquera '23. “Since this is my last year at Xavier, I wanted to take this as an opportunity to connect with the younger students and share my theater experience with them. This show was a great way to get back into theater after being remote last year. Everyone did really well and I’m grateful I was a part of the cast.”

Though the XDS blew the play out of the water with their performance, the road to the final show was not without its challenges.

“Macbeth was by far the most challenging piece I have done while here,” said DiMarco. “A few years back we did Oedipus Rex outside and had perfect weather, so this is not a first. I love finding interesting spaces to serve as the stage, so the quad is amazing. It's flexible, has good acoustics and students could be safely unmasked.”

Finding a stage wasn’t the only challenge, however. Weather and indoor limitations forced the first show, scheduled for Friday, October 29, to be rescheduled.

“The play being on November 2 was almost moved inside that evening,” added DiMarco. “My lighting designer suggested we do it outside, continue with our plan and have faith. Sure enough, it never rained enough to move inside and the mist was an amazing touch for ambience.”

“The community writ large has nothing but amazing things about my actors—about their commitment, their believability, and their talent, so for that reason, I couldn't be happier!”

These talented, young actors aren’t done just yet. Production and rehearsals for the winter play are already underway.

From December 4-6, members of the XDS will perform Everybody, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

Jenkins is a black LGBTQ contemporary playwright. The play is a modern adaptation of the 15th-century morality play titled, The Summoning of Everyman, which was one of the first recorded plays in the English language. In the play, the allegorical protagonist, Everyman (or Everybody, in this case), is summoned by death to give a presentation to God about his life and how he lived it. Through extended metaphor, the play personifies concepts like friendship, kinship, and love to encourage its audience to embrace a Christian life devoted to good deeds. 

Former XDS alum Eric Idelfonso '16 will be gracing the stage as the character Death in the upcoming production.

“We needed someone last minute to come in at the last minute and replace a student that dropped out of the production,” added DiMarco. “With only 6 rehearsals left, it was imperative we found someone who could work quickly and under pressure. Last year, we called upon Nick Duran '13 to play a cameo role, so the idea struck me to reach out to another alum. My associate director, Ms. Lisa Hickman was able to secure his participation and we are overjoyed to have him. He has been wonderful and set an excellent example to the current cast about how to be bold and brave on stage as well as how to work fast and think outside the box. It's been lovely.”

Idelfonso’s return to the XDS and to his glory days on 16th Street has been a dream come true for him.

“When I left XDS in 2016, I was very proud of all the work I had done with my classmates and friends that I made in XDS; feeling very bittersweet about not being able to perform for Xavier ever again,” said Idelfonso. “When they reached out to me, I immediately knew I had to say yes.”

Idelfonso participated in plays ranging from Baal to The Music Man during his time as a student on 16th Street. His time in the XDS has seemingly impacted him beyond measure.

“I feel immensely humbled and honored to be chosen to come back to Xavier to do one of the things that I loved to do the most. The XDS helped shape me into the man I am today, and being given the opportunity to perform for Xavier as that man today is surreal—a true dream come true—and a great privilege. Truth be told, it feels strange coming back as an alumni to act for Xavier—something that I never thought could be possible back in 2016.”

Although the years have flown by, the XDS has remained a cornerstone of the Xavier experience for current students—just as it was for Idelfonso back in his day.

“I really enjoy the group of students that I am co-starring with—they’re a great bunch with so much energy, and are a shining reflection of my friends and I back in our glory days. They intimidated me the first day I showed up for rehearsal, butI didn’t want to disappoint them, and I didn’t want to scare them either. They’re a great bunch of students, and I can’t wait to see how this all turns out. I am very grateful that they have allowed me to act with them, and also to Nicole and Lisa for allowing me to act for the XDS once more.”