Skip to main content
2023-2024 Season

Men on Boats

Directed by Claire Koenig
October 12th - 16th, 2023

In 1869, ten explorers set off to chart the Green and Colorado Rivers, under the guidance of John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War Veteran and personal friend of President Grant, a government-sanctioned journey following in the footsteps of the deserters, lone adventurers, and countless indigenous people who have previously braved the wild rapids leading through Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, and through the most dangerous waterway of all: the Grand Canyon. Along the way they make friends, they get on each other’s nerves, they suffer loss of boat and supplies, they doubt, struggle, and name mountains after themselves, they posture and pretend, they quit while they’re ahead, and they repeatedly brave dangerous rapids to reach the other side. As boats capsize and supplies are lost, as belts tighten and nerves fray, the company draws together as a band of brothers, even as three members fear the outcome of the final waterfalls and make the fateful decision to leave before the end. In Men On Boats, Jacklyn Backhaus’ original, hilarious, and delightful adventure dramedy, the conquering men out to chronicle the land in service of America, God, and Manifest destiny, are given voice and movement by actors who are anything and everything but white and male, and the bravery, determination, foolishness, humanity, and true grit of the historical explorers is memorialized, while the historical moment of their journey is viewed with a critical lens.

Tickets on sale now!

Thursday, October 12th, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 13th, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 14th, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 15th, 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 15th, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, October 16th, 5:30 p.m.

Claire Koenig - she/they
Claire Koenig is a Philadelphia based actor/director/playwright. They graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in Dramatic Art. Since leaving Carolina, they obtained their MFA from Brown University / Trinity Repertory Company, and have worked as a theater artist in Boston, New York, Providence, and Philadelphia. As an undergrad, Claire was an actor in KTC's first and second Lillian Chason productions, directed by Aubrey Snowden and Talya Klein. She's honored to have had the opportunity to come back to direct the tenth.

Director Website

Ayla Rodriguez - John Powell - they/she
Ayla is thrilled to make her Chapel Hill debut on the Kenan Theatre’s stage as Major Powell in this unique production of Men on Boats. Often finding herself playing women in strong roles of power, Ayla is excited to finally portray a man in power (although she does despise the patriarchy). Some of her favorite roles from the past include Tilly in She Kills Monsters, Antigone in Antigone, and Viola in Twelfth Night.

Lucy Smithwick - Hawkins - any
Lucy is a senior at UNC! In their time here, they’ve been involved with KTC (The Inferior Sex, Me Too Monologues, Urinetown, and the executive board as the graphic designer), Company Carolina (The Wolves, Next to Normal asst. music director, and current co-President), and Pauper Players (The Mad Ones prod staff and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder music director). She’s also linked to Cellar Door and the Coker Arboretum, and she is often found doing too much knitting and pun-making.

Ali Patalano - Bradley - they/she
Ali Patalano is a first-year at UNC Chapel Hill and is ecstatic for Men on Boats to be their first production here. Prior to this show, Ali performed in a variety of productions with some of their favorites including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and Curtains the Musical. Ali is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work on such a fun show and meet so many wonderful and talented people, and they hope to continue work in the dramatic arts at UNC throughout their time here.

Olivian Ingledue - John Sumner - they/she
Olivian is a junior majoring in Dramatic Art and delighted to be making their KTC debut as Sumner. They have been a performer since birth and, when not in the theater, can usually be found dancing, humming a tune, or committing to the bit.

Liddy Wade - Frank Goodman - she/her
Liddy is a man on a boat, and that's all she's ever known.

Erica Bass - William Dunn - she/her
Erica is so excited to be in her fourth KTC production (and her third Lillian Chason)! When she's not in the CDA, she can be found doing some of her favorite activities, including eating, sleeping, and driving back to the CDA! She hopes you enjoy the show and mind your personal crops!

Izzy Mitchell - Seneca Howland/Johnson - she/they
Izzy is a first-year astronomy major at Chapel Hill. She is interested in art and science and is super excited about continuing her love for theatre in college, starting with men on boats!

Julia Finke - Old Shady - she/her
Julia Finke is a senior Dramatic Art & Film Studies double major with a minor in Musical Theatre Perfomance. Previous credits include Spring Awakening, kemps, & Anna K (KTC), Cabaret & Escaped Alone (Company Carolina), & Laundry (LAB!). She also serves on the board for LAB! (Production Manager of Events) & KTC (Publicity), and is a proud member of the False Profits.

Alivia Weum - O.G. Howland - she/her
Alivia is so excited to be joining the Men on Boats cast for her first performance at UNC Chapel Hill as O.G.! She is a first-year student from Madison, Wisconsin, and was a part of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins in high school. She is so grateful she’s been able to be a part of such an inspiring team and to cry tears of laughter with her cast mates, and she hopes you’ll enjoy the show!

Swetha Anand - Hall - she/her
Swetha Anand is super excited to be aboard the Party Boat!! She is a first-year double majoring in Psychology and Dramatic Art and is super excited to be working with KTC!

Katie Stevens - Deck Crew - she/her
Katie is thrilled to make her tech debut with KTC after appearing on stage in the recent productions of Spring Awakening and Urinetown. She is an avid explorer of rivers in her free time, and she's proud to see such masterful paddling technique brought to the stage.

Lucas Branch - Technical Director - he/him
Lucas graduated from Lee University in 2023 with a BA in Theatre. When not in the theatre, he enjoys watching Instagram Reels that his wife sends him.

Carissa Wadsack-Stewart - Producer - she/her
Carissa is a senior majoring in psychology and dramatic art with a minor in neuroscience. This is her 5th show with KTC. She loves the Grand Canyon, boats, and men who aren’t played by men 🙂

Maddie Cashen - Producer - she/her
Maddie is a sophomore Dramatic Art and Music major. At UNC, she has worked with KTC, LAB! Theatre, Pauper Players, and Company Carolina. She hopes you enjoy watching "men" on "boats!"

Kathryn Robinson - Stage Manager - she/her
Kathryn is a junior Dramatic Art and Communication major stage managing her third production with KTC, previously having stage managed Dance Nation and Urinetown. She has also produced The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and assistant stage managed Anna K with KTC. Her other experience includes stage managing the opera Don Giovanni and assistant stage managing the opera Falstaff with La Musica Lirica; directing a production of Rent with Pauper Players; and assistant stage managing Raleigh at Theatre in the Park. She has loved getting to work with this cast and crew, and hopes you enjoy the show as much as she does!

Kristen Coleman - Assistant Stage Manager - she/her
Kristen is a first-year student from Katy, Texas, double majoring in Dramatic Art and English & Comparative Literature. She is so excited for her first production with the Kenan Theatre Company! She has been in numerous production and performance roles at a high school level and is excited to step it up at UNC.

Megan Cvijanovich - Assistant Stage Manager - she/they
Megan has been doing theatre since middle school, however this production is the most fun they’ve ever had with a production. She has loved working as an assistant stage manager in this position and would like to thank everyone that helped make this possible.

Noah Powell - Sound Designer - he/him
This is Noah’s debut sound design project. In fact, he hasn’t been part of a play in 8 years. What a silly goose.

Quinn Vanischak - Lighting Designer - she/her
Quinn is a junior Media Production major and Theatrical Design minor, and she is excited to be involved in her second KTC production. She has previously been the assistant lighting designer for KTC's Dance Nation and lighting designer for UNC Pauper Players' production of Rent. She is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with an outstanding cast and crew.

Emma Moon - Assistant Lighting Designer - she/her
Emma has been a part of three different LAB! shows as assistant lighting designer, sound designer, and stage manager. This is her second time helping with a KTC show. She previously helped with Spring Awakening as the lighting board operator.

Cameron Rivera - Light Board Operator - he/him
Cameron is a junior transfer from Washington D.C. He is majoring in Psychology and Peace, War, & Defense with a concentration in International Security and Intelligence.

Glorianna Tarlton - Scenic Designer - she/her
Long overdue for graduation, Glorianna is finally entering her senior year in the Department of Dramatic Art to pursue anything other than the acting part. She loves to sleep, but her passion for set painting and designing prevents her from maintaining her sanity. It is her excitement to see the actors thrive on stage that really makes her job as a set designer and painter really worth the labor.

Loxley Wayland - Assistant Scenic Designer - she/they
Loxley is an aspiring scenic designer full of dramatic flair. Stay slayin' and creatin'.

Rachel Kripner - Costume Designer - she/her
Rachel is so grateful for being offered the opportunity to costume for this show, as she’s dreamed about styling actors onstage for years! An avid artist and theater lover, Rachel finds her happy place is either in an art studio sketching up ideas, or in the theater working with others who share her passions. She’s thrilled to showcase her costuming skills today, and she hopes you all enjoy the show!

Saketh Kompella - Costumes - he/him
Saketh is a senior at UNC. He is excited to be a part of the Men on Boats team!

Alex Woo - Props Supervisor - he/him
Alex is a first-year student, and Men On Boats marks his first production at UNC! He is looking forward to exploring the world of theatre with fellow KTC members.