About the Cast
Speak About It is proud to employ the skills, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the following actors, directors and supporters:
Ellen Almirol, originally from Los Angeles, CA, is a graduate from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied Neuroscience and Religion. During her time at UCSD, she helped build homes in Tijuana, danced on a competitive Hip Hop dance troupe, and studied abroad in Rome. After graduating, she retired her flip-flops and migrated east towards Brooklyn, NY. Ellen can now be found jumping from libraries to coffee shops as she completes her graduate program at Boston University. Passions in her life include HIV/AIDS awareness, Vagina Monologues/V-Day advocacy, Biggie Smalls, and sugar-covered pastries coupled with delicious iced coffee. With each show, Ellen hopes to help mobilize the Speak About It message that she so strongly believes in.
Laura Armstrong is from Scarborough, Maine and a 2012 graduate of Bowdoin College, where she studied Latin American History and Education. She was a leader for the Bowdoin Outing Club, and has been a member of the cast of the Vagina Monologues for two years. One of her greatest secret ambitions is to be a member of a flashmob (which she accomplished!). She loves peppermint ice cream, Motown, bikes, sweet potatoes, free hugs, and is a self-proclaimed sucker for a good smile. She is very excited to be involved in Speak About It, particularly to be encouraging and contributing to dialogue about sexual assault on college campuses.
Branden Asemah graduated from Bowdoin College in 2012. Originally born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, he has been fortunate enough to call Brunswick, Maine home over the last few years where he has been actively involved with both the college and town communities. Branden can be found reading English to local elementary school students and serving as the Vice-President of Student Organizations for Bowdoin’s Student Government. He’s also coordinated many events to help promote a campus climate that accepts a wide range of sexualities and healthy sexual practices. Joining the Speak About It cast is an amazing opportunity to help continue dialogue about healthy sex beyond the Brunswick and Bowdoin communities. “This exciting show is something everyone should have a chance to see!”
Amanda Michael Blaicher, born and raised in New Jersey (kindly reserve judgement), has immensely enjoyed living in Maine for the last two years. A 2010 graduate of Rutgers University, Amanda majored in Anthropology and minored in Psychology. She has a love of reading, linguistics, musical theater, Tom Waits, and whiskey as well as a serious itch to travel… everywhere. Amanda aspires to attend graduate school to study human sexuality and public health. She was thrilled to re-join the Equality Maine team to help win marriage for same-sex couples in Maine this fall, and cannot wait to engage in more work that encourages an open discourse about sex and sexuality!
Cara Courchesne has worked for Maine-based anti-violence nonprofits since 2007. Her passions in social justice work include engaging with community partners and learning how to shape ever-shifting media conversations with regard to violence prevention. Cara has a BA in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. Cara believes in modeling healthy sexuality to prevent sexual violence and is thrilled to be given such a creative opportunity to talk about consent. She lives in Hallowell with her partner Tony, their dog, and two cats.
Aviva Fiske is a 2012 graduate of Bowdoin College, where she studied Biology and Environmental Studies. Originally from California, she enjoys rock climbing, road biking, singing, performing, and playing with baby animals. She was first in Speak About It in the fall of 2010 at Bowdoin College, and was in the Bowdoin production of the Vagina Monologues. Aviva is very honored and excited to join this cast and looking forward to spreading its important message, one road trip at a time!
Danny Gay, a native of Nobleboro, ME is a 2011 graduate from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Theater and an English minor. He has actively participated in theater most recently as a lighting and sound designer, but jumps into the acting scene as he can. If he had free time, he would watch movies, and play frisbee with his friends. He has been an RA at USM for 4 years, and has learned that peer education can be a powerful tool in helping other students to understand the impact of difficult topics, like sexual assault. Danny is a trained Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper, and is a huge proponent of open dialogue when dealing with sensitive topics. Speak About It was a great way for Danny to help show the USM community that they can speak about sex!
Lexi Helming, a Portland native, is a 2008 Smith College alumna, with a B.A. in Russian Civilization and Economics. While at Smith, she developed a love for Ultimate Frisbee, which has stuck with her and is her main form of outdoor entertainment. Also while at Smith, Lexi saw “The Vagina Monologues” for the first time and was blown away at the courage and strength of the women who submitted their stories. She was honored to be a part of the inaugural performance of “Speak About It,” which asked for similar courage and strength from both women and men, and is ecstatic about spreading the message that getting consent is definitely “sexi.”
Joe McLeod is from Scarborough, Maine, and thinks that’s pretty cool. He studied theater at the University of Southern Maine, where he acted in several shows and pretended to know how to do many other things. He even played the title character in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest! (Yes, the storm! LBO’s woo!). He’s super excited to join the Speak About It team to help them spread their great message.
Erik Moody is an actor/voice-actor, residing in Portland, ME. He holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Southern Maine. Erik has a certificate from the International Reader’s Theatre Institute, where he studied abroad in London. He has toured with Add Verb Productions, a theater for social change non-profit, in the show A MAJOR MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH and the one-man show YOU THE MAN. Erik stays actively involved in Portland’s theatre community and will be starring in 4,OOO MILES this spring with Good Theater. Check out his on-screen credits and download his band’s music for free!
Shana Natelson is originally from Taos, New Mexico and spent four years playing hockey and talking about sex at Bowdoin College, where she graduated with a B.A. in Government and Legal Studies in 2010. She was an actor in the inaugural Speak About It performance at Bowdoin in 2009 and has been producing the show independently since 2010. Shana wears many different hats for the Speak About It, including producer, writer, actor, and orderer of takeout. In college, Shana was also involved in a number of sexual assault prevention organizations, including the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (with Nick), and helped organize different events such as Date Day and Consent is Sexy Week to create healthy dialogue about sex. Now living in Portland, ME, Shana can be found around the city talking about the show with anyone who will listen. For more information about the program, Shana can be reached here.
Christopher Omachi is from Wilmette, Illinois and received his B.A. in Art History from Bowdoin College in 2012. He was a student assistant to the curator at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, a founding memeber of the Student Museum and Arts Collective (event planning/student programming in the BCMA), and was a member of the Speak About It cast that performed at Bowdoin College in the fall of 2011. Chris is very excited to join this cast and looks forward to spreading the SAI message to campuses all over the Northeast.
Mat Robedee is a born and raised Maine native, originally from Buxton. He attended the University of Maine, Orono and later transferred to Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs where he received his degree in Outdoor Education. He has spent the past few years working with environmental/adventure education programs throughout the country, leading naturalist programs for schools in California, farming the Maine coast, and engaging himself in many wild adventures abroad. He currently resides in Portland, ME where he is the
Men’s Health Outreach Specialist for the Frannie Peabody Center, focusing on HIV prevention and support services. Additionally, Mat also provides leadership development and environmental education programs for Maine high schools and colleges. When not fully engulfed in work (which is rare), Mat can be found covered in dirt working in his garden, hiking throughout New England and taking advantage of all the natural beauties within great state of Maine. Mat has been doing theater since he was a child and is excited to return to the stage with Speak About It, especially with such an inspiring and upbeat group of like-minded folk. “Rock life,” says Mat.
Benjamin Row is a professional actor who hails from Boston. He works in both stage and screen and can be seen on the nationally awarded web series, Ragged Isle. Now in the 13th year of his professional career, he is beyond honored to be a part of a strong, impactful and rewarding show like Speak About It. And if he can have your consent, he’d like you to know that he likes you. Like him, too, at facebook.com/actorbrow.
Nick Smith was a Neuroscience major and 4-year varsity hockey player at Bowdoin College before joining Speak About It in 2010. While at Bowdoin he served as Co-President of the organization Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence, a peer-education group dedicated to sexual assault awareness through group facilitations. In his Senior year Nick was able to take BMASV’s message to area high schools, to other colleges, and also headed a anti-homophobic language initiative throughout the Athletic Department. He was one of the inaugural member of the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, a group that teamed leaders from various sexual assault prevention groups on campus to work towards more cohesive dialogue. After graduating in 2009, Nick taught chemistry at the Taft School and speaks to high school audiences about his experiences with homophobic language in high school and college athletics. Now in 2012, Nick is happily and successfully a Boston University medical student, and we wish him the best!
Emma Verrill, a Yarmouth, ME native, is a 2010 graduate of Bowdoin College where she studied Gender and Women’s Studies and French. During her time at Bowdoin, Emma was very involved in VDAY (International Organization to Prevent Sexual Assault), and was both an actress and director of The Vagina Monologues, in addition to a being trained as a Safe Space member (Bowdoin’s sexual assault peer advocacy program). Along with Shana, she was part of the original Speak About It cast in 2009. Emma has joined the crew as a performer and as our production manager, which means she’s officially in charge of navigation as we venture across the country (among other things). In between speaking about it and enjoying her summer at home, Emma loves to travel and is has spent the better part of the past two years as an English teacher at a French high school in Brittany, France.
Marketing and Advertising:
Julia Bond is a 2009 graduate of Bowdoin College where she majored in Neuroscience. While at Bowdoin, Julia developed a passion for starting and promoting conversations around safe and healthy sexuality on campus, and has continued to come back to Bowdoin since graduating to perform shows that spark dialogue. After graduating, Julia moved to New York City to try her hand at stand up comedy. Finding that she needed a day job, she found work as a writer for a pharmaceutical advertising agency which eventually took her back to her native Boston. In her spare time, Julia can be found training for half marathons and drinking craft beers – though rarely at the same time. She is thrilled to be able to support Speak About It in bringing its message to people across the country. You can check out her blog, It’s Not That Weird, here.
Anna Ausubel is one of those “just outside of Boston” kids who graduated from Bowdoin in December 2010 where she studied Neuroscience and Spanish. During her time at Bowdoin, Anna was trained by the Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM) to be an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and was also a leader of Bowdoin’s branch of V-Day, an international organization dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. After performing in the Vagina Monologues her sophomore year, Anna recognized its potential to be a catalyst for discussion, education and activism regarding women’s rights both locally and worldwide and was motivated to help direct the play for the next three years. Even more so than the Vagina Monologues, which can sometimes feel outdated, what makes Speak About It such an incredibly powerful show is that all of the stories are true, and are written by real college students. Anna is so excited to be involved with this production of Speak About It since it has the potential to spark both personal reflection and to act as a forum for a more open and honest dialogue about sex, sexuality and violence.
David Surkin is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has performed in various regional theatre and national tours. He officially received his Actor’s Equity Card while performing in an off-Broadway show in New York City called The Awesome 80′s Prom for two years. David is excited to make his return to theatre by directing Speak About It and having a chance to influence people’s perceptions about healthy sex. He now resides in Portland, ME with his wife and son and is the co-owner of PortSports Social Club.