Four from Suffolk on ‘Night Train’

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Four Suffolk residents will make up part of the cast and crew for a Governor’s School for the Arts production that opens tonight.

The curtain will rise on “Night Train to Bolina” with Suffolk residents Trenton Abernathy, Tyler Foster and Jordan Yowell in the cast. Suffolk resident Renee Chasey designed parts of the set and will run the sound board during the production.

The students have been rehearsing for more than a month.

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“It’s been a labor of love for this cast and crew,” said Steve Earle, chair of the department of theater and film at the Governor’s School, a regional magnet school in Norfolk. “I think everybody’s excited.”

The play takes place in an unnamed, war-torn Latin American country. Two peasant children, Mateo and Clara, are the main characters.

“It focuses on two young people whose families have been devastated by war, so they are orphans,” Earle said. “We see their dreams and their hopes and their desires.”

The play is written by Nilo Cruz and directed by Ricardo Melendez. The entire play is set in an old cemetery, but there’s an air of magical realism that transports the viewer to many different times and places.

Jordan Yowell, a Nansemond River High School senior, plays a friend to Clara.

“I kind of become her roommate,” she said. “I do a lot to aid her on her journey to get back to Mateo.”

Yowell said her character will use humor as a foil to some of the more serious aspects of the play.

“I feel like it will definitely make the audience laugh,” she said.

Tyler Foster, a Lakeland High School student, plays a spirit during the play. He and Trenton Abernathy, a Nansemond River junior also playing a spirit, are together a lot during the play.

“We help the other characters discover who they truly are,” said Foster, who added he enjoys how the lighting will help set the stage during the play. “Certain lights will tell you if you’re in separate scenes or not. It’s just a really great show.”

Abernathy said he also likes the scenery.

“The most interesting part is the scenery, the symbolism of everything and how Ricardo portrays different places, but the setting is a cemetery,” he said.

With all of the lighting and sound cues, Renee Chasey has a difficult job running the sound board for the show. However, she says she has enjoyed it.

“It’s been really fun,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot of new techniques like how to fade in and out.”

She’s also been learning how to edit sound, she said.

“The whole technical part of the show, that’s what I really want to do,” she said.

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Dalis Black Box Theatre, 254 Granby St., Norfolk.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available at