CCRI alumnus directs world premiere of his play, 'Isabella,' this month

April 19, 2018

Photo of cast of Isabella

“Isabella,” written and directed by CCRI alumnus David J. Valentin, stars CCRI Players President Victoria Ezikovich (center) as Isabella and CCRI alumnus Rudy Rudacious (right) as her mother’s boyfriend, Eddie. Jenn Shammas (left) plays Isabella’s mother, Karen.

The world premiere of Community College of Rhode Island alumnus David J. Valentin’s “Isabella” will be staged by Counter-Productions Theatre Company next week.

The play was first produced as a staged reading by the CCRI Players in 2015, and the Counter-Productions performance features many current and former CCRI students.

“Isabella” is a tragic tale of how far a family can fall after tragedy strikes, and how an artist uses her craft to escape her unbearable circumstances. The story revolves around the eponymous Isabella, a teenager who lives on the streets with her addict mother, Karen, and the mother’s manipulative boyfriend, Eddie. When Eddie gets into a scrape with his regular drug dealer, the “family” is forced down an unfortunate path. Valentin, who also directs the play, creates a powerfully intimate look at life on the streets.

Valentin’s inspiration in writing this play came from his own experience as a father of two girls and his desire to create a female character that could serve as a positive role model for his daughters. It is his belief that “the character didn't need to be a super hero, or have unattainable, inhuman qualities to do so. She just needed to be herself and follow her heart.” With Isabella, Valentin hopes to tell a story “about life and how we live it, and how our choices reflect what road we walk on.”

The performance features Victoria Ezikovich, CCRI Players president, as Isabella and alumnus Rudy Rudacious as Eddie. The ensemble includes CCRI students Frank Gilleese, Charee Baez, Clark D’Agostino, Erika Fay Greenwood, Steven Larivee, Kyle Renee Newport, Indhira Paulino and Maddi Murray and alumna Elizabeth Souin.

Student Trey Hendley is assistant director. Alumna Rebecca Mooney is stage manager, and CCRI student Shoshana Adler is assistant stage manager. Alumna Audrey Lavin Crawley is producer. Assistant Professor Marilyn Salvatore is costume designer. Artistic director is Associate Professor Ted Clement, and Professor Christine Fox is executive director.

“Isabella” will be staged at 7 p.m. April 26 to 28 and at 2 p.m. on April 29 at AS220’s Black Box Theatre, 95 Empire St., Providence. Admission costs $20. Visit for more information.

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Last Updated: 4/23/18