Genesee Center for the Arts Presents: Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage

Genesee Community College Forum Players will weave a web of folklore and fun with the Frank Higgins children’s play, Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage. Daytime school performances of the show are scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, 2010 through Friday, March 12, 2010, with one final performance for the public on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 7:30PM. All performances take place in the Stuart Steiner Theatre in the Genesee Center for the Arts. 

Written by Frank Higgins and produced by special arrangements with Pioneer Drama Services Inc. ( ), Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage, is an African folklore about the trade route called the Middle Passage bringing stories as well as slaves from Africa to America . Kidnapped from her village, young Shontay is frightened and helpless. Shontay's mother comforts her by telling her legends of Anansi, the trickster spider, and how he won an amazing box of stories from Nyame the Sky God. In each tale, Anansi springs to life along with the story characters for action-packed, light-hearted adventures. Shontay and her mother have brought Anansi with them to America, where his stories of outwitting the greedy and powerful inspire them.

Genesee’s Forum Players cast members include: Amelia Favata (Canandaigua, NY) as the Lion, Hippo and a Villager, Joanne Taheri (Newfane, NY) as the Turtle, Kidnapper 2 and a Villager, Alexander Farley (Pembroke, NY) as the Python, and a Villager, Jasmine Coley (Rochester, NY) as Shontay, Richard Torres (Bronx, NY) as Anansi, Jamie Hicks (Red Creek, NY) as the Hare, Ships Captain and a Villager, Heather Hilderbrandt (Lockport, NY) as Vulture 1, Crewman 2, and a Villager, Tyler Eldred (Dansville, NY) as the Wise Elder, Bush Deer and a Villager, Johnny Dow (Rochester, NY) as the Elephant, Anjelica Sistrunk (Syracuse, NY) as the Mother, Jessica Francis (Perry, NY) as Nyame the Sky God and a Villager, Alex Falu (New York, NY) as Vulture 2 and Crewman 1, Brianna Kruppenbacher (Oakfield, NY) as Kidnapper 1 and a Villager. In addition two students from local middle schools round out the talented cast, Spencer Hubbard (Batavia High) as the Crocodile, Giraffe, Fish and a Village Child and Michael McQuillen (LeRoy High) as the Crocodile, Giraffe, Fish, Chimpanzee and a Village Child.

Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage is being directed by Norm Gayford, professor in the Humanities department at Genesee Community College with this being his fourth year involved with the Theater program. Technical direction is by Ed Hallborg, technical director and instructor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Genesee Community College, and second year student, Robert Reiss (Elba, NY), as stage manager.

General admission ticket prices for Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 7:30PM are $8 for adults, $5 for senior (55+), students and Genesee faculty, and $3 for Genesee students with a valid ID. For more information on the daytime school performances of Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage, contact the Genesee Center for the Arts at 585-343-0055 x6814.

 For ticket information or reservations, contact the Box Office at 585-343-0055 x6814 or by email to The Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office accepts cash and checks only, credit cards are not accepted. Genesee Community College is located in Batavia, NY, just 2 minutes from NYS Thruway Exit 48. Visit for door-to-door driving directions sent via email.