Contributed by the Brookwood theater program

”Wow! Another stellar performance by all involved!” was the response of preview audience members Aaron and Diane Young. 

They were in attendance at the final dress rehearsal of Brookwood’s upcoming theater production, “A Voice in the Dark: A Salem Story.”  This play is slated to be presented on Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m. in the Classic Gym.

As part of the production process, the final dress rehearsal was open to a few community members. The audience was mesmerized by the performance as the show demonstrated the high quality of work developing at Brookwood. 

The Youngs further commented, “Don’t miss a chance to see this powerful one-act play, presented by Brookwood’s outstanding drama department, directed by Kim Neal Nofsinger! We were privileged to attend the Wisconsin State One-Act Theater contest in Whitewater, where we viewed the best plays from school drama departments from around the state. This production would hold its place alongside any of them.” 

Brookwood graduates Tony Arndt (1972) and his wife Marcia Menn Arndt (1976) echoed the praise of this performance, stating, “Powerful performances were given by this young cast! Their acting abilities are beyond what one would expect from young teens.”

The production elements of scenic design, lighting, and costuming for this production embody the evolving collaboration with faculty members, community members, and students. Portions of the scenic design were created by technical education teacher Chad Ottum and the play’s director Kim Neal Nofsinger and were built by Ottum’s students. These modular units transition throughout the show, creating different settings, and were developed to be easily storable and transportable so they can economically serve future theater productions.

 The Arndts also commented on the costumes for the show, “Costumes designed by director Kim Neal Nofsinger and Barb Ornes show attention to detail and are effective for telling the story.” 

Over the past nine years, Ornes has become increasingly involved with the theater program. She creates and adapts patterns as needed for the various productions, and “A Voice in the Dark” challenged her to create period costumes from the 1690s that are based on Puritan cultural practices and norms.

Lighting for this show has been designed by students Miranda Arndt (2027) and Danica Lee (2023). They use the limited resources effectively to create beautiful images that are riveting on their own. 

Tickets for the performances are $5 and will be available at the door 30 minutes prior to the performance. 

Rebecca Nurse (Carita Downing) prays for her family to be spared from the townfolk after she is accused of witchcraft.

‘A Voice in the Dark’ depicts dark time in country’s history

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Because we’ve long had plans for next weekend, my wife Arlis and I were allowed to attend the Brookwood Theater Sunday afternoon dress rehearsal of “A Voice in the Dark.” It was so well done that it is hard to see how it will be improved for the public performances. But, of course, it will. Director Kim Neal Nofsinger is a stickler for detail.

“A Voice in the Dark” is set in a dark time in the country’s history. In the late 1600s in Salem, Mass., explanations for the unknown were seen as the work of the devil. The Brookwood play is a microcosm of the much-larger story. There are false accusations, serious beliefs, a trial, and hangings. All these things are made more believable by the settings and the period costumes. But it is acting that carries the story. If you attend, and you should, you’ll come away with some insight into an earlier era and perhaps even your own. When you think about it, you will even understand the title.

If you’ve ever attended Brookwood Theater, then of course you are going to this play. If you have not attended a production yet, start Saturday or Sunday. The actors won’t disappoint.


Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) and Sarah Nurse (Jaqueline Hernandez) chat in the Nurse family kitchen. 
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) and Sarah Nurse (Jaqueline Hernandez) chat in the Nurse family kitchen. 
Rebecca Nurse (Carita Downing) enters the family’s kitchen.
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) grinds herbs in the Nurse family’s kitchen. 
Thomas Putman (Brayden Thieman) calls on Rebecca Nurse, exhorting her to convince her husband not to sell his homestead to the Porters, making veiled threats that she will be acccused of witchcraft if she doesn’t comply.
Thomas Putman (Brayden Thieman) calls on Rebecca Nurse, exhorting her to convince her husband not to sell his homestead to the Porters, making veiled threats that she will be acccused of witchcraft if she doesn’t comply.
Francis Nurse (Cooper Powell) consoles his wife Rebecca (Carita Downing).
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) overhears Salem town members conspiring to accuse her friend Rebecca Nurse of witchcraft.
 Deliverance  Hobbs (MaKenzie Powell) calls on her friends.
Francis Nurse (Cooper Powell), Rebecca Nurse (Carita Downing), Sarah Nurse (Jaqueline Hernandez), Deliverance  Hobbs (MaKenzie Powell), and Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) sit on the town square stage as Rebecca Nurse is accused of witchcraft. 
Towns people (Christian McElhose and Alexander Bautista) and Mary Warren (Samantha Markee) observe the trial. 
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) and Sarah Nurse (Jaqueline Hernandez) discuss the day’s events.
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) overhears Salem town members conspiring to accuse her friend Rebecca Nurse of witchcraft
Thomas Putman (Brayden Thieman) tells Rebecca Nurse (Carita Downing) to convince her husband not to sell his homestead.
Willow Pasch portrays a beggar woman who often remains in the background of the scenes. 
 Deliverance Hobbs (MaKenzie Powell) and Abigail Hobbs (MaKenzie Powell) reflect on the day’s events.
Abigail Hobbs (Katherine McElhose) and Deliverance Hobbs (MaKenzie Powell) cling to each other after learning that Rebecca Nurse has been accused of witchcraft. 
Thomas Putman (Brayden Thieman) and Mary Warren (Samantha Markee) watch the trial proceedings.
Ann Putman (Ayawyn Conner) visits Rebecca Nurse in jail.
A townsperson (Alexander Bautista) leads Rebecca Nurse (Carita Downing) into the town square, her face obscured by a sack. 
Francis Nurse (Cooper Powell) protects his wife Rebecca (Carita Downing) as she is accused of witchcraft. 
Ayawyn Conner portrays Ann Putman, a Salem woman who charges her community members with witchcraft. 
Ann Putman (Ayawyn Conner) feigns a religious fit.
Mary Warren (Samantha Markee) works herself into a performative religious frenzy. 
Willow Pasch portrays a beggar woman who often remains in the background of the scenes.