Examples of organized groups devoted to a charismatic leader are littered throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These groups use misinformation, propaganda, financial demands and guilt to lure followers to their cause. Regardless if the group is secular or religious, these tactics represent a pattern. There is a seductive quality to these associations that attract individuals from all walks of life. Consequences are often severe for those who attempt to separate or when the group reaches an apocalyptic end.

Cultus (the Latin root of cult) will explore the historical origins of cults and cult leaders and examine why people are susceptible to joining cults today. The exploration will range from religious groups such as The People’s Temple and Heaven’s Gate to secular and political groups such as QAnnon.

Quarry Theatre will present a workshop of Cultus in September 2021 with a fully staged performance in early 2022. 

About cultus

the ensemble

Zak Rosen headshot.jpeg

Zak Rosen

Zak Rosen is a recent graduate of Yale University where he double majored in Theater Studies and Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Acting credits from college include Swiss Cheese in Mother Courage and Her Children, Lorne Samuels in Turquoise, Presley in The Pitchfork Disney, Puck in A Midsummer Night's VR, Brutus in Julius Caesar (Yale Dramat), and Radical Faerie in As U Like It (Yale School of Drama). Zak has also worked as an Artistic Associate at the Yale School of Drama Cabaret where he has stage-managed, directed, and produced. He is incredibly excited to be back in Baltimore and to be working with Quarry Theater.

Melissa Scott

Melissa has performed in many stage productions including Doubt, A Doll's House, Jake's Women, and An American Daughter. In addition to performing, she is also a book editor having proofed/edited manuscripts in various genres. A native of Long Island, NY, Melissa is extremely excited to return to acting after a long hiatus. She is thrilled to be a part of this production and is looking forward to the next chapter here in the DMV area. www.needasecondeye.com

Jason Almeida

Jason recently moved from his native Providence, Rhode Island. He studied Theatre Performance at Rhode Island College, and was cast on the main stage as Weston in Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard, Flute in A Mid Summer’s Night Dream and Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire as well as a few student produced productions. After college he went on to act in various dinner theatre and community shows with rave reviews for his physical comedy skills. Local RI productions included his Rumple Play performance as Mike in A Lie of the Mind, Beth Cuhna’s Imagine Theater with In Conflict (a play by Douglas C. Wager, which features monologues by college age Iraq War Veterans), Daydream Theatre’s play about Charles Shultz, The Man Who Saw Snoopy by RI playwright and producer Lenny Shwartz, Melellus Cimber in Julius Caesar by Burbage Theater and Lakeside Theater’s Production as George in Of Mice and Men. He recently moved to Baltimore in late 2019 and 2020 started classes (pre pandemic) with The Baltimore Improv Group which closed down right before their final project performance. Jason joins Quarry Theater to step a bit outside the box as he continues his new chapter in life in Maryland. 

Sean Laraway

Sean Laraway is an Actor, Writer, and Stage Manager from Virginia Beach. After graduating from Stevenson University with a B.F.A. in Theatre and Media Performance and a Minor in English. He was accepted into the Everyman Theatre Education Apprenticeship Program. A former Stage Manager for Quarry Theatre and Single Carrot, Sean always chases after new areas of Theatre to explore and continue his development. He has recently performed for The Carver Project as well as the Greenbelt Arts Center. 

Madalyn Howard

Madalyn Howard (Maddie) is a locally based actress in the Baltimore county and city areas. She is currently a senior Theatre and Media Performance major and Psychology minor at Stevenson University. Some of her previous shows include Stevenson University’s Finding FlorenceHedda Gabler, 2020: A Vision of Musical Theatre (stage management), and most recently she was seen virtually in The War of The Worlds. She’s very grateful and excited to be participating in her first theatrical experience outside of Stevenson. She hopes you enjoy the show.

Elana Kellner

Elana Kellner works as an environmental educator at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. She is originally from Silver Spring MD, and graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in Environmental Studies and Anthropology, and a minor in Theater Arts. At Brandeis, she directed Noises Off and acted in many shows including The SparrowW;tThe Contest, and more. She has also been a part of DC Theater as an actor in a show with The Theatre Lab. She is really looking forward to joining Quarry Theatre as a cast member in Cultus!

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