Barry McNamara  |   Published April 19, 2016

Leading ladies

Ellers, Hughes are sisters on stage, and in Alpha Xi Delta
Morgan Ellers ’17 and Galen Hughes ’18 took different routes to their lead roles as sisters in Monmouth College’s production of Aphra Behn’s The Rover.

The 17th-century play will be staged April 21-24 at the Fusion Theatre in downtown Monmouth.

Both actors, who hail from Illinois, enjoyed four-year careers on the stage in high school – Ellers at Crystal Lake South and Hughes at Genoa-Kingston. Hughes has been involved with the College’s theatre scene since she arrived on campus, but this is Ellers’ first appearance as an actress at Monmouth.

Ellers said her first experience on stage has been what she’s come to expect on campus.

“Everyone is super supportive at Monmouth,” said Ellers, who is majoring in elementary education. “I’ve been welcomed into the theatre community, and I also see that support in all aspects of the College. I’ve received lots of individual attention from faculty. Professors and other students support you everywhere you go. They really care about you. I think at bigger schools you get lost in the crowd.”

Portraying sisters is not entirely a stretch for the two actors, as they are both members of the women’s fraternity Alpha Xi Delta, which Ellers said represents just another embracing arm of the College’s welcoming environment.

“It’s an automatic support system, and I’ve made some of my closest friends in Alpha Xi Delta,” she said. “I would encourage any students looking into Monmouth to look into Greek life here.”

Hughes also had some advice for prospective students, especially those interested in the stage.

“Don’t be afraid to be a theatre major,” she said. “When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to continue in theatre, but I originally started as a history major. The theatre faculty has been so helpful, especially (The Rover’s director) Emily Rollie. She encouraged me to pursue it and told me there’s a way to be a theatre major and be successful.”

Hughes hopes to continue in starring roles beyond Monmouth. Her broad experiences within the College’s theatre major have given her advanced knowledge of skills such as design and “running a crew.” She has also added an arts management minor to strengthen her ability to work on the administrative side of the profession.

“I hope to work in theatres around the world,” she said. “I was in Ireland this spring with the Wind Ensemble, and it was an awesome experience.”

But in the meantime, Hughes is focused on portraying the character Florinda in The Rover. She and Ellers agree that audiences are in for plenty of 17th-century hijinks.

“It’s a comedy, with love triangles and mistaken identities, and lots of masks and lots of swordfights,” said Ellers, who called her Hellena character “very sassy, very witty. She has a feminist voice, and she’s not afraid to speak.”

Hughes said she admires Florinda’s courage.

“She’s in love with someone she shouldn’t be, and she sneaks out to be with him at the masquerade,” Hughes said. “I like that she goes for what she wants instead of doing what people want her to do.”
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