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February 2011 • Vol 6 No 11

Oswego Trio Linked by Syracuse Performance

With his play-writing career quickly developing in New York City, Ryan Sprague '06 hopes his next success will include two fellow Oswego alumni.
Ryan Sprague

Sprague's "Reach" will debut in Syracuse next week. The storyline follows a couple sorting through their devastated lives on the heels of Hurricane Katrina.

Ryan Santiago '08 and Danielle Valeriano '09 play the lead roles in the performance, inspired by a trip to New Orleans a few years ago. He discovered the region's suicide rate was skyrocketing at the same time government mental health assistance to victims and their families was lacking.

"I wanted to write a piece that would reflect what happens once the media is gone and the relief funds stop funneling in," said Sprague. "These people had no one to help them through the ordeal."

In "Reach," the couple works through their own depression in the shadows of the natural disaster. Sprague shared an early draft of the script with Valeriano for feedback a few years ago.

"I was definitely into the script from the beginning," she said. "I think it's a real eye-opener.

Santiago and Valeriano"We do tend to forget even if we say we never will," Valeriano said. "There's a lot of people still suffering that we don't see."

She will give people a glimpse of what happens after national attention gradually fades with her good friend Santiago. Though the two have been close friends since college, this will be their first time working together like this, Valeriano said.

Sprague's two other plays have been well-received. "Somewhere in Between" earned him a nomination in the "Best Full-Length" play category of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards last year. "Some Just Do It Naturally," a play he wrote as a student, placed in the top 10 of 60 plays at the Wonderland One Act Festival in New York City.

Catching the performance bug in high school, Sprague was mentored by Professor Brad Korbesmeyer at Oswego.

"It was his reputation, playwriting courses and guidance that really inspired me to infuse my theatre experience with my writing," said Sprague, who studied theater and English writing arts.

Sprague is working on getting "Reach" produced in New York City and developing his next script, titled "The Soldier's Daughter."

— Shane M. Liebler

Top: Ryan Sprague '06

Below: Ryan Santiago '08, left, and Danielle Valeriano '09

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