Mark Cole, professor and chair of theatre at Oswego, wrote the script and plays Lawrence, an eccentric unearther of little-known musical anecdotes. Robert Auler of the music faculty portrays Alan, a virtuoso pianist. Gerard Moses will direct the performance, which made its world premiere at SUNY Oswego last year.
“Since the first performance last December, I had the opportunity to do some rewrites on the piece in preparation for a run of the show last May in Syracuse at Studio 24,” Cole said. “Work of this nature is constantly evolving. So the Nov. 23 audience will see some new material—although the basic structure of the play is still there.”
“An Evening with Alan and Lawrence” first sprang from the professors’ interest in mixing words and music in a new way.
“The play unfolds in real time before the audience as Alan and Lawrence present their act; but as deep-seated jealousy surfaces between the characters, the performance takes a decidedly unnerving turn and a battle of wills ensues,” Cole said.
The play incorporates music by Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin and Franz Schubert, among others. “As I researched the possible connections to be found with various composer’s lives, a somewhat forgotten but intriguing personality emerged: Ferdinand Hiller,” Cole said. “He was a conductor, pianist and composer who lived through quite a bit of the 19th century and knew just about everyone in the world of music.”
Hiller’s friendship with Mendelssohn became an obsession that led him to pen a memoir based on Mendelssohn’s letters. “Hiller’s story serves as a catalyst for the betrayal that occurs in the play,” Cole noted. “Without giving too much away, the play also includes a decidedly eerie working out of one character’s plan for revenge.”
Auler is an award-winning concert pianist who earned the Young Keyboard Artists’ Association Piano Prize and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004. In addition to touring the United States and Europe playing classical music, Auler displays his jazz piano skills as a co-founder and member of the Oswego Jazz Project. He recently released his first solo piano CD, “American Century.”
Cole’s many directing credits include recent productions of “War of the Worlds,” “The Torch Bearers” and “Twelfth Night” for the SUNY Oswego’s theatre department. His “Poe/Play” has been produced in Oswego, New York City, Baltimore, Syracuse and at London’s Etcetera Theatre. His other scripts include “The Glass Coffin,” a ghost story with local connections he directed in 2007 for the theatre department.
Moses is a professional actor, director of theatre and opera, and professor emeritus of drama at Syracuse University where he taught and directed for 32 years. Moses has directed numerous college and community productions and currently runs workshops at Studio 24, a lab for actors, directors and writers.
“We are thrilled to be back in Waterman for this encore performance,” Cole said. “Naturally, continued work on a show can deepen the characterizations and rapport between the performers.”
Tickets cost $12 ($10 for seniors and students, $5 for SUNY Oswego students). The production is suggested for those 12 years of age or older.
Tickets are available at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling Tyler box office at 312-2141. Patrons with disabilities who require assistance should call the box office to make arrangements.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Encore performance—“An Evening with Alan and Lawrence,” created by and starring SUNY Oswego professors Mark Cole (left) and Robert Auler, will return to Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre for a 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 showing. The comedy with music had its world premiere at SUNY Oswego last year and has also appeared at Studio 24 in Syracuse.
(Posted: Oct 30, 2009)