From the time he started theatre courses at SUNY Oswego, Ryan Oliver knew he wanted to direct the college’s annual student honors production. He will get his chance with “[sic],” a contemporary comedy opening Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the Tyler Hall lab theatre.
“I directed a couple of shows in high school, and when I got here I discovered there was a real opportunity with the student honors show,” said Oliver, a senior theatre major from Rome. He worked up to the challenge by serving as assistant director for previous campus productions “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “1940s Radio Hour.”
Oliver said he began to follow a path toward a theatre career after auditioning for a production of “Oklahoma” in high school.
“My mother said it would really look good on my college application,” he recalled. “I got a bigger part than expected. Since then, I’ve done everything I could. But I’ve always loved to play and always loved to make things up off the top of my head.”
The script for “[sic]” leaves much for the director and cast to make up as they go along. There is no punctuation for any of the dialogue, so Oliver and his actors have been experimenting with readings to see what works best. “I’ll let them go out and do as much different stuff as possible and then we’ll decide what’s feasible,” he said.
The short time frame, coming on the heels of previous production “Infinity’s House,” is another challenge. The team has only four weeks —Oct. 18 to Nov. 15—to bring the play from the page to the stage.
Oliver said his directorial style has relied much on recognizing the creativity of the cast and crew. “The people I cast were people I knew would be able to do certain things in a certain period of time because I’d seen them before,” he said. “It’s partly going on trust.”
The cast consists of Samantha Mason as Babette, Brian Heyman as Theo, Steve Mazzaccone as Frank, and Michael Climek and Meaghan Thaney as a man and woman heard mainly through an airshaft.
Oliver’s trust extends to those working behind the scenes. After he was selected from applicants to direct the play last spring, he quickly assembled a student crew to help with the creative process.
“We had a couple of production meetings last spring and . . . kept in touch over the summer” exchanging ideas and notes, Oliver said. “All of the people in the design team I trust, as they may come in with ideas I wouldn’t expect. I want them to feel they can create in their own area.”
The crew consists of assistant director Ryan Sprague, stage manager Maya Pacio, assistant stage manager Kathryn Kobos, set designer Chris Cherkis, lighting designer Greg Brewster, makeup and costume designer Kayla Greeley, sound designer Matt Boudreau, property master Pat Tobiasson and technical director Megan Callanan.
The production will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, with all seats $5. The run will continue with 8 p.m. curtain times Nov. 17 to 20, wrapping with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee Nov. 21. Tickets cost $10 ($9 for senior citizens and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).
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CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097
PHOTO CAPTION: Something funny—Ryan Oliver (center), director of the upcoming SUNY Oswego theatre presentation “[sic],” laughs during an early production meeting for the contemporary comedy. Flanking him are assistant director Ryan Sprague (left) and stage manager Maya Pacio. Oliver, a senior theatre major from Rome, helms the student cast and crew staging the production in the Tyler Hall lab theatre on campus from Nov. 17 to 20.
(Posted: Oct 28, 2004)