SUNY Oswego students will play the roles of director, performers and crew in the college’s upcoming honors production “[sic],” which will open Nov. 17 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre on campus.
Senior theatre major Ryan Oliver will direct from a script by Melissa James Gibson. The script follows the interactions of three city friends living in broom-closet-sized apartments. The play has earned an Obie Award and the Joseph Kesserling Prize.
“I see it as three friends in their 30s who are already starting to have midlife crises,” Oliver said. “They are still starting things up and trying to find their way in life.”
Samantha Mason will play Babette, a neurotic writer who is starting to work on her doctorate and write a book. Brian Heyman will portray Theo, a troubled musician trying to compose a theme for an amusement park ride. Steve Mazzaccone will take the role of Frank, who has decided to become an auctioneer.
Also in the cast, but not seen on stage, are Michael Climek and Meaghan Thaney, who portray a couple whose conversations can be heard through an airshaft throughout the play.
“It’s really more a character sketch than a plot, because you’re seeing them interact with each other,” Oliver said. “You see fragments of what’s going on with these people. You hear fragments of what they are saying. You’re often interpreting what’s going on in their lives.”
The name of the play, “[sic],” comes from a Latin term inserted in print after a misspelling or mistake that has been accurately reproduced. The unusual title subtly alludes to a major challenge of the production that requires an interpretive process, Oliver noted.
“There is no punctuation in the script,” the director explained. “Actors have to interpret where to insert pauses and how to read their lines.” There are also phone conversations, where the audience only sees one character, that can change context dramatically depending on where the performer inserts pauses in the imaginary conversation.
“I’ll let them go out and do as much different stuff as possible and then we’ll decide what’s feasible and go from there,” Oliver said. “I’m going to give them a lot of latitude for discovering what works. You could have the best takes on the 11th try, but you don’t know until you get to that point.”
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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PHOTO CAPTION: Play planning—Ryan Oliver (far right), director of the student honors theatre production “[sic],” leads a cast and crew planning meeting with fellow SUNY Oswego students. Clockwise from far left are actors Brian Heyman, Samantha Mason and Michael Climek; Kathryn Kobos, assistant stage manager; Maya Pacio, stage manager; Oliver; Ryan Sprague, assistant director; and actors Meaghan Thaney and Steve Mazzoccone.
(Posted: Oct 20, 2004)