'Honor and the River' explores fear, trust, coming of age

student actors“Honor and the River,” the annual SUNY Oswego student honors production, probes issues of fear and trust against the backdrop of budding adulthood.

Kevin Hollenbeck, a senior double major in theatre and cinema and screen studies from Stockbridge, directs the production written by New York City playwright Anton Dudley. It will open Nov. 19 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

The shy Eliot (Knate Roy), who cannot swim, is paired with popular and athletic Honor (Keegan Bushey) as part of a rowing exercise at a prestigious New England prep school. Their interaction drives much of the action, as they learn more about each other—and themselves.

An underlying theme is about “trusting your own emotions and the resulting factors that come from trusting your emotions,” Hollenbeck said. The relationship between Eliot and Honor is complicated because their widowed parents have begun seeing each other and the boys ultimately find no one else in whom to confide.

But not everything is what it seems, as fear and deception—sometimes a question of who is deceiving whom—complicate the action.

The New York Times described the play as “riveting” and “a stunner,” full of “intensity and richness.” Hollenbeck said it is only the third time the play has been produced anywhere, so Oswego’s production—featuring a student-led cast and crew—is working from a fairly blank slate.

But between the rich text and a sparse set, Hollenbeck finds much to work with—while hoping to ensure the play’s messages come through clearly.

“Since so much of the play is really about trusting your own emotions, I hope the audience will examine the ways society can alienate people,” Hollenbeck said. “I also hope the audience will get a good understanding of fear itself and what it can do to people.”

Hollenbeck provides additional behind-the-scenes insights through the Oswego student blog project at www.oswego.edu/student/oswegoblogs.

“Honor and the River” will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, with all seats $5.

The production will have 8 p.m. curtains Nov. 19 to 22, wrapping with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee Nov. 23. Tickets for the regular run cost $12 ($10 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students). The play is suggested for those 16 years of age or older.

For information or reservations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or tickets@oswego.edu.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Friends or foes?—SUNY Oswego’s student honors production “Honor and the River” centers on the complex, evolving relationship between the popular, athletic Honor (Keegan Bushey, left) and the shy, fragile Eliot (Knate Roy). The production will open Nov. 19 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Oct 29, 2008)

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