WRVO busy behind scenes of upcoming production

advisers meetAn ongoing behind-the-scenes series on public radio station WRVO tunes into SUNY Oswego’s development of an original multimedia production, “Lost in a Viral Paradise.”

A collaboration between students and faculty from Oswego’s art, music and theatre departments with Squonk Opera, the project will culminate with performances in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre starting March 2.

Producer Mark Lavonier of the WRVO stations, a National Public Radio affiliate based at SUNY Oswego, has been creating and hosting a series of radio shows that highlight the creative work that goes into this interdisciplinary mainstage production.

The broadcast project, with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts decentralization program administered locally by the Cultural Resources Council, has included interviews with project advisers Steve O’Hearn and Jackie Dempsey of Squonk Opera, student assistant director Nicole Arbes, student composer Max McKee and project director Jonel Langenfeld-Rial, among others.

Lavonier has crafted a series of radio broadcasts that explore the complex character of what is sometimes dubbed “performance art.” In one interview, O’Hearn talks about the “hugely ambitious” nature of this project, bringing together faculty and students from diverse fields to work on the subjective character of an art form where “the audience is invited to fill in the blanks and become the storytellers.”

Arbes told Lavonier about the “outside of the box” exploration of ideas that she has found challenging and exciting. In another interview, McKee talks about “musically capturing the idea of viral” and working collaboratively with performers to support and inform the creative work at hand.

The complex production, written over the course of several months by SUNY Oswego students, is not easily categorized or explained, which makes Lavonier’s work all the more remarkable, said Mary Avrakotos, coordinator of the Artswego Performing Arts Series.

“The production is a satirical comedy that takes an imaginative, multimedia look at the zany, and sometimes nightmarish, aspects of people’s viral lives,” Avrakotos said. Featuring everything from a shopping-cart ballet to stilt-walking showgirls, the production “is a funky fantasy that takes a fun and weird look at contagion,” she added.

To access audio links of already-produced stories, visit www.wrvo.fm/squonk. Additional planned pieces to be broadcast on the WRVO Stations include the sneak-peak performance that took place during the Warm Up Oswego festival in Oswego’s Armory in early February.

A preview of “Lost in a Viral Paradise” will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, with all tickets $5.

The run will include 8 p.m. performances March 2, 3, 9 and 10, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, March 11. Tickets for the regular run cost $12 ($10 for senior citizens and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

Tickets are available through Tyler box office by calling 312-2141 or e-mailing tickets@oswego.edu.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Among those providing guidance as SUNY Oswego students write the original production “Lost in a Viral Paradise” are, from left, Joe Rial of SUNY Oswego’s theatre department, Steve O’Hearn of Squonk Opera, Jonel Langenfeld-Rial of Oswego’s theatre department and Jackie Dempsey of Squonk Opera. Mark Lavonier of public radio station WRVO has interviewed O’Hearn, Langenfeld-Rial, Dempsey and several students for a series of reports broadcast on WRVO and on the Web at www.wrvo.fm/squonk.

CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581 or artswego@oswego.edu

(Posted: Feb 16, 2007)