Student directing 'Dora' pursuing labor of love

cast, crew meetTrevor Franklin, the director of the upcoming SUNY Oswego honors theatre production “Dora: A Case of Hysteria,” came to the lakeside college because of two types of love.

Transferring to Oswego from Broome Community College to pursue his passion for theatre with his girlfriend Nicole Arbes, he ultimately landed in the director’s chair for the production based on one of Sigmund Freud’s most infamous cases. But if preparing for the production—which will run Nov. 15 to 19—seems like a sprint, the overall preparation has been more like a marathon, Franklin said.

After receiving the nod to direct “Dora” in spring, the senior theatre major and the selected technical crew immediately started discussing how to stage the production. The production meetings “were really important because we had to settle on certain things before we left for the summer,” Franklin said.

The most important—and potentially challenging—decision was to mount the production in the round, so the audience completely surrounds the stage. Deciding to work in the round dictates what can and can’t be done with stage directions, set and lighting, Franklin said.

Casting the right actors was also important because it is only a three-person show in the intimate Tyler lab theatre setting, he added.

The cast consists of Allison Kleber as Dora, Nathaniel Angstrom as Freud and Evan McNear as Papa. Franklin said he specifically cast them based on their instincts, skill and ability to work together.

“For a piece like this, you want them to find the way,” Franklin said of the actors. “You don’t want to tell them what to do; you want to guide them. You cast people because you trust their instincts.”

That cast and the crew have to work together well because there is a very short three-week rehearsal window before tech week, Franklin said. Progress was further complicated by Angstrom having a lead role in “Antigone,” the theatre department’s first production, but rehearsals for “Dora” are slated to begin on Oct. 23, right after that play wraps.

Franklin has been in theatre a comparatively short time. When he moved to Norwich in his freshman year of high school, the first groups to befriend him were involved in theatre and the school band. They convinced him to try out for a production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” where he landed the role of Harvey Johnson.

“I nailed the leads in the musicals after that,” he recalled. “After that, I decided this is what I want to do.”

He met Arbes at BCC and she “made me focus on the different opportunities I had and really made me grow,” Franklin said. In addition to her plans to transfer to Oswego, he found that the many productions and opportunities in Oswego’s theatre department interested him.

“The professors at Oswego are spectacular,” he noted. “They have so much time to give. They’re also really willing to give you chances.”

“Dora: A Case of Hysteria” will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre with all seats $5.

The production will have 8 p.m. curtains Nov. 15 to 18, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee Nov. 19. Tickets for the regular run cost $12 ($10 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

For information or resevervations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

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PHOTO CAPTION: On the same page—SUNY Oswego senior theatre major Trevor Franklin (right) will direct the college’s honors production “Dora: A Case of Hysteria.” He is shown at a production meeting with cast and crew members (from left) Heather Berg, Allison Kleber, Sohelia Ahmad, Carolyn Bonanni, Desiree Kavanaugh and Nathaniel Angstrom. The production will run from Nov. 15 to 19 in the Tyler Hall lab theatre.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Oct 18, 2006)