Original 'Evening' to mix music, dark comedy

duo at pianoAn Evening with Alan and Lawrence” will mix music, comedy and the uncanny when it makes its world premiere at SUNY Oswego at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Mark Cole (right), professor and chair of theatre at Oswego, wrote the script and plays Lawrence, an eccentric unearther of little-known musical anecdotes. Robert Auler (left) of the music faculty portrays Alan, a virtuoso pianist. Gerard Moses of Syracuse will direct the performance.

“The play grew out of our desire to mix music and words in a new way,” Cole said. “The play unfolds in real time before the audience as Alan and Lawrence present their act; but as deep-seated jealousy surfaces between the characters, the performance takes a decidedly unnerving turn and a battle of wills ensues.”

It incorporates music by Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin and Franz Schubert, among others. “As I researched the possible connections to be found with various composer’s lives, a somewhat forgotten but intriguing personality emerged: Ferdinand Hiller,” Cole said. “He was a conductor, pianist and composer who lived through quite a bit of the 19th century and knew just about everyone in the world of music.”

Hiller’s friendship with Mendelssohn became an obsession that led him to pen a memoir based on Mendelssohn’s letters. “Hiller’s story serves as a catalyst for the betrayal that occurs in the play,” Cole noted. “Without giving too much away, the play also includes a decidedly eerie working out of one character’s plan for revenge.”

Auler is an award-winning concert pianist who earned the Young Keyboard Artists’ Association Piano Prize and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004. In addition to tours of the United States and Europe playing classical music, Auler displays his jazz piano skills as a co-founder and member of the Oswego Jazz Project performing most Wednesdays at Patz Restaurant in Oswego.

Cole’s many directing credits include recent productions of “The Torch Bearers” and “Twelfth Night” for SUNY Oswego’s theatre department. His “Poe/Play” has been produced in Oswego, New York City, Baltimore, Syracuse and at London’s Etcetera Theatre. His other scripts include “The Glass Coffin,” a ghost story he directed last December for the theatre department.

Guest director Moses is a professional actor, director of theatre and opera, and professor emeritus of drama at Syracuse University where he taught and directed for 32 years. Moses has directed numerous college and community productions and currently runs workshops at Studio 24, a lab for actors, directors and writers in Syracuse.

Tickets for the one-day-only show cost $5 for the general public, $3 for seniors, students and SUNY Oswego students. Proceeds will support theatre and music scholarships in Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

The production is suggested for those 12 years of age or older.

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

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(Posted: Nov 14, 2008)