Professor's play 'Glass Coffin' to premiere Dec. 3

actors playing“The Glass Coffin,” an original play by SUNY Oswego Professor Mark Cole partially inspired by a local legend, will premiere at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Cole, chair of Oswego’s theatre department, wrote and directed the play, which features music direction by Julie Pretzat, professor and chair of music at the college.

“The play is based on two sources,” Cole explained. “One is an old Oswego story, circa 1900, and the other is a Grimm fairy tale.”

The action finds Cornelia Somers (Ariel Marcus) arriving in St.-Michaels-on-the-Lake with her parents (Jason Martin and Amanda Acobes) to stay with a relative, Mrs. Emerson (Erika Morrissette). Against her father’s will, Cornelia visits Violet Jenkins (Sara Weiler), and the two 10-year-olds find security and delight in the life of the imagination.

While Violet’s father (Michael Racioppa) is taken up with his business dealings, her mother (Lucaya Luckey-Bethany) is obsessed with the past. The adults, except for the housekeeper Molly (Sarah Sterling), can barely comprehend the spirited world of the children. The girls enlist the aid of a tailor (Nathaniel Angstrom) to help them in their plot to free Violet’s family from the influence of a doctor (Charlie Smith). When Violet’s brother Richard (Stephen Green) brings home his new bride Grace (Fredrica Germany) all the characters begin to question what is real and what is an illusion.

Also in the cast are Dan Williams, playing several roles, Katherine Boswell as Mrs. Babcock, the secretary of the Browning Society, and Ben Amey as a local man of letters.

Period music performed by the State Singers will be an integral part of the production. Members of the State Singers include Devin Gruner, Sara Loiacono, Gina Mazzoli, Jenn Andrade, Laura Pavlus, Emily Sorriento, Ben Waterstraat, Dan Williams, Tim Casler and Tim Lanigan.

Cole drew inspiration from an intriguing Oswego tale about a girl laid out by her parents in a glass coffin. “It speaks of loss and grief and a human longing to hold back the inevitable. It’s tender and rather chilling at the same time,” he said.

“Julie Pretzat and I have collaborated on many projects and when we linked this local story to an existing fairy tale—titled, appropriately enough, ‘The Glass Coffin’—we felt we had the ingredients for an original entertainment that could engage a group of actors and singers,” Cole said.

He credited Ana Djukic-Cocks of SUNY Oswego’s modern languages and literatures department for translating the Grimm fairy tale, which “is the basis for the extravagant story that Cornelia and Violet invent to entertain themselves.”

The one-performance-only play is recommended for age 12 and above.

Tickets cost $5 ($3 for seniors and students, $2 for SUNY Oswego students).

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

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PHOTO CAPTION: Imaginative friends—The imagination-driven adventures of children Cornelia Somers (Ariel Marcus, left) and Violet Jenkins (Sara Weiler) infuse the plot of “The Glass Coffin,” an original play written and directed by SUNY Oswego theatre Professor Mark Cole. Inspired by an old, haunting Oswego legend and a Grimm fairy tale, the college production will premiere at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Nov 14, 2007)