Modern technology complements turn-of-century 'Blood Relations'

While tackling an old story, students staging the upcoming SUNY Oswego honors theatre production “Blood Relations” are using some new technology in preparing the play.

Senior theatre major Keegan Bushey directs the production, which will open Nov. 18 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre. And while it centers on the guilt or innocence of Lizzy Borden, accused of killing her father and stepmother in 1892, some very modern Web-based operations accompany the production.

The most high-visibility example is a student blog kept by dramaturge Tess Kaczorowski chronicling behind-the-scenes happenings.

Accessible off of, the senior theatre major’s entries are journal-like observations on her role, the production’s development, photos of the set coming together and a range of videos. Kaczorowski has posted such videos as actress Jessica Quindlen learning how to dance a jig, Bushey giving makeup thoughts to actress Kim Greenawalt and the director and two actors discussing the audition process.

Kaczorowski also showed some of the related community service the cast and crew have performed, such as promoting a Red Cross blood drive and trick-or-treating for UNICEF. “We raised enough money to provide school supplies for 40 children, and water for dozens more,” she explained of the latter effort.

Behind the scenes, director Bushey has used innovative online media to assemble the play. Over the summer, the design team interacted via a wikispace, where contributors could post text, images and diagrams as they planned execution of such aspects as blocking, set design and lighting. The Web space allowed them to provide feedback and brainstorm off each others’ ideas.

And when the principal design team of Bushey, set designer Angela Kowinsky and lighting designer Chris VerSchneider were unable to all meet in person at one point during the summer, they used Skype—a popular video-chat system—to stage a virtual meeting.

But despite all the use of modern technology, Bushey said he hopes that once audiences enter the lab theatre, they will become engrossed in the turn-of-the-century story, the central mystery of whether or not Lizzy is guilty and a continuing series of plot twists.

“Blood Relations” will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, with all seats $5.

The regular run will feature 8 p.m. curtains Nov. 18 to 21 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee Nov. 22. Tickets cost $12 ($10 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

The production is suggested for those 16 years of age or older.

Tickets are available at or by calling Tyler box office at 312-2141. Patrons with disabilities who require assistance should call the box office to make arrangements.

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(Posted: Nov 05, 2009)