Students to stage 'Dora' production in the round

SUNY Oswego’s production of “Dora: A Case of Hysteria” will unfold in the round, both an intimate and challenging opportunity for the cast and crew, student director Trevor Franklin said.

Franklin and his fellow student crew members decided that this year’s student honors production, running Nov. 15 to 19, was perfect for this unusual kind of presentation where the audience completely surrounds the performance space and there is no back to the stage.

Since “Dora” has only three characters and revolves around the dealings of Sigmund Freud with the title character, based on one of his case studies, the action focuses on those interactions. This emphasis on language and conversations lends itself to a production in the round with a sparse set, Franklin noted.

“We only have three pieces of furniture, so we have to decide where to put these pieces where they would be the most beneficial,” the director explained. “You’d be amazed how much we can do with a 12-foot space.”

The spartan design places additional emphasis on decisions by the actors and director for how to play specific scenes. Just all the different ways that Dora may sit in a chair or read a line can transmit specific interpretations to connect with the audience, Franklin said.

“Working in the round, you realize the back of the head can be just as dramatic as the front if you stage it correctly,” the senior theatre major said. “If you see a person’s back, that puts more emphasis on their voice.”

That the show takes place in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre also played into the decision. “It’s so intimate that the audience really becomes familiar with the characters, so we have a nice cozy atmosphere for everybody,” Franklin said. “You don’t have to play to the back rows, so you have to be honest.”

Franklin also enjoys the additional challenge of this kind of production. “When I first read it, I always saw it in the round,” he said. “I’m an actor who gravitates toward non-traditional things. We’re on a college campus, and not doing professional theatre, so why can’t we give it a shot?”

“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 reservations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

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(Posted: Oct 25, 2006)