Theatre season to offer diversity, surprises

imageThe 2006-07 season for SUNY Oswego’s theatre department offers a complex, adventurous array, department chair Mark Cole said.

“Three of the plays this year feature title characters who are willful, uncompromising and fascinating in their psychological complexity,” Cole said, “and the provocative title of our music theatre production guarantees theatrical surprise.”

The season will begin with “Antigone” by Jean Anouilh, translated by Jeremy Sams. It is based on the ancient Greek story but transported to a contemporary setting to explore themes of compromise and rebellion. The play follows the fortunes of the relatives of Oedipus, building to a complex battle of wills between the headstrong and idealistic Antigone and her uncle Creon, the practical, realistic head of state. Cole will direct the production, previewing Oct. 12 and running through Oct. 22 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. It is recommended for ages 15 and up.

Senior theatre major Trevor Franklin will direct “Dora: A Case of Hysteria,” which will preview Nov. 14 and run through Nov. 19 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre. Written by Kim Morrissey, the play is a darkly comic re-imagining of one of Sigmund Freud’s most famous case studies. Through the course of the surprising sessions with “Dora,” as Freud called her, the audience is left to “wonder if Freud, not Dora, should be the one lying on the couch,” the London Evening Standard once observed. The play is recommended for ages 16 and above.

The spring semester will begin with “Lost in a Viral Paradise,” a company-developed piece that culminates a three-semester collaboration between the art, music and theatre departments and Squonk Opera. An internationally known performance troupe that specializes in interdisciplinary performance projects, Squonk Opera has worked with students to create a dreamlike blend of cutting-edge mixed media, original music, imaginative scenic effects, puppetry and movement. Jonel Langenfeld-Rial of the theatre faculty directs, with music direction by Todd Graber of the music faculty. The play will preview March 1 in Waterman Theatre, with performances continuing to March 11.   

“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” the final main stage production of the year, is directed by Jerry Bradley, visiting assistant professor of theatre. Adapted by Jay Presson Allen from the novel by Muriel Spark, the play’s action centers on the inspiring and passionate teacher Jean Brodie and her effect on the impressionable young girls in her charge. The piece is known as a comic and compassionate examination of a teacher who desperately longs to train students “to be aware of all the possibilities of life,” often with dire consequences. The play will preview April 24 with performances through April 29. It is recommended for ages 16 and above.

“The productions this season question our expectations about relationships, the public and private roles we play and the nature of theatre itself,” Cole noted. “In ‘Antigone,’ the immediacy of civil disobedience is movingly examined. In ‘Dora,’ what is not said is even more important than what is said as one of Freud’s case studies becomes a case study of the analyst’s own repressed sexual desires. ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ questions the nature of teaching and learning. And ‘Lost in a Viral Paradise’ in its blend of performance, design and technology offers an experience that stretches the boundaries of traditional theatre.”

Once again, post-performance discussions will take place during each production’s run.

Additional events for the season will include a chamber theatre production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” co-sponsored with the music department. The story is adapted and directed by Cole with musical direction by Dr. Julie Pretzat, music department chair.

“This is based on the performance of the story we did last December,” Cole explained. “We were gratified by the audience reception and have decided to offer this great tale once again, emphasizing language and character in a simple staging.” “A Christmas Carol” will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, in Waterman Theatre. It is recommended for ages 10 and above.

New Voices 2007, co-sponsored with the English and creative writing department, will feature staged readings of the six winners of Oswego’s student written 10-minute play contest. Performances, recommended for ages 16 and above, will take place Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, in the lab theatre, times to be announced.

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

- END -

PHOTO CAPTION: Squonk setup—The collaborate performance “Lost in a Viral Paradise” is one of the highlights for SUNY Oswego’s upcoming theatre season. Oswego students and faculty from the art, music and theatre department are working with members of the Squonk Opera performing arts troupe to produce the original production, which will make its world premier in March. Senior graphic design major Kevin Dietz shows some promotional materials he designed in the “Graphic Design I” class to visiting Squonk Opera founding members Jackie Dempsey and Steve O’Hearn.

CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Jul 19, 2006)