Theatre department to explore humanity through 2004-05 season

The upcoming SUNY Oswego theatre department’s season will include classic comedy, contemporary drama and a modern musical.

“The selection of plays this year presents human stories and ideas that not only entertain but also lift the spirits and inspire invigorating thought,” said Mark Cole, professor and chair of theatre at SUNY Oswego. “A longing to escape in order to break free of boundaries—physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual boundaries—is a theme that runs through all of the shows.”

The season will begin with “Infinity’s House,” a play that melds three periods in American history to explore themes of discovery, science and morality. Settlers lost in the desert of New Mexico struggle with love, friendship and survival. American and Chinese railroad workers in Utah, complete their work and contemplate the next unknown. And in 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer and his associates debate morality and science on the eve of the first atomic bomb test. A Southwest Indian shaman who has lost his magic haunts the action. Paul Savas will direct. The play will preview Oct. 7 and run Oct. 8, 9 and 15 to 17 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Senior theatre major Ryan Oliver will direct the student honors production “[sic],” named for a Latin term that appears in writing as a signal than an apparent mistake is in fact an accurate citation. The 30-something urbanites in the play live in closet-sized apartments and wander in and out of each other’s lives, flirting, arguing and testing the limits of friendship. “[sic]” will preview on Nov. 16 and run through Nov. 21 in the lab theatre of Tyler Hall.

The spring semester will kick off with “Big: The Musical,” an adaptation of the 1987 hit movie that starred Tom Hanks. The story centers on a frustrated 13-year-old. When his wish to become “big” actually comes true, he revels in his new identity before learning that responsibilities accompany the joys and freedom of adulthood. Jonel Langenfeld-Rial will direct with musical direction by Todd Graber and choreography by Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell. “Big” will preview Feb. 24 with performances Feb. 25 and 26, and March 4 to 6, in Waterman Theatre.

“Measure for Measure,” one of Shakespeare’s late comedies, deals with the themes of justice, mercy and personal morality. First produced in 1604, the play remains relevant today in its exploration of compromise, hypocrisy and the abuse of authority, said Cole, who will direct the play. The production will preview April 21, with performances April 22, 23, 29 and 30 and May 1 in Waterman Theatre.
“These plays promise a lively experience that serves to unlock penetrating ideas, comic exuberance and joyous musical language for the audiences,” Cole said. “Once again, we will feature post-performance discussions during the run of each production.”

Tickets for regular productions will cost $10 ($9 for senior citizens and students)—except for “Big: The Musical,” which will cost $12 ($10 for seniors and students). Tickets can be purchased through Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141.

Additional events presented by the department will include the Renaissance Madrigal Banquet (co-sponsored with the music department) featuring a six-course 16th-century feast with vocal and instrumental music of the Renaissance and festivities performed by entertainers in period costume. This year, Queen Elizabeth I will make an appearance. Performances are at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 in The Forum of Hewitt Union on campus. 

“New Voices 2005,” co-sponsored by the English writing arts program, will feature staged readings of the six winners of Oswego’s student-written 10-minute play contest on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

The theatre department will also present the premiere of “No Such Thing as Solo.” Made possible through a Mid-Atlantic Arts Association grant, and in cooperation with Artswego, Services to Aid Families and the Oswego Players, the production is a performance by and about survivors of domestic abuse. Project director Langenfeld-Rial will join forces with guest writer/director Peggy Shaw (co-founder of the Split Britches theatre company) and a cast of community members and SUNY Oswego students for this company-developed work. Performances will be at the Frances Marion Brown Theatre at the Oswego Arts Center Nov. 4 to 7.

More information is available by calling Tyler box office at 312-2141 or visiting

- END -

(Posted: Aug 11, 2004)