Student production 'Trestle' built on team effort

The SUNY Oswego student honors production “The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” will blend the expertise and efforts of many students to create “a harsh and uncompromising tale of emerging adolescence,” said director Lucaya Luckey-Bethany.

The show will open Nov. 14 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre, but the production team has been hard at work since late April, said Luckey-Bethany, a senior theatre major from Gardnerville, Nev.

Luckey-Bethany said the plot revolves around the “torrid, but in no way romantic, relationship” between Dalton (Michael Racioppa) and Pace (Allison Kleber). Dalton appears headed for a life of safe mediocrity until Pace, two years his senior, pushes him to take more chances and get out to experience life.

The cast of the Depression-era play, written by Naomi Wallace in 2002, also includes Dalton’s father Dray (Ryan Santiago) and mother Gin (Kim Saunders) as well as the jailor Chas (Nate Roy).

The student production team includes scenic designer Nick Miller, stage manager Alaina Parness, costume designer Abby Jenkins, sound designer Jessica Bauer, assistant director Kevin Hollenbeck and dramaturg Sara Weiler. Johan Godwaldt of the theatre faculty is the production’s technical and lighting director.

One staging challenge is action jumping back and forth, one scene ending with a character in one time and place, the next beginning with the same person in a different time and place. Luckey-Bethany wanted a minimum of blackouts that could kill the play’s momentum, choosing to rely instead on lighting, sound and mood to ease the fast transitions.

“Another big challenge is that we’re on a short rehearsal time and I want to make sure the relationship between the characters is very strong,” she said. “We have to move at a fast pace to get everything done, but also slow enough so the actors realize what their characters are doing and why, and how this affects everyone around them.”

While describing the play as not a dark comedy as much as “a dark show with comic elements,” Luckey-Bethany nonetheless stressed that “it still tries to explore the more beautiful aspects of life.”

For instance, Gin works at a job where chemicals have turned her hands blue, “but she considers them almost beautiful,” the director said. “It is a show about people taking what reality shows them and trying to fit their own needs, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.”

Due to the play’s mature themes, “I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone age 13 or younger,” Luckey-Bethany said. But for those able to handle the content, she hopes they will have some kind of reaction.

“I really believe this should affect viewers in some way, maybe make them think and reflect on their own lives,” Luckey-Bethany said.

“The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” will preview at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, with all seats $5.

The production will have 8 p.m. curtains Nov. 14 to 17, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee Nov. 18. Tickets 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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CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, 312-3097

(Posted: Oct 10, 2007)