Students weaving together 'Underpants' production at SUNY Oswego

Under faculty guidance, SUNY Oswego students are working tirelessly to stitch together “The Underpants,” the upcoming theatre department production opening Nov. 17 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

Opening curtain will represent the culmination of months of preparation for a team led by director Aaron Londraville, a senior dual major in theatre and cinema and screen studies. The group spends at least four hours a day, seven days a week rehearsing and honing many details for the play, which will run through Nov. 21.

SUNY Oswego play 'Underpants.'The production’s stage manager, Benjamin Harrison, a junior economics major, expects to spend about six or seven hours a day on matters related to “The Underpants” until opening night.

“It’s the stage manager’s job to get the show running,” Harrison said, and to keep focused on the ultimate goal: to put on the production. He also offers the director support in terms of lending a different perspective, though he feels strongly that the play is the director’s creation, and should be preserved as such.

Because the play is set in 1910 Germany, the designers need to pay particular attention to the construction of reality as it was at that time. For lighting designer Jamie Ruggio, a junior technical theatre and design major, this means “doing research of the lighting for the original time period the performance is mimicking” and finding out “how and what happened in the world during that time.”

Ruggio said her responsibilities include ensuring that the lighting adds to the intended atmosphere of the play and accurately reflects the time period. This is a challenge she has embraced with thorough research and attention to detail, with help from her mentor, Timothy Baumgartner of the theatre faculty.

Period research

In terms of understanding the play’s setting, one of the most demanding positions is that of costume designer Ariel Marcus. A senior dual major in theatre and graphic design, Marcus works to create costumes that appropriately represent the character, while not being overpowering.
“My research did not stop in 1910 Germany, but I looked at other countries during this period,” Marcus said. She explained that the women’s suffrage movement was beginning around this time in Europe, but women’s fashion did not reflect the proposed advances.
For example, the hobble skirt was popular in women’s fashion in the early 20th century. “The hobble skirt is exactly what the name sounds like; the top of the skirt is normal but as it continues downward the skirt becomes narrower at the women’s ankles,” causing women to literally hobble around, she said.
Marcus continues to learn about fabrics and how they might be utilized in costume composition. Judy McCabe, the costume shop supervisor, and professor Kitty Macey serve as Marcus’ mentors.
Due to adult situations, the play is recommended for those ages 16 or over.

“The Underpants” will have an 8 p.m. preview on Tuesday, Nov. 16, with all seats $5.

Additional 8 p.m. curtains are set Nov. 17 to 20, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday,
Nov. 21. Tickets cost $15 ($12 for faculty, staff, seniors 60 and older and non-SUNY Oswego students; $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Tyler Hall box office at (315) 312-2141. Patrons with disabilities who require assistance should call the box office to make arrangements. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

PHOTO CAPTION: Enthralled onlookers—In “The Underpants,” the bloomers of a beautiful young wife, Louise Maske (Jessica Quindlen), inexplicably fall down at a parade in 1910 Germany, unfurling a farce where suitors such as the poet Versati (Dylan Duffy, left) and the barber Cohen (Jake Luria) vie for her affection. The next installment of the SUNY Oswego theatre season, “The Underpants” will open Nov. 17 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

(Posted: Nov 03, 2010)

Tags: underpants, theatre department, suny oswego, quindlen, production, play, londraville