In the lead role of Celia in SUNY Oswego's current production of "Elsewhere," Katy Hartzell draws from personal experience.

Hartzell’s character Celia has cut herself off to the world and lives in isolation, and isolation is a feeling Hartzell could relate to.

“Celia deals with isolation a lot and especially after a pandemic, a lot of us can relate to that,” Hartzell said. “I’m an out-of-state student so all of my friends are here at college and when I had to go home, I was physically cut off from everyone I wanted to see.” 

The feeling of isolation left Hartzell feeling lonely, and she is able to translate that feeling into playing her character, especially within the patterns and cycles Celia faces in the play, running Oct. 20 to 24 in Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre.

“During table work, we talked a lot about cycles and patterns,” Hartzell said. “I think that it’s very clear, as the show unfolds, how these patterns happen over and over again.” 

Hartzell added that when someone is isolated, depression and negative cycles can surface and that is what Celia goes through. As the play progresses, Celia realizes those cycles. 

These cycles are hurting Celia more than helping her. The play focuses on these cycles and Celia's patterns of self control with the help of shadow characters. 

Shadow characters

Celia’s shadows (played by Rachel Leotta and Natalie Griffin) are an attempt to change the audience's perception of Celia as the production progresses. The shadows also changed the student performer's perspective. 

“They are super cool for a storytelling aspect for the audience to see, but I also think it helps me,” Hartzell said. “By having everyone dressed in the same colors as me or doing the same thing to Teddy (Andrew Buyea) as I do, helps me continue to go through the motions of Celia.” 

Hartzell says the shadows can be spooky but she likes that about the play, which itself falls in the shadow of Halloween. 

“Elsewhere” is Hartzell’s first big role at SUNY Oswego on the Waterman Theatre stage. 

“I am over the moon about it and having so much fun,” Hartzell said. “It has definitely helped me realize this is absolutely something I’ll be doing as a career.” 

Hartzell looks forward to the challenge of living up to her own expectations and this show is a stepping stone for her. 

The play’s director is theatre faculty member and Oswego alumnus Steven Mazzoccone. The rest of the cast includes Andrew Buyea as Teddy and Taelor Pittman as Celia's sister Amanda. The rest of the cast includes Phillip Jones as Teddy’s understudy, Sabrina Taylor as Celia’s understudy and Shy Sims as Amanda’s understudy. 

The play notes potential triggers for toxic relationships, violence and mentions of mental health. The show also features murder, drugs and death; it is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.  

“Elsewhere” features curtains at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 23.  

Tickets for “Elsewhere,” available via, are free for students and $10 for faculty, staff and the general public. 

Per SUNY Oswego’s new spectator policy, those attending the event are required to be fully vaccinated or to have a recent negative COVID test. Read full policy for details.

-- Story by Cassandra Abel of the Class of 2021