Students to perform "Fuddy Meers" April 15-17
Students in Penn State Hazleton’s theater classes are gearing up for a performance in a new black box format in the theater of the Slusser/Bayzick Building at the campus from April 15-17.
According to Eric-Michael MacCionnaith, instructor in Integrative Arts, “Students in four theater courses have been assisting with the transformation of the upper level of the Slusser/Bayzick Building into a multi-functional space for a variety of performances.”
The black box theater consists of a simple, somewhat unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor, allowing for a variety of floor plan configurations. For this performance, the stage is in the center of the audience to create a more intimate and dramatic environment.
The renovations to the theater of Slusser/Bayzick Building include painting the walls and ceiling, reconfiguration of the current stage area, lighting and sound upgrades, and installation of new curtains.
Preparations are being made for performances of “Fuddy Meers,” a comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire, running at 7 p.m. April 15-17 in the Slussser/Bayzick Building. Tickets are available at the door each evening and cost $7 for the general public and $5 for students.
The theater students are building on a program established through a gift to the campus by local alumnus and patron of the arts Dominic Landro. The program, which debuted in fall 2006, is designed to engage students’ creative interests, enrich the student experience, and showcase student talent at a program open to the public.
“It’s very exciting to be part of rebuilding a program that was once very active on campus,” Dr. MacCionnaith said.
Dr. MacCionnaith teaches four theater classes including “Introduction to Acting,” “Introduction to Theater,” “Acting Production,” and “Technical Production.” He currently oversees 62 students in everything from acting to set design to promotion of events.
“The students are involved in a variety of aspects of theater production and gain a wide range of experience preparing for and promoting a performance. There are numerous artistic opportunities for students which take place in this liberal arts and educational approach to theater.” he said.
Students are also learning from assisting with performances in the community. According to Dr. MacCionnaith, students have been collaborating with the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts (PTPA) in Hazleton on productions and once the Hazleton Area School District’s Alice C. Wiltsie Performing Arts Center is completed, he would like students to support productions there, as well.
In addition to the theater experience at Penn State Hazleton, Dr. MacCionnaith is working to establish a short-term study abroad program for students with the University College Dublin.
Dr. MacCionnaith began teaching at Penn State Hazleton in the fall 2009 semester after serving as artistic director at the Renegade Theatre Project in Eugene, Oregon, for eight years and an educator at the high school and collegiate levels. He earned a doctoral degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Oregon and a master of science degree in Research Psychology and dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Theatre and Speech all from the University of Tennessee.
In addition to private support, the University is also investing in the performing and visual arts as evidenced by the addition of a full-time faculty member in theater and the transformation of the Evelyn Graham Academic Building lobby into a gallery.
For more information on the April 15-17 performance of “Fuddy Meers” or the theater program at Penn State Hazleton, visit www.hn.psu.edu or call 570-450-3180.
About the performance:
7 p.m. April 15-17, Theater of the Slusser/Bayzick Building at Penn State Hazleton
David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy “Fuddy Meers” is the story of Claire who has a rare form of psychogenic amnesia that erases her memory whenever she goes to sleep. This morning, like all mornings, she wakes up a blank slate. Her chipper husband comes in with a cup of coffee, explains her condition, hands her a book filled with all sorts of essential information, and he disappears into the shower. A limping, lisping half-blind, half-deaf man in a ski mask pops out from under her bed and claims to be her brother, there to save her. Claire’s info book is quickly discarded, and she’s hustled off to the country house of her mother, a recent stroke victim whose speech has been reduced to utter gibberish. Claire’s journey get even more complicated when a dimwitted thug with a foul-mouthed hand puppet pops up at a window, and her driven husband and perpetually stoned son show up with a claustrophobic lady cop that they’ve kidnapped. Every twist and turn in this funhouse plot bring Claire closer to revealing her past life and everything she thought she’d forgotten. It’s one harrowing and hilarious turn after another on this roller coaster ride through the day of an amnesiac trying to decipher her fractured life. This poignant and brutal comedy traces one woman’s attempt to regain her memory while surrounded by a curio cabinet of alarmingly bizarre characters.
Actors and their roles include:
Amanda Crossett as Claire
Megan Cerezo as Gertie
Greg Korin as Limping Man
George Yencha as Millet
Alpher Sylvester as Richard
and Alicia Nordtrom as Heidi
Tickets are available at the door each evening and cost $7 for the general public and $5 for students.