Plattsburgh State Theatre Department will kick off the spring semester with the dark comedy.
“First Born,” which brings together local playwright Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest and PSUC alumus Tim Wagoner as guest director.
The play is about a dream-like story of love and healing will show March 3-6 in the Black Box Studio in the Myers Fine Arts building.
For Tom Wagoner, this was an opportunity to come back to PSUC and direct his first main stage play on campus.
“I was approached by the faculty and they asked me if I wanted to do this play,” Wagoner said. “I agreed and I started looking for a script.”
Wagoner said he was given some of Vicory-Rosenquest’s plays and was immediately impressed.
“I was really visually stimulated by some of the words,” Wagoner said. “We chatted about it to see if we could do this and we got Tracy on board.”
Wagoner, who attended PSUC as an acting student said it feels cool to be in the director’s chair this time around.
“It’s kind of interesting. As an actor it helps to see things in the director’s point of view.” Wagoner said. “When I would get a note as an actor like “speed up the tempo” I wouldn’t always pick up on it. Now I’m able to catch those things and see it in a different light.”
Wagoner said he wanted to make sure that the actors didn’t overplay the tragedy of the story too much.
“It’s a dark comedy so playing into the tragedy so much is cheating the audience of the comic elements of it,” Wagoner said. “That darkness is the tragedy, but the lightness is the comedy.”
Wagoner said the play compares to real life.
“We have terrible things happen to us, but to find the comedic moments in those times is key,” Wagoner said. “That’s how we survive and keep going.”
One caveat of being the director of the play is that Wagoner didn’t have to go too far if he needed help with something.
“It’s so great to work with a playwright that we can actually go to and ask questions,” he said. “There have been times when we wanted to switch something, stage it differently or change a word, and Tracy’s been really helpful with everything.”
PSUC sophomore theatre major Audra Colino is excited about being a part of her first main stage at PSUC.
“It’s been great working with Tim and the playwright,” Colino said. “It’s really cool to see inside their minds and how they want to do the play.”
For Colino, the experience has been rewarding.
“When i heard about I wasn’t sure if I going to be able to do this,” Colino said. “There was a schedule issue. I just auditioned and if I couldn’t do it at least I tried. I was shocked when I got the role.”
Colino said that this particular role as one of the main characters, Janet and play is different to what she has done at PSUC, which includes appearing in the Rocky Horror Picture show last semester.
“There’s a lot of character development and different sides and layers to her,” she said. “I like working with that. It’s cool to experience.”
The play has brought on new experiences and challenges for those involved.
“This is my first time being a stage manager,” PSUC junior English major Shannon Formas said. “It’s very different from being an actor. Everything is kind of on you.”
Formas has been part of the preparation of the play for the past four or five months.
“I’ve worked on this from the very beginning,” Formas said. “It’s been awesome. You get know the actors and director better. It is very personal.”
What separates the Black Box Theatre from other stages on campus is the intimacy. People who go to the play can be as close as five feet from the actors.
“I guess it’s a little more nerve-racking as you’re so close to the audience, and they can see your every move,” Colino said.
Formas said the people who are going to see the play should maintain an open mind.
“People should expect something different,” she said. “It’s about life. It’s real. Real situations. Real struggles and characters people can relate to.”
“First Born,” will show March 3-5, at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. March 6. Tickets for PSUC students are $3 and available online at tickets.plattsburgh.edu and at the Angell Center Desk.
Email David Luces at email@example.com