A “Fresh Act” On Campus

Fresh Act is an organization on campus that allows students from any major to write, direct and act for scenes that are student written or from other works. The bi-semester play festival accepts submissions in the beginning of every semester.

I went to the theater Friday ready to see the artistic talent that is our SUNY New Paltz community. In general, every scene had its own stamp of individuality. Even during the scenes that were not student written, the audience was still able to see the director’s unique take on the scene.

The first scene of the night was “Crossing Stars,” which was adapted and directed by Casey Morris and starring Melissa Shawcross as J and Noah Harr as R. The scene showed what life would be like if we could only speak from a script that we were given.  It was a combination of a post-apocalyptic society with the timeless Romeo and Juliet love story. The adaption of the script was a creative way of meshing together the old and new. Because of the language of the time, the action in some places was a little difficult to understand but all and all, it was a great concept.

The second scene, “Guys,” written by Robb Badlam and directed by Noah Schoer, was a quirky take on the minds of men. Duff, played by Brandon Brown, and Ty, played by Tara Hatzidakis, are both friends who don’t have much confidence in the department of women. This scene was hysterical and made me laugh out loud. Though at times it did drag, it was entertaining nonetheless.

“Virescent,” written by Elisabeth Ermine and directed by Elise Smalley (Elisabeth Ermine) and starring Sean Orman and Mal Walton portrayed the idea of an artist recreating his deceased love one into a statue. The statue was personified and conveyed the fact that you cannot recreate someone once they are gone. While at times the writing was so dramatic that it was distracting, the concept of the scene was brilliant.

“Fat Pig,” the fourth scene in the lineup, written by Neil LaBute and directed by Courtney Gerou, starred Andres Rodriguez, Rachel Rienecker and Dean Mahoney. It was a critique of how men act and how they are perceived when being romantically involved with a “big woman.” This scene was brutally honest but heartwarming all the same. Though cliche, the ending left me with a smile on my face.

“The Cycle,” written and directed by Avannah Torok and starring Alicia Dee Leduc, Michael Hussey and Samantha Steere displayed a thought provoking rendition of how mistakes can lead us to where we need to be in life. Its nontraditional staging really made it much more enjoyable. I felt  the costumes, black with just a pop of color, were greatly symbolic of what the piece was trying to portray.

“Company (Scene 2),” written by George Furth, directed by Tabitha Garnica and starring Kalia Lay, Elijah Dederick and Eric Hibschweiler, was the ultimate portrayal of a husband wife showdown. Funny, honest, some amazing stage combat and the chemistry of this cast made me feel as if I were watching a moment of reality in someones living room.

“The Walk,” written by Noah Harr, directed by Kristen Battersby, and starring Jillian Nadiak, Jack Vicari and Jessica Lyke, was something comparable to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The scene at times was hard to follow, but the actors did a wonderful job portraying these characters.

“Sail,” written by Amber Neilson and directed by Jeremy Sapadin, starred Marie Coppola (Katie) and Ryan Christopher Thomas (The Man). Katie is a college student  trying to find a subject to write about for her project for class and the boring man she thought was bland has many more issues than from first glance. This piece was beautifully written and was heartwarming display of how we cannot judge others by first glance.

Lastly, one of the funniest scenes of the night, “Warriors of  Zaphiroth,” written and directed by Anthony Leiner, starring Dennis Wakeman, John Cooper O’Mulderry IV and Emily Nicole Fuller was a hysterical take on today’s popular nerd culture and showed that even though some like to keep their nerdom secret, it will eventually come out. This piece left me laughing from beginning to end.