The SUNY New Paltz Theatre Department is presenting the world premier of two one act play readings written by alumnus Bradley Diuguid from Nov. 4 to 6.
The two plays to be shown are “Desire” and “Blackdamp.” “Desire” has two versions that will play back-to-back. Diuguid graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2007.
The first play to be shown is the two versions of “Desire.” Though the script is exactly the same, one version uses a heterosexual couple and the other uses a homosexual couple. The play is about a couple who have just rekindled a relationship that ended five months ago and touches upon the struggle that arises the next day.
“Jordan is very emotionally attached to Riki or Richard, depending on which version we’re talking about,” student director and fourth-year theatre arts major Brittney Pierri said. “Riki/Richard thinks about things in a more artistic version and would talk about the rain in reference to what happened.”
That second play premiering is “Blackdamp.” This play is about an autistic 15-year-old boy’s relationship with his mother and his new friend, who is trying to find herself.
“The play is about my character Dale’s new friendship and how his mother is trying to do what’s best for him as a single mother,” said fourth-year theatre arts performance major Matthew Turkle, who plays Dale.
Pierri and Turkle said the meetings with the cast and Diuguid were very helpful.
“From an actor’s point of view, it’s better being in a play where you have access to the playwright,” said third-year musical theatre and creative writing major Megan Jordan, who plays Lauren (Dale’s mother). “Bradley will be present for some readings and be able to give instant feedback.”
Everyone involved is coming up with ideas of where these plays can lead an audience.
“This is not the director’s project, it’s everybody’s project,” Pierri said. “This is something the actors can have as much say as to what goes on with the concepts as we do.”
Turkle said it is more fun to work on a new piece because each actor is creating the character and not basing it off a famous actor’s portrayal. He suggests that actors must make a character his/her own.
In preparation for playing an autistic boy, Turkle said they worked with Elizabeth Boikos, a woman who teaches autistic children. She explained what autism is, along with all the different types. In addition, he has researched through film and online videos how autistic children and their parents act in order to properly portray his character.
“I want to make it believable, I didn’t want to produce something that was fake,” Turkle said. “That’s one of the main themes of the show, the struggle my character’s mother has to deal with and what that’s like for her.”
According to Pierri, SUNY New Paltz is supportive of student and alumni written work and often has play series featuring those works.
“A lot of the people the department gets are through alumni e-mail lists,” said Pierri. “For Bradley’s shows in particular they wanted to dedicate the whole night to his stuff.”
The plays will be shown in Parker Theater, tickets are $6.