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Theatre Students Showcase Creativity at New Works Festival, April 28–May 1

Sheng Zhong’s “Iphigenia” retells the Euripides tragedy from Clytemnestra’s point of view.

From new plays to interactive performance, Greek tragedy to newsroom comedy, music and dance concerts to puppetry, the Department of Theatre Arts’ inaugural Student New Works Festival is a four-day show that runs from Thursday, April 28, through Sunday, May 1. The festival involves about 50 students in various short works ranging from 15 to 50 minutes in length that take place in five spaces during the four days.

“This festival reflects the philosophy of the Theatre Arts Department, which is to help our students develop their individual voice and vision through the practice of making performance,” said faculty organizer and mentor Mallory Catlett, an assistant professor of directing in the department. “The process involves faculty artistic mentorship and some real-world skills required for artists in the field at large, such as writing project descriptions and artist statements that let the audience in on the student’s artistic interest and intent.”
Many of the pieces feature the work of outgoing seniors, some of whom began working on these projects last semester, so the festival gives them an opportunity to show their work to a larger audience. The shows reflect the students’ research into theatrical form and history as well as an extremely diverse range of subject matter from local history, the current political climate, social issues, psychology and literature.
“We have a lot of double majors and minors who use creative practice to bring their interests together,” added Catlett. “As the first annual festival, we hope this will be an ongoing platform for the students to develop as individuals and as artists.”

The festival’s closing performance features Stony Brook singer Amanda Jayne, a sophomore majoring in history and theatre arts, who works with faculty advisor Amy Cook, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts. Featuring her original music, “Strike a Match” is a performance of Amanda’s upcoming album, which will be released on April 23. Each song allows the audience to progress through the her turbulent relationship with a love interest. Amanda’s acoustic band sets the atmosphere to connect with her lyrics and show what it means to have loved and lost.

As a songwriter, I draw inspiration from the world around me,” said Amanda. “People, places and ideas have all become music and lyrics. However, the emotions inside of me have the strongest impact on my songwriting; I feel most passionately about things that occurred in my life. As an artist, I want people to be able to feel the personal connection I have with my music and apply it to their own lives. I want to be relatable. I want to capture what it means to experience life from my perspective and project it to the world using music as a platform.

Watch Amanda Jayne’s first music video, “One.”

Student New Works Festival Schedule

Click here for tickets to all shows, which are $10 general admission; $5 students.

Thursday, April 28 and Saturday, April 30
GIVING HEADLINES by Katherine Gorham
“Giving Headlines” with Katherine Gorham brings to you the information you didn’t know you needed through comedy, analysis, remarkable good looks and charm. The popular “fake” news format is theatricalized to create a performance that is as energetic and hilarious as it is informative.
April 28 show at 9 pm; April 30 show at 7:30 pm, Theater 2 (30-minute show)

Paige Borak, author of
Paige Borak, author of “On Epicac,” in performance

ON EPICAC by Paige Borak
“On EPICAC” is about seizures and supercomputers. Based on Vonnegut’s short story, “EPICAC,” this highly interactive piece draws comparisons between a computer short-circuiting and the playwright’s own experiences with epilepsy.
April 28 show at 9:30 pm; April 30 show at 5pm, Staller Drafting Room 3002 (15 to 30-minute show)

IPHIGENIA by Sheng Zhong
From Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis (adapted by Donald and Scott Richardson), this performance is depicted from Clytemnestra’s point of view. Recalling the feeling of “lost,” Iphigenia’s mother Clytemnestra shows a very miserable scene when she was looking for her daughter.
April 28 show at 8:30 pm; April 30 show at 6:30 pm, Theater 3 (15-minute show)

Thursday, April 28 and Sunday, May 1
TURN by Tiar Jamoor and FRAGMENTS by Stephanie Mirto
“Turn” is an improvised experiential journey that places you among the many personalities encountered in your daily travels. As you journey to different destinations you will meet “types” of people you may have encountered in life. What form does your reaction take when in the presence of these personalities?
“Fragments” is a journey through the mind of a person living with dissociative identity disorder. Witness the spiral out of control and the loss of identity. Meet and interact with the many personalities living within. Question and discover the fragments of your own identity.
April 28 show at 8 pm; May 1 show at 3 pm, Cabaret Theater (40-minute show)

Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30
CIRQUE DU MIRAGE by Khairika Al Sinani, Nihar Sonalkar and Sophia Tarin
Underneath the lavish tent of “Cirque du Mirage,” the maniacal ringmaster Bobo and his assortment of sins dressed as humans lead the audience through the colorful and bleak truths of society, exposing a world hiding behind the deceitful nature of media and the materialistic vanities of life.
April 29 show at 9 pm; April 30 show at 8 pm, Cabaret Theater (35-minute show)

“Hotel Dahlia” is a one-man show that uses technology, dance performance and shadow puppetry to illustrate the inner architecture of the mind. The rooms and corridors that house Cary’s memories, emotions and life experiences show what it means to let your darkness build you rather than break you.
April 29 show at 8 pm; April 30 show at 2 pm, Theater 2 (25-minute show)

TRUE STORIES by Colin Palmer
A solo theatre piece written and performed by Colin Palmer, “True Stories” explores his hometown of Riverhead, NY, mixing stories from his youth, family and the town’s past to explore what makes this one small town tick and how a town affects its residents.
April 29 show at 8:30 pm; April 30 show at 3 pm, Staller Fine Arts 3220 (50-minute show)

Sunday, May 1
STRIKE A MATCH by Amanda Jayne
“Strike a Match” is a performance of Amanda Jayne’s upcoming album. Each song allows the audience to progress through the narrator’s turbulent relationship with her love interest. Amanda’s acoustic band sets the atmosphere to connect with her lyrics and understand what it means to have loved and lost.
Show is at 2 pm and 4 pm, Theater 2 (40-minute show)

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