Professor of Theatre Mark Cole ’73 and actress Robin Curtis ’78 are teaming up to stage “Speaking of Sheldon…” a reader’s theatre adaptation of The Autobiography of Edward Austin Sheldon, which will premiere at Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall, Feb. 25 and 26.
Alumni unable to visit campus can still enjoy the show. The college plans to stream a performance on the Web in February.
“When the opportunity arose for the Theatre Department to participate in some way in the Sesquicentennial celebration, Tim Nekritz M ’05 suggested that I look at this text and I was immediately drawn to Sheldon’s ability to describe his life and times —particularly his rural upbringing which must have shaped his work ethic — in ways that not only offer a portrait of his development, but also fascinating bits of information about social life and education in the 19th Century,” Cole said.
A reader’s theatre approach to performance places a writer’s text in the foreground so that character and description — the writer’s style and voice — can be appreciated. In this new production, four student performers, Jessica Quindlen ’12, Michael Beshures ’12, Nicholas Pike ’13 and Clarissa Bawarski ’15, joined by Curtis will bring Sheldon’s words to life — from descriptions of his parents and farm life to his early experiences as a student, to his tender description of his courtship and marriage, and his sister’s record of his last days.
“I’ve known and admired Robin’s work for many years — having first seen her in shows at Oswego and later in musicals at Springside Inn Dinner Theatre, and then of course in film and television. We happened to work together for a Reader’s Theatre presentation I adapted for a dinner based on the story of the Titanic, presented by the Marine Museum in Oswego several years ago. Then through ARTSwego, we were thrilled to present a reading of her one-woman show, ‘A Good Girl,’ here in Waterman. When I approached her about participating in this performance she immediately said yes. It will be a great opportunity for our student performers to work with her.”