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Spotlight shines on Suffolk junior Peter Teutsch in original production “Twice Upon A Self”
November 7, 2018
Theatre is more than just a form of entertainment for Peter Teutsch, a junior theatre major at Suffolk University. It’s an outlet for emotion and passion that shined through in his original production “Twice Upon a Self,” which premiered in the Sullivan Studio Theater on Friday as part of the theater department’s “Spotlight” series.
The play, written and directed by Teutsch, is a narrative of despair, feminine strength and forgiveness amidst its simplicity. The true marvel of the anecdote is its lighting and thoughtful direction of dialogue and emotion.
Set throughout several years in the home of a family, the play opens with the bone-chilling creak of a door in the right wing of the theater. A sliver of light illuminates the stage in a haunting glow as the narrator, portrayed by Micaleen Rodgers, begins to tell the tale of a young mother and her child.
This begins the story of the mother, played by Anastasia Bolkwadze. She is a diligent woman who puts her young daughter, played by Jamie Steinbech, above all else. However, her efforts to further her career in order to pursue comfort for herself and her daughter are fruitless, and she is verbally abused by her bible-quoting parents, played by Amanda Hackney and Kaleigh Ryan.
The play slowly spirals into chaos and reaches its penultimate moment when the young daughter’s cruel father, played by Samantha Fagone, physically harms his daughter and the mother demands he leave them for good. The daughter, in a moment of vulnerability and panic, declares her hate for her mother and storms off. The two later reconcile their love for each other, but the scars have already formed over the years of deep wounds to the family.
Scars are the theme of the final scene of the play as mannequin-like versions of the father and grandparents loom over the mother, who is now successful and believes herself to finally be healed after the years of abuse. She finishes with a monologue of graphic emotions by speaking directly to the audience and reveals that this scenario is real, that everyone has seen it, yet no one cares to help.
“Twice Upon a Self” is Teutsch’s first time both directing and writing his own production.
“This is a story that comes from a real life experience for me,” said Teutsch in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “It was difficult. I had to detach myself from the emotions of it. I had to purely look at it as more a pragmatic standpoint rather than an emotional one.”
“I’ve directed and acted before, but it’s a totally different experience when it’s your story. It’s easy to be vulnerable while playing a character but not when it’s actually you,” he said, when asked about the challenges he faced during the creation of the production.
The production is relatively short, yet manages to pack an incredibly stirring narrative into its run-time, due to the performances of the actors and direction given to them. It is truly a play of feminine empowerment and learning to forgive through the pain led by Bolkwadze’s heart-wrenching inner monologue and pained expressions of a mother who is trying her best but is told she is a failure by those around her.
“I think this is a project that I’m going to be working on for a while,” said Teutsch in an interview with The Journal. “This is an excerpt of a larger story that needs to be told and I really want to keep working on it until it turns into that.”