Suffolk students steal the show at annual fall showcase

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Nile Scott Studios

The cast and crew of Suffolk’s Fall Showcase

Suffolk University’s theater department premiered three student-written and directed plays during its annual fall showcase in the Sullivan Theater Oct. 13-16.

The showcase began with “Quasar,” written and directed by junior Grace Kelley. The show follows five characters’ reactions to a jarring newscast notifying the public that a black hole is quickly descending on the solar system, set to swallow the Earth in less than 24 hours.

The three storylines converge to address a struggling relationship, human loneliness and a child’s newfound realization of mortality as the characters grapple with how to spend their final hours.

As Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” plays, a projection shows the sun slowly eclipsing before the lights go out on the stage. 

“Quasar” is the first show Kelley has both written and directed. However, she is no stranger to the stage, having performed in last year’s fall and spring showcases as well as Suffolk’s productions of “Pilgrims of the Night” and “Cabaret.” She noted the differences between being on stage versus being the one to organize a show.

“When you’re an actor… you’re only responsible for yourself. Whereas, all of a sudden as the writer, you’re responsible for everything that has to get said, and even more so as the director,” Kelley said. 

The cast of “Quasar” and Kelley’s hard work certainly paid off, managing to create a show covering a serious topic in a meaningful way that felt like a glimpse into the minds of humankind. Each actor’s performance drew the audience in and communicated authentic humanity within each character. While the show has a bittersweet end, Kelley’s message is clear: “no matter what happens, you’re going to be okay.”

The next performance of the night was the delightfully funny “You’re The One That I Want,” written and directed by senior Connie Cifelli. Inspired by early 2000s satirical television shows like Glee, the show follows the on and off-stage drama of a high school production of “Grease.”

The show portrays the true drama and comedy of errors that is a high school theater program. From a jock turned musical star to a hilariously egotistical female lead to an ill-fated love story, this show was full of quick wit and dramatic performances that left the audience in stitches.

“You’re The One That I Want” is Cifelli’s first show to be put on stage. She has assistant-directed in the past, but this was her first foray into directing on her own. She wanted the humor of the show to bring a light-heartedness to the showcase, which is traditionally very serious.

“A night in theater is always a break, especially when it’s a feel-good show. I feel like it ends the night right,” Cifelli said. 

There wasn’t a dull moment in “You’re The One That I Want,” with the audience barely able to take a breath before the next fit of laughter from a hilarious moment on stage. 

The final show was “Primary Colors,” written and directed by junior Hannah Kupson. It follows the story of Belle, played by Emily Pascucci, a senior in high school who has transferred schools for her final year. She joins the art club, where she meets Simon, Cherry and Bernie, played by Nathan Lavoie, Isa Blanco and Abby Lougee, respectively. 

While Simon and Cherry act as comedic relief, as well as Belle’s rivals, the audience watches the endearing relationship between Belle and Bernie blossom. Art plays a pivotal role in the duo’s bond and Kupson elegantly blends acceptance and creativity to create a beautifully innocent love story.

“Primary Colors” depicts the highs and lows of finding your place in a new environment, with an endearing message and vibrant characters. Lavoie and Blanco are a force to be reckoned with as the clique-y duo of Simon and Cherry, and Pascucci’s earnestness as Belle encourages the audience to root for her success. 

This was Kupson’s first show that she has written. As a double major in English and theater, she said she is always writing and editing her work, and the show has changed a lot since its initial draft.

“I don’t think anything I ever write is ever done,” Kupson said. 

The incredible talent of the writers and cast of the shows was obvious from the moment the lights went down in the theater. Each actor put their all into their performance, creating a wonderful experience that left a lasting impression on the audience.

Follow Leo on Twitter @leowoods108.