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SU Drama stages Shanley’s tale of love and passion in Little Italy, ‘Italian American Reconciliation,’ beginning Nov. 18
SU Drama stages Shanley’s tale of love and passion in Little Italy, ‘Italian American Reconciliation,’ beginning Nov. 18November 08, 2005Jaime Winne Alvarez firstname.lastname@example.org
What sort of man would love a woman who whacked his dog-and took a shot at him, too? Playwright John Patrick Shanley, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the 2005 Tony Award for his play “Doubt,” explores this question and many more in his story of a passion that wouldn’t die. “Italian American Reconciliation” opens Nov. 18 as the second show in the 2005-06 Syracuse University Drama Department season.
Directed by Professor of Drama Gerardine Clark, “Italian American Reconciliation” introduces audiences to the intensely devoted (and intensely abused) Huey Bonfigliano, a man from Little Italy intent on persuading his estranged wife, Janice, to take him back. For the task, he enlists the help of his wisecracking friend Aldo, who agrees to risk his own neck to help unite Huey and Janice, with delightfully comic results.
“Italian American Reconciliation is particularly interesting to me because it is a major work by an increasingly important playwright whose work has the particular combination of belly-laugh comedy, pathos, bathos and underlying seriousness of purpose that I find in the mysterious stew I like to call ‘life,'” says Clark.
Clark says she particularly relates to the story as a “hyphenated American” herself. Whereas the characters are Italian-American, Clark is German-American, and she points out that the show confronts the realties of Americans whose parents immigrated here. Many came seeking better lives for their children, Clark says, but they did so at the expense of becoming strangers in a strange land. That’s why enclaves like Little Italy sprang up-to recreate some of the tastes, smells and sensibilities of the Old World.
“I mostly think of myself as an unhyphenated American,” says Clark. “But I know that the only dish I would pay two hundred dollars to taste again is a pan of my mother’s wurste brot.”
The five-member cast will include two seniors and three sophomores from the SU Drama Department. Sophomore musical theatre major Gordon Maniskas will play Huey, taking on his first major role with SU Drama. Mary Falkenstern, a senior acting major, will play Janice. Senior acting major Maximillian Osinski will play Aldo. Sophomore musical theatre major Arielle Gordon will play Teresa, a sweet girl vying for Huey’s affections, and sophomore acting major Ida Clay will play May, a no-nonsense woman who tries in vain to talk some sense into the show’s young people.
“Italian American Reconciliation” will be performed in SU Drama’s Storch Theatre, Nov. 18-Dec. 4. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for students and senior citizens. “Pay what you can night” for valid SU I.D. holders is Nov. 30. For tickets and more information, contact the SU Drama Department Box Office at (315) 443-3275 or visithttp://vpa.syr.edu/drama.