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“Odd Couple” Update Opens Oct.24

Ryan Gillotti (l) and Logan Ackerely rehearse a scene from Oscar and Felix (photo by Sarah Marquart '14)

Two mismatched roommates, who both have been thrown out by their wives, sets the scene for Oscar and Felix, the fall theatrical production at Keuka College.

The comedy, written by Neil Simon, is an update to his The Odd Couple, and pits slobbish Oscar Madison against his best-friend-turned-roommate, the ultra fastidious Felix Ungar, in a pitched battle to see who’ll drive the other insane first.

Directed by Professor of Theatre Mark Wenderlich, Oscar and Felix opens Thursday, Oct. 24. The show begins at 8 p.m. in the Red Barn Theatre, with additional performances Friday, Oct. 25-Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

The story finds Madison, a bachelor since his wife, Blanche, kicked him out years ago, living as he pleases. His apartment is in a constant state of disarray, discarded clothes lie all over the place, and he hosts regular poker games with his pals.

Enter Felix, who has just been given the boot by his wife, Frances. With nowhere to turn, he shows up at Oscar’s place where his friends, tipped off about the breakup, are constantly—and hilariously—on guard against suicide attempts by their distraught friend.

Left to right: Ryan Gillotti, Sini Ngobese, Logan Ackerley, and Sierra Lynch.(Photo by Sarah Marquart '14)

The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre March 10, 1965 and transferred to the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. It closed July 2, 1967 after 964 performances and two previews. Directed by Mike Nichols, the cast starred Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Art Carney as Felix Ungar. The production gained Tony Awards for best actor, best author, best direction of a play, and best scenic design. It was also nominated for best play.

The characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s television series, as well as other derivative works and spin-offs, including an adaption with a female cast. In addition to performances in venues across the United States, The Odd Couple has been seen in Scotland, England, Canada, Venezuela, Japan, and Poland.

Members of the cast include Logan Ackerley (Oscar Madison), a senior political science/history major from Liberty; Ryan Gillotti (Felix Ungar), a junior American Sign Language-English major from Auburn; Joe Micnerski (Roy), a sophomore English major from Grayslake, Ill.; Michael Musolino (Speed), a freshman American Sign Language-English interpreting major from Durhamville; Marco Cartwright (Vinnie), a senior management major from Painted Post; Sini Ngobese (Inez Costazuela), a junior management major from Durban, South Africa; and Sierra Lynch (Hoolya Costazuela), a junior psychology major from Watervliet. Justin Krog, program developer for the College’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), portrays Murray.

Oscar and Felix will run Oct. 24-27 in the Red Barn Theatre. (Photo by Sarah Marquart '14)

Members of the crew include Kelsey R. Marquart ’12 (stage manager), technical support technician for ITS; Danica Zielinski (light designer), a senior American Sign Language major from Congers; Jake Banas (costume designer), a junior English major from Delmar; Caleigh Alterio (light board operator), a senior occupational science major from Akron; Elijah Snipes (sound board operator), a senior psychology major from Rochester; P. Gibson Ralph, (set designer); and Dan Roach, (sound designer).

Ralph is chair of the Department of Theatre and Music Studies and an associate professor of theatre at SUNY Brockport, while Roach has worked with the Eastman Opera, Geva Theatre, and Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, among others.

The Oct. 24 performance will benefit the cast members’ 2014 trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. All tickets are $7 and will be on sale at the door. Tickets for the other three performances are $5 for Keuka students, faculty, staff, and alumni; and $10 for the general public. Seating is limited.

From One Arts Arena to Another

If members of Keuka’s Class of 2013 are looking for inspiration as they enter the job market, they should check out Stephanie Lange, who was in their shoes just a year ago.

Lange's senior art project, a bronze installation.

In her time at Keuka, Lange ’12 of Apalachin made quite a mark. While completing a double major in visual and verbal art and organizational communication, Lange helped found and lead an intellectual exploration group known as Tabula Rasa, worked as the graphic designer for the student newspaper, and completed a bronze sculpture installation of a red-tailed hawk as her senior art project.

Now she’s venturing into new ground in the arts, and landed what she calls her “dream job.”

Lange interacts with guests during a Perfect Pairing gallery event.

In late January, Lange started work as the program coordinator for the Schweinfurth Arts Center in Auburn. She is now directing a two-week annual conference, “Quilting by the Lake,” for the non-profit in addition to helping promote the Arts Center’s five annual exhibits, communicating with corporate sponsors, and producing and designing the center’s newsletters and other marketing materials.

The annual quilt show convention, held each July on the campus of Onondaga Community College near Syracuse, features more than 30 quilting-related classes and lectures, a quilt show and specialty vendors. According to Lange, while traditional quilting styles and methods are featured, there is a focus on modern quilting techniques involving painting on the fabric and elements of geometry, all of which creates an artistic quality.

“It’s not like something my grandma does,” Lange said. “The precision required for quilting is difficult to master.”


Like others, Lange had been forewarned to expect great challenge finding a salaried, full-time position in the arts field and said that awareness had her raving to her family that this opportunity was amazing. Not only does she help stage exhibits – some in the same measurements she learned as a student assisting with shows in Keuka’s Lightner Gallery – but she can participate in art classes hosted by the Center, as well as meet artists and local residents through Schweinfurth’s special events. (more…)

A “Blank Slate” To Fill

Students Elise DeAndrea and Marie LaBrie on a Tabula Rasa visit to Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn where Harriet Tubman and William Seward are buried.

Question: Where can a college student discover that nothing – even outside the classroom- is “off-topic?”

Answer: Keuka College, where learning outside of class can sometimes rival learning from a seat, where everything from icons of Buddhism, to towering wind turbines, to abolitionist history, to tattoo artistry, can invite questions and spark intense discussion among students with a passion for learning and exploration.

But it has not always been so.

Keuka used to have an honor society that began fading and died out in the early 2000s, “so the last decade, we’ve had few opportunities for the intellectually curious student,” said Mike McKenzie, associate professor of religion and philosophy.

Few, that is, until 2009, when then-sophomores Stephanie Lange, Aaron Golly and Kelsey Marquart dialogued with McKenzie about starting a group that could “find a way to learn outside the typical confined classroom setting,” Lange said.

They chose the name Tabula Rasa, which is Latin for “blank slate.”

“It’s the idea that we’re sort of born a sponge and we can fill up with knowledge,” said McKenzie, citing philosopher John Locke as the founder of the concept. “To expand someone’s mind, by definition, you have to get them outside their intellectual comfort zone.”

“A lot of the classes that you take are very cerebral, and you have to work through different problems. This is a step away,” explained junior Ross Gleason of Rockingham, Vt., who is helping lead Tabula Rasa this year with junior Sarah Marquart. “What do you want to learn? Ok, go do it. It’s always more interesting to go and experience something yourself. It allows you to get a broad view.”

Icons of Buddhism were discussed at a Tabula Rasa event.

Indeed, Tabula Rasa has covered a wide breadth of exploration. For example, the group hosted a former Mennonite, who spoke about her experience, and later, a Buddhist shared elements and icons of that faith. They visited a winery to learn the difference between traditional and organic wines, and stood underneath giant wind turbines at a wind “farm” in Cohocton. And, they explored historic roots of the Underground Railroad during a visit to Auburn’s Harriet Tubman home, William Seward House Museum, and Fort Hill Cemetery, where Tubman is buried. A two-night visit to a private observatory for stargazing was another outing last year.
(more…)

The Cream of the Experiential Learning Crop

Keuka's Class of 2012 Experiential Learner of the Year nominees are flanked by Eva Noberg-Sarver, interim Field Period counselor, and President Jorge L. Diaz-Herrera. The nominees, from left: Junelle King, Sarah Marquart, Kelsey Marquart, Lelia Torres, and Kelsey Tebo. Missing from photo: : Jenna Chapman.

Editor’s Note: The 2012 Experiential Learner of the Year award nominees were recognized at an April 27 luncheon. The freshman and upperclass winners will be announced at Honors Convocation, Saturday, May 5. Here is a capsule look at the nominees:

Jenna Chapman

Jenna Chapman of Gorham was nominated by Professor of Communication Anita Chirco for a combination of personal and professional experiences that enabled the junior organizational communication major to “move herself beyond her comfort zone.”

Professionally, Chapman has conducted internships with the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program and Lollypop Farm, where she promoted the welfare of animals. Her personal service to the community also includes a role as founder and president of Keuka’s Equestrian Club.

This January, Chapman conducted a two-part Field Period, assisting the manager of a Canandaigua restaurant, Peppers Deli and Pastas, with several marketing initiatives. She also conducted an internship at Buffalo Spree Publishing.

At Peppers, Chapman helped design coupons for a menu-mailer to drum up local business, created flyers for the new owner, and built a Facebook page for the restaurant, and launched a “like our page” promotion. At Buffalo Spree Publishing, she worked on revisions and fact-checking for the annual Performing Arts Guide handbook and wrote feature articles for the company’s Forever Young publication for those ages 50 and up, and for the mainstay publication, Buffalo Spree magazine. (more…)

Tony Award-winning The Heidi Chronicles Opens April 12

The cast of The Heidi Chronicles rehearses a scene in this Wendy Wasserstein drama.

Keuka College’s spring theater production will be Wendy Wasserstein’s drama The Heidi Chronicles.

The play will be staged Thursday-Sunday, April 12-15 in the College’s Red Barn Theatre. Curtain is 8 p.m. for the Thursday, April 12-14 shows, and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 15. The April 12 performance will benefit the cast members’ trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in January. (more…)