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Faculty and students join forces for "The New Tenant"

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (August 6, 2009) - The SUNY Plattsburgh department of theatre kicks off its fall season with a production of "The New Tenant"written by Eugene Ionesco. The performance will take place one night only, on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartman Theatre located in the Myers Fine Arts building on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. There will be a talkback with the cast and crew following the performance. The event is free and open to the public.

"'The New Tenant' is unique for us because the cast features two students and two faculty members in the four character role, "explains Tim Palkovic, chair of the Theatre Department. "This truly has been wonderful and collaborative opportunity for all involved." The play is being produced and directed by two graduating seniors who are both majoring in theatre.

Director Anthony Gallucci and producer Kurtis A. Rivers have been working all summer on production details such as set design and lighting to stage direction, props, and costumes. Student actors Bridget Dunigan and Mason Merriam, both seniors, have been rehearsing alongside veteran actors and theatre faculty members K. J. Roberts and Laura-Jean Schwartau-Swanson. "The collaboration between student director and professional and student actors allows the students to stretch themselves creatively, "explains Roberts.

Filled with silent comedy and intricate word play, "The New Tenant" helped inaugurate the Theatre of the Absurd. "Ionesco shared this title along with fellow playwrights Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Arthur Adamov,"explains Schwartau-Swanson.

The basic premise involves a gentleman who rents a new apartment. On moving day, the furniture takes over the stage and quickly overwhelms the characters.

Schwartau-Swanson has both performed in and directed off-Broadway and off-off Broadway productions in New York City for several years. Other credits include two national tours including one from the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, as well as work in film and television. Schwartau-Swanson lives in Saranac Lake where she is a company member and active performer with Pendragon Theatre.

Professional actor K. J. Roberts has been working regionally and off-Broadway for over 25 years. His credits include work in film and television both as an actor and providing professional voice-over talent. This past summer, Roberts completed a voice-over for a Mountain Lake PBS production about a ghost story at Fort Ticonderoga. He has been an  adjunct professor in the department of theatre at SUNY Plattsburgh for 11 years, teaching a wide range of courses as well as directing student productions.

Roberts and Schwartau-Swanson are appearing courtesy of the Actors Equity Association.

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