Mar 29, 2022
SBU Theater, the student theater group at St. Bonaventure University, will present its spring 2022 production “We Live by the Sea” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, April 6-9, at Garret Theater, located adjacent to Devereux Hall on the St. Bonaventure campus.
“We Live by the Sea” tells the story of Katy, a 15-year-old girl on the autism spectrum, and her older sister, Hannah, who live in a small house on the Yorkshire coast of England, along with Katy’s imaginary dog, Paul. When Ryan, a troubled teen, arrives from London, Katy and Hannah must work to fit a new person into their complex relationship.
“This is a beautiful play,” said Dr. Ed. Simone, professor of theater and director of the SBU Theater program, who also directs this play. “It’s very affirming, very positive and looks at what it’s like to love and be loved by someone with autism spectrum disorder.”
“We Live by the Sea” was developed in 2016 by the theater group Patch of Blue. The playwrights are Lloyd Bagley, Alex Brain, Alex Howarth, Alex Simonet and Elizabeth Williams. It was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then had successful runs in London and off-Broadway in New York. The New York Times called it “a tender, comical and thoroughly enchanting show.”
The cast includes Jesus Martinez, a sophomore theater major; Kimberlie Mitchell, a freshman psychology major; Bianca Billoni, a junior music and journalism double major; and Nina van Volkenberg, a freshman strategic communication major.
Sydney Layton, a freshman childhood education major, is production stage manager, and Autumn Reed, a freshman psychology major, is the assistant stage manager. The technical crew includes Meghan Baehl, a major in adolescent education with a minor in theater; Madison Wood, a media studies major and theater minor; and Emily Tiedemann, a public health major and theater minor.
The show’s lighting design is by Ryan Wheeler, a theater and facilities technician at St. Bonaventure’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Wheeler also constructed the set with Don Hopwood, technical director and facilities manager for the Quick Center.
“We’re very grateful to Don and Ryan, and to Ludwig Brunner, the Quick Center’s executive director,” said Simone. “Don and Ryan are a great team and their work has allowed us to achieve a stronger, more visually impactful production.”
Janell Clingenpeel, technical director for SBU Theater and an adjunct instructor in the theater program, is the show’s set, prop and costume designer. Clingenpeel had previously been a guest costume designer for SBU Theater productions “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “Lines: A Surrealist Vaudeville.”
“This is my first set design and I’ve been really excited about that,” said Clingenpeel. “It’s a real pleasure working with everyone on such a lovely show.”
Clingenpeel’s design incorporates elements of Katy’s fantasy life about the sea, including a full sail and mast, as well as bits and pieces of the home Katy shares with her sister, Hannah, and her imaginary dog friend, Paul. “We Live by the Sea” also features video projection and original music composed and mixed by Dr. Les Sabina, professor of music at St. Bonaventure.
“This play gives our student actors and technicians the opportunity to tell a really moving, important and often very funny story using virtually every tool theater offers,” said Simone. “The play moves quickly between the worlds of Katy’s imagination and the everyday lives of the sisters and their new friend Ryan. The cast and crew have impressed me at every rehearsal. I hope ‘We Live by the Sea’ will be as inspiring for our audience as it has been for us.”
The show runs approximately 65 minutes without an intermission and contains some adult language and subjects.
Tickets for “We Live by the Sea” are $8 for the general public and $6 for seniors citizens, students, and St. Bonaventure employees. For information and reservations, call the Quick Center ticket office at (716) 375-2494.
Free “student rush” tickets (for unsold theater seats) will be available to SBU students beginning at 6:30 p.m. the night of each show. These may be picked up at the ticket office in the Quick Center, which is located next to Devereux Hall and Garret Theater. Each student is allowed one ticket with presentation of a student ID. These tickets must be picked up in person.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.