The Department of Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz kicks off its Mainstage 2009-2010 Season with the world premiere of Red Masquerade, by playwright Jack Wade. The Obie-award winning “Transport Group Theatre” and “The Clockwork Theatre Company” both held professional readings of the play in 2008 and 2009. Performances of Red Masquerade are schedule for October 8 – 18 in Parker Theatre and are accompanied by special cross-cultural events.
Directed by Stephen Kitsakos, this captivating play is set in 1942 when America is at war with the Nazis and the Japanese, while the Soviets are our allies. Or are they? In New York City, a tough Greek-American photojournalist, Angela Calomiris, is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a communist cell and become a spy. Embedded in a midtown Manhattan branch, she befriends the American Communists and meets the intriguing party official, Leona Saron. The two begin a love affair in a world that forces both of them to live in the shadows of a double life. The play is based on the real life story of Calomiris, a key witness in the sensational trial of the “Communist 11” – a group that was convicted of trying to overthrow the U.S. government in 1949.
Director Kitsakos comments that “The play skillfully weaves an important, but somewhat forgotten piece of American political history, around the story of two women whose romantic entanglement explores the nature of living a life in shadows of a tug of war between the U.S. government and the Communist Party in America.”
The production makes extensive use of inter-active multi-media. The playwright, Jack Wade, who is also a scenographer, helps create a world of black vs. white that is exploited through the use of modern theatre technology.
About the playwright
Jack Wade is an associate professor of Theatre. He designs lighting and scenery and directs in the departmental Mainstage season. Professional lighting design credits include: Flying Crows, Sedition and The Good German (Playwright’s Theatre of New Jersey), How I Learned to Drive, Natural History, The Drawer Boy, Circumference of a Squirrel, The Woman in Black, The Devil’s Music, All My Sons, Book of Days and Stop Kiss ( Shadowland Theatre), Home, Three Tall Women (TheaterWorks), Proof, Talley’s Folly, Art, The Laramie Project, Marisol and Death of a Salesman (New Paltz Summer Rep) and lighting and projection design for All Under Heaven starring Valerie Harper (Century Theatre). He is a recipient of the Theatre Crafts International Award for outstanding achievement in theatrical design and technology. Professor Wade is member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829 and holds a MFA from The Hilberry Repertory Theatre Graduate Program at Wayne State University.
About the director
Stephen Kitsakos is a lecturer in Theatre Studies and Music Theatre, and has been involved in a variety of roles in the professional and academic theatre for the past 30 years. He is a permanent member of the BMI Theatre Workshop and a graduate of New York University. A writer member of ASCAP, he received writing commissions from the BMI Foundation, Catskill Watershed Corp, Episcopal Diocese of NY and is the librettist for UConn/Sackler Prize winning opera, The Wooden Sword with music by, Sheila Silver. He has designed sound and composed for productions of The Hairy Ape, Blood Wedding, Henry IV, Parts 1&2, King Lear, A Streetcar Named Desire and many others. He has directed productions of Putting It Together, Forever Plaid, and Moonchildren. He also works closely with theatre arts alumni particularly with The Clockwork Theatre Company, resident at Theatre Row in NYC, where he directed the staged reading of Red Masquerade in May.
Performance dates are October 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 at 8:00 p.m., October 11, 17, 18 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets: $16 general reserved; $14 reserved students, SUNY faculty and staff.
On-line purchases can be made beginning September 14 by going to www.newpaltz.edu/theatre/productions.html, or by phone or in person at the Box Office (845-257-3880) located in Parker Theatre beginning September 28. Box Office hours are Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Box Office will also be open one hour before performance.
All events are free of charge and open to the public
Lecture: The Photo League, by Beth E. Wilson
October 15, 6:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Parker Theatre stage
Panel Discussion: Socio-Cultural Issues and Events Addressed in Red Masquerade
October 16, 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Parker Theatre stage
Participants: Lee Bernstein, chair, Dept. of History, SUNY New Paltz – “The Red Scare,” Jack Wade, playwright for Red Masquerade, scenographer and associate professor in Theatre Arts, SUNY New Paltz, Morgan Gwenwald, Outreach Coordinator for the Soujourner Truth Library – “The Lesbian HerStory Project”, moderated by director, Stephen Kitsakos
Exhibition – The World of The Photo League and Red Masquerade
Organized by Beth E. Wilson, Lecturer, Art History Department and Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
Sojourner Truth Library, SUNY New Paltz
October 1 – 18th, Library Lobby