SRU theatre department prepares for first performance of the year


Students rehersing the show

Ben Shumway, a freshman theatre major from Slippery Rock, takes the stage in a dress rehearsal for Slippery Rock University's production of "Concord Floral."

Oct. 16, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Although the cool temperatures might tempt you to want to do nothing but settle on the couch with a blanket and binge watch Netflix - don't do it. Instead, grab a ticket for the Slippery Rock University Theatre Department's production of "Concord Floral."

The production will run Oct. 19-20 and 23-24 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. in the University Union Multipurpose Room.

"Concord Floral" is a play written by Jordan Tannahill, an author, playwright, filmmaker, and theatre director from Ottawa, Ontario. It is based on "The Decameron," a collection of novellas by 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. The book was structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was affecting the city.

The play takes place in an abandoned, one-million-square-foot greenhouse and serves as a refuge for 10 high school students. When a dead body is discovered, the play explores how the group deals with the chain of events that leads them to a secret that no one wishes to acknowledge.

Laura Smiley, SRU associate professor of theatre and director of the play, discovered the piece while on a two-month sabbatical in Canada. "I had said as a part of my sabbatical that I was going to bring back a piece of new, Canadian contemporary work and this spoke to me," Smiley said.

"When I choose plays, I want them to be something relevant to the University community. Something that the students can relate to and something that would make them think."

Smiley said that as the play is meant to be set in a local community using references and experiences from relatable teenagers and community activities, she took the liberty of moving the play's setting from Toronto, Ontario to Pittsburgh.

"It's really a coming of age story that's also a bit of a murder mystery with something urgent that needs to be reckoned with and some really high personal stakes as everyone kind of has a secret to hide," she said.

Student actors, stage managers, designers, and front of the house personnel include:
• Deborah Cohen, a graduate theatre student from Slippery Rock and lighting designer.
• Phoebe Costanza, a senior theatre major from Cranberry Township and an assistant manager.
• Jacob Craig, a senior dual major in theatre and philosophy from Monroeville and sound board operator.
• Sarah Getway, a senior theatre major from Sharpsville and sound designer.
• Cecily Greggs, a freshman exploratory major from Stoneboro playing "Bobbie James."
• Haley Johnson, a sophomore theatre major from Erie playing "Greenhouse."
• Rachael Katz, a sophomore theatre major from Austin, Texas and light board operator.
• Payton Lewis, a senior theatre major from Cochranville and box office manager.
• Katelyn Loss, a freshman theatre major from Montoursville playing "Rosa Mundi."
• Anne Mayle, a senior theatre major from Pittsburgh and assistant costume designer.
• Leota McDivitt, a junior theatre major from Ford City and costume crew member.
• Savannah Merrill, a junior dual major in management and theatre from Munhall and public relations representative.
• Samantha Misterka, a junior dual major in secondary education-English and theatre from Pittsburgh and an assistant stage manager.
• Noah Reed, a sophomore theatre major from Slippery Rock playing "John Cabot."
• Jack Reeves, a junior communication major from Washington playing "Bobolink."
• Elizabeth Sherman, a freshman theatre major from Cayuga, New York and a costume crew member.
• Laura Shope, a sophomore mathematics major from Venetia playing "Couch."
• Benjamin Shumway, a freshman theatre major from Slippery Rock playing "Just Joey."
• Dalton Smith, a senior theatre major from Mars and a stage manager.
• Kristina Streno, a senior theatre major from Eighty Four playing "Nearly Wild."
• Allison Valetta, a senior dual major in theatre and English writing from Kent, Ohio playing "Forever Irene."
• Mackenzie "Kit" Walker, a freshman dual major in theatre and English literature from Oxford playing "Fox."
• Allison Wills, a sophomore theatre major from Perry, Ohio and house manager.

Admission is $12 for the general public and $10 for SRU students. Community members will be offered reduced admission of $10 per ticket for the lone Saturday evening performances.

Tickets are available at the Smith Student Center Information Desk, the Theatre Department box office inside the University Union.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 |