Trinity Theatre will start its first production for the 2013-2014 season tonight with playwright Annie Baker’s “Body Awareness.” The play will be directed by Stacey Connolly from the human communication and theatre department, and will feature Trinity juniors Kate Cuellar, Maryjane Mansfield and Chase Lee and first year Ryan Diller.

Baker’s play tells the story of four characters. Phyllis (Cuellar), a psychology professor at Shirley State College, is hosting a Body Awareness Week on campus. She lives in Vermont with her partner Joyce (Mansfield) and their son Jared (Diller) who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome. Frank (Lee) shows up to Body Awareness Week as a special visiting artist and creates tensions within the family due to his controversial choice of art: nude photography. Frank’s role instigates a lot of the drama and important themes of the play.

“He exposes them for their weaknesses and exposes the problems they have in relationships at home,” Lee said.

“Body Awareness” tackles important themes.

“This play deals with the universal themes of body image, sexuality, the question of what constitutes an image as “˜art’ and how these issues affect people of all ages,” Mansfield said.

The students involved in the play are eager for the chance to perform “Body Awareness.”

“I’m really excited to work on such an honest and real play with this cast, especially because it is my first time participating in a main stage production at Trinity,” Mansfield said.

This will be the first main stage production for first Diller as well. “I’m just really excited to see how the audience is going to react to it because I really love the play. Hopefully, they’ll like it as much as I do,” Diller said.

Although some of the actors and actresses are new to the Trinity theatre scene, the director is excited to have them as a part of the cast.

“Casting was very competitive, and I am thrilled to have such strong actors for this exciting play,” Connolly said.

Connolly discovered the Body Awareness play last year when planning a special advanced acting class in contemporary realism.

“When we did a scene from it in my acting class, the students really enjoyed it, and it made me want to see the whole play,” Connolly said.

To prepare for the play and to familiarize themselves with the play’s themes, Connolly and the actors and actresses took part in interdisciplinary events from multiple departments on campus. They studied portrait photography with Trish Simonite’s photography class, went through the Body Image program with Carolyn Becker and Lisa Kilpela and learned about Asperger’s syndrome from Terry Migliore’s class on special needs students.

Body Awareness will run from October 4-6 and 9-12 in the Stieren Theater with curtain times at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

For more information on tickets or to make reservations, call extension 8515 or come to the theater box office Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. or one hour before each performance.


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