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St. Bonaventure student theater group to present ‘We Live by the Sea’ April 6-9

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ST. BONAVENTURE — 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.

The cast of “We Live by the Sea” includes (front row, from left) Nina von Volkenberg, Kimberlie Mitchell, (back row from left) Jesus Martinez and Bianca Billon (Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure University)

“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.

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. “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.

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