By Stacy Santini
When people think of Port Jefferson Village and performance, phenomenal Theatre Three immediately comes to mind. What most people do not know is that down the road is an intimate venue, called The Performing Arts Studio of New York. Yes, down the road on East Main Street, this blackbox theater will ironically soon be premiering the Tony Award winning play, “Down the Road.”
The Performing Arts Studio of New York is a unique space with a seating capacity of only 70. Its patrons can view some of the best performances this side of Broadway in comfy chairs and cushy couches. Known as a box theater, its simple lines and flexible seating provide a blank slate for the productions that embrace it.
Directors Terri Morrissey and Deborah and Michael Livering’s mission is noble. Their goal is not only to train artists and promote live performances but to nurture and foster exploration into the artistic realm. Anything is possible here, and on Aug. 21, Bluebox Theatre Company will take up residence and impregnate The Performing Arts Studio of New York with its vision of Lee Blessings’ psychological esoteric drama.
“Down the Road” is the tale of serial killer Bill Reach and the married team of reporters who set out to chronicle and define his actions. Making sense out of the horrific deeds undertaken by Reach and attempting to reveal his motives is a task of tremendous magnitude, and the outcome stretches way beyond his murderous proclivity.
As the incomparable James D. Schultz, of Theatre Three fame, who plays Reach, points out, “My character is encroaching on how they view each other. The more they know about him, the less they know about themselves.” He further elaborates: “The scariest thing about Bill Reach is that there is nothing scary about him or his background. He could be anyone; he is just doing these horrible things for no apparent reason. Just like dancers have to dance, swimmers have to swim, killers just kill people.” Schultz will also be making his debut as executive producer.
Thus, the audience will become familiar with the numerous themes inherent in the play. As David Morrissey Jr., executive director at Bluebox, explains, “The play is essentially about the responsibility of journalists and how the media portrays criminals in a certain way; how they can actually sway the public into committing more crimes. The media often makes criminals of these types into celebrities.” The media, in this case performed by Marquez and Brian Azoulay, are treasures of our local pool of talented actors.
One of the most tantalizing reasons to get excited about this production of “Down the Road” is that it is being delivered to us by Bluebox Theatre Company. It isn’t often that such an impassioned, unconventional group of individuals who think outside of the box make Long Island their home. Theatrical offbeat jewels such as Bluebox are usually found producing and performing in urban arenas.
Principally described as edgy, David Morrissey elaborates, “Our mission is to light up the world’s stages with the best storytelling. We are all about putting unconventional theater out there, and things you would not normally see on Long Island. It is about including people who are outside the line and giving them their place in theater. We want to give them a voice.”
Bluebox Theatre Company is comprised of Joe Rubino, managing director; David Morrissey Jr., executive director; Andrew Beck, artistic director; and Tom Mooylayil, actor, producer and investor.
The synergy among the team is apparent as they have known each other for years and began acting together in middle school. Rubino connects the dots for the group: “One reason I think it works so well is because we have all worked together for years. We have such a passion for it, this is true; but we also have these other talents that we bring to the table. We play any other roles in the company albeit social media, web design etc. It all just flows for us, we are not the Bluebox Theatre Company but rather the Bluebox Family.”
Future Bluebox Theatre Company productions will include: “Night of the Living Dead,” Oct. 9 to 25; “Art,” Nov. 27 to 29; “Holiday Tales from the Box,” Dec. 19; Jedi Fighting AIDS benefit on Dec. 20.
“Down the Road” premieres at The Performing Arts Studio of New York on Friday, Aug. 21, and will run through Sept. 6. Seating is limited and tickets should be purchased sooner than later. This is an auspicious event, welcoming Bluebox to our community, being grateful they chose Port Jefferson to call home and to bear witness to one of the most intriguing plays written in years.
The Performing Arts Studio of New York is located at 11 Traders Cove, Port Jefferson. Tickets are $19 adults ($15 online), $13 students ($11 online). For more information, call 631-928-6529 or visit www.blueboxtheatrecompany.com.