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Stefan Pallotta

The cast of 'The Comedy of Errors' Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

By Julianne Mosher

The theater department at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman campus does not disappoint with their latest production of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

A scene from ‘The Comedy of Errors’ Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

This classic slapstick comedy follows two sets of identical twins who were separated as infants during a storm at sea. Set in the Greek city of Ephesus, we meet a merchant named Aegeon, played by SCCC student Stefan Pallotta, who’s monologue tells the audience of his arrest and the tale of the shipwreck that separated his family — his twin sons, both named Antipholus, his wife, Amelia, and two twin servant boys, both named Dromio. 

Eighteen years later, Aegeon allows his son and servant to travel to Ephesus to search for their long-lost twins but they too disappear. Now, Aegeon has come to the city to find them, but is arrested due to the animosity between the citizens of Ephesus and Syracuse (where the merchant is from). Pallotta’s early monologue is not an easy one to remember,but he does so impressively. 

Later on, we meet Antipholus (of Syracuse) played by Cara Macedonio along with servant Dromio played by Meredith Reed. When the two Syracuse-ians are off and about, we meet their long-lost brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus, played by Kayla Bruno, and his Dromio played by Jerry Ewald. 

A scene from ‘The Comedy of Errors’ Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

The cast does a great job getting into their characters. Not only did they have to learn the rhymes of Shakespeare and ye-old language, but they also have to convince the audience of who they were — and they were funny! The performances of the two Dromio’s had the audience laughing during their performance last Saturday night. While Shakespeare might be hard to understand, the actors made the whole show completely coherent.

But we mustn’t forget the leading ladies of the show — Antipholus of Ephesus’s wife, Adriana, played by Madison Dodge, and her lovable sister Luciana, played by Kayla Pisano. While the two characters are completely different in personality, both Dodge and Pisano shine during their scenes. 

Adriana, the tougher of the two, proves herself with her wit and no-nonsense attitude when faced with her “husband” acting oddly (surprise, it was the wrong Antipholus she was inviting to dinner). Then Luciana, the beauty who unintendedly seduces her “brother-in-law” will have you roar when you see the interaction between her and Antipholus of Syracuse.

But that’s just the beginning. For an hour-and-a-half, you’ll see the two sets of twins unknowingly interact with each other on several occasions that will make your skin curl with embarrassment for what is going on, but also laugh out loud.

A scene from ‘The Comedy of Errors’ Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

Other standout performances include Brooke Morabito as Luce, the greasy kitchen wench, the alcoholic officer played by Malachai Casanova, Duke Solinus portrayed by Krystyna Plesnik, Hailey Wenke’s Amelia/Courtesan and Gabriel Patrascu’s Pinch/Angelo.

However, the show would not have been complete without the fantastic set design and costumes which really set the tone of the show. 

Director Steve Marsh said that he wanted to bring a bit of an edge to the show, which has been known as a slapstick comedy for centuries. While it was filled with humor, it had the underlying, more somber, tone of what a trade war and immigration can do to a community which made it almost more real. 

“The program here at Suffolk and the students are so fantastic,” Marsh said. “I’ve been coming here for over 40 years — this is where I saw my first show and what got me interested in acting.”

Suffolk County Community College, 533 College Road, Selden presents The Comedy of Errors at the Shea Theatre inside the Islip Arts Building on April 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. General admission is $15. Veterans and students 16 years of age or younger is $10. Suffolk students with current ID receive two free tickets. To order, visit sunysuffolk.edu/spotlight or call 631-451-4163.

From left, George Eli, Stefan Pallotta and Brooke Morabito star in 'Tape' at Suffolk County Community College in Selden through March 19. Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

By Julianne Mosher

The stage at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus in Selden transforms this week into a basic motel room set in Lansing, Michigan. 

From the moment the lights dim, we are brought back to the glory days of three friends from high school who haven’t seen each other in a decade. But instead of a happy reunion, things turn dark, secrets are spilled, and the plot thickens with a conversation that is just as important now as it was nearly 25 years ago – sexual assault. 

Tape is a 1999 play written by Stephen Belber, first produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the 2000 Humana Festival of New American Plays. In 2001, it became a film, starring Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman. 

From left, George Eli, Brooke Morabito and Stefan Pallotta star in ‘Tape’ at Suffolk County Community College in Selden through March 19. Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

Directed by Steven Lantz-Gefroh, the three-character ensemble piece is set within the confines of a tawdry motor lodge in Michigan. After 10 years apart, three former friends (and lovers) come together to play out the unresolved drama of their final days in high school. 

Intrigued, the audience watches through the one-act play as layers of denial are slowly peeled away. Suspense builds as each character is provoked into revealing his or her true nature and motivation — full of plot twists. Mesmerized, we are drawn into their lives as they choose which cards to play and which cards to hold.

Starring SCCC students Stefan Pallotta (as Vince, a drug dealing volunteer firefighter), George Eli (as Jon, a filmmaker who is the reason the former friends are in the same room), and Brooke Morabito (Amy, the girl in the middle and a local assistant district attorney), the three on stage together collaborate so well that watchers can see, and feel, the emotion in front of them. 

Pallotta’s quick witted responses (and stellar dance moves) show promise for his future — he’s graduating this upcoming semester to study acting. The audience deeply empathizes with Morabito, who plays a victim of assault, as she performs her tale of that night and how she overcame it so well that viewers are left speechless. As a graduating senior, as well, she too has a bright future ahead. 

Eli’s performance of antagonist of the story is so impressive, it’s hard to dislike his character. This performance of Tape is so good, you’ll forget that you’re sitting inside a college theater.

Lantz-Gefroh said that although the play was written almost three decades ago, the topic is still important today — and that is why people should come see it this weekend.

“We have come no distance with this subject matter in over 30 years,” he said. “[This show] helps people realize the mistakes they’ve made in their lives that they need to fix — if they can.”

Morabito said that playing Amy was a cathartic experience for herself.

“Amy is the character that speaks for all the victims of sexual assault who get to see this play and she enacts revenge,” she explained. “She gets to close the door on what happened that night and what happened in the motel room, and leave it all behind.”

Eli added he was grateful to perform alongside Pallotta and Morabito for an important cause.

Tape spreads a lot of awareness and shows us that anyone can be a victim or anyone can be an aggressor,” he said. 

Tape continues on March 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and March 19 at 2 p.m. at Theatre 119 in the Islip Arts Building at the Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus, 533 College Road, Selden. Rated R for mature content. 

Theater continues at SCCC Selden with William Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors from April 13 to 23.

General admission is $14, veterans and students 16 years of age or younger is $10. Suffolk students with a current ID receive one free ticket. For tickets, call 631-451-4163.

Julianne Mosher is an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College and a 2013 graduate of the school.