Play Readings by On the Verge

On the Verge is a collaborative venture that was founded by faculty members in the English and Theater departments, with the goal of providing opportunities for students of dramatic literature to see live performances of the plays that they study in class, and even to participate in such performances. On the Verge produces a handful of staged readings each year. Its chosen plays are usually, though not invariably, selected from the syllabi of such courses as Dramatic Literature I and II, Shakespeare, Theatre History, Twentieth-Century Drama, and others.

Students in English and theater as well as faculty members from both departments have participated in On the Verge readings, and audiences include both students in the courses studying the chosen plays and others with an interest in theater from across the college community. In addition, on three occasions we were lucky enough to bring to campus Frank Wood, who won the Tony award in 1999 for his performance of Gene in Sideman. A lucky cast of students joined him for a reading of that play in 2000, and the next year he returned in order to perform with students in a reading of Dancing at Lughnasa as well as in a faculty reading (with Claire Gleitman and Jack Hrkach) of Copenhagen. In 2008 Frank Wood again visited Ithaca College, this time for a performance of How I Learned to Drive.

On the Verge readings are bare-bones productions: they receive just two to three rehearsals, and the actors perform their roles with their scripts in hand.

For more information, contact Claire Gleitman in the Department of English or Kathleen Mulligan in the Department of Theatre Arts, faculty co-sponsors of On the Verge.

Student Actors play Thomasina Coverly and Septimus Hodge in the 2012 production of Arcadia
Stoppard's Arcadia 2012
On the Verge Players: Arcadia 2012

Tom Stoppard is the well-known author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Travesties, as well as one of the screenwriters for Shakespeare in Love. Arcadia, written in 1993, is about the attempts of a British literary historian to solve the mystery of the poet Lord Byron's abrupt departure for the Continent in 1809 -- a departure whose motives are unknown but which this scholar believes he has identified definitively.

Since this is a play by Tom Stoppard, it is about many other things as well, including the conflict between Classicism and Romanticism, the second law of thermodynamics, chaos theory, iterated algorithms, landscape architecture in the 19th century, and, naturally, sex. Stoppard has a great deal of fun ridiculing academics of varying stripes, while displaying a deep appreciation for the more serious aspects of the work that they do.

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Cripple

The On the Verge players presented a staged reading of Martin McDonagh's comedy-drama, The Cripple of Inishmaan, on Thursday, November 19, at 6:30 p.m., in the Handwerker Gallery. The cast, directed by Prof. Claire Gleitman, included English faculty members Kevin Murphy as Johnnypateenmike, the village gossip, and Michael Twomey as Doctor McSharry, an exasperated local physician.