On November 5 and 6, the TZ Players will present John Guare’s “Four Baboons Adoring the Sun.” The “Playbill” synopsis reads: “A suburban housewife leaves her husband for an old college boyfriend, joining him and their children on an archeological dig in Sicily where life turns out to be not quite as idyllic as she had hoped.”
Student Assistant Director and Stage Manager Noah Morley and Student Art and Set Director Louis Colantuoni, both juniors, sat down last week to share their thoughts about the production and their roles.
Colantuoni noted that the play is intended for a mature audience–high school and older–and Morley agreed. “At heart, it’s a Greek tragedy,” said Morley. “It’s a challenging show. For students who plan to continue into an acting career, this is the kind of work you’re going to do. This is real drama and it’s meaningful that we’re getting this exposure.”
Morley works with Director Priscilla Peña-Carney and Assistant Director Jamie Fodor to create a vision that “takes the play off the paper and makes it a physical thing.” During tech week, he brings all the elements of the production–lighting, performers and sound–together. “In 2019, I was onstage for the school’s production of ‘Almost Maine.’ I had a feeling of how the show should look but didn’t feel it was my place to speak up. I never had a lane through which to express myself that way and now that is my role. I can’t wait to get here and work every day.”
Colantuoni helps to develop set design and oversees construction and painting. He credits experience working closely with the set designer on middle school productions and serving as stage crew member for the high school’s production of “Almost Maine” in 2019 with informing his approach to “Four Baboons.” “It’s fun and exciting. We looked at other professional performances and considered how much of the design elements we wanted and would be able to incorporate,” he said. “In terms of leadership style, I’ve found that it’s more effective to work hands-on alongside crew members, rather than sitting back and telling them what to do.”
“My role is exactly the opposite! I tell people what to do and sit back to watch them do it,” Morley laughed. “I’m definitely passionate about my vision and sometimes Ms. Peña-Carney and Ms. Fodor reel me back in. But I try to be inclusive and collaborative. It’s been really interesting learning how to interact with different people and how to direct performers with different levels of experience. You can give experienced actors direction once and they incorporate that feedback immediately. For those without experience, you may have to repeat the direction or find different ways of communicating it.”
Both are considering careers in the performing arts and expressed appreciation for the opportunities they’ve had through the District. “The theater has music, art, creativity…all the pieces that make me up,” Morley reflected. “That’s why I’m here.”
TZ Players will present “Four Baboons Adoring the Sun” in the Tappan Zee High School auditorium on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 at 8PM. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students and senior citizens.