GENESEO – Through song and spoken words, musical theater students at SUNY Geneseo are planning to honor those taken by the AIDS crisis.
“It is kind of a celebration of humanity and perseverance,” said director Scott Scaffidi.
The show, “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens,” will be streamed virtually April 2 through 8 and will honor the lives of real people.
“We try and strive to honor these people and remember that these are actual people,” said Scaffidi. “We try and keep it lively throughout the entire thing.”
One of the ways that they are trying to add to the stories is though unique music in the production.
“Music can express things that sometimes we feel we can not express through spoken words. It has been a great way to really capture the feeling of love and celebration of life,” said Musical Director Don Kot. “It could be a sad representation but we really are celebrating the lives of the people that we have lost but also their families and everyone from the past.”
While some might expect little joy to be found amid the AIDS epidemic, the show does a good job of finding positives in a very sad topic.
“You would think that type of subject matter would be a downer but it is written in such a way that it really celebrates the lives of those people that have passed on,” said Scaffidi. “It is kind of a celebration of humanity and perseverance.”
Some of the show’s actors said there they did not feel added pressure to represent a real person, but just an honor to help tell their stories.
“They are stories that usually are not heard today or were never heard, so I think it is a big honor,” said actor Cameron Franke. “There is more added pressure when you are portraying a character that is real but I think there is also a fun honor, with some of these characters their stories have never been told.”
It is a production that the actors are also hoping will help people to find more joy in life.
“It kind of puts a mirror on our current situation for the pandemic which is why we chose to do the show at this time,” said Scaffidi. “The show sort of reminds us that even during the darkest of times there is plenty of love and celebration to be found.”
And, added Scaffidi, the show helps remind people of just how short life can be.
“The time that you have, is the time that you have and no one knows when it will be done. If there is someone that you have lost touch with, you should be reaching out to those people,” he said. “You should hold your loved ones even closer.”
“Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens” is the last show of the season for students but with its powerful message, members of the cast and crew are hoping people who see it will remember just how precious life is.
“As a community we need to realize that we are all in this together,” said Scaffidi.
How to watch
“Elegies for angels, punks, and raging queens” will be available for on-demand streaming from midnight April 2 to 11:45 p.m. April 8.
Tickets are $10. For ticket and streaming details, go to https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/48947.
The production was created remotely and in person using social distancing guidelines.