END DAYS: Thoughts from Emily Sutton-Smith (Sylvia)

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Hello WT Blog readers!

I haven’t had the opportunity to write a blog post for several years, but it seems very appropriate to write one about this show. As well as being the Development Director for the Williamston Theatre, I am playing Sylvia in End Days. It’s been quite a joy to be a part of this production.

One of our first MSU collaborative shows was The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, which I was also in. It seems I am often cast as the “mother with issues” on our stage. Both that production and this production have featured some of the most talented students from the MSU Department of Theatre. They have been a joy to work with. They are disciplined and thoughtful, and they bring a lot to the table – including a youthful energy that we all benefit from.

I am reunited onstage with John Manfredi in this show. In 2009 we appeared together at the Performance Network in A Picasso. We were arch enemies in that show – he playing Pablo Picasso, and me playing Miss Fischer, the Nazi art critic charged with getting him to positively identify several of his works of art so that I could burn them. Tony Caselli also directed us in that. This time around, we get to play a husband and wife who are working through issues that threaten to tear them apart for good. John is so much fun to be on stage with, and he keeps us laughing in rehearsals too.

I think this is the fifth show that Tony Caselli has directed me in over the past eight years. It seems appropriate that he is directing me in what is actually my thesis role. For the past three years, I have been working toward my MFA in Acting from MSU. This will cap off my work towards that goal, and I’ll receive my degree in May of this year.

Our crew, Stage Manager Stef Din, WT Apprentice Heather Brown, and PASM/Assistant Director Dennis Corsi are TOTALLY AWESOME. We wish we could take them with us when we move to the JET. Actually, the five cast members have threatened to tie them up and force them to come with us – that’s how much we love them, and how integral they are to the show.

So… this production has shaped up to be something very special for me. An awesome director, cast and crew – and a very interesting and challenging woman to portray. I hope our audience members take away the warm feeling that family can give you. We represent a broken, but together, family onstage. We are a wonderfully diverse family off stage too.

Emily Sutton-Smith
WT Development Director
Sylvia in End Days

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