New Play Series at New Paltz addresses autism and relationships

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz Department of Theatre Arts presents a New Play Reading Series that premieres two original works, “Blackdamp” and “Desire” on Nov. 4 – 6, in Parker Theatre. The plays are written by Bradley Diuguid, who graduated from New Paltz in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and English.

“Blackdamp,” directed by Robert Miller, is a story about Lauren Hines who is a single mother struggling to raise her autistic son, Dale, in a depressed Appalachian mining town. When Kristy, a local teenager, befriends Dale, she inadvertently draws out Lauren’s anxieties and develops confusing feelings about him. When the teenagers discover an abandoned mine, they also discover painful secrets about Dale’s past, uncover visions of his father’s ghost, and yearn to escape the town that is smothering them.

“We seldom see plays with autistic characters onstage, and I felt it was time to represent it and talk about it without resigning them to the fringes as plot devices or metaphors,” said playwright Diuguid.

“Desire,” directed by Brittney Pierri and Joe Paparone, is a story about two people, Ricky and Jordan who haven’t been together in a long time. Pushing against the restraints of language and pain, they strive to connect in this intimate piece on the mysteries of love and memory. The plot of “Desire” may seem vague, and it’s by no coincidence.

“I’m much more interested in hearing what the actors and audience think the play is about [rather] than telling them…that’s why the play exists,” said Diuguid. Following the theme of ambiguity, directors Pierri and Paparone will be experimenting with two casts for each performance to see how each couple finds different interpretations.

Bradley Diuguid, who attended Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010, was Manager of Education Programs for Waterwell. As a teaching artist, he maintains an emphasis on performance for social development, emotional growth, and community empowerment. He has worked with the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Long Wharf Theatre, Broadway Training Center, and Premiere Stages to direct productions and lead classes in acting, writing, and dramaturgy. He worked in arts administration and advancement at The Juilliard School, the American Repertory Theater, and Roundabout Theatre Company. Giuguid continues to produce shows (currently working on a new play, “Amanuensis”) with emerging artists and young audiences, and is a member of the New Vic Collaboratory.

“Blackdamp” and “Desire” will be performed on Nov. 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. and on Nov. 5 and 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased online now at, or at the Box Office located in Parker Theatre by calling 845-257-3880 beginning Oct. 25. Box Office hours are Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the theatre door prior to the readings.

For additional information, call 845-257-3936.