Gender identity meets theatrical intrigue in Eugenia at Parker Theatre

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz Department of Theatre Arts will present the play Eugenia, March 1 – 11 in Parker Theatre located on campus. Eugenia was written by playwright Lorae Parry and will be directed by Anita Gonzalez. Composer Stephen Kitsakos has written a score of Italian-themed music to underscore the scenes and transitions within the play.

Eugenia presents parallel stories set in 1916 and the present. Based on historical events, the play follows the life of trans-gendered Italian immigrant Eugenia Martelli. Eugenia immigrates to New Zealand in 1916 where she lives as a man named Jack and marries a woman, Violet, without revealing her biological sex. When Violet’s ex-lover learns the truth about Jack, jealousy and rage threaten to unravel the life and love Jack has with Violet.

In the present, Iris, a drama teacher, prepares to put on a play at her school based on Eugenia’s real life, which gives trepidation to the conservative board of trustees and causes the deputy principal to examine her own sexuality. This is compounded by the students’ struggles to come to terms with who Eugenia was and what it all means in their own lives. Immersing themselves in the roles, the problems of sexuality and identity become more than just a characteristic of the play as students learn more about themselves.

Eugenia entertains, bewilders, and forces questions of sexuality and identity with theatrical intrigue and a touch of murder. Gonzalez reflected, “Parry’s play places Eugenia’s humanity at the center of a drama about coming to terms with sexual identity.”

Anita Gonzalez (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1997) is a director, writer, and educator. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Theater at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she teaches directing, movement, and theater history courses. She has developed new work for West End Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, and Ballet Hispanico, and written book reviews and articles about multi-cultural and international performance for Modern Drama, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Radical History Review, and Dance Research Journal. Gonzalez was a founding member of the Urban Bush Women and authored the books Jarocho’s Soul: Cultural Identity and Afro-Mexican Dance, and Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality. Gonzalez has been an artist in residence at Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center and has won multiple awards for theater production and research including three Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards. She is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a member of The Dramatists Guild.

Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office located in Parker Theatre beginning February 20 or by phone at (845)-257-3880. Box Office hours are Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Online purchases are available now at Tickets are $18, general admission, $16, seniors, New Paltz faculty/staff and $9, New Paltz students. Tickets are also available at the theatre one hour prior to the performance. For additional information call 845. 257.3936.