Theatre production season continues Oct. 3 & 4 with student-directed “Waiting for Lefty”

The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz continues its 2020-21 production season with virtual, live-streamed performances of “Waiting for Lefty” on Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4.

“Waiting for Lefty” is a 1935 script written by Clifford Odets, which centers on a taxi drivers’ union building up to a strike.

This production is directed by Gabriella Montanaro ’20 (Theatre Arts).

About “Waiting for Lefty”

This story of labor action is told through seven vignettes, each framed around a group of taxi driver union members weighing a strike in demand of fairer wages.

The engaging, captivating nature of the script, which is reflective of Odets’ unique style, made it an ideal choice for a virtual production, Montanaro said.

“Each scene picks up after another,” said Montanaro. “The syntax of the play has a really great rhythm, and it’s great to listen to. It’s a good play in terms of auditory experience just because of how dense it is.”

Despite being 85 years old, the play’s depiction of an oppressed population fighting for better conditions is as relevant today as ever.

“It’s igniting and revolutionary, and watching it, you feel empowered to rise up,” said Montanaro. “Everyone could use a reminder that there is power in numbers. I would love the audience to leave feeling empowered and inspired and capable, and part of a larger community, or part of something bigger.”

The production of “Waiting for Lefty” will be the first of its kind at SUNY New Paltz: live-streamed from the theater, with cast and crew physically together while observing safety guidelines.

“We wanted to give Gabriella and the cast a chance to come together in the space—socially distanced and masked—and explore simple movement and staging to help tell the story,” said Department of Theatre Arts Chair Ken Goldstein. “It is an experiment in storytelling, in technology, and in navigating the realities of safety protocols, which of course, have to come first.”

This marks Montanaro’s first time directing a production for an online audience. She says the COVID-19 pandemic has driven her and her peers to reimagine their crafts and “rethink the most effective way to tell the story.”

“There will always be a need for storytelling, even if we may not be back in the theater the way we knew it,” she said.

How the virtual performance works

Performances of “Waiting for Lefty” will be given on:

  • Saturday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., and
  • Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m.

Guests are required to RSVP in advance to join the virtual audience for this live-streamed production from SUNY New Paltz’s Department of Theatre Arts.

Please use this link to RSVP

After RSVPing, ticket holders will receive a confirmation email with a link to the live stream. The link will be active about 15 minutes before showtime. Simply click or copy the link into your browser to view the performance.

Reservations are offered on a “pay what you can” scale and are limited to four tickets per person.

Hundreds of community members registered for tickets in support of the season’s first production, “Cadillac Crew.” The Department of Theatre Arts thanks the community for supporting our students’ education and creativity during these unprecedented times.

Please use this link to read more about how our work is continuing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Director

In just three years, Gabriella Montanaro has distinguished herself as a student leader within the Department of Theatre Arts. She has participated in several productions at SUNY New Paltz, including performances in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Henry V” as well as assistant directing “Ready, Steady, Yeti, Go.”

“Waiting for Lefty” is the second production Montanaro has directed, following the spring 2019 Praxis Series production of “Life’s Only Valuable Emotion.”