UPDATE, Nov. 19: This production has been POSTPONED out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of students, faculty and the campus community. All ticket holders will be fully refunded.
The Department of Theatre Arts will update the community in the coming weeks with information about a rescheduled reading in the spring. We apologize for this sudden change in circumstances and any inconvenience it may cause.
The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz continues its 2020-21 production season with virtual, live-streamed readings of “Eat And You Belong To Us” on Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 22. The Sunday performance will be followed by a talkback.
“Eat and You Belong to Us,” written by MJ Kaufman, tells the story of a relationship between a transgender grandparent, their genderqueer grandchild, and their shared fascination with Joan of Arc.
This production is directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Catherine Doherty.
About “Eat and You Belong to Us”
This play tells a magical story of Grands, a trans grandparent, and their genderqueer grandchild, Jaime. The action is set into motion when Grands wakes up from gender affirmative surgery speaking French and claiming they survived a fire, while Jaime—who has been pretending to be Joan of Arc for weeks—goes missing.
“MJ Kaufman has crafted a mystical, hysterical and poignant story of two LGBTQ individuals in two different generations coming to terms with who they truly are—inspiring to us all, as these opposite generations, when all is said and done, have more in common than they do not…and how much they teach each other is a lesson to us all,” Doherty said.
The tale conveys a necessary message of open-mindedness, community and family, at a cultural moment when social and political divisions threaten the bonds that hold us together.
“In a time of great challenge globally and nationally, ‘Eat and You Belong to Us’ is a play that speaks to the need for tolerance, acceptance and embrace, and it does so with great humor and humanity,” said Doherty. “In these times, I cannot think of a better salve than theatrical storytelling.
“Eat and You Belong to Us” will be presented virtually with no in-person audience, like the other Department of Theatre Arts performances during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doherty says she’s been amazed with how the theatre community – both the students involved in production and the audiences who support their work – has risen to meet the challenges posed this year.
“I believe theatre artists are highly resilient and adaptable people,” she said. “This entire semester has been a lesson in flexibility – learning how we craft our stories while remaining safely distant from one another and masked. Quite frankly, we’ve learned that distance is a state of mind.
“I am so proud of the students of this department who’ve taught me that connection and community go beyond masks and six feet of distance. The heart of narrative storytelling knows no bounds, and real estate between us is immaterial.”
How the virtual performance works
Performances of “Eat and You Belong to Us” will be given on:
- Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m., and
- Sunday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m. (followed by a talkback with Doherty, dramaturg Kevin Mischo, campus LGBTQ+ coordinator Emma Morcone, and student activist Hunter Lypen)
Guests are required to RSVP in advance to join the virtual audience for this live-streamed reading from SUNY New Paltz’s Department of Theatre Arts.
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.
The Department of Theatre Arts thanks the community for supporting our students’ education and creativity during these unprecedented times. Read more about how our work is continuing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Director
Catherine Doherty is an award-winning director, actor and assistant professor of theatre arts at SUNY New Paltz. Her directing credits with SUNY New Paltz include “Into the Woods,” “Ready Steady Yeti Go,” “Parade,” “Mad Forest” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Representative regional directing credits include “See How They Run,” “You Can’t Take it With You,” “Mary Poppins,” “My Fair Lady,” “The King and I,” “Chicago,” “The Elephant Man” and more. Her selected acting credits include “Good People,” “Margie,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Nurse,” “Lady Bracknell,” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Doherty has worked with St. Michael’s Playhouse, Northern Stage, Shadowland Stages, Potsdam Music Theatre, Opera North, Theatre in the Square (Georgia) and Lincoln Center. She has worked for ABC, CBS and Fox Television. She is a past recipient of the Telly Award and the Ida Lupino Award from the Director’s Guild of America.