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Suffolk Community College Theatre Arts Department’s latest production is emotionally captivating. “Mill Fire” is one of the best productions put on by the department in a while. It is through the combined efforts of the entire company that audiences understand the powerful message of the play: being able to move forward even when it seems impossible. Playwright Sally Nemeth’s play is set in contemporary Birmingham, Alabama and follows a widower named Marlene (Heather Legnosky) who struggles to come to terms with the death of her mill-worker husband named Champ (Jesse Lewis). Additionally, the audience witnesses the hardships that her brother Bo (Joseph Winchell) faces and how the cause of Champ’s death affects his ability to be a good husband to his wife Sunny (Moriah Ritchie), as well as the conflicts he battles within himself. “Mill Fire” is directed by Steven Lantz-Gefroh, a renowned professor of the Theatre Arts Department. He…

Your eyes skim through the text as fast as humanly possible, and you are hoping the words on the page will make sense if you read them fast enough. You read it again, a little slower now because you lost the part where the daughter was actually a son and some creature in the woods drank a magical potion with a fairy and a floating donkey head. There’s someone named Puck in there somewhere (“great name for a cat,” your brain exclaims) and you’ve lost the page where the two lovers finally die, holding hands…? You wake up the next morning, drooling all over your copious notes and books and bolt through the door to class.  You bomb that test. Shakespeare is the stuff of nightmares to many a student the long dialogues stretching a page (or sometimes two) with characters who have way too large of an emotional range, large…

A modern day Odysseus roams across America with sails of rubber and a ship of steel in the Staller Center this week. That Odysseus (or rather Odyssea) is Penny, a graduate student at a university that might as well be Stony Brook. She’s been infected with an intractable despair by her interminable academic program, her clingy and oblivious boyfriend, Todd, and her disconnection with her supposed home. Penny takes inspiration from the Greek heroes she’s read about: Odysseus and Socrates. She wants to see and know many things and thus know herself. She takes desperate, immediate action, signing up for a quest to bike across America just five days before it begins. This is an impulse that all humans feel: the desire to escape to somewhere else, to chase the hope of something new. We want to find a place where we fit, whatever it takes.  It’s an absurd plan:…