OSWEGO — For Megan Hickey the child, performing in church plays and participating in theatre clubs seemed like just a fun pastime. In the present, it has become one of the most important elements in the SUNY Oswego senior theatre major’s life.
Hickey directs this fall’s Student Honors Production, “Boeing Boeing.”
The play will run nightly at 7:30 from Wednesday, Nov. 29, through Saturday, Dec. 2, with a 2 p.m. finale Sunday, Dec. 3.
“Boeing Boeing,” written by Marc Camoletti, is a Tony Award-winning farce set in the 1960s that follows a Parisian man, Bernard, who juggles three different fiancées — an Italian, a German and an American.
Each fiancée lands in his apartment at the same time, causing chaos for Bernard’s plan to keep them hidden from each other.
Hickey seeks to pull from her cast how to play farce, but to add a layer that is subtler than the ludicrous situations and broad comedy that characterize the genre.
“Boeing Boeing” is Hickey’s latest theatre project in a long line stretching back to childhood. Her love for the performing arts really blossomed when she saw the musical “Next to Normal.”
“It was one of the most beautiful musicals I’ve ever seen,” Hickey said. “It was deep, emotional and realistic. It spoke truth and I wanted to be able to create something like that.”
In “Boeing Boeing,” Hickey hopes to bring her theme — attacking and challenging ’60s-era stereotypes — to life.
With a concentration in acting and directing to accompany her theatre major, Hickey credits her love for directing to theatre faculty member Mya Brown and to a 24-hour play festival.
Both allowed her to try directing, and she fell in love with it.
“I noticed Megan’s hard work,” Brown said. “She stood out from other students when she took my acting and directing class.”
Hickey, who assisted Brown in directing last spring’s production of “Pride and Prejudice,” said being a visual person helps her ability to effectively direct.
“I can see what I want and how I want things to look,” Hickey said. “Directing is exciting because it allows me to bring those visions to life.”
Telling her actors where they should stand, how they should place their hands or swing their bodies or even stumble through doors are just a few ways Hickey has kept the original and implemented her own comedic vision for “Boeing Boeing.”
Shelby Gilbert, assistant to stage manager Cole Sostak, said Hickey’s directing is very specific.
“The way she has described to the actors what she wants and how she wants certain things to be and letting them do what they think needs to be done in the space — she is very specific on how things should look,” Gilbert said.
The visual aspect and attention to detail are not the only parts of directing that Hickey prioritizes.
Cast bonding and comfort as a team are also very important to Hickey, especially given the demands of “Boeing Boeing,” such as hugging and kissing and precise comic timing.
Catherine Faruolo, who plays Bernard’s Italian fiancée, said the atmosphere of the set is always pleasant regardless of any stressful situations because of the attention Hickey puts into it.
“To people on the outside it might seem like we’re playing silly games, but Megan lets us do a lot of activities to get us to be close with each other and intimate,” Faruolo said.
The actor mentioned a staring game that helps build intimacy among her cast mates. “We have to stare each other in the eyes for four minutes,” she said, laughing.
Gilbert said, “Megan has done an amazing job creating a comfortable (atmosphere) between cast and crew. Everyone is like a family and they are very warm and welcoming to anyone.”
Perhaps one of the most notable elements of Hickey’s directing style is her ability to allow her cast and crew to create.
“She’s good with letting us use our creative liberty with our roles, and she’ll let us know if it works and if it doesn’t,” Faruolo said. “If it doesn’t, she shows her appreciation for us being creative and encourages us to keep digging deeper.”
In addition to Faruolo, the cast includes Giovany Brice as Bernard, Evan Ribaudo as Robert, Julia Tilley as Gloria, Jada Sterling as Gretchen and Esther Beatriz Guidet Garrido as Berthe.
Tickets for Boeing Boeing are $15 ($7 for students with valid ID). Tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141.
Parking is included in the ticket price and is available in the employee and commuter lots in front of Culkin Hall and behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls.
People with disabilities needing assistance to attend can call 315-312-2141 in advance.
For more information on the performing and fine arts at SUNY Oswego, visit oswego.edu/arts.