By Hannah Devlin
Lara Ozcayir, Schreiber High School senior, makes her directorial debut this month at the Landmark. The show will be presented by the PiT Theatricals, a part of the non-profit organization, The PiT Teen Center. While the staff is there to oversee and guide students in the production process, The PiT’s theatrical productions are completely designed and managed by Schreiber students.
Oszcayir, though new to directing, has a long history in theater. Throughout her time at Schreiber, she has performed in eight Schreiber Theatre Company productions, as well as four Schreiber Drama Club pieces. Although Oszcayir had not directed before Rumors, she did have prior administrative experience as the stage manager and assistant director of PiT Theatricals’ previous production, Silver Crow.
Rumors follows the story of four upper-class couples attending an anniversary party at the home of a deputy New York City mayor. Upon arriving, the couples discover a series of unfortunate events: there are no servants to be found, the hostess is missing and the deputy mayor has shot himself in the head. Given the status of the attendees, the couples are desperate to conceal the events of the party, creating a series of complications.
“I [think Rumors is] an absolutely brilliant marriage between comedy and an underlying message of love between friends,” Oszcayir said. “For my directorial debut, I originally wanted to do a dramatic play because I thought it held more meaning than comedies. Rumors defied that expectation.”
Although comedies are often seen as less profound than dramas, Rumors prove that that assumption is not the case.
“Rumors is so much more than its silly appearance,” she explains, “it is a show about friends sticking together to help their friend.”
The comedy may appear superficial because of its lighthearted nature, but the show’s ultimate message is a testament to friendship. Throughout the production, one thing is clear: the ability to withstand unexpected complications while in the company of one’s friends.
As a first-time director, Oszcayir faced many of her own unexpected complications during the production process. One of the unexpected challenges faced was a COVID-19 outbreak within the cast before the original show dates, an obstacle that pushed the production back to June 11.
“While it was devastating not to put the show on as planned, my team came together to make it work, and I am especially proud of them for it and incredibly grateful to the PiT for arranging it despite the circumstances,” said Oszcayir.
While working on this production, Oszcayir found that the message of the show–one about sticking together and helping those around you–was especially poignant.
“It truly does take a village, and even then, you never know what life may throw your way,” Oszcayir explained. “Life is unpredictable, but through all of the trials and tribulations of this show, I always knew I could count on my team.”
The cast and crew of Rumors were especially helpful throughout the production process; their faith and respect for Oszcayir and the production never wavered despite the obstacles thrown their way. Working alongside Oszcayir and her team, PiT Theatricals also lent a huge hand.
“No matter what the issue, the PiT and its wonderful staff have helped me every step of the way,” said Oszcayir. “Without them, this show would simply not be possible, in more ways than one. I am so grateful to them for their help and this incredible opportunity.”
Despite the difficulties, Oszcayir is incredibly thankful for everyone involved in the production process. And, of course, the final product of the production outweighs the obstacles faced during the process.
Oszcayir explains that her favorite part of the production process was watching the cast members evolve their characters and come into their roles. Each actor brought their own set of quirks to their character, which truly helped make the characters realistic. Oszcayir found it amazing to watch these characters come off the page and onto the stage. Seeing the evolution of the actors and their characters was a testament to the cast’s talent and passion for the piece.
“Working with my peers has been an absolute pleasure… From the get-go, I knew I could trust them entirely, and that is a privilege,” said Oszcayir.
Rumors is a testament to how passion will persevere while facing obstacles. Despite the challenges faced throughout the process, the cast and crew of Rumors never failed to continue. While the message of love and friendship is especially prevalent on stage, it is safe to say that it is also relevant throughout the entire production process.