Updated December 17, 2015

Inspired by the plays of Anton Chekhov and real-life events of the past year, Doris Day in Belarus, a play written and directed by Suffolk Theatre Professor Wes Savick and involving scores of students and alumni, is a hilarious celebration of the creative life that has inspired generations of Suffolk students.

From the beginning, Savick’s game plan was to unite the talents of students and alumni in one collaborative effort, and more than 50 students and more than 40 alumni were actively involved in the Doris Day in Belarus production.

Doris Day in Belarus

The play, was performed to sold-out crowds in late November at the Studio Theatre. It featured 11 short scripts written by alumni. These mini-plays were performed several times in a loop in locations throughout the Studio Theatre, including Savick’s office, with audience members moving from site to site to view them.

Short video snapshots submitted by several dozen alumni also were screened on 15 monitors positioned throughout the theater.

Students performed in and directed each of the alumni mini-plays. They also designed sets and costumes for the production.

“With Doris Day in Belarus, Wes has imagined a completely original theatrical production that brought our entire community together,” said Theatre Department Chair Marilyn Plotkins.

Savick had the opportunity to reflect on his career at the University during the creative process for Doris Day in Belarus.

“I began teaching here in 1999, the same year that the Studio Theatre opened,” he said. “It is my link to the University and all of the students who have performed here over the years.”

One of those students is sophomore Jack Yeatman, who has been honing his skills as an actor, writer, and director since arriving on the Suffolk stage.

“The Suffolk Theatre Department is special because of its spirit and family-like atmosphere,” said Yeatman. “People can feel close and be real with each other, and our shows reflect that.”

Student Claire Boyle had two acting roles in Savick’s latest production and enjoys learning from others involved in the production.

“For me, the most rewarding part was having so many current and former students working collectively for the same goal,” said Boyle.

The Studio Theatre has been the site of 107 productions over the past 16 years, according to Jim Kaufman, managing director of the Theatre Department.

“It has been a real hothouse for creativity, with many plays written and directed by students,” he said.

That creative tradition will continue in a new home when the Studio Theatre moves to the 11th floor of the Sawyer Business School in early spring.

The following alumni were involved with the production:

Alumni playwrights

Heather Mumford, BA ’05
Theo Goodell, BS ’07
Rachel Kelsey Daley, BS ‘08
Brittany Daley, BA ‘11
Alec Lawless, BSJ ‘12
Leslie Steeves, BA ‘13
Ingrid Oslund, BA ‘14
Raphael Roy, BA ’15
Paige Monopoli, BA ’15
Stephanie Yackovetsky, BA ’15

Alumni video artists

Matthew John Finn, BS ‘07
Jennifer Simmons, BS ’02
Lindsey Darling, BA ’03, MEd ‘09
Molly Kimmerling, BA ‘04
Dana Nacer, BA ‘06
Alex Pollock, BA ‘07
Nael Nacer, BA ‘07
Erin Schrutt, BA ‘07
Theo Goodell, BS ‘07
Talia Bashan, BA ‘11
Brittany Daley, BA ‘11
Joey Talluto, BS ‘13
Ashley Hevey, BA ‘13
Anthony Schiavo, BS ‘13
Leslie Steeves, BA ‘13
Grace Agosto, BSJ ‘14
Andrew Pinto, BS ‘14
Moriah Giovannucci, BA ‘14
Paige Monopoli, BA ‘15
Raphael Roy, BA ’15
Bobby Zupkofska, BA ’15

Alumni designers

Bailey Costa, BA ’10 – lighting design
Kelsey Jenkins, BFA ’15 – scenic design
Sydney Grant, BA ’15 – choreography

Featured actor

Isaiah Rotondi-Gray, BA ’12