I visited the Black Box theater at Binghamton High School the other night and watched the S.T.A.R. (Southern Tier Actors Read) actors do a wonderfully dramatic, staged reading of Rod Serling’s “Patterns.”
I’m now in our final rehearsals for SRO’s upcoming production of Little Women. I play the cantankerous Mr. Laurence. I hope you’ll be able to come by and see it, Barb! I’ve no doubt you’ll be highly impressed with the acting and vocal talent our lead, Jess Brooks, who plays Jo March, as well as the the rest of this terrific cast, enthusiastically directed by Scott Fisher.
During my recent fall break, I went “home” to the black-box theater to attend the reading of Rod Serling’s teleplay “Patterns.” As this was not my first time watching a performance by S.T.A.R., I was not surprised by how impressed I was with the quality of the performance.
I enjoy attending staged readings, as the minimalism of the set design and lighting forces audiences to focus on the text of the play. As I have attended several Rod Serling events and have even had the honor of working backstage for the live broadcast of the Twilight Zone episodes of “Walking Distance” and “Mirror Image,” I am always impressed by how relevant Serling’s works remain today. I commend Larry Kassan for his effort to keep Serling’s legacy alive in Binghamton, as it is something each member of the Binghamton community should be proud of.
As a graduate of Binghamton High School, I am all too aware of the negative reputation we possess. That being said, I am also aware of the dreary outlook that residents of Binghamton have on the town as a whole. Events such as the recent flooding and our current economic climate have overshadowed the positives that have come out of our town and our high school, causing us to forget the high quality of the BHS arts program (aptly named the Rod Serling school of Fine Arts) and the success of our graduates. Serling is just one of many graduates who have found success in the arts. I think it is important to fight through this negative reputation and dreary outlook and recognize the success of our community.
I found it very powerful to sit in the place where Serling began and listen to the words that had brought him fame and had changed the face of television. As the black box theater is a mere two years old, I wondered if Serling would have dreamed that the arts program at BHS would have grown to the point of developing a second theater or even would have been named after himself.
It is legacies such as Serling’s that gives the Binghamton community hope that we will rise out of our current economic downturn and effect the world for the better, as Serling did. I commend S.T.A.R. and Kassan for their effort to keep Serling’s work alive in the Binghamton community. I look forward to their future performances, as it is performances such as these and legacies such as Serling’s that make me proud to say that I am from Binghamton.