CENTASTAGE to Present ACADEMY FIGHT SONG

CENTASTAGE to Present ACADEMY FIGHT SONG

Greed. Betrayal. Lust. Academia. CENTASTAGE is proud to present the World Premiere of Andrew Clarke's Academy Fight Song, directed by Centastage's Artistic Director Joe Antoun.

Centastage is thrilled to be celebrating 25 Years of Producing New Plays by Boston Playwrights. "Developing and producing new plays for a quarter century has been an exciting and gratifying experience. I am heartened by the number of artist and audiences we have reached and connected," says Joe Antoun, a long time resident of Boston's South End.

A college professor (Davis) in need of job security agrees to a request from his department chair (Greer) to appear at an academic conference with a former student (Jonathan), a literary phenom who is currently living with the professor's ex-wife (Liz). The appearance goes catastrophically wrong and the promise of security proves to be nothing more than wind.

"There was a period a few years back when people were foisting academic novels on me; Russo's Straight Man, Nabokov's Pnin. Around that time I picked up Amis' Lucky Jim, a book filled with depictions of academic unhappiness, mediocrity, boredom and failure. It's outrageously funny. I wrote a monologue based on the drunken lecture that Jim Dixon delivers towards the end of the book and the play took shape around it," says Clarke.

"Andrew Clarke's writing has always been a draw for me," Antoun says. "This play is efficient with smart humor and razor sharp characters. The joy of Academy Fight Song is watching the story unfold through Andrew's clever and edged dialogue."

This isn't the first time director Joe Antoun and playwright Andrew Clarke are collaborating. Their work started in the early 2000's when Antoun and Clarke met at Emerson College, where they both teach. "Joe directed my short play Breakfast with Harvey for the 2005 Boston Theatre Marathon and from the first read though I knew I'd found an artistic co-conspirator, a guy with love for a good story, sharp language and smart actors," says Clarke.

Academy Fight Song has been in development at Centastage since 2011 with four staged readings, featuring numerous Boston-based artists. This World Premiere Production will feature Craig Mathers in the title role; Mathers, a Brockton-native, lives in the South End and is an Associate Professor of Acting at Emerson College. Emerson College was also the home of three out of four of the Design Team -Rick Brenner, Chris Bocchario, Richelle Devereaux-Murray - and Watertown Resident Tyler Catanella, whom Antoun taught. "I saw him knock it out of the park as an actor in a student production and can't wait to work with him in this setting." Catanella and Mathers will be joined by Boston-favorite, Medford-Resident Richard Snee.

Tracy Oliverio, who'll be playing Liz, is intimately related to the project - she is married to playwright Andrew Clarke. Tracy and Andrew met at Brandeis while pursuing their MFAs; they have two daughters and live in South Dartmouth, MA. "Working and collaborating with my husband of 15 years is always a joy for me," says Oliverio. "He creates dialogue that is an actor's dream, I couldn't be more proud to be speaking his words. He continues to inspire me as a partner in life and on stage."

"My first memory of Tracy as a performer was her depiction of a hippopotamus at one of the late night Cabarets we used to have at graduate school," says Clarke. "That night a five-foot tall woman was a hippo with nagging, real world concerns. An actor like that will find the soul of any part and shake it until it's in place."

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