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Local Playwright To Debut New Work At Rochester Fringe Festival

Richard Steele's CELL OUTS reflects different sides of the modern soul in a fantasy setting. 

Local Playwright To Debut New Work At Rochester Fringe Festival

Richard Steele's CELL OUTS reflects different sides of the modern soul in a fantasy setting.

Rochester actor and high school English teacher Richard Steele is putting his love for fantasy-themed books and games to use as the author of a new one-act play premiering at this year's Rochester Fringe Festival.

The premise for the plot of CELL OUTS may seem familiar, but there is a twist: Two prisoners find themselves sharing a dungeon in a medieval fantasy realm. They'll have to work together to escape confinement. Will they overcome their differences on the glittering road to liberty, or will they be bogged down in the quagmire of their squabbles, to the point of no return?

"I was heavily inspired by various fantasy experiences such as Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons, video games like Baldur's Gate and Dragon Age, and others stories from various mediums too numerous to list," Steele said. "Many of these stories focus on a cataclysmic struggle, and depict clearly delineated lines between good and evil. I wanted to explore a different avenue, and examine the individuals who aren't brave adventurers, noble knights, or malicious demons, but real people in a difficult situation."

It was important to Steele to create characters that felt relevant and reflected different sides of the modern soul. Check out a video with the playwright and director.

"There's the nihilistic prisoner, the activist prisoner, and the guard who would rather not be bothered. Once these characters were established things fell into place. This is not a play about heroes. At least, not in the conventional sense of the term," Steele said.

The cast features Skylar Shaw as Larry; Shannon Toot as Taylor; Ged Owen as Terence the Blood Mage; and Christopher Conway as Royce the Guard. Understudy for Taylor/Terence is Ben Gillooly, and understudy for Larry/Royce is Calvin Staropoli.

The play is directed by Philip Detrick and produced by Rochester's The Company Theatre.

"I am thrilled to be directing this new play written by my friend, Rich," Detrick said. "His satirical take on real emotions through the lens of a fantasy world is something I was instantly drawn to. I am equally excited to be working with a talented cast that each bring such unique energy to the words of the play."

The production takes place at Salena's Mexican Restaurant in Village Gate Square. Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday Sept. 17 and 24, and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased on the Rochester Fringe Festival website: https://www.rochesterfringe.com/tickets-and-shows/cell-outs.

Details:

What: Cell Outs, a one-act play written by local playwright Richard Steele, and directed by Philip Detrick, produced by The Company Theatre, part of Rochester Fringe Festival.

Tickets: $12 https://www.rochesterfringe.com/tickets-and-shows/cell-outs

Location: Salena's Mexican Restaurant, Village Gate Square, 302 N Goodman St, Rochester, NY 14607

Performances: Saturday, Sept. 17 - 8 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 22 - 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 24 - 8 p.m.




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