NYSTI: A Kid’s-Eye View of the Endangered Theater

May 20th, 2010, 12:32 pm by Greg

The Troy-based New York State Theatre Institute has been under attack in recent months. Back in January, Governor Paterson proposed eliminating their funding from the state budget – completely.

In April, NYS Inspector General Joseph Fisch released a detailed report charging NYSTI artistic director Pat Snyder with financial misconduct and serial nepotism.

Then, earlier this month Snyder – who had been at the helm since the theater’s inception 36 years ago – and the theater’s board of directors all resigned.

So what it the future of NYSTI? Can it possibly survive all of this turmoil and continue to present students with an introduction to live theater?

Here’s what NYSTI means to area youth, as seen from the viewpoint of some students from Hackett Middle School in Albany:


LIVE: “Romeo & Juliet” @ the New York State Theatre Institute

March 19th, 2010, 12:28 pm by Greg

NYSTI's production of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo (Brian Nemiroff) must leave his new wife Juliet (Kate Hettesheimer). Photo by Joe Schuyler/Schuyler Photography

When considering a production of a classic war horse like Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” there are basically two options for a director:

A.) Hew closely to the original and hope that the passion that you bring to it makes it stand out
B.) Update the material in an attempt to reach out to a contemporary audience

At Russell Sage College’s Schacht Fine Arts Center, the New York State Theatre Institute is currently presenting a “Romeo and Juliet” that clearly takes the tact of Plan B by setting the play in modern-day Iraq.

Ambitious? Yes. And conceptually intriguing, too. The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough…

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