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Senior gets chance to write, direct show

Matthew Menter’s theater experience at Binghamton will culminate this month when his play Outskirts debuts. The senior will graduate with a degree in writing and directing for film and theater, with a minor in cinema.

Theater has been a part of Menter’s life since he began acting classes at age 7. He lives in Manlius, and learned about performing from his mother, a professional ballet dancer and musical theater and dance teacher.

“I believe directors should act first and learn the vocabulary,” Menter said. “It matters how you talk to actors so they know a director understands and trusts them.”

Outskirts began in September as a thesis with costume and set sketches, and was approved for production in December.

“The play is a Western with fantastical elements,” Menter explained. “Most of my plays have been more human, dealing with issues such as politics. Outskirts is mythological and based on folktales.”

Menter hopes to stretch his audiences’ imaginations and take them somewhere different. He is a member of Harpur Film Society and Filmmakers Forum.

Thomas Kremer, professor of theatre and Menter’s adviser, said it is rare for a student’s play to be approved. “Matt has shown great talent in directing,” he said. “I have no doubt he will have a successful career.”

After graduation, Menter hopes to work as an assistant director in New York City or at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.

“The best part of writing is the moment where everything makes sense and your characters are so defined that they tell you what to write,” Menter said. “As a director, you can’t have the ‘almighty director complex’ because the disagreements between actors and directors make the work stronger.”

Outskirts will be performed at 8 p.m. March 22-25 and at 2 p.m. March 25 in FA-Gruber Theater. Admission is $3.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08