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AUBURN — The Theatre Association of New York State applauded Cayuga Community College’s Harlequin Productions and its recent performances of “Alice in Black and White,” recognizing the cast and director with three awards for its showcase about a famous photographer.
Harlequin Productions’ performances of “Alice in Black and White” explored the life story of photojournalist Alice Austen, whose work and personal life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries defied society’s expectations of women. The play, authored by Robin Rice, traces Austen’s life from her childhood in the 1860s to 1951, one year before her death.
TANYS, an organization that works with nonprofessional theatre groups and promotes theatre through education, honored the acting ensemble in Harlequin Productions’ “Alice in Black and White” with one award and singled out sophomore Hannah Abrams for her portrayal of Austen. Director Robert Frame also received an award for overall production design and technical execution.
Awards are determined by adjudicators who watch performances and provide feedback to the productions’ cast and crew. Frame, who also serves as a TANYS adjudicator, said Harlequin Productions usually receive merit awards each year.
For “Alice in Black and White,” the entire cast received a Meritorious Achievement in Ensemble Work Award, which Frame said acknowledged the efforts of the entire production.
“The award for ensemble means something to the adjudicators, that the company worked together as a whole. Getting an ensemble award recognized that we were all working together toward a common goal, which is very important,” said Frame.
Frame also praised Abrams for her work as Austen, pointing out that the role demanded versatility.
“It’s well-deserved for the work Hannah did, because in the course of the show she goes from being 10 years old to 85 years old, without makeup, so it’s all physical,” said Frame. “She worked really hard and did a very strong job with that.”
Abrams, who received an Excellence in Acting Award, said she was honored to receive the award, but added that Frame deserved much of the credit for making the production a success.
“I can’t thank TANYS enough for acknowledging and praising my hard work and the effort I put into this character,” she said. “But if anyone needs to be praised, it’s (Robert Frame). This was such an amazing story to tell and it wouldn’t have been told the amazing way it was without his vision and guidance.”
Frame received an Outstanding Achievement in Directing Award for overall production design and technical execution. He pointed out that the success of the design and technical execution is largely dependent on the cast and crew, so the award was as much about their efforts as his own.
“What I received the award for — the look of the show — is totally reliant on the designers I worked with. I’m not working in a vacuum. I’m working with everyone else. They made me look good,” said Frame.
Frame said that it was great for the cast and crew to be recognized for their efforts. Students and Frame will formally receive the awards at the TANYS banquet in November.
For more information about Cayuga’s Harlequin Productions, visit https://www.cayuga-cc.edu/students/student-life/harlequin/.