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Campus to host staged reading of new play

Posted 02/18/16

The Fitchburg State University campus will host a staged reading of a new play by alumnus Andy Bayiates that imagines Abraham Lincoln as the father of social media. “Faceland: 1853” will be performed at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 in Weston Auditorium, 353 North St. Admission is free.

The play is set in the city of Springfield, Ill. in 1853. The city’s residents are transformed and obsessed by The Personal Tribune—akin to a printed version of Facebook—whose founder, failed Congressman Abraham Lincoln, is looking for a wealthy investor who can help the business expand across the country to unite the American people and avoid a war.

“Faceland: 1853” has never been performed for an audience, and the playwright Bayiates said the staged reading on Feb. 25 will be a valuable experience in the work’s development. The reading will be directed by Professor Richard McElvain.

Bayiates, who graduated from Fitchburg State in 1997 with a degree in English literature, was raised in Billerica and now calls Chicago his home. His play explores the struggle between outer quests for validation and inner authenticity, and the unfiltered experience of life versus the idealized version that is put forth for public consumption.

Bayiates was active in the university’s Falcon Players theater troupe during his undergraduate studies, eventually seeing one of his original plays performed on campus. After graduating he worked with a comedy troupe in Boston and then moved to Chicago where he joined an experimental theater company called the Neo-Futurists. He continues to write plays, including the celebrated 44 Plays for 44 Presidents that was seen by Jimmy Carter.

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