Brockport alumna returning to direct fall production

COURTESY OF THE COLLEGE AT BROCKPORT

College of Brockport alumna Stephanie Paredes, co-founder of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company, will return to campus this fall to direct “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. 

Stephanie Paredes.

Paredes recently directed “Coffee Card” as part of the Department of Theatre and Music Studies’ virtual “Festival of Ten: Revisited.” The Hudes play — an occasionally comic drama about family, forgiveness and fortitude — takes place in Philadelphia’s Latinx community. Performances are scheduled for October.

Paredes said this assignment gives her a sense of responsibility, returning to the department as a director and as a person of color. She added that it was two directors of color — Louis Moreno and future Tony Award nominee Colman Domingo — who guided her through the Brockport productions of “Maggie Magalita” and “Once on this Island.” 

The collaboration started when associate professor Ruth Childs was gathering alumni to participate in the “Revisited” project. She had stayed in touch with Paredes through the years and was glad to reconnect “this time as collaborators, rather than as teacher and student.” As chair of the department’s show selection committee, she knew that Hudes’ play was being considered for the 2021-22 season. 

“It had been in the mix in the past and every time it came up, the committee’s general feeling was that it needed to be directed by a member of the Latinx community,” Childs said. “While working together again on ‘Revisited,’ a light bulb went off and I realized that Stephanie would be the perfect person to do the show.”

About the play itself, Paredes said her passion “stems from being a human, a woman and a mom.” With addiction weaving its way through various characters’ lives, the themes of judgment and forgiveness intertwined for the director and begged the question of how “to love someone through your judgment of them.” She hopes to make the production a multicultural, multisensory event. 

“I want the audience to walk in and smell the culture embodied in the play — my roots and the roots of the characters in this play — through the foods my foremothers prepared, and see art created by Latinx artists and hear the rhythms of Latinx music played live in the lobby,” she said. “At RLTC we don’t just ‘do shows,’ we create experiences. I want to bring that essence of my company to Brockport.”