1990’s RIT Players. Some thoughts to put out there.

Well, what can I say about the RIT Players as an organization?  Hmmmmm.  That’s actually a tough one.   At first, we were a group of people who wanted to do some REAL theatre on the RIT campus.  The Founders: Ben Leopold, Ryan Kiley, Bridget Hathaway, Molley Burgo, Meredith Graham, Matt Bernuis, and Peter Ferran.  (I know I missed some people there)  felt that RIT was missing a key element and that because of their love of theatre, they could do something about it.  So, the RIT Players were born.  And you know the history.  What you don’t know is what the club was like.  You see, even in my time there (Oh so long ago.  hehe), Players was a club in search of an identity.

It is/was just like any other organization going through growing pains.  We felt everything was against us, that we had only ourselves to rely on and that no one cared about what we were trying to do.  So we began to fight.  We made sure, by hook or by crook, that we would have shows or events going on every quarter. You know, shows which contained substance and meaning.  I’ll tell you, the times we succeeded we felt great, and the times we failed, we learned a lot.

Ok that was what I was going to write originally, then build on it.  Then I got to reading it and thought, man.  That’s not Players.  The Concept of RIT Players was simple.  MAKE THEATRE HAPPEN!  It didn’t matter how, it didn’t matter what we were up against, it didn’t matter how grades suffered.  What mattered was performing, and putting on the shows.  That was the heart of the club, and that is what the core of the group has carried on from e-board to e-board, from year to year.  We spent hours coming up with sets, props, concepts, shows, advertising, everything and anything that deals with a show.   And we loved it.  We were in our element, and we felt great every time we succeeded in pulling off another show.

But why was it so special?  That’s pretty easy.  We liked each other.  We had fun together.  We put our differences aside, most of the time, and worked towards the greater good.  The show.  We made things happen.  If the money was tight, which it always seemed to be, we found ways to make things happen.  If we couldn’t find space, we took any space we could get.  If we couldn’t get real lighting equipment, we improvised.  It was truly “Impromptu” theatre.  Who could ask for more?

Well, the club could ask for more, and they did.  The club, it’s core members, it’s fringe members and it’s members who had that “seasonal” dedication, wanted to do bigger shows.  Better performances, make it known that we were not just a bunch of college students pretending to be thespians.  And with the help of Peter Ferran, and I can’t say enough about him, we succeeded.  (Here’s a side note, if it wasn’t for Peter, the Players would not be what they are today.  For me, he has been a teacher, a mentor, and a friend.  If there is one thing I really miss, it’s sitting around after a rehearsal and just talking with him. He’s a great man, and he has a lot to pass on.  If you have the chance, listen to what he has to say,  he knows what it takes to make “Theatre” happen.)  We owe a lot to Peter, and the College of Liberal Arts.  We would have never been able to pull off ANY major show without him.  Any show.

Well, I have limited time, as do you.  So here is the sappy stuff.  The best part of the club has always been its members.  The dedicated few who have a love for the arts.  Those people who sacrificed their time, their grades, their health and sometimes their hearts, to make everything work.  Every E-board has been special this way, every “core” group of members have gone through this.  They are too many to mention so I will say this.  (And some of you will probably call me arrogant, and maybe one will say I am “damn sassy”, but here goes.)

“It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside every person in every show I was involved with.  I know we didn’t always see eye to eye, but we got through everything and did the best we could.  I am very proud to say I am a RIT Player.  And I miss all of you.”

The RIT Players is a very special group, one filled with many talents and dreams.  Don’t get caught up in the political BS of running a “club,” but have fun and do what we have always done best.  MAKE THEATRE HAPPEN.  (Oh, and party very hard when we were through)

This jumble of thoughts is brought to you by the number 4 and the letter Q.  And the immature mind of Rob Terlizzi.  Former President of RIT Players, and almost the star of “Pretty”.


I loved this group and everything we did.  It’s a part of my life I will always cherish, the good times and the bad.  For me, the RIT Players was the best part of my entire RIT experience.  (And oh what an experience it was.)

1 Comment

  1. Hello,

    My name is Mac. First off, I’d like to say that this is a beautiful piece. I’m a member of RIT Players, going into my second year, and it gives me so much more than I could’ve ever imagined.

    Secondly, I’m the Historian for this year. If you have time, I would really love to talk to you about some of the earlier years of Players we don’t have a lot of information from. I love Players with all my heart, and I hope to help it live as long as possible, as a club and as a lifelong happy memory.

    If you’d be able to help me, please feel free to email me at saraleong90@yahoo.com or saraleong8@gmail.com.

    Thank you for writing such a heartwarming piece on a great club, and I hope I hear from you soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s