August 8, 2018
2018 Institute: Meet the Players: Paul DeFilippo
This summer we traveled to the other side of the country to make a new play called, The Cardinal with and about the people of Queens New York, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. The production is part of Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency, which has brought together thirteen participants (“the players”) from across the United States and Canada to live, learn, and create together. In one month’s time, and working alongside Cornerstone staff, Ensemble and community members, these creative souls are learning Cornerstone’s process for creating community-engaged theater. By participating in classes, workshops, and taking part in every aspect of the play-making process from casting, auditions, rehearsals, costume/design build, and acting. This blog series is an opportunity for you to “Meet the Players”!
Paul DeFilippo AKA Assistant Stage Manager
A little bit about Paul
Paul is currently a Queens College student double-majoring in English and Drama/Theatre, and the Treasurer of the Queens College Theatre Guild. He has written about theatre and hip hop music/culture for the Queens College student blog, QC Voices. As a theatre actor, Paul has appeared in theatre productions such as: Twelfth Night, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, An Octoroon and, most recently, The Tempest. Last month, he directed his first full-length production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
What inspired you to join Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency this year?
“I first discovered Cornerstone last year during a course with Meghan Healey, the Chair of the Queens College Drama Department, who later told me about the Residency and encouraged me to apply (thanks Meghan!). One of the scripts we read in her class was Urban Rez, a play Cornerstone created alongside Native American tribal members in Los Angeles. I loved the play’s ability to be comedic, challenging, and informative for audiences (like myself) who didn’t know anything about the shocking and infuriating process that indigenous tribes go through for federal recognition. For real change to happen, stories like this first need to be shared, and Cornerstone’s search for unheard and unexpected stories is what drew me to their program.”
What has been your favorite moment thus far?
“I had the pleasure of making casting calls to some of our community actors, including Tom, a retired high school teacher who you’ll see onstage as a performer in The Cardinal. If only you could hear the joy in Tom’s voice when I told him he had been cast! It’s been breath-taking to see how involved the community has been with our project, and how much their representation matters to them.”
What do you hope to learn from your experience this summer?
“One of my favorite facts about Cornerstone is that entirely new theatre companies have sprung up as a result of Cornerstone’s prior residencies. As one of many theatre-makers at Queens College, I’m hoping we can use Cornerstone’s Residency this summer as a stepping stone towards future community theatre projects in Flushing. I’ve already learned a lot about how to begin engaging with a community, but I’d like to learn how to sustain our relationships once the Residency is over, and continue building off of the work we’re doing right now.”
Complete this sentence. Queens is….
“… impossible to describe in an entire play, let alone a single sentence.”
Why do you think people should come and see the play?
“It’s free. Do people need another reason? Also, there’s an adorable family from the community that sings a song together about halfway through the play, and some of the kids do cartwheels and stuff. It’s pretty darn cute.”
The Cardinal performs August 10 & 11th. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets today!