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Theater professor Clement premiers next installment of his semi-autobiographical trilogy

Theater professor Clement premiers next installment of his semi-autobiographical trilogy

More than a year after launching his first original play, Community College of Rhode Island Professor and director Ted Clement is back with the second installment of his semi-autobiographical trilogy.

The Other, written by Clement and directed by longtime colleague and CCRI alumnus David Valentin, premiers Thursday, June 27 at 7:30 pm as a workshop production by the college’s student-run theater group, the CCRI Players, at the Warwick Campus’ Bobby Hackett Theatre. This week’s run also includes 7:30 performances Friday and Saturday night with a Sunday matinee at 2 pm. (See photo gallery)

Tickets are available online and range from $5–$20. The Other contains adult language and portrayals of violence. Discretion is advised.

What began as a sabbatical project with the debut of The Choice in 2022 has been a much larger-scale project for Clement, who long considered himself “a reader, not a writer,” before Valentin encouraged to try his hand at playwrighting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trilogy, Clement said, is a “work of fiction” inspired by his life experiences growing up in a single-parent home in Woonsocket, RI.

While part one of the trilogy, The Choice, told the story of a single mother raising her teenage son amidst a unique family dynamic anchored by her faith and conviction, The Other occurs in 1989 – two years after the events of The Choice ­– and explores the nature of how we define family in a community of so-called “broken homes.”

Workshop productions are best described as modest productions that don’t include all the aspects of a full production. Clement’s reasoning for labeling the trilogy as such is to allow for continued development of each part beyond the initial premier.

“The nature of playmaking is collaborative,” Clement said, “and the workshop process allows me to gain invaluable insight from a large group of theatre artists and each of their unique perspectives, then apply those insights to edits and updates of the work. Ultimately, I intend to present world premieres of the finished works once we've fully workshopped all three plays.”

After describing the initial process of writing his own play as “slightly terrifying” in 2022, Clement has developed a “renewed appreciation of the value of storytelling through theatre-making,” which has rejuvenated his passion for the arts.

“Before becoming a playwright, my work in the theatre was purely interpretive – always based on someone else's work,” said the longtime director, actor, and mentor. “As a playwright, I've been able to do something purely creative, developing my own ideas based on personal experiences and observations of the world around me.”

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