November 17, 2017 • Communications
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Craig Donnelly’s short act play, Love on Top, is the newest of many plays created and directed by the Community Service Coordinator of the Manhattanville College Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice. The performance premiered for one weekend, Oct. 12–Oct. 15 in the X Theatre in Founder’s Hall.
Donnelly has been writing and directing charity plays for the Duchesne Center since he began working at Manhattanville 13 years ago. His performances allow students to earn community service hours and to fundraise for CAST Kids, an organization the Duchesne Center has worked with for all 13 years of productions. All the proceeds from the performance of this production of Love on Top go towards sending children from CAST Kids to see a Broadway show; this year they will see Aladdin. In total, they raised $449, which will allow them to take 10–15 of the students in CAST Kids to the show.
“It’s so important to do something to help these children and expose them to the arts, theatre especially,” said Donnelly.
In years past, Donnelly produced plays with a “twist.” He would adapt popular shows and tropes and make them his own. Love on Top is his first completely original production. The story follows CJ — a hopeful romantic — three women — Angel, Katie, and Verona, who are CJ’s ex-girlfriends — and three men — Jim the bodybuilder/lifeguard, Mr. Kentucky, and the Bollywood Prince. Each of their stories intertwines in some way. The story follows them on their journeys in the past, their relationships, and how they each found love on top.
“The romantic lead doesn’t always have to end up with one of these characters. He finds love within himself in the end. And all these three women help him and each other find love,” Donnelly explained.
Donnelly is always enthusiastic about involving the community in a variety of forms. He feels that his plays bring the community together in a unique way. Students that might not get a chance to perform in larger campus productions get to play lead characters and the audience was able to be involved with the show through an interactive performance. Each scene ended with the playing of a Beyoncé song that correlated with the theme, and was able to get everyone — the cast and audience — up and dancing.
The Duchesne Center charity plays have been a tradition within the community. Donnelly continues to write witty and short one-hour long plays, that he hopes appeal to a wide audience. He is currently writing a play called My Affair for the spring semester, working with CAST Kids again.
by: Katherine Matuszek ’19