NYSTI casts teens in \Ordeal by Innocence

There are some skills that students can't learn in the classroom. In fact, Aaron Marquise and John Scala said that they have learned a lot about people through their involvement with the New York State Theatre Institute in Troy.

Acting teaches you things about people and life, said Scala.

"It teaches you how to work with people," added Marquise.

Marquise, a Shenendehowa High School sophomore, and Scala, a freshman at Niskayuna High School, have been double cast in the NYSTI's adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Ordeal by Innocence" which will play at the Schacht Fine Arts Center on the Russell Sage College campus in Troy through Saturday, Feb. 17.

Both have also been involved in NYSTI performing arts education programs for the past several years.

According to NYSTI Founding Artistic Director Patricia DiBenedetto Snyder, the arts provide an education, which spans across history and psychology, because student performers must learn about the historical setting of a play and study character personalities in depth.

"The arts are education. If you go to history class, you're studying the arts of the world," said DiBenedetto Snyder. "You also learn about the psychology of people."

Snyder said that being cast in a mystery such as "Ordeal by Innocence" teaches students how to think critically.

"They learn about clues," she added.

DiBenedetto Snyder, who has worked with young people for three decades, said that she has enjoyed watching young actors grow up. She also expressed amazement over seeing Marquise and Scala develop into actors who have different styles.

"I watched them grow up. They're two very different kinds of men," she said.

Marquise and Scala said that they took an interest in theater at an early age.

"I was cast in a play in the third grade," said Scala.

Marquise said that he enjoyed doing puppet shows for the family at home and enrolled in SummerStage when he was 8 years old. "It was exciting," Marquise exclaimed.

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