Marist digs “Sandbox”

By Jennifer Hill

On April 15th, five Marist students presented “Sandbox,” a play written by Gino Di’Iorio, as a part of 2008-2009 Marist Lecture Series. “Sandbox” addresses the War on Terrorism from the perspective of American soldiers and an Iraqi suicide bomber. The characters are trapped in an apartment in Qaim, a town on the border of Syria and Iraq.

“At first I didn’t even feel like I had the right to deal with the material and it was very difficult to write,” Di’Iorio said. “But, I felt like I had an obligation to finish it and say what I thought was true.”

The play reading was presented by Di’Iorio, who is the 2009 Writer in Residence at Marist. He is also teaching a weeklong workshop on playwriting. His goal for “Sandbox” was for the students to be able to perform a play that had characters they could relate to.

Gino Di'Iorio speaking at an event. Image courtesy of

Gino Di'Iorio speaking at an event. Image courtesy of

“It was a wonderful play and very easy to act out,” said Kate Costello, one of the actresses. “The play shows a different aspect of the war, more than what we see on television.”

Costello was very impressed by the believability of the play and the angle that Di’Iorio chose to take.

“You never for a minute think ‘this couldn’t happen,'” Costello said.

Although the play was difficult for Di’Iorio to write and he still considers it a work in progress and the audience appreciated his interpretation.

“It’s a tough subject to address,” said Jessica Turgeon, a student at Marist and member of the audience. “It was so emotional, it gave me goosebumps.”

Di’Iorio  is an associate professor at Clark University and serves as the theater program director. He is an award-winning playwright and has produced plays regionally and nationally. He was an actor for many years but is now concentrating on playwriting.

Gino Di'Iorio working at his computer. Image courtesy of

Gino Di'Iorio working at his computer. Image courtesy of

“I always have my writing,” Di’Iorio said. “I’m more comfortable and I have control over the play.

Di’Iorio admits his inspiration comes from many different places.

“My motivation is that I am curious about people and the world,” he said. “I meet someone for 15 minutes and think what a great character they could be.”

The reading is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. More information about future Lecture Series events can be found by calling (845) 575-3000, ext. 2381 or e-mailing


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