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Sen. May Writes Play in Honor of Auburn Inventor of Talking Pictures


State Senator Rachel May is promoting Auburn’s legacy as history’s hometown and its role in the invention of talking pictures in an unconventional way.

May has written a radio play as an homage to Ted Case, the Auburn inventor and founder of the Case Research Lab, which created the first commercially viable process for sound-on-film. Speaking with Finger Lakes News Radio, May said she was inspired to write the play after visiting the Case Research Lab at the Cayuga Museum for the first time.

“[The play] was inspired by a visit this Fall to the Case Research Lab at the Cayuga History Museum and just learning about the history of Auburn and sound film,” said May.

Titled Singing in the Snow, May said during the interview that her holiday-themed comedy tells the fictional story of Ted’s daughter, Jane, attending the opening of the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain which shows the film industry transitioning from silent pictures to talkies in the late 1920s. Jane is upset that the film neglects her father’s contributions to the invention of talking pictures. She then meets with one of the film’s actors, resulting in an argument.

The senator for New York’s 48th district said she hopes this play will inspire listeners to learn about the rich history of Auburn and beyond.

“I wrote it as a way to raise awareness about this specific issue but also about how much there is to offer here in Central New York.”

May first began studying playwrighting roughly 15 years ago at Syracuse’s YMCA Downtown Writers Center.

Singing in the Snow will air in Syracuse on December 22 at 8:00p and on December 25 and 28 at 2:00p on Syracuse University’s radio station WAER.

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