Monthly Archives: April 2012

Join us for Jessica Cannizzaro’s Honors Thesis in Dramaturgy (May 1st and 2nd at 7PM)!

The Department of Theater at Swarthmore College presents Jessica Cannizzaro’s Honors Dramaturgy Thesis, Fireside Tales: Legends and Lore from the Forgotten Wilderness on May 1 and May 2 at 7pm, in the Frear Ensemble Theater. Fireside Tales is compiled and written by Jessica Cannizzaro, based on and using America’s local legends, beloved folk songs, and best kept secrets.

The play takes place in the main room of the Evanston Public Library in Illinois, just before the library is torn down by the city. A motley group of citizens has gathered to see the library and its many stories, the staples of their community, one more time before they are gone forever. The play is an exploration of storytelling, and the many ways our stories change across state, across time, and across culture. In every instance, storytelling becomes not just about the words being shared. It is the way we link a smell of turkey cooking in the oven to the story of a family dinner in 1997. It is the feeling of cold feet under warm quilts as you await a new bedtime story.

Direction and vocal coaching is provided by Guest Artist Adrienne Mackey ’04. Adrienne Mackey is a director who creates original and compelling theater using the power of the human voice and the forms of the human body. In 2009 Adrienne founded Swim Pony Performing Arts – a company devoted to exploring the possibilities of live performance. Adrienne has been awarded the Independence Foundation Fellowship and the CEC New Edge Residency, and is a five-time recipient of the Garrigues voice scholarship.

Faculty Advisors are James Magruder and Allen Kuharksi.

The event is free and open to the public without advance reservations.  For further information, contact Tara Webb at or call 610-328-8260.


The Department of Theater presents


WILDE/CINDERELLA: Two Projects From the Advanced Directing Workshop (THEA 055)



The Importance of Being Earnest (excerpt), by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Regina Noto ‘12



Cinderella Project(ion)

A new performance piece directed by Meryl Sands ‘13



Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29, 2012 at 8PM

Frear Ensemble Theater (Room 1 LPAC)

Free and open to the public without advance reservation


New offerings in Theater for Fall 2012!

Acting I with Richard Hamburger.  (THEA 02A, M 4:15-6:15pM and 7:15-9:15PM, Kohlberg 115) Open to all students without audition or prerequisite. Six hours per week. Fulfills a general requirement for all theater majors and minors. 1 Credit.

This course is designed as a practical introduction to some of the principles, techniques, and tools of acting. This class is a prerequisite for auditioning for Production Ensemble (THEA 022) in Spring 2013.  Production Ensemble is the Department of Theater’s annual faculty-staff show on the LPAC Main Stage, and will be directed by Richard Hamburger next year.  Production Ensemble also fulfills a general requirement for all Theater majors and minors, and may be repeated for credit.

Richard Hamburger was the Artistic Director of the Dallas Theater Center from 1992-2007, where he also directed dozens of productions of every sort, including Shakespeare, modern classics, and a wide of American plays, including the world premieres of several new plays.  He has directed extensively at theaters around the country, including Portland Stage Company, Great Lakes Theater Festival (Cleveland), the Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia), the Pasadena Playhouse, Center Stage (Baltimore), the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, the California Shakespeare Festival, and the Williamstown Festival.  In New York City, he has directed at American Place Theatre, South Street Theater, and The Acting Company.  He has also served as a resident director at the Juilliard Theater Center in New York City, among other work in major drama schools around the country.  He also has extensive experience as a professional actor in New York and in regional theaters.

Acting II with Elizabeth Webster Duke ’96. (THEA 012, W 1-4P and 4:15-6:15PM, SciLab26) Prerequisite: Acting I (THEA 002A) or consent of instructor.  1 credit.

In this course students will explore and develop the skills necessary to perform Shakespeare with specificity and confidence. In addition to vocal and physical exercises intended to strengthen and free the actor’s body and voice, students will delve into Shakespearean scene study.  The course provides a strong foundation in basic acting technique that can be applied to multiple dramatic genres.  In addition students will explore Shakespearean scenes using rigorous textual analysis, learning to use the clues in Shakespeare’s text to make smart, useful acting choices.  While working on scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, students will learn how to rehearse, how to develop a character and how to increase their vocal, physical and emotional flexibility. 5 hours per week.

Elizabeth Webster Duke ‘96 is a member of the resident acting company at The Peoples Light and Theatre Company where she has performed in over forty productions. In the Philadelphia area she has also performed with The Wilma Theatre, The Walnut Street Theatre, InterAct Theatre Company, The Eureka Theatre, Play Penn’s New Play Festival and The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.  In Washington DC, she has performed with Ford’s Theatre, The Bay Theatre, Taffety Punk Theatre Company in their critically acclaimed all-female production of Romeo and Juliet, and The Kennedy Center.   She is a finalist for the F. Otto Haas Emerging Theatre Artist Award, and holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Academy for Classical Acting at The Shakespeare Theatre.  In addition to leading Shakespearean Text workshops at The George Washington University and in schools throughout The Washington DC area, she has also partnered with The National Opera and The Philadelphia Museum of Art in their professional development initiatives towards arts integration in the classroom.  She has taught at Temple University, The George Washington University, and Swarthmore College.   She graduated from Swarthmore with distinction in Theater and English Literature.


Join us for the Honors Acting Thesis: David Mamet’s AMERICAN BUFFALO

The Department of Theater will present David Mamet’s AMERICAN BUFFALO, the Honors Acting Thesis of Jessica Cannizzaro (’12), Lori Barkin (’12) and Michelle Fennell (’12), Directed by Alex Torra.  Performance times will be Saturday and Sunday, April 21st and 22nd at 2 PM and 8 PM in the Lang Performing Arts Center’s Frear Ensemble Theatre. Set design by Marta Roncada (’14), Costume design by Matthew Saunders, Sound design by Scott Burgess, Lighting design by Josh Schulman.

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, but has received Oscar nominations for his screenplays, directed films, taught acting and written several books. Mamet’s 1975 play premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and opened on Broadway in 1977.  Don, Teach, Bob, and the mysterious Fletcher, conspire to steal a priceless coin collection from a well-to-do man.  The plot takes place in Don’s junk shop and the conspiracy centers around a rare nickel. Told with Mamet’s typical vernacular of vulgarity, the characters attack their environment, both literally and with lexicon, until the final events leave the audience pondering over the nature of good and evil, two sides of the same coin.

Director Alex Torra is a Philadelphia-based director and performer whose work focuses on ensemble-generated, original performance and contemporary interpretations of classics.  He is an Associate Artist with Pig Iron Theatre Company, where he has worked as a Performer in Twelfth Night, Cankerblossom, Welcome to Yuba City, Pay Up, 365 Days/365 Plays, and Anodyne; as Assistant Director on Chekhov Lizardbrain and Sweet By-and-By; and as Director of Come to my Awesome Fiesta, it’s Going to be Awesome, Okay? He also serves as the Resident Director for the Philadelphia ensemble Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, for which he directed Punchkapow, and with whom he is developing a handful of new works, including JapanAmerica Wonderwave, Zombie Defense Consultation, and Cityscape. Alex has also worked closely with Shakespeare in Clark Park over the last few years, directing Much Ado About Nothing and Comedy of Errors. His work with classical text has included linguistic work on “Original Pronunciation”, the dialect in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed. Last year, Alex served as a Fellow at the Philadelphia Live Arts Brewery, where he began the development of a self-produced piece entitled The Sincerity Project. He has received the Grace LeVine Theatre Award from the Princess Grace Foundation as well as fellowships from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and NY’s Drama League. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. in Directing from Brown University.

For more information please contact Tara Webb at 610.328.8260 or email Swarthmore College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you or anyone in your party anticipate needing any type of special accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please let us know or contact Susan Smythe, ADA Program Manager at 610-690-2063 in advance of your participation or visit.

CHIMERA in the Frear for Arts Weekend!

A couple of years ago, Suli Holum ’97 called Deborah Stein ’99 and pitched an idea for a solo show: a play about chimerism, a medical phenomenon whereby two sets of DNA exist in one body. They created Chimera, a performance event about a woman who is her own twin, and enlisted Tara Webb ’94, who works with the intersection of costume design and technology. The result is a dynamic interchange between a live performer and her audience against a backdrop of inventive staging and creative digital technology.

Chimera made its debut to critical acclaim at the art space HERE in New York City. Developed with support from the Swarthmore Project in Theater, Chimera launches its road tour during Arts Weekend.

What critics say:

“Delivers on its ambitious promise…. Chimera has many different stories nestled in its austere, deceptively chilly-seeming frame. And they’re all good.”  —The New York Times

Chimera only needs a minute to make you question your grasp on reality…. By refusing to stay literal, Holum and Stein invite us to consider large questions.” —TDF Stages: A Theater Magazine

“Outrageously good … Chimera simultaneously revels in and knowingly dissects the nature of theater without forgetting its primary mission: to entertain.” —Backstage

Swarthmore College performances

Chimera will be performed twice on Saturday, April 14, in the Lang Performing Arts Center Frear Ensemble Theatre. The matinee performance will run from 3-4:15 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with the artists, and an evening performance from 7-8:15 p.m. Alumni, parents, and friends must reserve tickets in advance when registering for Arts Weekend.