By Jean-Paul Sartre, Translated by Paul Bowles
Produced by Sophie Thorel and Becky Lee
Directed by Cassie Hartmann
Alternative Theatre Festival 2021
Delphi, written by ? and directed by ?
Honeybuns, written by ? and directed by?
A couple in philadelphi, written by ? and directed by ?
Produced by Rachel Dennis
This year's ATF featured our usual collection of quirky pieces written, directed, and performed by students! These shows will open your eyes to life, love, ancient Greece, and.... honeybuns? Anything goes. ATF is also part of the city wide Philadelphia FringeArts Festival.
2020 - 2021
*Note: All productions in this season were performed virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic*
Meet Me At Dawn
By Zinnie Harris
Produced by Hannah Chan and Cassie Hartmann
Directed by Tias Volker
Meet Me at Dawn, by Zinnie Harris, centers around two women who find themselves stranded at sea after a boating accident. As the characters attempt to find their way back home to safety, one of the two – Robyn - begins to realize that all is not as it seems: the accident occurred weeks ago, and her partner Helen died. How can you tell someone they are dead when they are standing right in front of you? And if Robyn and Helen have been somehow reunited, how do you spend what you know is your last bit of time with the person you love? Written by an artist in residence at a hospice center, this 80 minute play takes the audience through fear, loss, love, and finally peace.
By Brooke Pierce, Carrie Shade, Sophie Thorel
Produced by Nancy Zhu
Directed by Hannah Chan
Home • Body is a devised piece centered around an exploration of the individual and our relationship to the physical space of the home. During quarantine, as most of us have been limiting ourselves to our homes, we have become particularly intimate with the spaces that we occupy—whether that be a friend’s apartment, our home off-campus, or our childhood home. Just as much as we have relationships with other people, we have relationships to the space we live in. Ticket purchases come with a complementary gift package that will be shipped to the address provided!
Alternative Theatre Festival 2020
Take Them All!, written by Jaden Cloobeck and directed by Carrie Shade
Death Drive, written by Brent Weisberg and directed by Hannah Paquet, assistant directed by Rachel Dennis
The Sims, written by Lauren Payton and directed by Kelsey Padilla
My Father My Son, written by Devi Bass and Tommy Christaldi and directed by Dana Cohen
Succubus Journals: Solar Flare, written by Kass Houston and directed by Jen Locke, assistant directed by Rachel Swym
A virtual production produced by Jess Lin and Ashley Robinson
Featuring puppets in fairy costumes, becoming your own grandfather, and a creative parody of iNtuitons favorite movie, Twilight, this was our first virtual production and was a bundle of fun.
2019 - 2020
Straight White Men
*Cancelled Due to COVID-19
By Young Jean Lee
Produced by Topher Paolucci
Assistant Produced by Kelsey Padilla
Directed by Louis Lin
When Ed and his three adult sons Matt, Jake, and Drew come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy matching pajamas, cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and Chinese takeout. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve: When identity matters, and privilege is problematic, what is the value of and meaning behind being a straight white man today?
Two casts, two sets, one stage. One cast consists of actors presenting as straight white males, as the text requires. The second cast consists of actors presenting as anything other than a straight white male. The stage contains nearly identical sets sitting side by side on the stage, portraying a suburban living room. Throughout the performance, the actors would move between the two sets. As the performance progresses, you witness the actors dividing and sharing the written lines: sometimes the actors speak in unison, sometimes the actor playing Matt in Cast One speaks Matt’s line and sometimes the actor playing Matt in Cast Two speaks Matt’s line. The purpose of the experiment is to explore power dynamics related to non-straight white males occupying the role of power and privilege. This casting was to be performed with special permission from the playwright.
By Alistair McDowall
Produced by Claire Huffman
Directed by Sean Begane
Ollie is searching for her missing twin sister. A twin sister that may or may not have “disappeared.” Rumor has it, the disappearance may be related to the abandoned concrete island in the center of the city, Pomona. Charlie and Moe work as the guards at the gates of Pomona. Neither Charlie nor Moe ask many questions about the concrete wasteland they guard and the vans that pass quietly in and out of the gates in the night. That is, until their boss, Gale, asks them to kidnap and murder someone. Pomona is a surreal thriller in which time twists and turns and doubles back on itself, and where existence becomes caught in between reality and fantasy.
This production of Pomona wants you to engage with the fact that you are watching a fictional, theatrical performance. The staging is abstract and architectural; it is not confined to the locations that the characters occupy in the text. The set is minimal and does not portray literal locations. All actors are visible at all times (even when they are not performing in the scene), costumes are pulled from the actors’ own wardrobes, and the actors perform all set transitions. In addition, the non-linear and loop nature of the storytelling along with the science fiction and magical realism elements make the text experimental.
By Sarah Ruhl
Produced by Whitney Barrett
Directed by Clara Phillips
Tilly’s melancholy is of an exquisite quality. She turns her melancholy into a sexy thing, and every stranger she meets falls in love with her. One day, inexplicably, Tilly becomes happy, and wreaks havoc on the lives of her paramours. Frances, Tilly’s hairdresser, becomes so melancholy that she turns into an almond. It is up to Tilly to get her back.
Melancholy Play uses language in an untraditional way: many scenes and monologues are written in poetry. The show also follows an absurd plot. Among other things, a character turns into an almond, and the others endeavor to save her! There are two unprompted and unexplained musical numbers as well as musical scoring throughout the play (in this production, the music was original composition for the cello).
Alternative Theatre Festival 2019
Iron Oxide, written by Luke Clements and directed by Briar Essex
The Moirai, written by Keely Douglas and directed by James Noonan
Bruxism, written by Sam Friskey and directed by Maria Riillo
Clairadise, written by Clara Phillips and directed by Claire Huffman
Two Agents, written by Noah Sylvester and directed by Ciara Brown
BBEG, written by Brent Weisberg and directed by Claudia Silver
Produced by Jen Locke
2018 - 2019
I Am a Ghost: An Adaptation
By Sean Begane
Original Screenplay by H.P. Mendoza
Produced by Josh Ogunleye
Directed by Sean Begane
I Am A Ghost, in its original form, is an independently produced horror film from 2014, written and directed by H.P. Mendoza. The story follows Emily through a series of scenes of her everyday life: making breakfast, waking up in bed, reading a book, and more. As we see some scenes repeating exactly as they had previously occurred, we get the impression that something isn’t right. Emily is contacted by a voice, seemingly from nowhere. This voice identifies itself as belonging to Sylvia, a medium hired by a family to rid their house of a spirit: Emily. Sylvia tries to help Emily move on to 'the next place', but in the process they uncover disturbing mysteries about her past that may complicate the journey.
I Am A Ghost is a student-written stage adaptation. In this reverse-in-the-round staging, the stage surrounded the audience, trapping them in this purgatory along with Emily. The audience sat on the ground rather than in chairs (with the exception of some handicap seating) to allow them to turn in their seats and see the 360° stage. Many of the scenes in the show were largely sound based and pre-recorded, and the actors mimed their movements in conjunction with the sounds without the use of props. In order to portray Emily as she exists in fragmented memories overlapping, looping, and distorting throughout the play, the character is split between one actress as her conscious self and several others as her memories.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
By John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask
Produced by Bella Essex and Claire Huffman
Directed by Susanna Jaramillo
Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of "internationally ignored song stylist" Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall smashing East German rock 'n' roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, which has left her with just "an angry inch." This outrageous and unexpectedly hilarious story is dazzlingly performed by Hedwig (née Hansel) in the form of a rock gig/stand-up comedy routine backed by the hard-rocking band "The Angry Inch."
Another iNtuitons winter show/concert performed in the Manor's basement.
Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)
by Will Eno
Produced by Cat Gotz
Directed by Tias Volker
"He's just like you, except worse. He is trying to save his life, to save your life—in that order. In his quest for salvation, he'll stop at nothing, be distracted by nothing, except maybe a piece of lint, or the woman in the second row."
In our production of this existential piece, Thom Pain is more an entity than a human. As part of our experimental production, the role of Thom Pain will be divided and portrayed by four diverse actors, showing that the themes of loss, fear, life, and what it is to be human that the show tackles are universally relevant.
Alternative Theatre Festival 2018
Sides Provided, written by Luke Clements and directed by Susanna Jaramillo
Not Quite Italy, written by Lynn Oseguera and directed by Hannah Spear
Frigid, written by Samantha Friskey and directed by Claudia Silver
500 Days of August, written by August GK and directed by Elizabeth Martinez
Produced by Sophie Thorel and Whitney Barrett
2017 - 2018
by Noah Haidle
Produced by Ciara Brown
Directed by Sean Begane
Change is in the air as Violet prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons contemplate their future, while the world around her is in transformation: her husband is secretly planning to leave her, her father is slipping into senility and her daughter has taken a vow of silence. Then, 70 years later, we see how the love and fear of one generation manifests itself in the next. Haunting and slyly funny, Smokefall explores the lives of this family in a lyrical treatise on the fragility of life and the power of love.
She Kills Monsters
by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Meerie Jesuthasan
Produced by Josh Ogunleye
This production was a collaboration between Front Row Theatre Co. and iNtuitons.
A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.
by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Jonathan D'Rozario
Produced by Noah Sylvester
When a rhinoceros charges through a quiet town square, it seems like it’s going to be a bad day for the town’s inhabitants. But when the townsfolk start turning into rhinoceroses themselves, a bad day threatens to become something a lot worse. Written by Eugene Ionesco in reaction to the rise and spread of fascism and Nazism around the time of the Second World War, Rhinoceros takes aim at the rhetoric and roots of herd mentality and mass movements.
The Alternative Theater Festival - 2016
Uncanny Valley, adapted by Jeremy Cohen and Laura Cosgrove and directed by Meghan Swyryn
Four Weeks, written by Izzy Lopez and directed by Savannah Lambert
Tinder (Noun), written by Carla Hoge and directed by Mikey Miller
Presented Without Comment, written and directed by Noah Lee
Produced by Susanna Jaramillo
By Nick Payne
Directed by Carla Hoge
Produced by David deLacoste-Azizi
Boat to Nowhere
By Emilia Javanica, based off the painting “Journey” by Sudandyo Aprilianto
Directed by Claris Park
Produced by Adam deLisle
Assistant Produced by Eirini Lemos
This was our first winter show, performed in the basement of the Manor (the Q house, in case this is no longer in existence). We got a whole canoe down the basement stairs! The text centered around the conflict of whether to travel east or west, and featured fantastical elements such as a dream sequence with a mermaid. The passage of time was not clearly defined.
The Alternative Theater Festival - 2015
We're Undeveloped, We're Ignorant, and We're Stupid (But), by Joanna Glum
And I Said, "What about Breakfast at Denny's?", by Noah Lee
Almost U.S.S. Maine, by Greg Olberding
Choose Your Own Adventure, An Improve Exercise
Produced by Noah Lee and Blake London
The History Boys
By Alan Bennett
Directed by Nate Stauffer
Produced by Olivia Horn and Matt Sirkot
The History Boys is the story of eight young men at a grammar school in Sheffield in the 1980s who are preparing to take their entrance exams for Oxford and Cambridge while under the tutelage of three highly different professors and under constant pressure to succeed. This play is not simply a story about coming of age but also grapples with some of the most controversial questions and dilemmas within the field of education. We're excited to delve into the realm of environmental theatre and to explore the possibilities of what gender neutral casting can bring to this play!
Circle Mirror Transformation
By Annie Baker
Directed by Samantha Apfel
Produced by Stephanie Zhu
Hailed by The New York Times as “absorbing, unblinking and sharply funny,” Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation tells the story of four unlikely students and their aging–hippie teacher at a Vermont community center drama class. What begins as a series of awkward and silly exercises amongst strangers (painfully familiar to anyone who has ever taken an acting class) generates plenty of real–life drama as relationships form, secrets are shared, and hearts are broken in this Obie Award–winning play.
By John Logan
Directed By Shreshth Khilani
Produced by Olivia Horn
This show follows Mark Rothko and his young assistant, Ken from 1958 through 1959, while Rothko is working on the Seagram Murals, the biggest commission in the history of modern art. Rothko works feverishly with Ken and the play unfolds as a combative Socratic dialogue between master and pupil in Rothko’s studio in Bowery. As they mix the paint, build the frames, and paint the canvases, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing.
The Alternative Theater Festival - 2014
Our Play, By Us, by Jeremy Cohen and Alon Witztum
Beautiful Bastard, by Sindhuri Nandhkumar
Syrianus, by Cole Speidel
Lemons, by Nate Stauffer
Produced by Carla Hoge
7 pm - Saturday, September 13th
The Opposite of Loneliness: A (Dis)Connection Project
Directed by Joanna Glum
Produced by Jeremy Cohen
A company-created documentary piece about connectivity and communication in the 21st century.
Adapted by Sneha Shashikumar
Directed by Devin Barney
Produced by Carla Hoge
Welcome to the Circus!... It’s just not quite ready yet. In this homage to “One Thousand and One Nights”, the Ringmaster of a circus attempts to prepare his show and entertain an audience that has arrived embarrassingly early. He decides to pass time by telling folktales from islamic communities around the world. As he narrates, circus performers take on the roles of characters in his stories.
The Alternative Theatre Festival - 2013
Sessions, by Zoey Toy
Breaking News, by Kate Herzlin
In Many Ways, by Hannah Van Sciver
Artificial Intelligence, by Madeline Rannum
Ur-play, by Seth Simons
A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Hannah Van Sciver
Produced by Gabrielle Kirk
The story: You've all heard it before. The plot follows the trials and tribulations of four young lovers, a group of inept actors and a fairy kingdom in a state of turmoil.
The experiment: iNtuitons re-imagined this much beloved "romp in the woods" as a sexy, scandalous, and wild journey through a city plagued with prostitution and drug use. This was decidedly not your high school's Midsummer.
October 31st - Nov 2nd
Class of '49 Commons
Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Media: Rehearsal Stills, Publicity Posters and Production Stills
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Directed by Sindhuri Nandhakumar
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Produced by Juan Gomez
In this Pulitzer Prize finalist, two US Marines and an Iraqi translator are thrust into a world of greed, mystery and betrayal after an encounter with a now-deceased but still very pissed-off tiger. The streets of war-torn Baghdad are filled with ghosts, riddles and wry humor in this groundbreaking play that explores the power and perils of human nature.
The Alternative Theatre Festival - 2012
Homelife, by Rebecca Levine
Myth of Syphilis, by Seth Simons
Karman Line, by Seth Simons
By Joshua Conkel
Directed by Jeffrey Liguori
Produced by Alex Polyak
Emory has big dreams, like doing a ribbon dance on stage with his pet chicken Linda and leaving the suburbs of Malltown for the big city. However, things aren't so simple, especially with his more conventional Nana and that pesky, confusing boy from down the road, Elliot. MilkMilkLemonade, by Joshua Conkel, explores issues of sexuality, love, abuse, animal rights, and maturity, all through the lens of absurdist comedy. The show was staged as Emory might have dreamed. I.e. It was presented as a campy children's show, with garish 2D set pieces, and the audience sitting on benches and hay-bales in front of Emory's barn. All the music and sound used in the show was played through a radio, carried around by one of the actors. Production stills.
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Patrick Logan
Produced by Zoey Toy
In an outpost of Queen Victoria's glorious Empire, British consul Clive and his family struggle with the conventions of 19th century morality and sexuality. Fast forward 100 years to the urban jungle of 1970's London, and the same characters have to redefine themselves in an era of ever-changing social norms. Part farce, part dark comedy, men play women, women play men, whites play Africans, adults play children, and somehow, it all makes very good and proper sense. Rehearsal Stills! Production Stills! Short clip from the Cloud 9 song!
Core Sample by Emma Goidel
Pistrix by Annie R. Such
Arbitrary by Brian Grace-Duff
Talk-back led by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Media: Production Stills
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2011
The Alternative Theater Festival showcased 4 student-written plays. They included a mixed-character play based on the Lesley Gore 1963 classic Now It's Judy's Turn to Cry, an emotionally exposed version of the "perfect" post-war American family, a sparknotes version of Shakespeare, and a short play in which the audience observes two authority figures as they, in turn, observe the village they control. Unfortunately, one of the plays was unable to be performed due to a last minute medical emergency.
By Sarah Kane
Directed by Rebecca Levine
4.48 Psychosis sees the ultimate narrowing of Sarah Kane's focus in her work. The struggle of the self to remain intact has moved in her work from civil war, into the family, into the couple, into the individual, and finally into the theatre of phychosis: the mind itself. This play was written in 1999 shortly before the playwright took her own life at age 28. On the page, the piece looks like a poem. No characters are named, and even their number is unspecified. Tennis court style in Class of '49. Play was a huge success. Slow opening night, but sold out Saturday (minus a brief interruption from Houston Hall staff). Much more freshman involvement a fall show than previous years.
By Georg Buchner
Directed by Michael Silverstein
April 19-21, 2012
Woyzeck, which remained unfinished at the time of the playwright's death in 1837, is a grim and at times gut-wrenching play about jealousy and madness. The title character is a low ranking solider, attempting to support his wife and child by selling his body for scientific experimentation. When his wife cheats on him with the Drum Major, his jealousy, and encroaching insanity drive him to kill her. By constructing a tavern within the Rodin Underground in which the play took place, iNtuitons tore down the boundaries between viewers' space and play space, audience and spectacle, this production immersed playgoers in the story's action and rendered them complicit in its cruelty and violence.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2010
September 17, 2011
The Alternative Theater Festival was performed in the Platt Student Performing Arts House, the 12th ATF showcased 4 student-written plays. They included a mixed-character play based on the Lesley Gore 1963 classic Now It's Judy's Turn to Cry, an emotionally exposed version of the "perfect" post-war American family, a sparknotes version of Shakespeare, and a short play in which the audience observes two authority figures as they, in turn, observe the village they control. Unfortunately, one of the plays was unable to be performed due to a last minute medical emergency.
By Agatha Christie
March 24-26, 2011
A commedia dell'arte interpretation of the longest running play in the world reimagines Christie's original murder mystery as a celebration of humanity. Using slapstick, wit, song, dance, and any other tool in the actors' arsenals, Christie's characters will be transformed into comedic embodiments of human emotion.
October 28-30, 2010
The 2010 Fall production of Far Away featured a stark set and a collection of ornate hats. It is the story of a woman named Joan living in a world consumed by paranoia and fear. Over the course of this relatively short play, the audience sees Joan growing up and searchingfor human connection - through family or love - as a way to escape an all-consuming war raging throughout the world. The play begs the question of whether we can really trust those we love most, and what this means for humanity.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2009
September 17, 2010
Performed in the Platt Student Performing Arts House, the 11th ATF showcased 5 student-written plays. From a one-man performance about social norms and sexuality, to an impressive combination theater, impeachments, and history, the 2010 ATF had a lot to offer.
By Sarah Ruhl
In Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking visual effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story.
By William Shakespeare
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2008
September 13, 2008
After a year's hiatus, the Alternative Theater Festival triumphantly returned with a new format. Performed in the Platt Student Performing Arts House, the 11th ATF showcased 5 student-written plays. From a musical adaptation of The Tempest to a gripping one-man performance, the new and improved Alternative Theater Festival impressed the crowd with its quality and variety. There were talking goldfish. Need we say more?
By Doug Wright
November 6-8, 2008
With a massive set that filled the Harold Prince Theater, Quills took its audience into an insane asylum in 19th century France, populated by inmates that constantly remained on stage. Actors were challenged to think of what their characters would do when they weren't participating in a scene, and the result was a very disturbing look at the life and death of the Marquis de Sade, replete with philosophical debates, riots, full nudity, and vivisection.
The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
April 2-4, 2009
The spring 2009 production of The Importance of Being Earnest contrasted Oscar Wilde's light-hearted humor with the dour setting of a forced labor camp. As the show progressed, audiences witnessed the escapist power of theater as costumes and set pieces transformed a prison yard into a British estate and prisoners into class caricatures. Ridiculous hats and accents were enjoyed by all, and we remained laceration-free after loading in and striking a barbed-wire fence in Houston Hall Auditorium.
By Eugene Ionesco
November 1-3, 2007
A work by the French absurdist Eugene Ionesco is bound to be pretty experimental as-is, but iNtuitons took it one step further. As the absurd action on stage became more and more realistic - with increasingly detailed portrayals of people's transformations into rhinoceri - pieces of set disappeared, and the stage itself became less realistic.
Songs for a New World
Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown
April 17-19, 2008
This show sits on the boundary between musical and song cycle: it is a series of largely unconnected songs with no plot or characters that continue from song to song, but the songs and the production are theatrical and character-driven.
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds
By Paul Zindel
The audience was invited to participate in this production by shouting out suggestions to the actors and technicians. As a result, each night's performance was different. The realistic, pig sty of a set fit nicely into the Houston Hall Auditorium, where the building's bay window solved a crucial design element perfectly. If you're different, they try to kill you off.
By Arthur Schnitzler
When iNtuitons first decided to perform this cyclical story of sex, seduction and sleaze set in 1890's Vienna, we thought being in a found space would work out swimmingly. The goal was to find a round space in which we could center our rotating stage. This proved exceedingly difficult, and we defaulted to a large circus tent erected in the 1920 Commons Lower Level Plaza(between the dining hall and Harnwell College House). This was all well and good until the tent company turned out to be psychotic... and until the ice storm hit. The tent, thought tied down, managed to blow 3 feet into the air. We capped off a rushed and crazy tech week by an eleventh-hour move into the lower level of the dining hall, striking and loading in the entire show in just 2 hours and opening only half an hour late. The show was a hit, the set platform turned flawlessly, and the sex was good. Each scene, a sexual encounter between different couples, was directed by an iNtuitons board member and they were never rehearsaed together until tech week. In the final scene, there was full nudity. An audience member gasped.
By Mary Zimmerman
A rendition of Mary Zimmerman's adaptation from Ovid's tales, "Metamorphoses" was performed in the Harold Prince Theatre on an elevated stage. A large hole filled with undulating dry ice took center stage and served at turns as the sea, a clear mountain pool, the fires of Hades, and an exit/entrance for the actors. A technical extravaganza, it was a sell-out show that put the gods in their places.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist
By Dario Fo
A timely rendition of Dario Fo's social commentary on repression and corruption, "Anarchist" was performed in the Memorial Tower Library of Ware College House. Cast members performed self-written and researched pieces on social issues of their choosing. The professor-led talk-back sessions were a hit, and the show left everybody thinking, if not worrying.
The Play About The Baby
By Edward Albee
Is there a baby or isn't there?? This 4-character play, performed in Houston Hall Auditorium, was produced with striking minimalist set and lighting. Many gels were burned through, many wrinkles were stretched out of giant sheets of textaline, and many audience members were mildly disturbed by the voiceover. It was experimental for many reasons, including the first time any daring student had attempted to rig in Houston Hall! (note: fortunately, no actors were killed in the making of this production.) Check it out: http://community.webshots.com/album/223299927PRzATtThis
Adapted from the play by Lewis Carroll
The audience was Alice in this ambitious collaboration with Stimulus Children's Theater. Houston Hall Auditorium was literally transformed into Wonderland with the audience following the action through a series of wacky rooms and down a hallway with skewed perspective. (Made of the heaviest Hollywood flats imaginable.) We slid down the rabbit hole, played croquet, and danced the lobster quadrille. There may or may not have been a little something special in the magic cakes.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2003
A smashing success. A fantabulous time was had by all. Seriously, though, we wanted to apologize for blatantly lying when we advertised "rain or shine." Sorry, folks, we'll make up for it next time.
By William Shakespeare and Tom Stoppard
An amalgamation of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," this was an environmental show that took place in the University Lutheran Church. Action went on in different rooms simultaneously, and the audience was free to wander around and observe whichever happening they wanted. It was freezing and icy. Poor Rosencrantz and Guildenstern almost froze to death during their outdoors scenes.
Asa Nisi Masa
By Federico Fellini and Bob Fosse
This show was so crazy, we're still not sure what happened in the second act. It combined film and choreography elements from several Federico Fellini films and Bob Fosse's "Sweet Charity." There was music, dancing, and scandal. Fun, laughs, good times!
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2002
The 9th Annual ATF continued the spirited tradition of outdoor theatre, singing, fun, and games on the College Green. Somewhere in between the finger painting and the freeze tag, however, we "forgot" to embarrass ourselves with the annual board skit.
By Rogers and Hammerstein and Ferenc Molnár
An experiment from the very start, the musical drama was a collaboration between the iNtuitons and the Penn Players. Carousel was actually the melding of two works: the lighthearted Rogers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, and Liliom, the drama on which the musical was based
A Ballad for Loki
The objective of this student-written work was to eliminate the audience's option to be morally relativistic. Through creative use of lights, sound, set, an ongoing slide show, and a unique acting space, we were able to violate audience members emotionally, leading to a stronger sense of empathy for the show's protagonist. Thoroughly depressing, and yet surprisingly, not a huge financial success.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2001
A well executed and fantastic effort, and a great success besides; the weather was great, and people showed up.
By Luke Bruneaux
Directed by Luke Bruneaux
This play astounded and stupefied the audience. The play related to the issues of 9/11, homosexuality, how "space" defines relationships.
By AR Gurney
The Comedy/Drama features a bored middle-aged Manhattan couple whose marriage is altered when they inadvertantly adopt a rather human-like puppy named Sylvia. The un-experimental experiment.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 2000
We have no clue.
Six people took the roles of writers/directors/actors, though all thirty people working on the show had equal creative input. Though this frustrated and drove some people crazy, iNtuitons managed to produce a very interesting piece. The show was strung together by the concept of the life cycle (i.e., birth, adulthood, death...) It was an insane mishmash of performance art, adapted literature, and original writings. In the words of writer/director Pamela Kasenetz, "it was an insane, hysterical, wild ride that quickly became iNtuitons's bastard child." It opened with the audience walking through a "vagina" onto the stage. Then the actors, sitting in the audience (the pews of Iron Gate Theatre) began speaking to each other in gibberish. Most of the actors then left the pews and the gibberish transformed into a scene from "Waiting for Godot." The next scene involved all of the actors dressed in mud an burlap, writhing to techno beats as they evolve from amoebas into... the Giving Tree, with each actor physically creating a portion of the tree. The next scene was beat poetry, written and performed by Chris Evans, who wore a cardboard rocket ship suit (why?!). The actors then piled on stage, repeating empty "hello's" and "how are you's," as most of us do in our daily lives. During this scene, the actors ushered the audience into the pews. Three actresses performed a version of the Rapunzel short story, from the point of views of the mother, Rapunzel, and the witch. There was an adaptation of the Borges short story "Death and the Compass." The second act involved a monologue on eating disorders and a bizarre, trippy scene, ending with the birth of a Gucci purse... two of the female actresses stripped from tissue paper dresses into slips as they recounted break-up's with their boyfriends... Crazy? Certainly. iNtuitons? Definitely.
The Seven Deadly Sins
This was a set of miniplays, one for each sin, each one written and directed by a differnt iNtuitons board member. Each was done in a different style, making for a very intersting totality. Greed had a gameshow in it. The webmistress has contradicting info: one source says that Lust had a sensual dance followed by a preacher storming the stage; another source declares that Lust involved an orgy enacted on top of a tarp, while chocolate sauce poured down from the ceiling and bass music throbbed in the background, along with a strobe light. Maybe that was gluttony? Either way, I like it.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1999
This was our first year with a set. We decided on modular pieces to help denote our space. We had great weather and excellent performers both from Penn and from elsewhere. UArts came from Center City and Max came from Chicago. Yet another ATF on the right path!
By Jean-Claude Van Itallie
Directed by Nel Lamb
Once again we put the audience on the stage and the cast in the seats, and on a large world-tree platform that had been built out over them.
Hidden: A Gender
By Kate Borenstein
Directed by Rudy Ramirez
This play dealt with various gender issues, in particular transgenderism and supposed meta-genders. The show explored the separate concepts of sex and gender via the telling of Borenstein's story and that of an 18th century French hermaphrodite. The show was set up as a talk show, hosted by an ambiguously-gendered personality. It included a Judge Judy parody, Emrille Lagasse parody, and a Marx Brothers? bit involving an actress deep-throating a banana. Of note, Borenstein actually came to our show and admitted to all of us that this play was her "experiment" and that she did not agree with it's message anymore. The message was vague at best, instead offering a showing of some of Penn's great talents. The audience entered from the wings onto the stage via a large cloth vulva that was the centerpiece of the set (eg, being born onto the stage), but the audience was invited forward into the seats after the first scene.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1998
This year, we almost got it right. Except for a few minor details, such as another rainstorm, and a homemade sound system, the 1998 ATF was a varied and interesting set of performances, featuring many pieces from Jamie Becker, as well as visits from groups in Chicago and Boston, and the first performance of the Collective. A far cry from the years past, this one finally seemed like a festival. Many thanks to the residents of the Castle (before it was reconquered by the Greek system) for allowing us to use their living room.
By Paul Rudnick
This comedy dealing with homosexual issues veered from the expected by casting the two homosexual characters with male/female actors. The set included the largest bed that iNtuitons has put on the Prince stage and the director chose to refrain from having his name put on the poster. It was a venture towards the norm and it reaffirmed that we don't want to be there.
By Jeffrey Jones
The set for this piece divided the Prince stage into 2 separate rooms in which action took place simultaneously. The story was of Bob and all the strange visitors involved in torturing and attacking him. Jeffrey Jones, the playwright, was delighted to come down from New York to talk about experimental theatre with the audience and to see the show.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1997
Despite a major planning and coordination effort by Maggie Dickinson, the 1997 ATF fell prey to the elements, as it was a downpour. Moved to Houston Hall, the show offered a sneak peek at the Penn Player's show that semester, and a set of monologues by some lady named Terry Diamond and her troupe of actors.
Bard in a Blender: William Shaken Not Stirred
By Nel Lamb and William Shakespeare
Directed by Nel Lamb
This show was based - somewhat loosely - on all of Shakespeare's plays. The set was a giant head of Will with openings through the mouth and eye. The audience loved this project which explored many forms of theatre and led many new actors and tech staffers to return to iNtuitons, join the board and direct for iNtuitons themselves.
Based on a Clive Barker short story, Dread was written by the cast, in collaboration with local director Girard Rudasill. A great idea in theory, Dread suffered from internal political struggles, both in the cast and crew, and on the board. Nevertheless, it was visually incredible. A great example of how power-hungry bureaucrats can impede spontaneity and art.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1996
This one was written off as a successful failure because of a lack of planning. This year we set up a stage and circus tent on the green. Highlights included Relays on the Walk and a one man show The Stage Addict from Haverford.
Written and directed by Rachel Goldberg
In many ways, this is a perfect example of why iNtuitons is on Penn's campus, doing what we do. Painted Pictures featured six actors portraying many characters in scenes unrelated by plot but beautifully tied together by theme. The audience sat on the floor of the Prince and, although the first weekend was slow, we sold more seats than we had for the closing nights. A very successful show in many ways.
The Mytilenian Debate
Directed by Warren Petrofsky
A show which examined the art of arguing on stage, and attempted to bridge the gap between the audience and the actors. Highlights of this show included getting to see audience members debate with actors on the floor of Houston Hall. Friday's show was incredibly fun, with most of Penn's Theatre community showing up and participating in the event.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1995
Planning for this ATF was poor. Although we had great ideas, there was no follow-through and nothing happenned. Nobody wanted to perform during reading days, so we were only able to get three acts lined up. Then on the day of the show, there was a thunderstorm and it got called off. This was a huge disappointment, and should not be used as the role-model for future ATF's.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Directed by Ben Marcus
This play was produced internally by the Board, but only after much debate. This psycho-drama was adapted from the 1961 black and white film. This is the one show where the Board decided to go all out on the production, including technical aspects, We set up two stages: one in the bay window of Houston Hall, and the other being the mainstage, where we built a near-functional house. The actors did an incredible job portraying the psychotic aspect of the show. Audience reactions was varied: most people were scared but loved the show nonetheless.
By Woody Allen
Directed by Paul Shore
This show was a multimedia experiment featuring music, video and a live artist all interacting with the actors on stage. Highlights included a giant portal looking like a television encompassing the stage, a reasonably unsafe Deus ex Macchina and people constantly jumping in and out of the audience. Standing room only Friday and Saturday.
Alternative Theatre Festival - 1994
This was the first ATF, held on College Green. It was great, but also really short. Highlights included Shaun Smith naked.
Comings Goings Savage Love
Directed by Grace Lee
This show combined Megan Terry's Comings and Goings with Sam Shepard poems from Savage Love . Each night the actors opened the show with a game of freeze tag, to determine which scenes would be performed. The show had three different couples in it, that had very different relationships, but they expressed this using the same basic dialogue. The show was incredible. Unfortunately, there was little publicity and a total of 200 people came to see it during its two week run.
Written and directed by Mike Goldstein
Metronome contained neither dialogue nor singing. The entire play was acted out to a soundtrack containing work by Lenny Kravitz, Josh Redman, and Pink Floyd. Although the plot line was rather generic (boy meets girl, they fight, he has substance abuse problem, she finds other guy, both are unhappy, they get back together and live happily ever after), the presentation of the play was incredible. For tickets we gave out mylar wigs, and then we got a lot of strange looks. After the fall mis-hap this show was well publicized and got great audience turnout. It was presented on the floor in Houston Hall.
An adaptation of the works of the Lewis Carrol. Written by the directors and the cast, this loose adaptation of the homophonious work used the plot a young woman looking back on her life in both dream (Wonderland) and reality. The audience was placed on the long sides of the Auditorium facing each other (like a mirror) while the dreamworld action took place on the floor and the real-life action occurred on stage. Aftermission, the worlds switched. Parallel scene of dream and reality occurred. Three kinds of Alice were used.
Aron's Show (a.k.a. "The Intuiton's Show")
By Aron Greenberg
This production really was not theater in the conventional sense, but rather performance art. The auditorium was set up as a dinner theater, with action taking place throughout. Although there were no dinners, iNtuitons provided all the water you could drink! The plot - er - focused on retelling jokes over and over, and playing childhood games. The show turned out being extremely fun, despite the lack of plot. During the semester the name of the show changed weekly, and a symbol was finally adopted to represent the name. The only major problem occurred when iNtuitons tried to hang paper on the walls of the Auditorium, which was immediately vetod by OSL because they claimed it was a fire hazard.
By Jean-Claude Van Itallie
Directed by Carolyn Kelson
This piece was originally performed by the Open Theater under the direction of Joseph Cahikin. The iNtuitons version was iNtuitons' first foray into Irvine Auditorium. The audience sat on stage with the actors, who entered at the beginning of the play and exited at the end through the house. Two scenes utilized the large metal doors at the back of the stage. The play was a non-linear piece exploring the themes of choice and "being in the middle". Sections included the Genesis story, the Challenger explosion, and the entire cast begatting within inches of the audience. The play was hugely successful, and the houses were packed.
By Edward Bond
Directed by David Hafken
This twist on the Shakespear version left little to the imagination. Very violent, including gouging of eyes, rapes, and a father performing an autopsy on his daughter. Violent scenes dispersed in a tedious plot made the vviolence a comic relief. Houston Hall Auditorium was set up with the audience on the stage (forming a "wall of people" later to be torn down) and the actors performing on a raked stage in the middle of the floor. When unoccupied the constructed stage looked something like the Millenium Falcon . Much about the group's vision was discussed afterwards.
The Secret Agent
Adapted and Directed by Yazmin Tuazon
iNtuitons' performance of the Josepth Conrad novel. Performed in the round in Houston Hall with lots of string in the design, the show used a non-linear plotline. Clocks abounded. Anarchism was also a theme, as the political anarchism paralleled personal anarchism. Publicity stunts included a Human Time Bomb and the distribution of "The Future of the Proletariat". Abysmal attendance.
The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (a.k.a. Marat Sade)
By Peter Weiss
Directed by Seth Rozin and Chris Hariaz
iNtuitons' collaboration with Penn Players on this piece of "total theater" also marked iNtuitons' second show in the Harold Prince Theater. For this one, there were two professional directors and a cast of 20+. The audience sat in lab coats. There was an impressive bathhouse design and a three month rehearsal period, including many improvised "asylums" around campus, but many felt the production was a little tame for Marat Sade.
By Jean Genet
Directed by Colin Cambell
This play featured what was perhaps the most disastrous opening night in iNtuitons history. The performance, on the floor in Houston Hall, featured a set made up of flats that had to be moved into different configurations for different scenes in a brother, and tended to fall over in the process. Mirrors broke, lights went out during the last scene, and the show dragged on for almost four hours. One scene was performed in the hallway during intermission (for which many people missed), and the audience sat on couches (in which some people fell asleep). The reception was held outside after midnight. The show underwent considerable reworking during the run and was quite a bit better and shorter (under three hours) by the end of the run.
Suicide in B-Flat
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Carolyn Kelson and Alexandra Lopez
This play had a great original score written and performed by Cemeron Smith. The production was very sound with mood-based, the theatrical equivealent of jazz. Performed on the floor of Houston Hall with minimal set.
How I Got That Story
By Amlin Gray
Directed by Larry Bogad
The part of the event was played by an ensemble cast of 9-10. When they weren't acting "a part" they created the set, becoming variously: jungle trees and animals; Amboland guerilla soldiers; US soldiers; an elevator, chairs; a mirror; an electric door; a hat rack; dead person rug; walls; a jet bomber; hospital bed; telecphone, etc. The "stage" was in the back of Houston Hall Auditorium, but the environment constantly expaneded into the audience space, sometimes harshly in the form of a pimp trying to sell twelve year old virgins. More sell-out performances.
Jason and Medea
By Mark Loewenstern
Directed by Lizzie Redkey
iNtuitons' fourth greek myth play. The play cleverly melded the world of myths into the life of a troubled couple to deal with the issue of abortion. Mythical figures arose from the husband's sculputre while ghosts arose from the wife's past: her aborted baby and her dead mother. This was the first iNtuitons' show ever to be bumped from Houston Hall Auditorium and staged on The Annenburg School Theater. The space sucked.
By Archibald MacCleish
Directed by Colin Campbell and Tina Cielo.
The stage was in the center of Houston Hall Auditorium with the audience surrounded by (amazingly) a constructed circus tent. It was theater-in-the-round with the interaction taking place within the circus ring and the outer action between Zuess and Nickles taking place within the space of the audience. It had a few sell-out performances with people standing for the entire 2 hour 45 minute no intermission show.
The Accidental Death of an Anarchist
By Dario Fo
Directed by Julie Dressner
We wanted to replace the word "Anarchist" with "Feminist" every time it appeared in the script, but foolishly we asked permission to do this from Samuel French. We were told to forget it and Kateryn Helene's job was threatened by Penn's lawyers (she was the recently appointed performing arts liason to Penn). The lesson we learned is that if you are going to do something that is probably illegal, just do it and don't tell anybdoy. We continued with a feminist show and asked the audience to do the word replacement in their minds. The stage (at the back of Houston Hall auditorium) had three television sets and an overhead slide show throughout. Perhaps it was a little too visually stimulating.
By Barrie Steinberg and Noelle Morris
Yes, this was named before that awful movie that came out sometime the next year. This was an original show. The main idea was to run workshops exploring the world through children's eyes. Through these workshops and games each of the cast developed a character and the show was constructed from the rehersal process. And, once again, it was staged at the back of HH auditorium.
Jacques and His Master
Written by Milan Kundera
Adaptation from Diderot
Directed by Noelle Morris
This was the first iNtuitons show to ever sell out a performance. Performed in (you guessed it) the back of Houston Hall Auditorium.
Three One-Act Plays
For its fall show, iNtuitons produced three different one-acts. The first two were written by a professional artist as performance art pieces. The third was an original, called "The Question," created as a companion piece for the two performance pieces by student director Andrew Bradley and his six-person cast. It was a collection of monologues, scenes, and film pieces. In the words of Andrew Bradley, it was "an unruly monster of a play which hardly could be called a one act, clocking in at over 2 hours." It was daring, edgy, and unlike anything else ever stage by the group (or by any other Penn group). Years later, Glen Berger, a playwright whose original and visionary plays have been produced all over the country, said that "The Question" made him believe that anything was possible in the theatre. One of the performance art pieces was entitled "Play for a Found Cast." It consisted of 150 lines which were individually printed on a "program" and distributed randomly to the audience. Each line was numbered, and the play was performed by each person in order standing up and reading his/her line. The lines are what an audience might say if you told them to get up and perform a play. "Three One Act Plays" was performed in Annenberg's Studio Theatre. There may or may not have been an all-night acid trip rehearsal in Furness Hall.
By Vaclav Havel
Directed by Lew Beilin
Performing at the rear of Houston Hall Auditorium had become such a trend, that we decided to do it on the stage for a change. The set was a John Skurchak original, including scaffolding, rear projection, and a wall made of computer printout paper.
Directed by Adam Gertsacov
A scripted play written in the '50's about a man undergoing a sleep experiment in which he is interrupted from dreaming. Gradually, the difference between his dreams and "reality" becomes lost in his confusion. Technically a lot of fun, this show included a great set by Nick Fox, rear projection of peoples shadows onto a cyc, and live synthesizer music. Also in the rear of Houston Hall Auditorium.
Directed by John Skurchak and Nick Fox
An amazing show was sculpted out of the story literally a day or two before opening. The cast and directors spent months doing workshops and improvs, reading and discussing various retellings of the myth of Orpheus, finally and spontaneously focusing it into a show. Performed as environmental theater, the set consisted of towers and bridges all over Houston Hall Auditorium, and the audience could sit anywhere. The ensemble cast performed differently each night, incorporating music and dance as well into the show.
Macbeth - Ubo Roi
The intention was to perform the French absurdist play Ubo Roi, one of the first absurdist plays written, and a takeoff on Macbeth. However, the cast and crew proclaimed to the public to be performing Macbeth as written by Shakespeare. The first two scenes were performed perfectly from the script. But gradually through the first act, strange things happened, and lines from Ubo Roi snuck in, with the other characters reacting as actors. Finally, the whole thing fell apart, the stage manager came out and announced that there had been a mistake and that this was in fact Ubo Roi. The play continued from there. Performed on HH stage, the set consisted of re-arrangeable units of metal sheets propped in clay blocks.
Do Black Cats Have Tails?
This was an original piece written by members of the Philomathean Society about the life of Virginia Woolf. It went through many revisions between the Philo people and the cast and director John Skurchak. It was performed at the rear of Houston Hall Auditorium, opposite the stage, to encorporate the bay windows into the set.
The first iNtuitons show ever performed in Annenberg's Harold Prince Theater. All the chairs were removed from the risers, and the audience sat around on the stage while the performers moved all around the seating areas and balcony. Annenberg wasn't terribly pleased with us at the time.
Alice in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
This show was received very positively. Needless to say, it was a loose adaptation of the original. Performed in HH auditorium and without a specific stage anywhere. Parachutes were rented and suspended to create a false ceiling. Also, Illona Long made her acting debut at Penn as the Cheshire Cat.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
A rock opera set to the music of David Bowie. Company of 24 actors, musicians and running crew. Conceived by Suze' Dipietro. All singing and dancing and you could actually hear the words. Holds record for fastest student load in ever. The entire set was hauled over from Irvine, assembled, rigged . . . etc. in two hours (full stage plan upon request.) Sound budget exceeded stage budget. Standing room only for all shows.
Reds in Filmland
iNtuitons and the Philomathean Society spent most of the fall in research and writing sessions. The actual performance used several of the Philo rooms in the top of College Hall. The main performance space was in the style of a room where McCarthy's UnAmerican Activities Committee held hearings. Actors portraying Paul Robison, Ronald Reagan, and other Hollywood celebrities were integrated. Slides and newsreels were intermixed. Another room with a piano held the 50's style cocktail party intermission.
The Private Life of the Master Race
Various ethnic organizations were outraged and much controversy ensued. Or maybe not. "I don't remember any outrage or controversy, though we did get a few funny looks as we painted the bookstore wall. (The Bookstore Wall? Sorry - it was this highly visible wall, see, by the 38th street bridge, and various groups painted their announcements on it, really big.) I believe 'Private' was [the] first iNtuitons play to turn the Houston Hall Auditorium on end and perform opposite the stage." -Tobias Wolf
This show was performed on stage in Houston Hall (something of a novel idea for iNtuitons.) Most of the loose lighting pipes in Houston Hall and Irvine were rotolocked together to form a wide vertical ladder upstage that the cast members would climb and hang from. Much yelling.
An Evening of Impressionism
iNtuitons appears on the scene. First performance presented in the Bennet Hall Library. They paint directly on walls in French Impressionistic style and iNtuitons receives its first union grievance.
The Further Adventures of Nick Danger
Performed only a few weeks after An Evening of Impressionism, this show was interesting in that it used all the walkways and levels of the performance space. Sound design was executed by Richard Bowen and Kent Iverson.