Meadville Tribune


November 18, 2009

Neuroscience meets improv in new play at Allegheny

Allegheny College’s Playshop Theatre continues its 80th season with “Chewing Your Fingers to the Bone,” an original production with elements from across the academic disciplines at Allegheny, in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre at the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 at 8 p.m.

Director and writer Beth Watkins, a professor of communication arts and theater at Allegheny, and local artist Brian Thummler worked last fall with Allegheny students to create a play based on Greek myths, folk tales and modern medical stories.

The play was devised through improvisational rehearsals in which students contributed both dialogue and ideas. Faculty in the neurosciences also were consulted in the development of the script.

“Devising or creating a theater piece through creative collaboration was a new process for most of the company,” said Watkins. “The performance will combine movement, music, puppetry, genetics, neuroscience and storytelling in a larger examination of the human condition,” she added.

The play will feature puppetry designed by Thummler and original songs by Philadelphia composer Bob Michel. The company includes student actors Stephanie Armstrong, Jordan Metcalfe, Camilo Matos, Kaitlin Mackenzie, Sara Odioso, Dan Winston, Steve Reaugh and Drew Pirrone-Brusse.

Marianne Broome is stage manager, Allegheny adjunct instructor of music Aimee Reash is the musical director, and Allegheny theater staff designers Michael Mehler and Sarah Russell will oversee the scenery, lighting and costumes for the production.

“Chewing Your Fingers to the Bone” contains strong language and is recommended for mature audiences only.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7.50 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Although admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, they are asked to make reservations.

More information or to order tickets: Call the Playshop Theatre box office at 332-3414.

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