Playshop Theatre Opens Its 86th Season with Original Work “(Ghost) Light”

Aug. 28, 2015 – The Playshop Theatre at Allegheny College opens its 86th season with “(Ghost) Light,” an original production devised by Beth Watkins, Brian Thummler and the Company, with original music and lyrics by Bob Michel. Performances will be given at 8 p.m. September 10-12 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. The production is part of the theatre’s annual September Original Works program.

Devising is the process of developing an original performance through ensemble collaboration. “Devising is creative and terrifying,” said Watkins. “We began with an idea, the electric light, and discovered interesting connections between personalities, technology and events across continents. Part of the challenge is not knowing the outcome but trusting it will evolve.”

The company spent a year researching invention and scientific discovery, specifically Thomas Edison’s incandescent light and Marie Curie’s discovery of radioactivity and the elements of polonium and radium. As part of their investigation, the students met with Allegheny physics and chemistry professors in their labs and conducted experiments.

Throughout the year, Watkins held several workshops on physical theatre techniques to train the students and develop a visual language for devising the performance. This past summer, the company built puppets for a sequence on the history of electricity and staged the production.

Brian Thummler is overseeing the design and construction of shadow puppets, which will convey the history of electricity. Philadelphia composer Bob Michel has written several original songs for the production, which is directed by Beth Watkins and stage managed by Julie Beisheim. Betsy Sumerfield is choreographer. The company includes Julie Beisheim, Joe Bruch, Liz Colarte, Stephanie Engel, Mary Lyon, Chris Schuchert and Dan Winston.

Tickets for “(Ghost) Light” are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Although admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, they are asked to make reservations.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Playshop Theatre box office at 814-332-3414.