This is On Record

Saturday, April 14, 2018
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)
Event Type
Sullivan, Walter H
President's Office

Performance: This is On Record
(Formerly titled: CHRONOTOPE)
Saturday, April 14
11am - 12:30pm
VCAM building

Mary Tuomanen and her anarchist theater troupe, Applied Mechanics, will be rehearsing their newest performance all week.

Community members are invited to stop in and observe their rehearsals.  For information contact:

The fruits of their week-long creativity will be performed in public for the very first time, simultaneously inhabiting multiple spaces in Haverford's new VCAM building, inviting the audience to fully immerse themselves into the performance.

Join us!

This is On Record is about the challenges of documenting a historical moment. We are investigating stories themselves -- how humans use media to construct and perpetuate cultural narratives. In a time when our American cultural narrative seems so fractured and the role of media as government watchdog so imperiled, This is On Record is an essential piece to make. The audience has the opportunity to “watch the watchers,” as they follow the lives of journalists, artists, documentarians, translators, etc. who tell the story of their time. You could spy on a sculptor as she designs a memorial to a national tragedy, or watch a documentarian as she edits a film about that same sculptor. This is On Record presents the human creators of our cultural understanding of memory, and exposes the filters, pressures and privileges that inform how history is recorded. It both raises questions about the idea that we “consume” media, and reveals the ways in which we inherit values and assumptions without even realizing it. The stories we encounter become an unconscious part of us, and people we never meet can shape our most dearly held beliefs without our notice. This is On Record also brings us the added challenge of incorporating more technology into our work than ever before -- a design that utilizes projections, live audio and online elements to investigate how media is created and consumed.

Applied Mechanics has been making original, immersive theater since 2009. Founded by director Rebecca Wright and designer Maria Shaplin, the company’s inaugural show put a fishing village in a West Philly apartment on Valentine’s Day and invited audience members to explore the town as the myth of the Selkie unfolded around them, complete with a saw-playing seal. Since then, Applied Mechanics has become a standing ensemble of five artists and created nine original works. Their adventures have included touring from Texas to Maine with their invasion play Portmanteau, rocking out as their all-girl band the Cherry Jones Administration, condensing the Napoleonic Empire into an hour-long movement opera with 26 actors, conducting a workshop on immersive storytelling at Microsoft, and winning a cult following with their revolutionary feminist punk play We Are Bandits. They host bi-annual Community Dinners — free home-cooked meals that anyone is welcome to attend — and have thrown six excellent immersive theme parties, including a Science Fair at the Chemical Heritage Foundation and an adolescence-themed Awkward Ball. They have garnered grants from the Wyncote Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Fels Foundation, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, among others.  They have been featured in American Theater Magazine and presented by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. Applied Mechanics is Rebecca Wright, Maria Shaplin, Jessica Hurley, Thomas Choinacky, and Mary Tuomanen.  They are based in Philadelphia. They share a home-cooked meal at every rehearsal.

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