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Watch: Students and Alums Form Theater Co., Prepare for Philly Fringe Fest

Watch: Students and Alums Form
Theater Company, Prepare for Philly Fringe Fest

by Alex Weintraub '11

telephone bronco
Members of Telephone Bronco

Thanks to a grant from the Swarthmore Project in Theater (SPT), a group of students and recent alums are spending their summer on campus preparing and rehearsing an original piece of theater they will debut at the 2010 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. The group - Jessie Bear '09, Emma Ferguson '10, Louis Jargow '10, Sam Goodman '10, Eric Holzhauer'10, Isa St. Clair '11, and Nell Bang-Jensen '11 - formed the Telephone Bronco Theater Company and will perform Cartogoraphasia, described as an "intersection of mapping - both personal and geopolitical - and the way the mind works... or doesn't."

Jargow and Goodman conceived of their current project while observing the devised theater of two Philadelphia-based theater groups, Visiting Instructor of Playwriting Adriano Shaplin's The Riot Group and the Obie Award-winning New Paradise Laboratories. Jargow, an aspiring director, explains that he and Goodman were interested in devised theater because of "the convergence of writer and director" it encourages.

telephone bronco
Telephone Bronco will perform Cartogoraphasia at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe in September. (collage by Anna Zalokostas '10)

Jargow also cites geographer and social theorist David Harvey as one of his main inspirations. Goodman says he is using the ULIPO and UBAPO movements to inform his writing. For the actors, "it will be a matter of arriving at a certain style of performance," says St. Clair '11, an honors theater major from Williamstown, Mass. "All of us come with many years of experience in all different types of theater."

Since 1995, the SPT has helped launch and nurture numerous independent theater and dance companies founded by alumni, including Pig Iron Theatre Company, the Flying Carpet Theater Company, and the Green Chair Dance Group. Last year, the Matchbox Theater Company was in residence and featured Bear and Ferguson.