By: Hadiyah Weaver
Temple Theaters kicked off the new 2018- 2019 season with The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace and the performance could not have been more timely. The play explores Dalton Chance’s teenage life as he finds himself entranced by the fearless and fascinating Pace Creegan. The performance is childlike and nostalgic but has a twist that will leave the audience a little shaken up. Amy Shoshana Blumberg (MFA ‘19) says the wicked twist of the play is a crucial clue into considering the social and political climate we face today.
“I would describe it as important, and as pertinent to what we see happening both everyday on our campus and everywhere across the country.” Blumberg said.
Blumberg was inspired to direct this play after reading One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace, a work Blumberg says elevated Wallace’s career. The point of view, the poetic undertones of her work, and the language used in Wallace’s plays was deeply moving to Blumberg who says that she adores work that sparks conversation.
“I'm interested in directing work that’s relevant and artistically sound and pushing theater forward. I’m interested in new plays; I’m interested in theater that’s driving how we can conceive of this art.” Blumberg said.
Temple’s performance of The Trestle of Pope Lick’s Creek stars Matt Levy who plays Dalton and Avery Infranco who plays Pace.
Blumberg says she’s never doubted the entire casts ability to perform in this play, especially as the ages of the main characters were around the same as those of the average college students. While some characters are in their teens, others are playing forty and fifty year olds, but the level of professionalism and great acting doesn’t give away any of the actors real ages.
“We suspend our disbelief in theater, so we suspended it a little further for those characters.” Blumberg said.
Supporting characters include Gin who will be played by Nichole Mottershead; Dray played by Chris Fitting; and Chas who plays Jonathan Hirsch.
For this production, Temple Theaters is also teaming up with the organization, Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR). According to a New York Times article published in 2015, 1 in every 4 women experience sexual assault on campus. The subject matter of the play doesn’t shy away from this statistic and Blumberg says that the conversation of the play be triggering for some. WOAR is being used as a resource to support audiences as much as possible. Blumberg says this same support is reflected in rehearsals for the actors.
“It feels as though if I am going to be asking my audience to take that risk with me, I should be offering them something in order to support them if something comes up -- and that’s what we’re hoping to do, and we could not do that without WOAR so we’re very, very lucky.” Blumberg said.
Another aspect the audience will get to experience will be the Enhanced Accessibility feature. On Saturday, September 22nd, the performance will provide sensory friendly seating, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, and audio description for those visually impaired. The material discussed in this play talks about violence toward ourselves and violence toward each other, gendering, class forms, and more topics that not only able-body people deal with or affected by, but topics everyone can relate to or have an opinion on.
“We need to make theater for everybody. Everybody is needing to talk about these things that this play talks about.” Blumberg said.
Blumberg is also proud to announce the collaboration with Roger Ideishi and the Occupational Therapy Program at Temple. Graduate students and Ideishi will be helping to create the sensory friendly seating.
Jason Lindner, the new Temple School of Theater, Film and Media Arts Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications will be spearheading the new enhanced accessibility features for future shows as Temple continues to stand on their inclusion and diversity policies.
The written work by Naomi Wallace’s The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is considered to be clear, thorough and undeniably good, and Blumberg hopes the audience sees that in the performance. Her favorite scene is toward the end of the play where Dalton and Pace simply play at blowing feathers into the air. There are no words. It’s simple, but simultaneously intense.
Aside from the fun in the performance, Blumberg wants to continue to ignite conversations that question the status quo. She plans to continue doing this through her art.
“There are these things that are happening culturally that we can either talk about and try and do something about and try to say how do we shift how we understand our identities so that we don’t allow for this anymore. How do we engage with each other so that we don’t allow for this anymore.” Blumberg said. “[And the way], I am doing that, is putting those themes into art.”
The Trestle at People Lick Creek will be playing at the Randall Theater until Sunday, September 23rd. Tickets are $25 for General Admission, $20 for Seniors, Students, TU Employees; and $10 for Temple Students.