The Theatre Arts Program at the University of Pennsylvania presents:
Nobody Goes to Moscow
directed by Jennifer Joan Thompson
adapted by Christina Pumariega and Jennifer Joan Thompson, with the ensemble
video editing by Alive Inc. and Emily Wallace
Three sisters in a podunk one-light town. They've got to get to Moscow… sound familiar? But this time, there’s a global pandemic. What happens when a thousand hopes and dreams get twisted and compressed in quarantine? Will they ever get vaccinated? Will they ever get the Moscow? The ensemble hijacks Chekhov’s masterpiece on a wild, digital ride...
Click here to register.
(Tickets are free but in limited quantity.)
Thursday, April 22nd at 7pm EDT
Friday, April 23rd at 7pm EDT*
Saturday, April 24th at 2pm EDT
*Missing the chance to mingle at the stage door? Following the Friday 4/23 performance, the audience is invited to remain in Zoom for a short post-show, cameras-optional call with the cast and crew.
NOBODY GOES TO MOSCOW VIRTUAL PROGRAM
We recognize and acknowledge that the University of Pennsylvania stands on the Indigenous territory known as “Lenapehoking,” the traditional homelands of the Lenape, also called Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Indians. These are the people who, during the 1680s, negotiated with William Penn to facilitate the founding of the colony of Pennsylvania. Their descendants today include the Delaware Tribe and Delaware Nation of Oklahoma; the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, Ramapough Lenape, and Powhatan Renape of New Jersey; and the Munsee Delaware of Ontario.
As our work and community extends beyond this city, we acknowledge that what are now known as the American Continents are the homeland of many Indigenous Nations. We pay respect to all Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this land throughout the generations, and to their ongoing contributions, culturally, intellectually, artistically and spiritually.
The performance runs 140 minutes. This production contains adult language, adult humor, talk of suicide, and alcoholism.
Anton Chekhov has so much to say to us today. Throughout the pandemic, I have found myself returning again and again to his plays, especially to Three Sisters. In the Prozorov sisters’ longing for Moscow, he captures the sense of confinement we are currently experiencing, the dreams unfulfilled, the lives that do not turn out as planned. Somehow the sisters find a way to go on, together, in the face of unimaginable loss. That the play retains its compassion, good humor, and hopefulness is itself an affirmation of Chekhov’s humanity and ours.
But this, of course, is not Three Sisters. Nor is it, really, a play.
It’s Nobody Goes to Moscow.
We’ve been so fortunate to have the help of Christina Pumariega, who has brought her great skill, imagination, and empathy as a writer to create a project with us that, using the framework of Three Sisters, has been an investigation and reflection on our current moment. Together we’ve asked: what constitutes a good life—and has our sense of it changed? What dreams have we put on hold? And how are we continuing on? And, as if those questions aren’t big enough, we’ve had to ask how to use these new virtual mediums to tell a story, our story. For this we’ve had the incredible expertise of Alive Inc., as well as the above-and-so-far-beyond contributions of students Emily Wallace and Devi Bass. They’ve been instrumental in allowing us to create a piece that makes use of these new platforms and technologies to capture the unprecedented ways our lives are now lived and changed.
This process has asked a great deal from every member of this ensemble. We began the semester without a script. The students, working from multiple continents and diving headlong into the unknown, have been playwrights, improvisors, dramaturgs, costume designers, makeup artists, props masters, musicians, cinematographers, and editors. I am in awe of just how much of themselves they have brought to this project, and am deeply grateful to them for their commitment and support for one another.
I very much hope you enjoy this piece about our very strange times.
-Jennifer Joan Thompson
Cast (in order of appearance)
Olga … Susset Tamayo
Irina … Noga Even
Baron Tuzenbach … Ruijie Mao
Masha … Rachel Mira Meierovich
Ivan Romanich Chebutykin … Connor Benson
Solyony … Susset Tamayo
Anfisa … Noga Even
Ferapont … Noga Even
Aleksander Vershinin…Emily Wallace
Andrey … Bryn Faulkner
Fyodor Kulygin … Emily Wallace
Natasha Ivanovna … Connor Benson
Director … Jennifer Joan Thompson
Stage Manager … Devi Bass
Production Manager / Technical Director … Cat Johnson
Playwright … Christina Pumariega
Alive Inc. Project Manager … Alex Basco Koch
Alive Inc. Lead Editor … Douglas Rizzo Johnson
Ensemble Editor … Emily Wallace
Dr. Rosemary Malague
Alive Inc. (Video Editing); Project Manager: Alex Basco Koch, Lead Editor: Douglas Rizzo Johnson.
Alive’s team is a multi-talented, dedicated group of creatives and engineers with backgrounds in all aspects of the arts and production industries, including theater, film and music. The Alive team uses skills gained from years of industry experience to facilitate new forms of creative expression at the vanguard of the digital live experience revolution. Our diverse collective includes contributors who work at the forefront of the Broadway, immersive, film, music, events, and downtown theater worlds.
Devi Bass (Stage Manager); Major: Political Science, Minor: Theatre Arts; Class of 2023; from Haddonfield, NJ; stage managing in Philadelphia, PA.
Devi Bass is thrilled to be making her Theatre Arts department debut stage managing this devised production. Currently, she serves as Social Chair on the Pennsylvania Players Board of Governors. Previous Stage Management credits include Urinetown (ASM, Penn Players), Meet Me at Dawn (Intuitons Experimental Theatre) and The Winter One-Acts Festival (Penn Theatre Arts Council). She also directed A Year with Frog and Toad (Stimulus Children’s Theatre) and After the Blast (Front Row Theatre Co.). She would like to thank the cast for being such a pleasure to take notes for!
Connor Benson (Ivan Romanich Chebutykin / Natasha Ivanovna); Major: Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; Class of 2021; from London, UK; performing in London, UK.
Connor Benson is originally from New York but grew up mostly in London, England. He is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Past work includes Spring Awakening (Moritz), Sylvia (Tom/Phyllis/Leslie), Fun Home (Roy) and Into the Woods (The Witch). Connor is also a hair and makeup designer, with past projects including Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Little Shop of Horrors and Into the Woods.
Noga Even (Irina / Anfisa / Ferapont); Major: Finance and Marketing; Minor: Cinema Studies; Class of 2021; from Tel Aviv, Israel; performing in Philadelphia, PA.
Noga Even is a senior in Wharton studying Finance and Marketing and minoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Noga has been involved in Wharton's Undergraduate Media and Entertainment club as well as Bent Button, a student film group, but this is her first show at Penn! Noga first began performing at nine years old and joined theater to help enhance her English. She immediately fell in love with performance and participated in school and local theater productions throughout middle school and high school. Noga is also a signed film actress with Linda Mcalister Talent and has acted in short films and commercials. Noga would like to thank Nicole Leigh, her lifelong acting coach, and her THAR 350 classmates, Professor Jennifer and Christina!
Bryn Faulkner (Andrey); Major: Nursing; Minor: ASL/Deaf Studies; Class of 2022; from Chillicothe, MO; performing in Philadelphia, PA.
Bryn Faulkner is a junior in the School of Nursing. She has done theatre since high school, performing in Mary Poppins, High School Musical, Murder in the Knife Room, and Beauty and the Beast. Whilst in college she has performed in Candide and Into the Woods with Penn Singers Light Opera Company and worked on the tech side for Orpheus in the Underworld. Bryn would have performed in A Year with Frog and Toad, but it was disrupted due to the pandemic last spring.
Cat Johnson (Production Manager / Technical Director); Philadelphia, PA.
Cat Johnson has been serving in the Theatre Arts Program at the University of Pennsylvania as Production Manager since the autumn of 2019, after nearly 20 years of scenic design and technical direction work in local and regional theatres across the country. She holds an MFA in Theatre Design from Temple University and a BA in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis. Johnson has taught theatrical design courses at Temple, Northern Kentucky University and here at Penn. She sends a big thanks to all who took the leap with us to virtual theatre performance!
Rachel Mira Meierovich (Masha); Major: Finance and Statistics; Minor: Theatre Arts; Class of 2021; from Jersey City, NJ; performing in Jersey City, NJ.
Rachel Mira Meierovich was born into a Russian "theater" family, so did she ever really have a chance? Thus, Rachel has been acting or involved in productions backstage since the age of 6. Her past shows at Penn on and off stage include Stupid F*cking Bird, Freaky Friday, One Acts, and many others that she is proud of. Rachel wants to continue to explore the dramatic arts after graduation.
Ruijie Mao (Baron Tuzenbach); Major: Computer Science; Class of 2022; from Chengdu, China; performing in Philadelphia, PA.
Ruijie Mao is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying computer science. He became curious about acting after reading An Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavski and is participating in this production to explore this new interest. He really enjoys the process of being someone else.
Susset Tamayo (Olga / Solyony) Major: Theatre Arts; Class of 2021; from Dallas, TX; performing in Philadelphia, PA.
Suzy Tamayo is so excited to be a part of this virtual production. Her previous roles with the Penn Theatre Arts Department include Osip and School Inspector in The Government Inspector, ensemble roles in Everyman, and Ms. Lipke in Of Government. Aside from theatre, she is involved with a few other organizations at Penn, including CityStep and PennCAP. She would like to thank her friends and family (from Texas and Penn) for all the love and support. She would also like to thank Jennifer, the cast, and the crew for making this such a fun, collaborative, and creative experience!
Christina Pumariega (Playwright); Los Angeles, CA.
Christina Pumariega acts and writes. Often simultaneously. Television writing credits include Turner & Hooch (Disney+) and Bluff City Law (NBC). She’s the author of plays “Lei Chiede (She Questions)” and “Her Math Play.” Her work has been seen at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, New Georges, the Lark Play Development Center and Ammunition Theatre Company. Acting on and Off-Broadway, regionally and in television and film, Pumariega has cross examined Coach Taylor, made out with the Fly, and set a Cuban pharmacy ablaze in a corset. She leads the collective Más Páginas, devoted to nurturing and developing more pages from a diverse group of womxn writers. MFA, NYU.
Jennifer Joan Thompson (Director); directing from St. Louis, MO.
Jennifer Joan Thompson’s research examines the relationship between theatre and politics in Latin America and has been supported by Fulbright-Hays and Social Science Research Council Grants. In addition, she has extensive professional experience as an actor, director, and playwright, performing on and off Broadway at theatres such as Lincoln Center, The Public, Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. She has also performed regionally around the country (including multiple world premieres) and worked in television. Her play Turning Texas Blue was a finalist for the O’Neil National Playwrights Conference and featured on Steppenwolf’s “The Mix” list. This is her first Zoom Production. MFA NYU; PhD CUNY Graduate Center.
Emily Wallace (Aleksander Vershinin / Kulygin / Ensemble Editor); Major: Undeclared; Class of 2024; from Edinburgh, Scotland; performing in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Emily Wallace is a freshman from Edinburgh, Scotland. Before coming to Penn, Emily was active in her high school theatre program along with The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. At Penn Emily has been involved in student theatre and playwriting. Being from Edinburgh, she has always loved seeing shows at The Edinburgh Fringe and International Festival in August every year and she is excited to know that this show can be seen by lots of different people in different places around the world.