What’s in the Wings…

November 22nd, 2015

Welcome to Simpatico Theatre Project’s blog-roll, What’s in the Wings, your window into “one of the best indie theatres in town!” You’ll find a variety of posts on this page from directors, designers, actors and special guests, giving you a sneak peek into our company, our current production, and our electrifying 10th Anniversary Season in Philadelphia. Thanks so much for tuning in and for staying Simpatico!

Crafting the Soundscape of an Epic
Q&A with WATERSHIP DOWN’s Composer and Sound Designer, Josh Totora
~ by Sarah Totora

Composer and Sound Designer Josh Totora

SARAH – This adaptation was your first encounter with the story of Watership Down. What jumped out at you about the Watership world when you first read the script?

JOSH – The characters go on a grand adventure of distances that they never would have dreamed of traveling in hopes of finding a home. They embark on an epic quest with all kinds of trials and tribulations. They experience all sorts of new amazing things beyond anything they could imagine. All of this happens in the story, and then you take a step back and realize: Wait…these are RABBITS! Their entire adventure happens within literally a few miles! It made me reflect on how large and wonderful and exciting and scary the world actually is!

SARAH – In this production, Allen [Radway, the director] chose to have cast members perform the music live, so you based your instrumentation on the actor-musicians’ particular skills. How did those boundaries affect your composition?

JOSH – As an instrumentalist, I have a certain skill set. So when I write, I tend to start from a place of what I myself can play. (Often that approach is out of necessity, because I will be the one performing the score live or recording it for a design.) Then when I have a melody or musical idea that I am playing with, I will let my mind wander to what another instrumentation might do for it. What story do horns tell? vs. What am I saying plucking the melody on a banjo? 

With Watership Down, I was given the palette of sounds that I could play with right off the bat (violin, cello, piano, electric bass, percussion). This made me think about the score a bit more backwards than I normally would. I explored melodies, progressions, and arrangements with an ear towards how the sounds of each of these instruments would sing together. 

SARAH – How would you describe the style of music you created for the production?

JOSH – It actually struck me in tech, while listening to the incredibly talented musicians play the score, that the show is a lot jazzier than I had anticipated. I use a lot of thick voicings in the arrangement to create moments of tension or wonder. 

But I definitely wouldn’t call the style jazz. Possibly a cop out, but I am going to call the style cinematic. By that I mean it is definitely being used to heighten emotion or to manipulate the audience to feel what you want them to feel. That may sound like a negative way to describe it, but it’s really not. Film scores are said to manipulate our emotional responses to scare us, excite us, tug at the heartstrings, etc.—it’s just another layer of the storytelling. And Watership isn’t a musical, so characters aren’t bursting into song to express themselves. So the music is used to drive the story forward, and to help shape our feelings about the action.

SARAH – Watership Down is about an epic journey. How do you evoke the epic in your design?

JOSH – From a music standpoint, I try to evoke that feeling with sweeping melodies, great moments of musical tension, and then harmonic release. I try to make the five-piece band sound as big as possible by having them all play melodies in unison and then splitting them into a big chord to explode the sound. Also, there are definitely themes for various characters in the show, which I think of as necessary in epic adventures. We can always tell the exact moment Superman is going to fly onto the screen when we hear the big iconic brass. Or there is no doubt that a shark is close at hand when we hear “Da-nah, Da-nah, danahdanahdanahdanah.” When El-ahrairah is seen, we hear one melody. When we see Kehaar, there is another. General Woundwort has his own Imperial March theme for sure. 

From a sound effects standpoint, we try to immerse you in various locales. A forest at night feels very different than a field during the day, so we try to tell the story sonically in the world as well. We want the audience to feel as if they are the same size as the Sandleford rabbits and going on the adventure right along with them!

What’s in the Wings…

November 20th, 2015
Shadow and Light
Q&A with WATERSHIP DOWN’s Chief Puppeteer and Co-Puppetry Designer, Lorna Howley
~ by Sarah Totora
Shadow Puppetry and Live-Action

Shadow Puppetry and Live-Action

SARAH TOTORA – There are so many different forms of puppetry that you’ve mastered. Why did you choose to use shadow puppetry in this production? How does it uniquely suit the needs of this story?

Overhead “Tiny” Puppets and the Cast

LORNA HOWLEY – This play requires three distinct realities: rabbit mythology, rabbit reality, and man’s world. How do we represent these worlds? Rabbit reality is presented with the live actors who connect the audience with the story. Rabbit mythology is represented in shadows with overhead projectors. The flat cutouts and simple movements create a moving storybook—these stories are told again and again. Lord Frith—the sun and the creator—is part of this world. She brings the light that keeps these stories, these lessons alive. Man’s world is foreign and large compared to the rabbits’ reality. Using masks and light we can make man bigger in scale and keep him on the edge of rabbit reality. There are also times when the worlds overlap and collide. Music, staging, stage lights as well as texture with light sources up the stakes visually for the rabbits in their reality.

SARAH – As a puppeteer, how do you read a script for the first time? What goes through your mind, or what do you look for?

LORNA – When considering puppetry in scripts, I like to look for moments, scenes, and events where puppets can do things an actor cannot. Animals, dreams, flashbacks, aging a character, etc. are all possible moments for puppetry.

SARAH – How is bringing a character to life via puppetry different from inhabiting a character as a human actor?

Mask Shadow Play with Actors

LORNA – Because of scale and limited movement, bringing a puppet character to life involves boiling the character down to essential qualities and actions. There is a tradition in puppetry that the lower the status of a character the simpler and more elementary the puppet. For me, puppetry is where dance and sculpture meet. The impulse to create life through movement is essential in puppetry. I have found that audiences will suspend their disbelief more readily for a puppet than they will for actors. A puppet in despair can make an entire audience “awwwwwhhh” with one breath.

What’s in the Wings…

November 13th, 2015

Bunny Bootcamp

Inside WATERSHIP DOWN’s Movement Design with choreographer Colleen Hughes
~ by Ali Nebistinsky

Movement Designer Colleen Hughes

ALI – How does the choreography help tell the story of Watership Down?

COLLEEN – The movement work brings the audience into the world of the play – a world where we are surrounded by animals that look different from us, but deal with many of the same issues of community and alienation that humans do.

ALI – Take us through your process of studying rabbit movement.

COLLEEN – We had the really special treat of getting to meet some bunnies in person!  Additionally, we have been able to watch videos of wild rabbits feeding, sleeping, and fighting.

ALI – What patterns are represented in the movement of rabbits?

COLLEEN – As prey animals, rabbits are constantly on the lookout for enemies – or ‘elil’ as they are called in our story.  Because of that, they are always paying very close attention to what is around them, knowing that danger can appear at any moment.  For that reason, some of their movements tend to be sharp and quick.

ALI – How are the movements of humans and rabbits similar and how do they differ?

COLLEEN – In the beginning of our story, Lord Frith – the mighty ruler of the sky – gives each of the animals a gift that is unique to them and will serve them in times of trouble.  Our rabbit has his head in a burrow at the time and so he tells Lord Frith to bless his bottom!  Lord Frith does, and his back legs grew long and powerful, his bottom half full of strength and warning and speed.  Because of that, our actors are working with strong legs that ground them low into the earth and propel them with strength across the stage.  Their quads are definitely getting a workout!

Fiver's Vision

Working Fiver’s Vision

ALI – Can you briefly describe the process of teaching people to inhabit a rabbit body?

COLLEEN – After warmup and conditioning, we begin walking through the space and then make the physical changes that drop us into our bunny bodies:

1) The knees bend and the hips lower as the strong rabbit legs come into play.

2) We imagine individual eyes on each vertebra of the spine blinking open – animals, particularly those may be someone’s dinner, pay attention to the world with their whole body, they sense everything that happens around them – and this image works of tiny eyes up the spine help remind the actors to activate in that way.

3) We imagine that in addition to their human eyes, two giant brown bunny eyes blink open on the side of their head enabling them to see 360.

4) We imagine two very sensitive bunny ears connect to the back of their neck – like the spine and the eyes, constantly tuned in to possible danger.

5) The hands stay relaxed but curl in ever so slightly, taking the emphasis off of individual fingers

ALI – What challenges have you encountered while exploring rabbit movement through the human body?

COLLEEN – The lower body work is absolutely a challenge, so we have been doing conditioning to get those thigh muscles up to the job.

ALI – What do you hope the audience will take away from watching the movement in WATERSHIP DOWN?

COLLEEN – Our animals are anthropomorphised.  They are not dressed in furry rabbit outfits and we are not crawling around on hands and knees.  I want our audience to be able to identify with our rabbits and be able to notice the ways in which they are able to work together successfully.

You can see Colleen’s work come to life in Simpatico & Drexel’s co-production, November 4th-22nd at The Mandell Theater.

What’s in the Wings…

November 4th, 2015

Illustrating a Rabbit Odyssey
Q&A with WATERSHIP DOWN Chief Illustrator Robert Berry
~ by Sarah Totora
Robert Berry Self Potrait

Robert Berry ~ Self Potrait

SARAH – I got the impression that you know the novel of WATERSHIP DOWN really well! Has your conception of the WATERSHIP world evolved since the first time you encountered it? 

ROBERT – Watership Down is one of my favorite books, in that select category of novels that I return to again and again for leisure (or nostalgia) reading. I’ve never really known it as a “children’s book,” but as an exciting adventure story filled with excellent character drama and, yes, some broad political overtones. It’s an epic tale to try and bring to the stage and I’m really happy to be part of that challenge.

The work that Patrick [Patrick Gabrielli, Assistant Illustrator] and I have done here has been all about the staging. Rather than do a set of scene illustrations, our hope is to create a world as dangerous and as broad as the one described in the book while still giving room to the actors. It’s a very physical production and we don’t want to confine the art of its staging with too distinct an environment.

SARAH – Tell us about your process of finding the look and feel for this production’s scenic projections.

“Mouth of the Strange Warren”

ROBERT – Establishing the look of the world did precede the casting by quite a bit; with sixty-plus drawings to do, it had to. Allen and I talked extensively about his plans for the production and its scope, but this is a project he and I have wanted to do together for years, so we didn’t talk much about the book or its actual environments, themes, or moods. In that regard, I had a bit of a head start over Aaron, Lorna, Josh, and Janelle and their areas of the production design, and a chance to work mostly apart from others. Kind of a dubious advantage.

Since the idea was to use human actors without conventional floppy-eared costumes to portray rabbits, I was interested in anchoring the audience’s imagination in how wide and dangerous the world of rabbits must be. But we still needed less specific detail to all the objects in it that might create issues of scale or perspective to the environments that would conflict with the action onstage. Since I knew we’d be dissolving some of these scenic projections into shadowplay, I also wanted to use quite a lot of black line work in the drawings and allow for large washes of color.

Eventually I hit on the idea of making these very handmade-looking brush drawings in ink that Patrick would color digitally. The original drawings are about 16 inches in length with very tight line work, but they’re then projected to 24 feet, making them 18X the original size. This means that all of those unique characteristics in the line work, everything that makes it feel handmade, becomes even more clear. It looks very much like a small world made large and dangerous.

SARAH – How do you identify a single image to embody a scene or location in this production? What does it need to evoke or convey to the audience?

ROBERT – Constructing the actual images prior to staging was nearly impossible. There are so many moving parts in this production, so much going on and backstage at any given moment, that designing each individual shot too early might affect the action. Allen and I worked very hard on a “visual map” document [the scenic storyboards] to try and place things, but final decisions couldn’t be made for a very long time; much different than drawing illustrations for a book!

We were all very fortunate to be rehearing this production on Drexel’s Mandell stage. I was able to sit in on some of these rehearsals and watch Allen and the cast work through the staging, a hands-on approach to the design most artists seldom get. In this way I could see what each scene would need, what each cast member was doing, and what mood they were all looking for, and that informed the design greatly. It did mean a much tighter deadline, however!

“Leaving the Warren”

SARAH – You’re also a prolific comic artist. As an illustrator, what draws you to a particular story?

ROBERT – “Prolific” might be overstating it, but I do try to keep busy. Actually, my work as a cartoonist can mostly be found in literary adaptations of this sort. I’m working on a serialized project that adapts James Joyce’s Ulysses into a graphic novel and web-based learning tool called Ulysses “seen” and I’m currently working on a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets. I’ve been doing some book illustration as well, but find comics a bit more artistically challenging for their combination of words and text.

I teach comics now (at UPenn) and often talk to students about it as an “actor’s art.” The placement of word balloons and narrative boxes, the separation between what is shown and what is told, all of this is much more like acting for the stage than directing for a movie. So it’s a great pleasure to take some of what my enjoyment of theatre has taught me and bring it back on to the stage somehow. The idea of people experiencing this book, one of my personal favorites, for the first time through the collaborative magic of this production makes this a dream project in many, many ways.

You can see Robert’s work come to life in Simpatico & Drexel’s co-production, November 4th-22nd at The Mandell Theater.

What’s in the Wings…

February 1st, 2015

Second Stage | Series 2:
Delving into [untitled project] with Kevin Meehan and Susanne Collins

Susanne and Kevin at the recent “5×7 Space” event.

“Going along with Simpatico’s heavily female-centric season, I decided that I wanted to head up an original “devised” project that is comprised of a bunch of kick-ass women collaborators. Currently the concept is in development and we’re not completely sure what we’re creating or exactly what questions we want to ask, but feminism, identity, magnetism, selfies, empathy, pedestrianism, and internet presence are just some of the ideas we’ve been throwing around in the room. In terms of form, however, it looks like it’s shaping up to be an interactive piece of choreography. We’ve been meeting twice a month since November for two hours at time and have been experimenting with various writing, movement, and storytelling exercises. The purpose for these brief meetings are two-fold; for the collaborators to become more familiar with one another creatively, and for us to learn what tools will work best for when we delve into the process more intensely at the beginning of June. My goal is that our efforts will develop into a piece that is a mystifying breath of fresh air.” ~ Kevin

Ashley physically leads Susanne around the space while Susanne’s eyes are closed.

“The first few times that the core members of the [Simpatico Untitled Project] got together, we spent almost the entire time talking. This group, I find, is comprised of smart and inspired people who love to discuss *Big Complex Ideas*. We’ve argued about the importance and struggles of “Selfie Culture,” we’ve talked about the concepts of empathy, honesty, magnetism…you name it. It wasn’t until a meeting earlier this month, however, during a movement/storytelling exercise, that I realized I didn’t know these women as well as I’d hoped. For all the talking we had done, I had no idea how they work as artists–what they like and dislike, how they move.

Susanne, Ashley, Eliana, and Arianna moving as one unit in a Flocking Exercise.

Which is why our most recent meeting felt like a fresh and exciting step toward creating something dynamic and new–we finally got to know each other more. We were asked to bring in a few works of art that spoke to us, and some art that we didn’t like. Though it was interesting to see the pieces that everyone brought in that spoke to them, I was more interested in what my collaborators *disliked*. Eliana brought works from her “favorite artist that I hate,” Ashley disliked an entire new health insurance ad campaign, I brought in several works that have lost their impact on me over time, and Arianna brought a song that she hated the first time she heard it but grew to appreciate and love it. Not only did we all dislike vastly different things, we each took the prompt in a different way. Interesting to see how these cool cats take a simple task and make it their own.

Now that we know each other better–both personally and artistically, I feel like this group is much better equipped to *do* something with the Big Complex Ideas we’ve been spinning around for so long. I can’t wait to see where this project takes us next.” ~ Susanne

What’s in the Wings…

January 26th, 2015

Welcome to Simpatico Theatre Project’s blog-roll, What’s in the Wings, your window into “one of the best indie theatres in town!” You’ll find a variety of posts on this page from directors, designers, actors and special guests, giving you a sneak peek into our company, our current production, and our electrifying 10th Anniversary Season in Philadelphia. Thanks so much for tuning in and for staying Simpatico!

An Interview with Actor Nastassja Baset
by Sarah Totora

“Oh! I like this—not having the answers and I’m okay with it.”

SARAH: Tell us about yourself. What do you want the world to know about you (in a few words).

NASTASSJA: In a few words? I am super awesome!

SARAH: Clearly!

NASTASSJA: Clearly! And I love to perform. I love to create.

SARAH: Is theatre your go-to mode for creative expression?

NASTASSJA: Yes, theatre is my go-to mode, but I like to dabble in dance, singing. I like to paint, I like to draw.

SARAH: Your character, Annie, is our de facto guide through MILK LIKE SUGAR. How would you describe her?

NASTASSJA: It’s so hard, because Annie is not written out—she’s in the poetry. She is in search of herself. She knows who she is, but maybe she wants to be a different way. And she’s just now figuring that out—we’re witnessing that. She’s so open, optimistic. I love her because she has that side that I wish I had—that openness, that vulnerability to just be.

SARAH: Like Annie, you were born and raised in a big city (Detroit). What were the worst and best parts of growing up in an urban environment?

NASTASSJA: Growing up, I didn’t want to have a Detroit accent. I felt it wasn’t anything that could benefit me in the real world. My uncle always said, “You have to be 10 times better than the next white person.” So it was like, “You have to adjust. We understand you grew up in this environment, you have these circumstances, but you have to look like this in order for you to get a job, or in order for you to be taken seriously.” So there was a lot of pushing away and running, just trying to get out of that urban environment.

But Detroit was a safe place for me. I grew up with danger around me, but my mother kept me sheltered—enough to be aware of it, but not involved in it. So we knew about around the corner, somebody selling such-and-such, or there’s something going on over here, or we heard so-and-so got shot, but it wasn’t close to me. When I got to high school, we lived in the hood hood. My mother was afraid of us walking up the street at night. But because I wanted to escape, I didn’t want to be limited to that fear. So at a young age, when my mother couldn’t do it, I was like, “Well, I’m gonna get on the bus. I’ll go. I can do it on my own.” I didn’t want to feel scared of where I lived. So even though I was running away, my running away still helped me to connect with what was around me in a different way.

SARAH: In MILK LIKE SUGAR, Annie is faced with some difficult choices that inspire her to see her world anew. Have you had that experience in your own life—something that opened your eyes and changed your mind about the way things are?

NASTASSJA: That happens to me a lot—that evolution. My mother put us in the church, like everyday. Sunday school, bible study, choir, rehearsal, teen night, and I was okay with that because that was all my mother exposed us to. I was very devoted to learning about becoming closer with God, and really getting deep into what Christianity was about. But I was always curious about how other people lived. When I got to college, I stopped going to church, and what I discovered was peace—a peace I had thought I was learning to get in the church—I was learning to have it in myself without needing that external thing.

It was heartbreaking, though, because I was also learning more about myself as a black person. For all my life, I knew I was black, I knew I had to work 10 times harder, I had to be the best if I was going to be anything, but there was another part of my blackness that my mother, my family, and my church never exposed me to: the simple fact that “the church clap” is connected to our African heritage of syncopated rhythms and polyrhythm—that has maintained itself through the rhythm of black music. When I was learning all about that, it made me feel betrayed by the church a little bit. I was like, “Why don’t you all teach this?” So when I started to have that kind of revelation in terms of finding peace and learning about my heritage and my history, then that one way that I was going down, that path of becoming the pastor’s wife, was no longer relevant. That was an “aha!” moment. It was like, “Oh! I like this—not having the answers and I’m okay with it.”

SARAH: Why is theatre important to you?

NASTASSJA: Theatre gives me the feeling of…well, going back to church: in the Church of God in Christ, in particular, they have this thing called going to the altar. First, the preacher preaches, then he tones the bell while calling and responding with the congregation, then they start playing music along with him, and then he eventually calls out to the audience for those that need to be saved to come to the altar. When they come to the altar, he lays his hands on them, and they have to believe with all their hearts that the Lord Jesus has saved them. Once they believe that, they’re saved, and when they talk in tongues, that’s like confirmation that they have been saved, completely and totally. When you go to the altar, you’re laying your burdens down, you’re confessing, you’re giving, you’re telling the Spirit, “I need to be saved, I need to be healed, I need to be forgiven.” That’s what I think about theatre—it’s this space of give and take. For an actor, you are able to immerse yourself in a character, and getting to know that character and feel what that character is experiencing—in many ways, it may touch your own personal life. That’s why I love Annie—because I’m able to see the openness and the vulnerability of her, and it challenges me to experience that so that I can channel it for this character, but more importantly to have that for my own life. I think that theatre is a healing space, not only for the audience seeing it, but also for the actor and those involved.

SARAH: Any dream roles on your bucket list?

NASTASSJA: I would love to do an action film. I want to become a superhero and fight! And I just want to walk on the red carpet with Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett; we don’t have to do a movie together—just let me walk. I also want to finish writing my own one-woman show. It’s called IN FEAR OF HER REFLECTION, and it highlights my process through learning to accept my reflection and embrace it and love it—how I express myself, and not being afraid of that expression.


What’s in the Wings…

May 30th, 2014

Welcome to Simpatico Theatre Project’s blog-roll, What’s in the Wings, your window into “one of the best indie theatres in town!” You’ll find a variety of posts on this page from directors, designers, actors and special guests, giving you a sneak peek into our company, our current production, and our electrifying 9th Season in Philadelphia. Thanks so much for tuning in and for staying Simpatico!

Interview with Philadelphia Children’s Alliance
by Ali Nebistinsky

Simpatico Theatre Project is honored to partner with Philadelphia Children’s Alliance for our production of In a Dark Dark House. We strive to go beyond engaging audiences during our productions and encourage further dialogue about the issues incited in our work. We chose PCA to be our production partner in hopes of promoting a healthy conversation about the issue of child sexual abuse for everyone involved. Our goal is to educate our audiences and leave them with hope and the tools to confront this difficult issue. We reached out to PCA’s Executive Director Chris Kirchner to get her insight on the issue of child sexual abuse and her reaction to In a Dark Dark House. We hope you enjoy getting a deeper look into Philadelphia Children’s Alliance and the powerful connection that these partnerships can create.

ALI NEBISTINSKY – What is the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance and who do you serve?

CHRIS KIRCHNER – We are a nonprofit agency that works with various agencies to coordinate the investigation of child sexual abuse cases in Philadelphia, to ensure that children receive a coordinated response that puts all of their needs first.

ALI – What is the alliance currently doing to promote healing and justice in the Philadelphia Community?

CHRIS – We are co-located with the Special Victims Unit of the Police, sex abuse social workers from DHS, prosecutors, and medical and mental health professionals, in a welcoming and child-friendly facility. An average of 150 children come here each month where they are interviewed about the allegations by one of our interview specialists. Children will also be receiving medical exams on site once our new medical program is up and running in the summer of 2014. Our victim advocates meet with the child and their caregiver to provide crisis intervention and to ensure that they family’s questions are answered and they know what to expect from the investigation. We also provide long term therapy on site.

ALI – What is your history with the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, and how did you get involved in this work?

CHRIS – I have a master’s degree in social work, and answered an ad in the Inquirer in 1992 for this position! I was very interested in the issue of child sexual abuse as there were several high profile cases in the news, and I had a few cases in my early years as a child welfare social worker. I also want to say that this issue has touched my family, both my maternal and paternal sides. So it is something that I wanted to do for all the kids impacted by this, but also something personal.

ALI – After seeing the production, what are you most excited to have PCA bring to our partnership?

CHRIS – Your wonderfully done production shines a light on the long term impact of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of children is a topic that can be difficult to discuss, and due to confidentiality laws we cannot talk publicly about the hundreds (really thousands) of cases we see each year. We rely, to an extent, on stories from adult survivors to help us all understand how damaging abuse, left untreated, can be. In A Dark Dark House is one of these stories, and in addition to demonstrating the impact of abuse, I hope that our partnership will remind everyone that there are victims of child abuse coming forward every day in our City. We owe it to them to listen to them and to do whatever we can to stop the abuse, keep them safe, and put them on a path toward healing.

ALI – How did your view of the play change from when you first read it to when you saw the full production?

CHRIS – It was great to read the play in advance, but the true essence of the play did not hit me until I saw the live production. The issues of child abuse, family violence, and the negative legacy that a parent can leave a child, all come across in a heart wrenching way that can only be felt with the live production.

ALI – If you had the opportunity to follow up with these men several months after the play ends, what would you hope to see from them? How would you advise and support them?

CHRIS – Wow, good question. I would hope to see that perhaps their interactions (in the play) had led them each to a better understanding of where the other is coming from, and as a result perhaps improved their relationship, if only slightly. I had a slight sense of hopefulness as the play ended that they were going to be in a better place. But I also know that they were dealing with deep, and dark issues, that would not go away overnight.

ALI – Why is it important for people who have not been sexually abused to hear this story and support an organization like PCA?

CHRIS – I hope that adult survivors will find some comfort in the fact that, as a society, we have (partially) woken up to the impact of sexual abuse on our children, and we are doing something about that. I hope that everyone, survivors and non-survivors alike, will think about overall impact in society when 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Everyone can take a step, from making a monetary donation to PCA (we raise about 1/3 of our budget from donations!), to educating themselves about the issue, reporting abuse when they suspect it (1-800-932-0313), and talking about the problem with their friends. We are so grateful for this partnership with Simpatico, you guys are amazing!!

To find out more about the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance visit here. If you would like to help a family in need we are accepting Grocery Store gift cards to help PCA provide food and refreshments for families during their visits. Gift cards can be dropped off at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5 prior to any performance through June 1st or mailed to: Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, 300 E Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124.