Directed by ZACH BALDWIN

Playwright Thomas Novachek is at a loss. There are simply no actresses talented enough to play his leading lady. Then in walks Vanda, a mysterious siren with the uncanny ability to inhabit his character. All bets are off when the audition quickly escalates into a seductive power play. With loads of cheek and a hint of the erotic, Venus in Fur keeps you on the edge of your seat as you question who is truly in charge.

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Thursday, February 12 @ 8 pm
Friday, February 13 @ 8 pm
Saturday, February 14 @ 8 pm

Harrison Rooftop Lounge

$8 on Locust Walk, $10 at the door

Shadow Box poster



The Shadow Box follows three terminal cancer patients who dwell in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds, attended by family and close friends as they await the end. In this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning work dealing with the challenges of impending fate, we not only discover the circumstances of the patients’ last moments, but of their entire lives as well.

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Thursday, November 6 @ 7 pm
Friday, November 7 @ 8:30 pm
Saturday, November 8 @ 2 pm

Houston Hall, Class of ’49

$8 on Locust Walk, $10 at the door

Shadow Box poster

Letters from Backstage: Jessica Schwarz

Stage manager, producer and director bonding time!

Hello from Load-In!!!

I’m Jessica, the proud producer of FTC’s The Shadow Box!

Our day started bright and early (but we did get a bonus hour of sleep!). We headed to the PAC shop to eat our quick breakfast of bagels, coffee, and orange juice (and a few cupcakes too…). Our first task was to load the set pieces into the U-Haul truck. While this sounds like a semi-simple task with our 35 person production staff, we faced two challenges: 1. The literal TON of wood we had to carry and 2. The 25 mph winds with gusts up to 44 mph. Who knew flats behaved like kites in the wind?

Driving that U-Haul…

The next task set out for our mobile army of production staff members was to carry the wood, props, and costumes out of the truck and up the winding staircase to our beloved home in Houston Hall Class of ’49. After two hours and several sore muscles later, the set crew started to construct the massive set. Over a short 11-hour time span I watched a house spring to life complete with a porch, kitchen, and living room. However, during this time the other members of the production team were completing a myriad of other tasks. From painting a banner, to postering, to essential CVS runs, the mobilized forces divided and conquered. From time to time I gazed in awe at the incredible group of people with whom I spend so much time. I admire them all for their varied and unique talents.

Building a house one platform at a time.

Day one of tech week was an incredible success. We left tired and fatigued, but with pride in our work, love for each other, and excitement for the rest of the week ahead.

I am so grateful to the FTC board for the opportunity to produce this show. I can not wait to share this production with our friends, family, and the rest of the Penn community. I hope to see you all at the shows this weekend!

FTC Love,



Letters from Backstage: Haley Mankin

We are so excited to be working on our fall show, The Shadow Box! To celebrate, we’re kicking off a new series of posts to give you a sneak peek into our weird and wonderful world of theatre. First up, Haley Mankin, our freshman props designer!

Hi there!FullSizeRender

I’m Haley Mankin, your friendly Front Row props designer! My job consists of procuring everything that you see on stage that isn’t part of the set. In fact, anything that the actors interact with on stage—whether to take out of a bag, write on, or throw at one another —is my responsibility. At the first read through, I underlined everything in the script that needed to appear on stage. Cookies. Medicine. A giant ham. The task seemed overwhelming at first, but with the help of Front Row’s amazing cast and crew, the props began to coalesce.

The first resource I was excited to discover was the PAC shop. I expected a storage room where I might be able to salvage a prop or two. I was mainly hoping to happen upon one key prop, Felicity’s wheelchair. The staff helped me find the wheelchair within minutes, and proceeded to give me a tour of the expansive warehouse. Over the course of three visits, I was able to find almost all of the props I was looking for. These ranged from a checkers game, to milk glasses, to a 90’s style tape recorder.

FullSizeRender 2Most of my other props came from one very strange trip to CVS. I probably looked like I was preparing for a hurricane as I stocked up on jarred goods, office supplies, and several large weekly medicine cases. Some may have been curious as to why a girl could ever want so many tic tacs. I began to question some of the convenience store’s organization methods, but eventually I was able to find almost everything I needed.FullSizeRender 3

The last step of my props quest, and perhaps the most gratifying, was creating the googledoc for contributions from the cast and crew. I posted a list of the remaining items that I couldn’t find in my own basement during fall break, and requested help from everyone involved in The Shadow Box. Seeing the offers appear, along with thoughtful questions and suggestions, was yet another sign of FTC’s kindness and tight knit feel. I can’t wait to see what these props look like in the talented hands of our actors!

Hope to see you at the show!



Come see The Shadow Box on November 6-8! 
Stay tuned for more updates as we get this show on the road!

Propose to Direct for Front Row!

Interested in directing? Got a thing for socially relevant theatre? Want to be best friends with Front Row Board? Here’s your chance!

Propose a show to direct for our NSO, Fall, Winter, or Spring shows in the 2014-2015 season! Submit the script and a written proposal discussing your vision of the production, why it is appropriate for FTC, and why you want to direct for FTC. You should also be prepared to discuss why your proposal is socially relevant, and if you have any ideas for related community service projects!

Send both the script and proposal to Front Row Chair Dana Floberg, at dfloberg@sas.upenn.edu by April 25th at noon. If you have any questions, feel free to send them along as well!

What kind of shows does FTC like to do? Check out our past shows for some ideas!

Rabbit Hole Chat: Meg MacInnes

Meg is a junior in the College and the Director for FTC’s upcoming production of “Rabbit Hole”!

Meg MacInnes

FTC: What is the best thing directing Rabbit Hole has taught you?
MM: I think the show itself has taught me that we all grieve differently and there’s no right way to deal with the difficult parts of life. And that even though we all experience grieving at some point in our lives, it’s still an extremely hard thing to have a conversation about.

FTC: What is your funniest TAC-e memory?
MM: It’s difficult to think of something appropriate for public audience…I think the funniest memories are usually when something goes horribly wrong. (It’s not funny in the moment, but later it’s hilarious.) We did a show during my sophomore year where everything went wrong. And it got to the point where every new bad thing just became ridiculous. The show was in like 7 different languages, and the only person in the cast who was fluent in German dropped out two weeks before because he came down with Stage 3 Lyme disease. Then another actress broke both her feet a week before and dropped out. Then at the beginning of tech week, Iron Gate Theatre flooded. Not a little flood either, there was literally a wave in the basement. Then I passed out during a line through. Then the lights didn’t go out after the first act. Add to that the impossibility of people learning new languages in a period of several weeks…and in the end, we still actually had a show. I’m not sure it was super funny as it happened, but looking back at it now, it’s just so absurd.

FTC: If you had to pick celebrities and/or super heroes to be your parents who would you pick and why?
MM: I really have no idea. I’ll go with President and Mrs. Bartlett from the West Wing, because they might as well be super heroes. And they’re from New Hampshire too!

FTC: How many FTC shows have you worked on?
MM: Rabbit Hole is my fourth FTC show! I previously performed in Zanna, Don’t! and The Children’s Hour, and I directed the staged reading of Somewhere in the Ether last spring.

FTC: What is always at the bottom of your purse?
MM: Probably various lip glosses, and lots of crumpled tickets from various TAC-e/PAC/Philly shows.

FTC: What do you hope the Penn community takes away from watching Rabbit Hole?
MM: I hope that Rabbit Hole helps people think about and start conversations about grieving and mental health, especially with everything that happened earlier this semester on campus. What I love about Rabbit Hole is that it deals with grief in a very real way. The family doesn’t walk around hysterically crying all the time; they are real, unsentimental people and some days are good and some days are hard, but they keep going the best they can. Sometimes they are able to deal with what is going on in their lives and sometimes they aren’t. I hope that Rabbit Hole reminds people that grief is a universal experience, and that we’re all doing the best we can, and sometimes everyone needs a little help.

Come see Meg and the rest of Front Row in “Rabbit Hole” this April 17th, 18th, and 19th!


Directed by MEG MACINNES
Produced by DANA FLOBERG

Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. A Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama, Rabbit Hole charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.

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Thursday, April 17th @ 7:30pm
Friday, April 18th @ 7:30pm
Saturday, April 19th @ 3:00pm

Houston Hall, Class of ’49

$8 on Locust, $10 at the door

Trigger Warning: This show deals heavily with grief and the loss of a loved one.