Explore the Playbill
About the Show
Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning write, love, hate, fight, slam dope, and have weird sex in this immoderate re-telling of the great love of the 19th century. The Brownings is an unconventional, rudely comic exploration of the purpose of art and the nature of love.
About Orbiter 3
“The most modern theater company in town.”
“This ensemble of artists is the real deal.”
Barrymore Award-winning company Orbiter 3 is Philadelphia’s first producing playwrights collective. Founded in 2014 by five playwrights and a producer/director, Orbiter 3’s mission is to energize Philadelphia as a hub for new plays. Over a span of three seasons, culminating in 2018, Orbiter 3 will produce seven world premieres by local playwrights. The collective will then transform into an online resource for entrepreneurial theatermakers, releasing documentation of its development and activities. The Brownings marks the collective’s sixth production.
Orbiter 3’s last production, Peaceable Kingdom by Mary Tuomanen, won the 2017 Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award and the 2017 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Costume design, and garnered three additional Barrymore Award nominations. In 2016, Orbiter 3 presented Breathe Smoke by Douglas Williams, directed by Artistic Director Maura Krause(“A sleek, cerebral piece of theater,” PHINDIE); and I Am Not My Motherland by Emily Acker (“a stimulating work full of intelligence and polish,” DC Metro Theater Arts). In 2015, Orbiter 3 produced Moon Man Walk by James Ijames and A Knee That Can Bend by Emma Goidel (“two of the season’s most thought-provoking and emotionally gripping works,” Philadelphia Magazine), garnering seven Barrymore nominations, including the Independence Award for an Outstanding New Play/Musical and the Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award.
Orbiter 3 is playwrights Emily Acker, L Feldman, Emma Goidel, Sam Henderson, James Ijames, Mary Tuomanen, Douglas Williams, Artistic Director Maura Krause, and Associate Producer Erin Washburn.
UP NEXT AT ORBITER 3
By L Feldman | directed by Rebecca Wright
A mosaic of eras and lands; generations and deserts; hats and books; clarinets and bread; people lost and people searching; angry young women; sad old men; angels; history; memory; and imagination. With its multigenerational landscape and kaleidoscopic journey across Jewish history and culture, A People asks: What is my relationship to those who came before me? And are we – is anyone – still a people?
I Am Not My Motherland (2016)
A People (2018)
A Knee That Can Bend (2015)
The Brownings (2017)
Moon Man Walk (2015)
Casting & Community Engagement
Director, Breathe Smoke (2016)
Peaceable Kingdom (2017)
Development & Community Engagement
Producer, Breathe Smoke (2016)
Breathe Smoke (2016)
Press & Membership
John M. Baker
Dany X. Guy
Samuel D. Hunter
Anneliese Van Arsdale
2814 W. Girard Avenue, Apt. 3
Philadelphia, PA 19130
CAST in order of appearance
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Charlotte Northeast*
Robert Browning David Ingram*
Schumann James Ijames*
Director Harriet Power
Set Design Apollo Mark Weaver
Lighting Design Jerold R. Forsyth
Sound Design Chris Sannino
Costume Design Marie Anne Chiment
Props Design Emily Schuman
Stage Manager Terry Mittelman
Wardrobe Assistant Kierceton Keller
Producer Maura Krause
Line Producer Erin Washburn
*Actors appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association
There’s an envelope on your seat, read it later.
SAM HENDERSON (Playwright) is a Philadelphia performer and playwright. He has appeared at the Arden Theatre Company, the Wilma Theatre, the Lantern Theatre Company, Theatre Exile, New City Stage, Luna Theatre, and Azuka Theatre, among others. Solo pieces include You Receive a Love Letter From Me You’re Fucked Forever (SoLow Festival) and 100 (FringeArts Festival). Devised pieces include the Jaws Project, with Robert DaPonte and Mary Tuomanen. Sam is an alumnus of the Foundry, Philadelphia’s premier lab for emerging playwrights, and InterAct Theatre’s Core Playwrights Program. He was a 2015 nominee for the Smith Prize for Political Theatre. Upcoming projects include She’s Dropping the Bomb, an interactive performance for an audience of one (September 2018).
HARRIET POWER (Director) is thrilled to collaborate with Sam, Orbiter 3, and this superb team. She directed staged readings of The Brownings at InterAct and Philadelphia Theatre Company. Recent directing: Simpatico (Ironbound; In a Dark Dark House); 1812 Productions (I Will Not Go Gently; Why I’m Scared of Dance); Act II Playhouse (Mystery of Irma Vep, Boeing-Boeing, Sylvia, Pride of Parnell Street, The Tempest et al; Associate Artistic Director 2008-12). New play development: RADA (London), New Dramatists, PlayPenn, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, West Coast Playwrights, Iowa Playwrights Festival, International Women Playwrights Festival. Artistic Director of Venture Theatre, 1994-98. 3 Barrymore nominations for “Outstanding Direction,” winning for Angels in American: Perestroika. Love always to Bob, Matt, & Isabel.
CHARLOTTE NORTHEAST (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) Native of Victoria, BC, Canada; graduate of Circle in the Square. Artistic Associate for the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective (PAC). In the Philly area, she has worked with: Act II Playhouse, CCTC, Theatre Exile, New City Stage, Passage Theatre, Swim Pony, Gas & Electric Arts, InterAct, Lantern Theatre, Azuka, Montgomery Stage, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and the Walnut Street Theatre. Recipient of two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress for Skin in Flames (InterAct) and Emma (Lantern). Love and endless gratitude to this fearless team, Damon & Jules. Up next: The Revolutionists with Theatre Horizon. Please visit: www.charlottenortheast.com.
DAVID INGRAM (Robert Browning) was last seen in Red Herring at Act II Playhouse. Other credits include: Clybourne Park (Arden Theatre), Cherokee (Wilma), Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Our Show of Shows (1812 Productions), Some Other Kind of Person and The Rant (Interact), and The Government Inspector (Lantern). David is a company member at People’s Light, where he last appeared Moon Over Buffalo. He is on the theater faculty at Temple University, and is thrilled to be working with the artists of Orbiter 3. Much love to Melanye, Adam and Elise.
JAMES IJAMES (Schumann) is a Philadelphia-based performer and playwright. He has appeared regionally in productions at many theaters in Philly. His plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia), The National Black Theatre (NYC), and Ally Theatre (Washington DC). James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also won three Barrymore Awards. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University.
APOLLO MARK WEAVER (Set Design) is a professor of theatrical design at Juniata College. Recent Philly credits include Peaceable Kingdom with Orbiter 3 and The Gap, Shitheads, and Moth with Azuka Theatre. Regional credits include The Villains’ Supper Club and The Making of a Great Moment at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Tinker to Evers to Chance and No Child… at Geva Theatre Center, and forthcoming production of The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry VI, part 1 at Utah Shakespeare Festival. Visit him on the web at apolloweaver.com.
JEROLD FORSYTH (Lighting Design) has designed well over 300 productions to date. Philadelphia: Wilma Theatre, Villanova University Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Interact Theatre Company, Simpatico Theatre, Amaryllis Theatre Company, American Music Theatre Festival, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, Venture Theatre, and Philadelphia Drama Guild. Regional: Kennedy Center, New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Theatre, York Theatre Company, Village Theatre Company, Vineyard Playhouse, Opera Ebony, and Palm Beach Dramaworks. Thirteen nominations and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design. Mr. Forsyth has also twice received “Most Notable Lighting Design” citations from The Philadelphia Inquirer.
CHRIS SANNINO (Sound Design) is a Philadelphia-based sound designer, musician, and audio engineer. In addition to playing in a variety of musical projects, Chris is also the audio supervisor and lead engineer at FringeArts. Favorite design credits include Nothing’s Gonna Change My World (New Georges), Jean and Terry (Melissa Krodman and Kelly Bond), Revolution and a Sandwich (The Shakedown Project), FIXED (Passage Theatre Co.), Spinning Immigrant (Emmanuelle Delpech), The Birds (Curio Theatre Co.), Cinematic Human (BRAT Productions), and Buyer & Cellar (1812 Productions). All thanks to Orbiter 3 and Sam Henderson for bringing this play into the world!
MARIE ANNE CHIMENT (Costume Design) has created sets and costumes for hundreds of theater, opera and dance productions across the nation and around the globe. Marie’s US design credits include national tours of Grease! and Carousel, the Broadway musical Metro, as well as numerous designs for the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Seattle Opera, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Arena Stage, the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Most recently Marie designed the costumes for the French Baroque opera Le temple de la Gloire, which was just awarded #1 Opera and Dance Production for the 2016-2017 Season of the Bay Area.
EMILY SCHUMAN (Props Design) is a Philadelphia-based props designer, performer, and musician, and is thrilled to be returning to Orbiter 3 this season! Recent prop work: Broken Stones (InterAct), Peaceable Kingdom (Orbiter 3), How To Use A Knife (InterAct), A Garden of Forking Paths (Nicole Canuso Dance Company), and The Seagull (EgoPo Classic Theatre). As a performer she has worked with such companies as Revolution Shakespeare, The Walnut St. Theatre, and Quince Productions. She is also a member of a folk duo called Chickabiddy as well as a punk rock activist group called Bandits.
TERRY MITTELMAN (Stage Manager) is a graduate of University of the Arts and works as a freelance stage manager and production manager in the Philadelphia region. Recent credits: Destiny Estimate (MJ Kaufman); Spector Vivant (New Paradise Laboratories and Opera Philadelphia); The Arosinist, Shitheads, Moth (Azuka Theatre); At Home With the Humorless Bastard (Annie Wilson), FEED (Applied Mechanics), Watership Down (Simpatico Theatre Project); Nowhere Fast Cabaret, 901 Nowhere Street, (Sam Tower + Ensemble); Paula Vogel Mentor Program Festival, 1219 Project (Philadelphia Young Playwrights); Polyphone 2016 & 2017 (UArts). Many thanks to Sam, Harriet, Charlotte, David and James and all of the fine folks of Obiter 3!
KIERCETON KELLER (Wardrobe Assistant) is a recent graduate from Templ University, where she received her B.A. in Theatre with a concentration in both Musical Theatre and Acting. Along with her performance training, she also studied costume design while in school. Kierceton recently finished working on the wardrobe crew for the new musical, Something Wicked This Way Comes, at Delaware Theatre Company and is thrilled to be involved with yet another incredible new piece of theater!
MAURA KRAUSE (Producer, Orbiter 3 Artistic Director) is a new work director, dramaturg and producer. She is a former National New Play Network Producer-in-Residence at InterAct Theatre Company, and is an Associated Artist with Applied Mechanics. Maura has also worked with the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, EMP Collective, PlayPenn, The Renegade Company, Arcadia University, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and Tiny Dynamite, among others. Recent favorite projects include Lost in the Meadow (PearlDamour), Red Ash Mosaic (Cleveland Public Theatre), Breathe Smoke by Douglas Williams (Orbiter 3), flesh flesh flesh: A Ghost Play by Lena Barnard (self-produced), and Tilda Swinton Adopt Me Please (The Greenfield Collective).
ERIN WASHBURN (Line Producer, Resident Producing Associate) is a dramaturg and producer with a passion for new plays. In addition to her work with Orbiter 3, she is the Literary & External Relations Manager at InterAct Theatre Company. Recent projects include Destiny Estimate (MJ Kaufman), Hir (Simpatico Theatre), and Marcus/Emma (InterAct–Barrymore nomination, Outstanding New Play). She has also worked with Azuka Theatre, The Renegade Company, Theatre Exile, and Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. Currently Erin is coordinating Cross-Pollination, a playwright trade between InterAct, Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland, OH), and Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX) funded by the National New Play Network. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.
LAUREN TRACY (Production Manager) is thrilled to be returning to Orbiter 3 again. She served as their production manager for Peaceable Kingdom and A New That Can Bend. She also serves as the production manager for Azuka Theatre, Inis Nua,Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, and Revolution Shakespeare. She holds a B.F.A. in Stage Management from Syracuse University. She would like to thank her friends, family and Andrew for all of their love and support.
FLANNEL & HAMMER SCENE SHOP (Technical Direction) is a Philadelphia-based business. The company was founded by Lauren Tracy (Flannel) and Joe Daniels (Hammer). With over 10 years’ experience and 100 productions under their (tool) belts they have the knowledge and skills to bring any scenic construction to life. Additionally they offer production management services. This season their work will be seen onstage here at the Drake with Azuka Theatre and Inis Nua Theatre Company as well as at the Lantern Theatre Company.
LUCAS NGUYEN (Orbiter 3 Resident Master Electrician) is a West Philadelphian and appreciator of the theatre. He has previously worked as a freelance lighting technician with other such companies as 1812 Productions, InterAct Theatre Company, Azuka Theatre, FringeArts, and the Prince Theater.
CAT RAMIREZ (Orbiter 3 Company Manager) is a Philadelphia-based director and producer. They currently serve as the Fall Events Producer for Asian Arts Initiative and is one of the forces behind Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA). As a director, Cat has worked with People’s Light and Theatre, SoLow Fest, and ReVamp Theatre Collective, among others. Cat earned a B.A. in Drama from Vassar College and is an alum of the National New Play Network Producer-In-Residence Program.
All piano excerpts performed by Paul Lopresti.
Robert Hedley, Chris Haig, Paul Lopresti, Susie Pierce, Andrea Rumble-Moore, Joe Samala, Katie and the folks at Duffy’s Piano Moving, and all who graciously donated their books to this production.
One Long, Horrid Writer’s Retreat: An Interview with Sam Henderson
FringeArts: Was there any incident in particular that spurred the creation if The Brownings?
Sam Henderson: I was homeless, but staying with friends. I’d spent some time in a psych unit about three weeks earlier, where I’d received really good health care for the first time in about a year and a half. My life was beginning to improve after a long decline. My friends had provided me with a huge, stand-mounted map of Australia for privacy, and I used to just stare at Australia and write plays.
I was struggling to understand myself in the light of my diagnosis of type II bipolar disorder, and my coming to God: two recent, wholly unexpected events that brought meaning to all this personal chaos, if not comfort.
I was deeply under the influence of Mary Tuomanen’s Marcus/Emma, which was still unproduced. I wrote the first seven scenes of The Brownings very quickly as a joke to crack Mary up, and I was surprised when she encouraged me to keep going, since The Brownings is such a rip off of Marcus/Emma.
FringeArts: How did you encounter The Brownings?
Sam Henderson: I knew nothing about them except their work, and I assumed I would need to research them and their time. As I wrote, I noticed I didn’t really care about the historical Brownings at all. I much preferred these other characters: two great artists, inextricable from each other and in permanent conflict, yearning for a reconciliation that’ll never come.
FringeArts: Tell us a little about the world of the play.
Sam Henderson: The play ostensibly takes place in Florence in 1840something, in their house. For me, the setting of this play is the inside of a head, and we’re watching a divided mind, viciously at war with itself. But who the fuck would want to watch that? Oh, right: FringeArts!
FringeArts: Are you using any of their writings?
Sam Henderson: Hearing their poems read aloud establishes, to my mind, who was the better poet, which is most of what they fight about all day. I imagined their years in Italy as one long writer’s retreat, with all the horror that notion implies. The use of their poems let me get themes across without having to write that stuff myself, because I’m lazy and I really love some of their work.
FringeArts: What did you find yourself refining the most about this play?
Sam Henderson: Subtracting digressions. I love listening to them talk, but it’s 80 minutes or get the fuck out.
The Brownings was developed at InterAct Theatre Company and Philadelphia Theatre Company.
This production is made possible through the support of the Wyncote Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Charlotte Cushman Foundation.
Honorary Producers Steve & June Wolfson
The Brownings Donors
Steve and June Wolfson
The Wyncote Foundation
The Philadelphia Cultural Fund
The Charlotte Cushman Foundation
Orbiter 3 Donors June 2016 – Present
Foundations and Government Grants
Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award
The Philadelphia Foundation
The Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation
Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
The Lida Foundation
The Producers Fund
In memory of Lois Nolan-Alley
Richard and Madeline Baron
Jay and Nancy Berkowitz
Joan S. Clark
Quinn D. Eli
Aurelia Fisher Cohen
Stephen M. Heumann
Miriam N. Jacobson
Joyce A. Krause
Sara H. Lathrop
Hao-Li & Evan Loh
Howard & Cirel Magen
Harriet Power & Robert Hedley
Barbara Rice & Tina Phipps
Mitchell and Penny Shore
Wendy and Larry White
Jerry and Susan Williams
Orbiter 3 Members
Amanda Susan Chudnow
Andrew J. Carroll
Anne Marie Cammarato
Brey Ann Barrett
Faith F Griffiths
Hubert Ijames Jr
John M DeAngelis
Mary Beth Schrader
Year-round programming at FringeArts is made possible through the support of PNC Arts Alive.
PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant initiative of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. In its ninth year, PNC Arts Alive challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement. A very prestigious grant, only twenty arts organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region are selected.
“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”
For more information on PNC Arts Alive and the grant recipients visit www.PNCARTSALIVE.com
Coming Up at FringeArts
A Billion Nights on Earth
Thaddeus Phillips + Steven Dufala
This holiday season, a show for the whole family. A treasured stuffed whale goes missing and a portal to another dimension though the kitchen fridge sets a father and son off on a spectacular quest through space and time. Objects on stage appear to come alive and the father and son must rely on their creativity, and each other, to survive wild landscapes that open like giant pop up books. Taking from classic children’s books, kabuki stagecraft, and spellbinding theatrics, A Billion Nights on Earth is an imaginative dive into the realms of parent–child relationships, exploring their varying perspectives on reality.
Navigating the 2020 Fringe Festival
Have questions about digital works and how to experience this year's Festival? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions and How-To Guides for different digital platforms.
Be Part of the Story
Help FringeArts present world-class, contemporary performing arts that challenge convention and inspire new ways of thinking.