A Fierce Kind of Love
Written by Suli Holum, Directed by David Bradley, Produced by the Institute on Disabilities, Temple University
March 1—3, 2019
2019 High Pressure Fire Service
March 1—3, 2019
A cast of artists with and without disabilities chronicles the largely untold story of Pennsylvania’s Intellectual Disability Rights Movement in a remount of this deeply poignant work. Drawing from years of research and the performers’ lived experiences, A Fierce Kind of Love combines text, movement, and song to chart the Movement’s remarkable history and celebrate the struggle, activism, and fierce love that fuels the desire for dignity. This new iteration of the piece expands on the interviews and research conducted for the 2016 premiere, adding insight to the persistent issues in the disability community.
The show, set, and theatrical environment for A Fierce Kind of Love are completely accessible; ASL interpretation and open captioning are directly integrated into the piece; all performances will be sensory-friendly, audio described and programs will be available in alternate formats. Fidget and sensory friendly toys, disposable ear plugs, and noise canceling headphones are available upon request at the Box Office. Complimentary companion seats are available to patrons who require a paid Personal Care Attendant (PCA). Please contact the box office directly to reserve a PCA ticket in advance.
Read the digital playbill here.
Run Time: 70 minutes
$150 Six-Show Package / $120 for members*
15% off tickets to 3-5 performances / 30% off for members*
All subscribers receive free ticket exchanges and reduced fees.
$31 general / $21.70 members*
$15 students and 25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS members
*All member discounts applied automatically when logged in.
A Fierce Kind of Love is made possible with generous support from The Virginia Brown Martin Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation and The Staritch Foundation, Inc.
Original support for A Fierce Kind of Love was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Guest Producer: Ken Klaus
Production Associate: Rebecca Bradbeer
Production Collaborators: J. Gregory Pirmann, Ann Marie White
Happy Hour on the Fringe
A Fierce Kind of Love cast-member Shawn Aleong and ADAPT activist Tony Brooks sit down and talk about living with disabilities in an exclusive world, and the missing history of disability rights advocacy. Read the full transcript on the FringeArts Blog.
All evening performances will be followed by a conversation with the artists, and both matinees will be followed by roundtable conversations with community stakeholders about the themes present in the play. We invite audiences members to stay and join the conversation. The following are facilitators and moderators of the post-show conversations.
Friday, March 1st: talkback moderated by Ronnie Polaneczky
Saturday, March 2nd: matinee roundtable discussions moderated by Tanya Regli, Cade Leebron, Alanna Raffel, and Izzy Kaufman. Evening talkback moderated by Jennifer Lynn.
Sunday, March 3rd: matinee roundtable discussions moderated by Brad Rothbart, Elizabeth Clay Surles, Katie Samson, and Councilman Derek Green. Evening talkback moderated by Raina Searles.
FringeArts, in partnership with Disability Equality in Education, has installed two public history timelines: one at the Parkway Central Library, second floor gallery hall, available February 12–March 15, and one in the East-West corridor of the City Hall courtyard, on view from February 25th through the end of March. Each detail a chronological public history of the disability rights movement in Pennsylvania, providing context for A Fierce Kind of Love and in conjunction with March’s Developmental Disability Awareness Month.
“Disability is just another one of our identities just like being a father, mother, or musician.” – Disability Equality in Education staff
Playwright Suli Holum Director David Bradley* Producer Lisa Sonneborn for the Institute on Disabilities, Temple University Choreographer Nichole Canuso Sound Designer Christopher Colucci Scenic Designer Colin McIlvaine Lighting Designer Lily Fossner Costume Designer Rosemarie McKelvey Production Manager John Flak Audio Engineer Chris Sannino Technical Director Seth Thomas Schmitt-Hall Stage Manager Thomas E Shotkin** Assistant Stage Manager Julia Levis Performers Shawn Aelong, Charlie DelMarcelle**, Lee Ann Etzold**, Michael McLendon, Lori McFarland, Erin McNulty, Marcia Saunders**, Cathy Simpson**, Jahzeer Terrell American Sign Language Interpretation Brandice Mazick, Kerry Patterson, Rebecca Daniel and Corri Zimmerman for Hands Up Productions CART captioning by Vertiext Audio Description Nicole Sardella Photography JJ Tiziou
*The Director is appearing courtesy of SDC, the Union of Professional Directors and Choreographers.
**These actors are appearing courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association.
About the Artists
Suli Holum (Playwright) is an award-winning theatre artist based in Philadelphia, PA. She is Co-Artistic Director of Stein | Holum Projects (SHP) with playwright Deborah Stein. SHP projects include: Drama Desk nominated solo show Chimera, developed at Here, premiered at Under The Radar and toured to The Gate, London; Movers + Shakers, recipient of the Loewe Award from New Dramatists and developed at UCSD and The Wholehearted, commissioned by ArtsEmerson, developed at FringeArts, supported by the New England Foundation of the Arts National Touring Project and presented by Center Theatre Group and La Jolla Playhouse. Holum was a co-founder of Pig Iron Theatre Company, developing original work between 1995 and 2006 including as a creator/performer in Shut Eye with legendary director Joseph Chaikin, and playwright for Gentleman Volunteers, awarded a ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ Award at Edinburgh Fringe and published in Pig Iron: 3 Plays (53rd Street Press). Her first solo show, The Lollipop Project, was developed through an Independence Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship and a Shell Fellowship in Drama from the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Her other work as a devising writer of new performance includes Wandering Alice with Nichole Canuso Dance Company and Oedipus at FDR with Emmanuelle Delpech, Fighting for Democracy and Fourteen: a theatrical experience at the National Constitution Center, and One Beach Road with RedCape Theatre, UK. Her work has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Workhaus Collective, The Playlabs Festival at the Playwrights Center, NACL, Perry Mansfield New Works Festival and Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Swarthmore Project, the Creativity Fund at New Dramatists, ArtsEmerson, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, and Playwrights’ Horizons.
David Bradley (Director) is a Philadelphia-based director and producer who loves crossing the lines of theater, music, education and civic dialogue. He’s been part of the creative team for A Fierce Kind of Love since its inception in 2012. David’s a longtime company member at People’s Light, where his more than 30 productions include The Diary of Anne Frank, Row After Row, Of Mice and Men, Doubt, The Crucible and A View from the Bridge. This spring he’ll direct The God Project at 1812 Productions. He’s been a frequent director at Indiana Rep, Act II Playhouse and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. David is Founding Director of the music non-profit LiveConnections, and was a producer on their three albums with Philadelphia public schools. He is Artistic Director of Living News, now in its 13th season at the National Constitution Center, and his arts and civic engagement work also includes projects with Theater of War and Animating Democracy and writing and directing Voices of Voting for the Committee of Seventy. David is a recipient of a 2017 Brighter Futures award for from the City of Philadelphia’s Intellectual Disabilities Services for his work in accessibility and the arts. For Sarah Bradley, forever fierce in love.
Lisa Sonneborn (Producer) For over twenty years, Lisa’s documentary film and video work has been used to promote social action in the disability community. As Director of Media Arts & Culture for the Institute on Disabilities, Lisa believes that art should be inclusive and accessible to all. She hopes you’ll be moved by this unique telling of a largely untold civil rights story. Lisa has fierce love for this gifted group of artists and the self-advocates and families who shared their stories for this production. For Lucy, Will and Dad – love you most.
The Institute on Disabilities is Pennsylvania’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Temple University. Since its inception, the Institute has continued to innovate and serve in four core areas: pre-professional training, community training and technical assistance, research and information dissemination. Located within Temple University’s College of Education, the Institute addresses disability as a valued aspect of diversity throughout civic life. They learn from and work with people with disabilities and their families in diverse communities across Pennsylvania to create and share knowledge, change systems and society, and promote self-determined lives so that disability is recognized as a natural part of the human experience.
Nichole Canuso (Choreographer) is a choreographer, performer and artistic director of Nichole Canuso Dance Company. Her work experiments with the participation of audience bodies, personal narratives, and her devotion to the kinesthetic intellect. She was a company member of Headlong Dance Theater, associate member of Pig Iron Theater Company, co-founded Moxie Dance Collective and worked with physical theater master Bill Irwin as a creator/performer in The Happiness Lecture. Choreographic residencies include 2009 and 2014 fellowships at the Maggie Allessee National Center for Choreography, MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, The Orchard Project and the BiLateral Residency in Budapest Hungary. Presentation of her work includes New York Live Arts, American Repertory Theater, International Festival for Art and Ideas, Velocity, ODC, HERE, Los Angeles Performance Practice. Fellowship support includes National Endowment for the Arts, William Penn Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, John S. Knight Foundation. Nichole is on faculty for the MFA program at Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (APT)/ University of the Arts. She is a 2017 Pew Fellow. nicholecanusodance.org
Christopher Colucci’s (Sound Design) recent work includes: Betrayal and Hapgood (Lantern Theater Company); Sweat (Philadelphia Theater Company); A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Weston Playhouse); In The Next Room, or the vibrator play (Gulfshore Playhouse); Charlotte’s Web (Arden Theater). Upcoming: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Walnut Street) and The God Project (1812 Productions). Christopher has received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 8 Barrymore Awards and an Independence Foundation Fellowship to attend the 2019 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. MA, Philosophy; Western Kentucky University. For more sounds, please visit Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/cmsound) and YouTube (https://tinyurl.com/yd89tm64).
Colin McIlvaine (Scenic Designer) is a Philadelphia-based, Barrymore nominated scenic designer named this season as one of American Theatre Magazine’s 20 People to Watch. Recent credits include: St. Joan (Delaware Theatre Company), Salt Pepper Ketchup (Interact Theatre). Colin’s recent associate design credits include: Thunderbodies (Soho Rep), Pipeline (Lincoln Center). In addition to his freelance career, Colin lectures at The University of the Arts and Temple University. B.A. University of Maryland; MFA Scenic Design Temple University. www.colinmcilvaine.com
Lily Fossner (Lighting Designer) is honored to be part of the AFKOL company, telling the stories of the Intellectual Disability Rights Movement. Recently: Fully Committed at Delaware Theatre Company, Hapgood at the Lantern, The Laramie Project at Theatre Horizon. Theatre Includes: Act II, People’s Light, 1812, Resident Theatre Company, WAM, TACT, Culture Project, Public Theatre, Prospect Theater Company, NYU/Grad Acting, Chautauqua Theater Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Dance Includes: Nichole Canuso, Doug Varone and Dancers, Monica Bill Barnes and Company. Opera Includes: Juilliard Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Festival. Training: MFA, NYU/Tisch. Adjunct faculty at Bryn Mawr College. Website: lilyfossner.com
Rosemarie McKelvey (Costume Designer) is a Philadelphia based costume designer, technician and teacher. Locally Rosemarie has designed for The Arden Theatre Co., People’s Light and Theatre Co., Delaware Theatre Co., The Wilma Theatre Company, The National Constitution Center, The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, New Paradise Labs, Theatre Exile, 1812 Productions, The Curtis Institute of Music, Drexel University, Villanova University, Azuka and Pig Iron. Regionally, Rosemarie has designed for The Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, New York Theatre Workshop, The Connelly Theatre and 59E59 in NYC. Rosemarie is a twelve time Barrymore Award Nominee, awarded in 2007 and 2009. Rosemarie attended the 2011 Prague Quadrennial Festival of Performance and Design with the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and was granted a fellowship through the Independence Foundation to travel to London and investigate what new advances in technology and science are being used in various art and design fields. Rosemarie is currently on staff in the costume shop of Villanova University. Rosemarie is the proud mom of Theo & James and is thrilled to be part of this Fierce production!
Thomas E. Shotkin (Stage Manager) is excited and honored to be working on this project. Tom is in his 17th season as production stage manager at 1812 Productions. Favorite shows include: This Is The Week That Is (all 13 productions!), Our Show of Shows, I Will Not Go Gently, Suburban Love Songs, The Four of Us, Bat Boy: The Musical, Like Crazy Like Wow, and An Evening Without Woody Allen (in which he performed). He is also production/company manager for PlayPenn, a new play development conference. Other SM credits: People’s Light, Theatre Exile, Arden Theatre Company, Arena Stage (DC), Barnstormers Theatre (NH). Tom has also worked for Opera Company of Philadelphia, Hartford Stage Company, Azuka Theatre Collective, and Boarshead Theatre (MI). Love to MB.
Julia Levis (ASM) is thrilled to be working with this stellar team. Julia is a Philadelphia-based stage manager with a degree in Theater from Temple University. Selected credits: ASM, 17/18 and 18/19 Seasons (1812 Productions); ASM, Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story(Delaware Theatre Company); Stage Manager, Delaware Young Playwrights Festival 2018 (Delaware Theatre Company); various positions (Pig Iron Theatre Company). Much love to all the people who support their local artists!
John Flak (Production Manager) is excited to be working on such an inspirational production and to being a part of this amazing company. John has been a theater professional for over 28 years in Chicago, Vermont, New York and Philadelphia. John is also a photographer and loves to cook. Much love and gratitude to my family – Jenny, Rainey and Harper.
Chris Sannino (Audio Engineer) is a Philadelphia based sound designer, composer, and engineer. In addition to a variety of folk and rock music projects, Chris’ work has been featured in part with the Wilma Theater, Theatre Exile, Juniper Productions, 1812 Productions, FringeArts, New Georges, Curio Theatre, BRAT Productions, The Shakedown Project, Orbiter 3, Hedgerow Theatre, and EgoPo Classic Theater amongst other artists and companies.
Seth Thomas Schmitt-Hall (Technical Director) is the Technical Director at Abington Friends School, where he can corrupt young minds with a career in the Arts. As a freelance Technical Director, Seth has worked with Spoleto Festival USA, Opera Philadelphia, The Bearded ladies, Tiny Dynamite and Pig Iron Theater Company. He has also designed for Lantern Theater, Tiny Dynamite, Villanova University, Delaware County Community College and the kids series at the Walnut Street Theater. Education: Temple University (BA) and Villanova University (MA). Love to Sara and Little Foot.
Shawn Aleong is excited and humbled to appear once again with the cast of A Fierce Kind of Love. Shawn is a graduate of Davison High School, where he was the Valedictorian of his class. While at school, he was very involved in the music program, playing the xylophone for school concerts and performing with the school choir. Shawn is currently a Freshman at Temple University, where he majors in Legal Studies and minors in Real Estate/Entrepreneurship at the Fox School of Business. He is involved with many campus organizations including Temple Student Government, Temple Black Law Association and the NAACP. Shawn is a member of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission and serves on the board of the ARC of Philadelphia. He is passionate about advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. Shawn would like to thank his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this amazing opportunity, his mother Janice, his step-father Ivy, his family and friends, his Sharon Baptist Church Family, the Institute on Disabilities, and his Temple University family. Special thanks to Celia, Lisa, David and Suli.
Charlie DelMarcelle is a proud faculty member at West Chester University and an active theatre educator, working with students of all ages and abilities throughout the region. He has performed professionally at: Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Co., Theater Horizon, Delaware Theatre Co., Inis Nua, Lantern Theatre, Azuka Theatre Collective, Act II Playhouse, Commonwealth Classic Theatre, and White Box Theatre. Charlie serves as the camp director of the Pennsylvania Theatre Institute, West Chester University’s summer program. He loves this cast and crew so much and is incredibly happy to be with this second family again.
Lee Ann Etzold is the Portable Studio Program Director at the Wilma Theater, fostering community partnerships through free theater workshops and residencies in spaces around Philadelphia. She also founded Hello Arts, a hyper-local arts resource in South Philly and is a creative consultant for independent artists and arts organizations around the city. As a theatre devisor, performer, director and teacher she worked in the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, and regionally with award-winning organizations and artists like Bill Irwin, Thaddeus Phillips, Charlotte Ford, New Paradise Laboratories, Pig Iron Theatre Co, Minneapolis Children’s Theater, People’s Light and Theater Co., Arden Theater Co., and The National Constitution Center. She is thrilled to work yet again with the Institute on Disabilities and this amazing group of humans, and finds hope in the collaborative art of theater as a unique space for people to connect with each other. Fiercely for Isla.
Michael McLendon is an original cast member of A Fierce kind of Love, and is excited to make his first appearance at FringeArts. Michael is a graduate of Furness High School and Temple University’s Academy for Adult Learning. While attending the Academy, Michael took an acting class, which is when his interest in performing began. When not performing, Michael works as an office assistant for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. He enjoys relaxing at home and watching Netflix and Hulu with his wife Charlene. Michael would like to thank David Bradley and Suli Holum for helping him become a great actor. He would also like to thank choreographer Nichole Canuso and all the Fierce cast and crew.
Lori McFarland loves to act and is excited to reprise her performance in A Fierce Kind of Love. As a self-advocate, Lori is excited to be part of a play that explores the diversity of the disability community. Lori wears many different hats when advocating for herself and others. She serves on the Futures Planning Committee of the Office of Developmental Programs and she is a member of Self-Advocates United as 1. Lori’s advocacy takes her to Harrisburg frequently. When not advocating or performing, Lori keeps busy with needlepoint, camping, shopping and reading, and loves to spend time with friends and family. Lori would like to thank her support group, friends, co-workers and especially her family for helping her to find the courage to become an actor. She would also like to thank her mother, who is her guardian angel, for bringing her into the world.
Erin McNulty began her acting career while in high school, appearing in over a dozen musical productions. When she arrived at Temple University, she became one of the original cast members in A Fierce Kind of Love, now entering its third production since 2016. Her work in Fierce led to her being cast as a dancer in Jerome Bel’s Gala, presented by FringeArts in 2016 and 2018. Erin has appeared with her mother, Michele, in the First Person Arts production of Conception, a play about the relationships between mothers and daughters. Additionally, Erin has modeled for the Bold Beauty Project, a photo exhibition of women with disabilities showing their strength and beauty. Erin is a Fringe Ambassador. When she is not performing, Erin makes time to compete as a three-sport athlete in Special Olympics, and works at Giant Food Stores and TJ Maxx.
Marcia Saunders has been acting with People’s Light and Theatre since 1976 and has appeared in over 90 productions performing in a variety of roles from Shakespeare, Shaw, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, a Feydeau farce and many world premieres. She’s also enjoyed over the years working in many theatres in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. Marcia is the recipient of an Emmy award for her narration on the Discovery Channel’s Teacher TV and is the recipient of a Barrymore award for Best Supporting Actress playing Claire in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance.
Cathy Simpson is a company member of People’s Light as well as the Freedom Rising Company at the National Constitution Center. Her work in some local theaters includes InterAct, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philly Shakes, Hedgerow Theatre, Arden Theatre, Wilma Theater, Flashpoint Theatre, Theatre Horizon, 1812 Productions. New City Stage and Revolution Shakespeare, Orbiter 3 and Juniper. Regional theater credits include Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Source Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Theatre J, Theatre of the First Amendment, Roundhouse Theatre, Olney theatre Center, St Louis Black Rep, St Louis Rep., Indiana Rep and Fla. Big Arts. Simpson is also a Board Member for local production company, Bright Invention. She is a three-time Barrymore nominee and a winner of the Freedom Theatre production of, The Old Settler, and Kevin Kline Award winner for St. Louis Black Rep’s production of, A Song for Coretta. She has also been nominated twice for the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington D.C. and won the Best Performer Award in Toyama, Japan. She was recently nominated for another Barrymore Award for her performance in Orbiter 3’s new play, Peaceable Kingdom for Best New Play and Best Ensemble. Her film and television credits include, local television commercials, PBS Education Series, Indy films as well as First Run Films.
Jahzeer Terrell is a Philadelphia Actor, Musician, Educator, and occasional Photographer. Recent production credits include: Twelfth Night at the Powel, Mary Rose with the PAC, PSF’s Twelfth Night, and Lydie Breeze with EgoPo. In lieu of a website he can be found on Instagram @jahzeerterrell.
High Pressure Fire Service
A Presentation Series for Philadelphia Artists
High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS) takes its name from FringeArts’ historic building, the first high pressure pump house in the country. Opened in 1903, the station pumped water from the Delaware River to fire hydrants across Philadelphia, connecting the city and helping it grow and thrive. This history of creativity and connectivity is at the very heart of the High Pressure Fire Service festival. Addressing issues of representation, gender, accessibility, reproductive justice, and more through devised theater, comedy, and participatory play, these productions embody the vast range and exceptional talent of Philadelphia’s rich performing arts community.
Check out the FringeArts Blog to read about Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service, part one.
Support for High Pressure Fire Service has been provided by the Wyncote Foundation.