Powerful and playful piece of physical theater reimagines memory

News Image Ensemble-devised original theatrical work ‘Run Glue Tree Pour Dive: A Re-membering’ runs April 5-7 at Muhlenberg College’s Mnemonic Theatre Festival

By: Clarissa Shirley '22  Tuesday, March 30, 2021 04:23 PM

News Image
The cast of 'Run Glue Tree Pour Dive' have an extensive bag of Zoom tricks at their disposal.

In a theatrical event described by its creator as “a slowly unravelling ball of memory and physicality,” six people attempt to help each other remember what they’ve lost — and what they had previously taken for granted. But by using the most ridiculous memorization strategies imaginable, they risk forgetting themselves and each other.

The third production of Muhlenberg College’s Mnemonic Play Festival, “Run Glue Tree Pour Dive: A Re-membering” will stream live April 5-7. Creator Drew Richardson, a member of Muhlenberg’s theater faculty, describes the play as ensemble-devised, often improvised physical theater. He emphasizes that physical theater does not equate to silence.

“We have built this piece with physical elements at the forefront,” Richardson says. “That doesn’t mean there are no words. It just means that actions and images come first.”

Richardson is no stranger to physical theatre; he teaches a variety of movement based acting classes at Muhlenberg; ranging from Clowning to Michael Chekhov technique. He holds the distinction of being the first person in the 21st century to have new silent movies shown in major motion pictures theaters.

“We practice what we discover,” he says. “Without separating body and mind, the actor can use more of themselves on stage to best express work that means the most to them and their society.”

The ensemble has been training together while keeping in mind the “three P’s,” Richardson says: playfulness, presence and physicality. He says the project is intended to stretch the actors’ physical imagination in the expressive use of space, characterization, and storytelling.

The title of the play comes from a memorization strategy that Richardson studied in his youth, which he used to recall the order of playing cards.

“When I was in high school I bought a book called ‘How to Develop a Superpower Memory,’ and I got pretty good at it,” he says. “Party tricks aside, engaging with my memory in this way has allowed me to be able to process and connect different aspects of my life. As an ensemble, we’ve been exploring the intricacies of our memories. What someone remembers says a lot about them.”

The show features Cailyn Murray '23, Lucie Hopkins '21, Irene Keeney '23, Bekka Broyles '22, Hannah Kulbitsky '24 and Sandy McInerney '23. Eden Kaufman '23 serves as assistant director and stage manager.

“Run Glue Tree Pour Dive, A Re-membering” is the third production in Muhlenberg’s mostly-virtual Mnemonic Theatre Festival at Muhlenberg, running through May. Information on all seven productions in the festival can be found at muhlenberg.edu/seeashow

“Run Glue Tree Pour Dive, A Re-membering” runs Monday through Wednesday,. April 5-7, at 8 p.m. (ET). Patrons can register to see the show at muhlenberg.edu/seeashow.

About the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department
Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.