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That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her opens at Todd Theater

February 23, 2017
group of students each eating a popsicle and sticking their head up through a gap in the stageFrom left, Edward Sambrano '17, Samantha Richardson '19, Yumeng Liu '18, Ian Von Fange '17, Tori Powers '18, Matalin Collins '18, Panache Hofisi '20, Tomas Waz '20 in the International Theatre Program's production of That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her, a play written by Jen Silverman and directed by Knud Adams. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her, a contemporary dark comedy by up-and-coming playwright Jen Silverman, opens at Todd Theater

The International Theatre Program opens its spring semester with That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her, a contemporary play by Jen Silverman, an emerging talent, whom critics have called “a fresh voice who takes chances, but also a playwright who plumbs the depth of humanity without sentimentality.” The production opens on March 2 and runs through March 11 at Todd Theater on the University of Rochester’s River Campus.

Pretty and rich, Alyssa Long attracts the attention a newcomer, Felix Maia. Alyssa disappears, and rumors proliferate on social media. Described on Silverman’s website as Gossip Girl meets Lord of the Flies, That Poor Girl “is a (very) dark comedy that looks at social media and social justice.”

“The story keeps sneaking up on you, subverting expectations again and again. It’s a send-up of the most vain, self-indulgent, social-anxious aspects of youth culture today, and yet at the same time, it has a wealth of credible, sympathetic characters that an audience will hopefully come to identify with and care about,” says New York City-based guest director Knud Adams. Adams, whose most recent productions include Krazytown by Jenny Schwartz and Every Angel is Brutal by Julia Jarcho,  adds: “I’ve seen how student actors can thrive when given the chance to tackle characters their own ages.” says Adams.

group of student actors in a row, on a very steep stage

The production features a raked stage—a design from early modern century English theater that slopes the stage upwards away from the audience. From left. Edward Sambrano ’17, Samantha Richardson ’19, Yumeng Liu ’18, Ian Von Fange ’17, Tori Powers ’18, Matalin Collins ’18, Panache Hofisi ’20, and Tomas Waz ’20.  (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Adams is impressed by the design team. “The set design by Arnulfo Maldonado is truly radical, with a stage raked so steeply, it would probably be illegal in New York City,” he says. Maldonado’s other notable design credits include Caught by Christopher Chen, and the world premiere of Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. Costumes are designed by Tilly Grimes, whose work has been seen at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lighting design is by Seth Reiser, whose recent designs include work for Matthew Passion, Come & Back Again, and King Lear. Sound design and original music is by Obadiah Eaves, who has created music and soundscapes for the original productions of plays by writers such as Woody Allen, David Mamet, Eric Bogosian, Ethan Coen, and Suzan-Lori Parks.

The production runs Thursday through Saturday (March 2–4) and Wednesday through Saturday (March 8–11) at 7 p.m. There is a matinee performance on Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m. All performances take place at Todd Theatre on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. Tickets are $8 for Rochester students, $12 for alumni, faculty, staff, and seniors (65+), and $15 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling (585) 275-4088. Tickets may also be purchased up to an hour before each performance at the box office.

group of student actors lying on beach towels on a very steep stage

Todd Theatre production That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her by Jen Silverman, directed by Knud Adams and featuring back row, from left, Edward Sambrano (Connor), Samantha Richardson (Briget), Yumeng Liu (Bianca), Tori Powers (Alyssa), Matalin Collins (Makenzie), and Tomas Waz (Jordan); front row, on towels, Ian Von Fange (Kaylen), and Panache Hofisi (Felix Maia). (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

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Category: The Arts