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BWW Blog: Meet Quadramics! An Interview with the Chair

Learn about Penn’s first student directed theatre company

BWW Blog: Meet Quadramics! An Interview with the Chair

The University of Pennsylvania has a thriving theatre community known as the Theatre Arts Council, or TAC-e for short. There are 8 companies that belong to TAC-e, and they each have their own niche such as children's theatre, experimental theatre, professionally directed theatre, and so on. Since the end of my freshman year, I have been on the board of Quadramics Theatre Company which is known for its student directed fall play and spring musical. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anika Dalvie, a senior studying Psychology, who is the Chair of Quadramics. If you want to learn more about Penn's first student directed theatre company and the college theatre experience, then read on!

Let's start with some of the history of Quadramics. How is it unique from other Penn theatre groups?

Quadramics was the first student directed theatre company on the University of Pennsylvania's campus. We formed in opposition to the Pennsylvania Players since they do professionally directed shows and we wanted to have a space for students to be able to direct and produce their own shows as well. After forming, the number of student directed groups in TAC-e have grown, but Quadramics remains the first one. Because of that we don't really have a nice, other than being student directed, but we like to really emphasize community in our rehearsal rooms in our production staff. We love to have a good time, and we also do the Spring Fling musical, which happens during Spring Fling weekend in April, and there's a midnight show performance that gets very rowdy and crazy. We're known for putting on good theatre and having a good time while we do it!

(Want to learn more about our Qistory? Visit our site here!)

Can you explain more about the Spring Fling musical and other Quadramics events?

The Spring Fling musical is our bigger show and it's a full length musical somewhere around two hours. It's the only show that goes up during Spring Fling weekend for any of the performing arts groups. Basically, we do three or four regular shows, and then we do a midnight show where people are very rowdy and loud. There is a Gatorade chugging contest in the beginning, a push up contest, and there's a bunch of dumb stuff that we do just to get the audience riled up. Then the show starts and it's always a very upbeat fun kind of show. In the past we have done such shows as Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Sweeney Todd.

Some other events we do include our fall play which is usually a contemporary play but it doesn't have to be. Usually it is a bit smaller of a production than our Spring Fling musical and it happens in more of a black box kind of setting. We also have MisQast which is our cabaret in the wintertime around January or February. It's a cabaret where people can prepare a song, or a dance, or a monologue, or whatever, for a part that they would not normally be cast to play. If you want to gender swap or something of that nature, that's generally what we see happen at MisQast. It's also just an excuse to kind of do something a little crazy just for fun. All the proceeds from MisQast are donated to a different charity every year.

What made you want to join Quadramics board, and what has your experience as Chair been like?

I wanted to join Quadramics board because the first show I did at Penn was The Wolves and it was the Quadramics fall 2017 play. It was an amazing experience. It was really a quintessential Quadramics show just in the way that it's a very ensemble based show without a lead. It was a very close knit cast, rehearsal room, and production staff. I just had such a good time with everyone, and I knew that that was kind of the vibe that I wanted to be a part of and the kind of theatre that I wanted to be making when I was in college.

My experience as Chair has been great obviously. It's a little stressful with, you know, having to do virtual shows and all that stuff, but I wanted to be Chair for a long time. I have a great board that is always supporting me and whatever we are choosing to do during this crazy time. It has been a really great experience and I've been able to coordinate with other theatre companies and just make sure Quadramics stays on the map in TAC-e.

What is your favorite memory you have with Quadramics?

My favorite memory has to be my first Spring Fling show which was Pippin. I sat on the ground in the front because Iron Gate Theatre has a flat, ground stage with everyone else sitting high up above it [essentially stadium seating]. I sat basically right on the stage, and it was so fun since all the alumni always come back for Spring Fling and all the current board members were there. We were just being rowdy and having a good time in the front. I really felt like I was part of a larger community because all the alumni just wanted to get to know me and know what I was doing. That is probably my favorite memory at Penn in general, not just with Q.

Can you talk more about the Quadramics alumni relationship?

So I'm biased, but I think we have the best relationship with our alumni [out of all the TAC-e groups]. We all keep very much in contact with a lot of group chats still to this day. There are alumni that I was never personally on board with, but honestly I've kind of forgotten that because it feels like we were all on board together. It is very much a tradition that after you graduate, you come back to see what Quadramics is doing next. It has been very exciting to see how the board has changed and evolved over the years that I've been on it, and I know that once I graduate, it will be exciting to see how that works too.

Since you're a member of Quadramics board, can you only be involved in Quadramics productions?

So being on a board does not tie you to any TAC-e company. All that it means is that you have to have some sort of role on that production staff, and it can be really small. I personally have acted and directed in other companies' shows before. And it's really easy to do and does not take up too much time, so it's definitely possible and encouraged to spend your time with other theatre companies to get the full experience. There are people who choose to stay with their one company and only work with them, but for the most part I feel like everyone kind of jumps around a little bit.

What is your favorite role that you have played in a Quadramics show? Not necessarily a performing role, but also any role on a production staff.

Again, bringing it back to The Wolves, I played #8, and that was a really good time. I also really enjoyed producing and somewhat music directing 9 to 5 even though it didn't end up going up. It was nice to have such a big role in the production and really be able to see what it means to put on a show from start to finish. From like the process of deciding what show we want to do and looking at director proposals and acquire the rights, all the way to the end of actually putting on a fully fledged show, which I guess we didn't get to do with 9 to 5, but it was definitely a fun to have such a big hand in the process.

How has being involved with college theatre affected your college experience?

Theatre in college is kind of its own beast. It's different from doing professional theatre and it's different from doing high school theatre. But it's really given me the ability to work on a project and see it through, especially for producing, as well as it's just a really great creative outlet. College can't be all work all the time! So it's been great for that, and it has helped me to realize that, you know, no matter what capacity theatre is in my life, it will be in my life in some way after I graduate.

And to finish off with probably the most important question, what is your favorite word in Qanguage?

Qove, because I am a soft boy.

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