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Classical Theater-in-the-Galleries: Aeschylus’ The Eumenides at the Penn Museum

August 10, 2016

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director


in Two Fringe Festival Performances
Saturday, September 10

Ancient Play Gets Evocative Setting in Museum’s Ancient Culture Galleries

The Penn Museum’s dramatic third floor galleries featuring ancient artifacts from ages past provide an evocative setting for a powerful Fringe Festival production of Aeschylus’ The Eumenides on Saturday, September 10, with performances at 8:00 pm and again at 9:45 pm. Tickets to the theater-in-the-galleries moving production, where guests follow the actors and the story from room to room, are $15; advance tickets are available online at the Philadelphia Fringe ticket website (

With haunting original music and glorious costumes, the production invites guests to witness an “Ancient Greek tragedy for our time” (Broad Street Review), as Marcia Ferguson and White Box Theatre interpret The Eumenides through the lens of the most pressing contemporary questions: How do we end cycles of revenge? Do gender and emotion have a role in determining justice? New world orders and the first trial by jury unfold in this site-specific performance.

The Eumenides is the final play in Aeschylus’ great masterpiece, the trilogy of The Oresteia, written more than 2,500 years ago. The tale is not for the faint of heart.  In response to the pleadings of his sister Electra and at the command of the god Apollo, Orestes has murdered his mother, Clytemnestra, who was wife and murderer of his father Agamemnon. As a consequence, Orestes finds himself tormented by the Furies, hideous, ancient goddesses of the Underworld divinely charged with punishing murders within families.

The Artists and the Collaborators

The Eumenides Project for the Fringe Festival 2016 is born out of a collaboration between Marcia Ferguson of the University of Pennsylvania Theatre Arts Program, and the University’s 2016 Artistic Resident company Sebastienne Mundheim/White Box Theatre.

Dr. Ferguson is an actor, director, writer, and instructor of theatre at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a member of the Medium Theatre company. Sebastienne Mundheim, founder of White Box Theatre, is a multi-disciplinary artist, integrating sculpture, movement, and storytelling.

An earlier version of The Eumenides was performed at the Museum in the Spring of 2016 through the auspices of the Theatre Arts program at the University of Pennsylvania. Participating artists included: Manfred Fischbeck, movement consultant, Patrick Lamborn, original music and sound design. Melissa McNair, Noelle McManus, Anna Decaria, and Rebecca Schedl, White Box Theatre's core studio-makers. The original cast featured Grayce Hoffman, Jonathan D'Rorazio, Doris Hamilton, Olivia Matlin, Aliyah Harris, Connie Kang, Lisa Wang, Ryan Berlin. In this Fringe Festival reprise, Lisa Wang and Olivia Matlin are replaced by Aizhaneya Carter and Sarah Zerod.

About the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. Museum General Admission is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger. Admission to the special exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas (through November 27, 2016) is an additional $5 per person.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.

Photo from the production, by Brooke Sietinsons, 2016.


About the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum’s mission is to be a center for inquiry and the ongoing exploration of humanity for our University of Pennsylvania, regional, national, and global communities, following ethical standards and practices.

Through conducting research, stewarding collections, creating learning opportunities, sharing stories, and creating experiences that expand access to archaeology and anthropology, the Museum builds empathy and connections across diverse cultures

The Penn Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm. It is open until 8:00 pm on first Wednesdays of the month. The Café is open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-3:00 pm and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am-3:00 pm. On Sundays, the Café is open 10:30 am-2:30 pm. For information, visit, call 215.898.4000, or follow @PennMuseum on social media.