Metropolis show page
(with summary and credits)
(magnets, shirts, and mugs)
Extended director’s note
Cast and crew biographies:
I am so excited to have had the opportunity to direct this show! My main reason for wanting to direct Metropolis was to celebrate this spectacularly important piece of film, literary, and cultural history coming into the public domain in the United States, after so much longer than was expected when it was written.
Metropolis — both the book and especially the film — was so hugely influential that it’s one of the foundational blocks upon which modern film (and television), modern science fiction, and modern cultural imagery around exploitation and oppression stand. Because of this, I felt it was important to translate the 1927 film and novel into a different medium, rather than telling a modern story, with modern values, inspired by the original.
(In this translation, for instance, the film’s visual effects and sets become sounds and soundscapes.)
One of the problems of copyright lasting almost a century is that when a work comes into the public domain, its attitudes and values are almost a hundred years old. Many of the cultural tropes reinforced, popularized, or created by Metropolis are really bad, and I am very glad that a lot of them have a weaker hold on our culture now than they did in 1927. But they’re also a part of Metropolis’ influence on the culture and media that followed it. (And some of them, like the Madonna–whore dichotomy (tvtropes, Wikipedia), and the shallow and cartoonish understanding of resistance to and redress of oppression, are central to the story.) Taking the misogyny and gender stereotyping, the notion that class distinctions are natural and just need to be managed properly, and the sex-negativity completely out of the story would result in a more truthful story, but it would be a story that doesn’t explain Metropolis’ place in cultural history. (Our version has a lot less of the fetishization and othering of non-Western cultures, but it has some of that; for instance, a lot of modern English-language references to Yoshiwara are to Metropolis’s funhouse-mirror version, rather than to the historical Yoshiwara district, so I wanted to at least leave a mention of the name in.)
Despite all these problems (and Lang and von Harbou’s own deep failings), the film version of Metropolis is a spectacular and influential piece of art.
Among the cultural staples Metropolis had a huge role in popularizing are:
- Mad Scientists (along with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein)
- Robots taking human jobs
- Robots appearing human and pretending to be human (à la Terminator, Westworld, or The Stepford Wives)
- Evil doubles of good characters (which we can see in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror”)
- Elite exploiters living aboveground, and brutally exploited workers living belowground (although H. G. Wells’ Eloi and Morlocks predate Metropolis)
And the iconic appearance of the robot, or Maschinenmensch, Futura in the film inspired the design for C3PO in Star Wars.
I hope you enjoy our production of Metropolis, and I hope it helps tell the story of how film and science fiction, and the cultures they are a part of, got where they are today.
It was on a cold winter night about five years ago when Jay Sekora and I attended a screening of the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis at The Museum of Industry in Waltham. I often view the world through PMRP eyes, and I left that night with a sprouted seed in my brain about PMRP needing to perform Metropolis as a staged radio drama, somehow, some way. Our car broke down on the way home, and worse, I then learned that Metropolis wasn’t yet in the public domain. But I knew we could wait it out. COVID came, and a group of seasoned PMRP writers formed on Zoom to hash out a spoken script from a silent movie. It took more than a year, yet here we are today. PMRP might be one of the first American theatre groups to adapt Metropolis for the stage, but we won’t be the last. I hope you enjoy.
Cast and Crew Biographies:
- Mel Abrams (Futura/Ensemble, second weekend)
- Simone Agha (Foley Coordinator/Foley Understudy)
- Alex Bazis (Worker/Ensemble)
- Robert Bonotto (Joh Fredersen)
- Chris Cebelenski (Sound Engineer)
- Caroline DeBrota (Poppy/Neele/Ensemble)
- David Dooks (Grot)
- Kitty Drexel (Futura/Assistant Director)
- Joev Dubach (Josaphat)
- Lauren Elias (Lilac/Ensemble)
- Allie Everest (Foley)
- Mare Freed (Co-Adapter, Co-Producer)
- Declan Geoffrion Scannell (Marinus)
- GM Hakim (Slim)
- Jeremy Holstein (Rotwang, Graphic Designer)
- Kamela Hutzley (Hel)
- Livie Keane (Maria)
- Brian Kjersten (Writer)
- Alex LaFreniere (Freder)
- Jacob “Rocket” LaRocca (Sound Designer)
- Jamie Lin (Co-House Manager)
- Kate Mahoney (Deserta/Ensemble)
- Michael McAfee (Writer)
- Tori Queeno (Foley Artist)
- Joanne Robinson (Simon/Driver/Ensemble)
- Elizabeth Ryan (Costume Pieces)
- Jay Sekora (Director)
- Meg Wickham (Majordomo/Ensemble)
- Jaclyn Wilson (Stage Manager)
Mel Abrams (Futura/Ensemble, second weekend) is excited to be joining PMRP in her second show!
Simone Agha (Foley Coordinator/Foley Understudy) is thrilled to be once again making noise for a PMRP production. This is her *mumbles*th show with PMRP but her first with a robot.
Alex Bazis (Worker/Ensemble) is thrilled to join the Post Meridian Radio Players for Metropolis! This is his first acting opportunity in the Boston area. He loves all things Art Deco, German Expressionist, and Old Time Radio! In his free time Alex writes and directs audio dramas through 104 WPR Metro. Check out Wolfwhistle, a surreal horror/drama about radio hosts in 1930s New York City, available on Spotify and other podcast platforms!
Robert Bonotto (Joh Fredersen) has acted with the Sugan, Lyric Stage, Huntington, Hub, and Zeitgeist stage theater companies. He is also a classical composer and illustrator, and works at Harvard.
Chris Cebelenski (Sound Engineer) is a sound engineer and designer with over 20 years of experience in the theater industry. He has worked on a variety of productions, from plays and musicals in regional theater and independent films. He is passionate about using sound to tell stories and create meaningful experiences for audiences.
Caroline DeBrota (Poppy/Neele/Ensemble) is making her radio theatre debut with PMRP after nearly 15 years of stage plays and musicals! She is delighted to explore a new format of theater with an exciting adaptation of such a historically important show, and is happy to be joined onstage by her wonderful boyfriend Shawyoun! Past favorite roles include Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest and Paulette Buonofonte in Legally Blonde: The Musical. PEACHES HUT!
David Dooks (Grot) is thrilled to be making his debut with the Post-Meridian Radio Players! David has also been seen locally on stage at: Quannapowitt Players, TCAN Players, Theatre III, The Concord Players, the Burlington Players, Acme Theater, and the Sudbury Savoyards. David received an undergraduate degree in Theater Arts at Roger Williams College and studied acting in London under James Roose-Evans. When not on stage, David spends his days as a Special Education teacher working with high school students. It’s really just another form of improv! David would also like to thank the Love of his life, Karen for her support and encouragement in his theatrical endeavors, and everything else he does.
Kitty Drexel (Futura/Assistant Director) (she/her/we) is a disabled, queer performing artist and critic living with Brachial Plexus Palsy. Recent credits include Mrs. Stella Livingston in “Light Up the Sky” with Arlington Friends of the Drama and Teresa Neele in “The Lost Days of Mrs. Teresa Neele” with PMRP.
She is the Queen Geek at the New England Theatre Geek.
Abortions are healthcare.
Mrs. Drexel would also like to thank you for looking damn fine tonight. *wink* @newengland_theatregeek
Joev Dubach (Josaphat) is happy to be in his twenty-sixth show with the PMRP! From acting and Foley to sound board op blends, this once New Arrival’s made many great friends.
But Z is as far as the alphabet goes, from beginning to end, a decade of shows. The twenties are roaring and the robots are coming, soon the large language models on our mikes will be humming. The ushers have fallen, the raven’s correct, there’s never more playing, our machinery’s wrecked.
Though maybe, just maybe, if you clap and believe, there’s room after Z, and we’ll get our reprieve. Round the campfire we’ll gather, and say Bloody Mary, these tales of suspense don’t have to be scary. Our future is bright, our journey ends never, our gender-swapped Star Trek will go on forever. Post Meridian playing, Voldar’s locked in his cage, Dropo Claus is exclaiming, “Ho ho ho, hurray!”
Klaatu barada nikto, everybody, and join Joev for improvisational free fitness hilarity with November Project Boston. Just show up!
Lauren Elias (Lilac/Ensemble) ’s selected area acting credits include Hub Theatre’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Much Ado About Nothing, Steel Magnolias, Loves Labour’s Lost, Peter and the Starcatcher (IRNE Award nominee-Best Play/Best Ensemble), Wit (IRNE Award nominee-Best Supporting Actress), Love, Loss and What I Wore, and Lebensraum; Arlekin Player's Witness; Hovey Player's Well; Dream Role Player's As You Like It; The Misfit Artisit Company's The Crucible; The Gold Dust Orphans' Murder on the Polar Express; Central Square Theatre's Body and Sold (staged reading); Happy Medium's Romeo and Juliet; Heart and Dagger's Polaroid Stories (IRNE Award nominee- Best Ensemble); SpeakEasy Stage's workshop production of The Blue Room; Amazing Things' The Great American Trailer Park Musical (EMACT DASH award nominee); and Commonwealth Shakespeare's Othello. Regional credits include Connecticut Free Shakespeare, Act 2 Theater and AlphaNYC Theatre Co. Look for Lauren being confused by grocery shopping and failing at mediation in commercials for Hannaford Supermarkets and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Lauren can next be seen this summer in Hub Theatre Company's Love, Loss and What I Wore directed by Paula Plum. Much love and gratitude to this amazing team for all their hard work!
Allie Everest (Foley) (she/they) is pleased to be joining PMRP for her third show. She was also foley last year in both the Arsene Lupin story, the Seven of Hearts, and The Birds. In addition to her theater work, Allie is an avid seamstress, clothing designer, tie dyer, and advocate for neurodiverse people.
Mare Freed (Co-Adapter, Co-Producer) attended a screening of the Fritz Lang silent film "Metropolis" at The Museum of Industry in Waltham about 5 years ago. In a fit of creative inspiration she exclaimed to her partner Jay Sekora, "We HAVE to turn this into a PMRP radio play!" Alas, it wasn't yet in the public domain. Undaunted, a group of seasoned PMRP playwrights was assembled, and they spent the pandemic turning a silent film into an audio theatre experience. At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2023, Metropolis became public property of the whole world. And now we release the robots.
Mare is the Managing Director of PMRP, and the bulk of her artistic life is spent acting, writing and directing for PMRP and other area theatre groups. At the very core of her heart is Jay Sekora, our Director for Metropolis. They share their home with a pet leech and a cardboard robot puppet who's been to the North Pole more than once.
Declan Geoffrion Scannell (Marinus) is really excited to bring Metropolis to your ears. He performs regularly with the Olde Essex Stage Company; you can see him as Sebastian in their Twelfth Night this summer in Salem and Beverly. This is his fist show with PMRP and his first radio play. He lives in Somerville and works in 3D printing
GM Hakim (Slim) is a professional voice actor who does voiceover work in commercials, video games, animation, audiobook narration, the corporate world, podcasts, and e-learning platforms at www.gmhakim.com. He did his voice acting training and coaching at Abacus Entertainment in New York City, where he also recorded his demos. He studied broadcast and print journalism at Syracuse University, where he had a weekly radio show on WAER-FM for three years. He taught middle school English and theater from 2006-2023, mostly in Montessori schools. When he's not doing voice acting, you can find him writing, playing board games, leading Dungeons & Dragons games as a Dungeon Master, riding his bike, reading, and cooking. This is GM's first show with PMRP.
Jeremy Holstein (Rotwang, Graphic Designer) has had a great time playing a villain again. For the past ten years he has headed the Summer Mysteries for the PMRP, and written over two dozen scripts for the group, including his forthcoming adaptation of "A Study in Scarlet." He is the current Artistic Director for the PMRP, and loves cats.
Kamela Hutzley (Hel) Kamela Hutzley has largely been known as Kamela Dolinova around these here parts, where she previously appeared in 'Sirens of War' for one of PMRP's Tomes of Terror shows and a bit part in The Mask of Inanna. For Theatre@First, she last appeared as the Ghost and one of the Players in Hamlet. She's directed several shows and acted in a handful for that company as well, though she must admit it's been a minute. She played Kathleen Scott in Terra Nova and Franny/Yarrow in What Once We Felt, both for Flat Earth Theatre. She perhaps flatters herself but still likes to think she's best known locally as Kate Brick from 2010: Our Hideous Future: The Musical!, in which she is proud to have had the show repeatedly stolen from under her by the magnificent Jaie Deschene, to whose memory this show is dedicated.
Livie Keane (Maria) is a forgetful actor who always puts her bio in at the last minute. This is either her third or sixth show with PMRP depending on how you count. When not running away from mad scientists, she is a mad engineer.
Brian Kjersten (Writer) has previously written "Filibus: The Mysterious Sky Pirate", which was performed by PMRP in 2019. That means he has now adapted approximately 1.16 silent films into audio dramas. He is excited to see this piece of science fiction history brought to life by his favorite theater group. Brian is grateful to his teacher Peter Littlefield and all his classmates at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education for turning him into a real playwright.
Alex LaFreniere (Freder) is excited to be returning to the stage for his third show with PMRP, having previously appeared in the PMRP productions of Tomes of Terror and Beyond Grimm. In addition to his work at PMRP, Alex has provided voiceover for animation, games, radio plays, and narration. You can find a sampling of his work and his voiceover reel at www.alexlafren.com. He would like to thank his partner Jazz, his cat Kevin, and his family for their love and support.
Jacob “Rocket” LaRocca (Sound Designer) is excited to be diving into the waves of sound design and radio once again for PMRP. When he isn't finessing waves of sound you can find him tinkering with tall bikes, building props and costumes, or fabricating one gadget or another in his workshop. Recently he has been focused on his business selling crafting tools that allow for cutting consistent bevels in sheet materials! (www.rocket-props.com)
Jamie Lin (Co-House Manager) (she/her) is a Taiwanese-American actor, director, playwright, occasional crewperson, and snack fiend. She was last heard as Bassick/Child in PMRP's The Final Problem at Boskone and (mostly) unseen as Stage Manager for Plans 8/9 from Outer Space. Come consume fun snacks & imbibe fun beverages!
Kate Mahoney (Deserta/Ensemble) is delighted to return to PMRP, where previous roles include Pauline Savari in Seven of Hearts, Bobby Ratchit in A Quantum Carol, Paula in Plan 9 from Outer Space, Deirdre in Beyond Grimm, Ensemble in Dracula, Schwartz in The Boy Who Cried Wolfe, Turner in A Scandal in Bohemia, Tadworth in Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, and Enfield in Jekyll and Hyde, after making her debut at the foley table. She has also performed with other local community theaters, the FCT Radio Troupe, and Colonial Radio Players.
Michael McAfee (Writer) has worked with the PMRP in a variety of roles since 2005, most recently directing "3 O'Clock" for the last Halloween show. Classic movies are a passion, and he is working on a book about films with fan followings. He is also currently trying to find a place to produce his first full length theatrical script.
Tori Queeno (Foley Artist) is pleased to be back with PMRP for their TWELFTH show! When they first saw PMRP at Arisia in 2018 they had no idea they'd have a knack for foley sound effects, but now they couldn't imagine their life without making funny little sounds. They would like to thank Jay, Mare, and the whole writing team for the love and hard work that went into this epic show! They also thank their beloved partner, Jon, for keeping them (mostly) sane and healthy and their cat Persephone and gecko Alphinaud for being very cute.
Joanne Robinson (Simon/Driver/Ensemble) Joanne Robinson is at home on the radio having spent 20 years as the announcer on NPR’s From the Top, a national radio program featuring the stories and performances of amazing young musicians. She has a background in theater and communications and currently works as a graphic designer. This is her first show with PMRP.
Elizabeth Ryan (Costume Pieces) had lots of fun playing with flowers, hot glue, and floral tape for this production. She has previously had fun playing with felt, burlap, tinfoil, cotton balls, and hot glue for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. She has also made costumes for Lysistrata, Talley's Folly, Twelfth Night, and others for Theatre@First. She would like to thank Leon and Theo for their assistance with the creative process.
Jay Sekora (Director) has been involved with PMRP as an actor (““The Tell-Tale Heart”, “Junkyard”, “The Birds”) and sound engineer as well as a director. Besides Metropolis, he's directed PMRP's adaptations of “THEM!”, “Night of the Living Dead” (which he also adapted for audio drama), and “Filibus”.
He is grateful to his beloved partner (and PMRP's managing director) Mare Freed for many things, among them getting him back into theater after a many-decades hiatus.
Meg Wickham (Majordomo/Ensemble) has, for eight years, mostly haunted PMRP in an offstage capacity, not unlike a bad penny they couldn’t scrape out of the (MoonPie) cash box. This time, she’s on stage and loud about it!
Jaclyn Wilson (Stage Manager) is back managing the stage (and wrangling voice actors and Foley artists) for the second time with PMRP. Her other credits include Foley and Publicity Director with PMRP, along with a variety of stage managing, acting, directing, producing, and playwrighting roles elsewhere. She's thrilled to be involved with Metropolis, and hopes you enjoy the show as much as she does!