The Colonialists

65 mins


Severin Blake
Thomas Choinacky
MK Tuomanen (6/22)
Izzy Sazak (6/25)

Creative Team

Rebecca Wright (director)
written/created by Applied Mechanics: Severin Blake, Thomas Choinacky, Jessica Hurley, Brett Ashley Robinson, Izzy Sazak, MK Tuomanen and Rebecca Wright.


Applied Mechanics has been making original, immersive theater since 2009. Founded by director Rebecca Wright and designer Maria Shaplin, the company’s inaugural shows took place in apartments (moving all the furniture out and installing fishing villages, prairies, mountain ranges, arctic tundras,) and bars (staging circus performers among the regulars.) These scrappy immersive works, in which audience members were surrounded by stories and invited to move freely about the space, soon gave rise to large-scale immersive experiments: a 26-person historical fantasia of Napoleonic Europe (Vainglorious, 2012&2013;) an invasion play that unpacks out of suitcases touring to over a dozen venues (Portmanteau, 2010;) a punk rock play with music taking over an entire warehouse loft (We Are Bandits, 2014;) a food play serving dinner to 40 within a story of ingredients transforming over time (FEED, 2016;) a densely orchestrated multimedia exploration of hidden histories and received narratives installed in a former auto shop (This Is On Record, 2018.) Over the years, Applied Mechanics has made over a dozen original works, each surrounding the audience with a 360 degree installation set and simultaneously unfolding stories, each created with a radically collaborative process that empowers collaborating artists and attending audiences. Their current project, OTHER ORBITS, is a multi-modal science fiction epic, unfolding in nine episodes over two years.

Applied Mechanics has toured from Texas to Maine, conducted workshops at Microsoft and Turner Broadcasting, performed with Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, worked with students at the University of the Arts and the University of Michigan (among others), been featured in American Theater Magazine, published by TCG, and presented by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, and the Trade School Festival. They are proud members of the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, and work with them to organize actions in support of housing justice across Philadelphia.

Applied Mechanics is the vanguard of experimental performance and radical art-making practice in Philadelphia. They are a major architect of the New Philly Aesthetic and continually empower other artists to impact the Philly and national scenes. Applied Mechanics is Severin Blake, Thomas Choinacky, Jessica Hurley, Brett Robinson, Izzy Sazak, MK Tuomanen, and Rebecca Wright.