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‘Marcellus Shale’ play coming to Antioch College

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During Antioch College’s winter quarter in 2016, the performance program will host a unique project in civic engagement and collaborative techniques in theater and performance. “Marcellus Shale,” a play written by Talking Band members Paul Zimet and Ellen Maddow, will be hosted at the college, with performances and an exhibition and panel discussion March 10–13.

“Marcellus Shale” was inspired by firsthand experience Zimet and Maddow had with the impact of fracking on their upstate New York community in 2013. The play moves beyond talking points and into the underlying questions all people face when struggling with life-altering (and possibly life-threatening) decisions: What really matters to you? What would be the last thing that you would give up? What do you consider a good life? Have you lived one? Are you living one now?

Critic and activist Andy Horowitz writes of the play:

“The play offers a nuanced and thoughtful exploration of this divisive and contentious issue. The opposing views of a spectrum of characters – a veteran with PTSD, local farmers who sold their rights, and those who refused, women ‘Prayer Warriors’ from the local church, spectral ‘Men In Suits’, Occupy Wall Street-style radicals – all are given equal weight and complexity. The story is told in such a way that each character has respect and dignity; they struggle to maintain their human connections even as they hold ideologically irreconcilable positions.”

Antioch undergraduate students in Associate Professor of Performance Louise Smith’s devised theater class, as well as students in Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Kim Landsbergen’s ecology class, will take part in public showings as well as panel presentations on the issues and themes of the play. Talking Band members Maddow and Zimet will be in residence at Antioch College Feb. 12–16, offering an open studio on Friday, Febr. 12 and a devised theater workshop open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 13.

For additional information on the upcoming events, or to find out how to participate as an individual or an organization, contact Louise Smith at


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