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Written by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Directed by Deborah Block
February 13, 2020 — March 8, 2020

Theatre Exile - 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

90 minutes

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Season Sponsors Bruce and Giuliana Zallie & Zallie Supermarkets
Honorary Producers Linda and David Glickstein
Associate Producers Gayle and David Smith
Production Sponsor National New Play Network

Featuring Anita Holland, Frank Nardi, Jr., Bi Jean Ngo, and Amanda Schoonover

In this version of a near future society, prospective parents learn within the first weeks of conception which traits their child will have and what behaviors it is likely to exhibit. Two couples want to have a family, but is what they want to make them whole tearing them apart?

A talking stork, lesbian moms, and the power to build your own baby. With rapid advances in reproductive technology today, modern eugenics is science’s Wild West.

“Dynamic, stirring, humorous” – Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey, Broad Street Review

BABEL is produced at Theatre Exile as a part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere.  Other partnering theaters are Unicorn Theatre (Missouri), Good Company Theatre (Utah), Contemporary American Theater Festival (West Virginia), Passage Theatre Company (New Jersey), and Florida Studio Theatre (Sarasota, FL). For more information please visit www.nnpn.org.

BABEL was commissioned by National New Play Network with funding from The Smith Prize for Political Theater.

Thursday, February. 13 7:00 PM (Preview) – SELLING FAST
Friday, February. 14 8:00 PM (Preview) – SELLING FAST
Saturday, February. 15 8:00 PM (Preview) – SELLING FAST
Sunday, February. 16 3:00 PM (Preview) – SOLD OUT
Tuesday, February. 18 7:00 PM (Preview)
Wednesday, February. 19 8:00 PM (Opening Night) – SOLD OUT
Thursday, February. 20 7:00 PM
Friday, February. 21 8:00 PM
Saturday, February. 22 8:00 PM
Sunday, February. 23 3:00 PM (Post-Show Discussion)
Wednesday, February. 26 7:00 PM
Thursday, February. 27 7:00 PM (Post-Show Discussion with family therapist and social work activist SaraKay Smullens)
Friday, February. 28 8:00 PM
Saturday, February. 29 8:00 PM
Sunday, March. 1 3:00 PM
Monday, March. 2 7:00 PM (Industry Night and Post-Show Discussion with Anna Wexler, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, UPENN)
Wednesday, March. 4 7:00 PM (Book Bike in attendance)
Thursday, March. 5 1:00 PM (Book Bike in attendance)
Thursday, March. 5 7:00 PM – SOLD OUT (Post-Show Discussion with Dr. Steven Joffe, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, UPENN)
Friday, March. 6 8:00 PM
Saturday, March. 7 8:00 PM
Sunday, March. 8 3:00 PM


“Bitingly clever, seriously funny, and intriguing from start to finish…”

Rebecca Rendell, Talkin' Broadway

“Dynamic, stirring, humorous” 

Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey, Broad Street Review

“… the show and these performances were downright enjoyable.”

Joshua Herren, Phindie

“…quirky characters, quippy dialogue, and the startling collision between the goofy and the deadly serious.”

Toby Zinman, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“…a captivating piece of theatre.”

Richard Lord, Philadelphia Free Press


Playing God: Jacqueline Goldfinger talks about her newest play

Christopher Munden, Phindie

Playwright, Jacqueline Goldfinger, talks about her National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Babel, her career, and what she has coming up. 

A.D Amorosi, Theater in the Round

Jacqueline Goldfinger talks about her past work, development process for Babel, how Babel became part of the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, and her business Page by Page.

Darnelle Radford, Broad Street Review

Meet a hot Philly playwright — and a really big stork

Jane M. Von Bergen, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Children are the future in new staged comedy.

Larry Nichols, PGN

NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere Of BABEL By Jacqueline Goldfinger Comes to Theatre Exile

Broadway World

LGBTQ productions take center stage during 2020 Philly Theatre Week

Natalie Hope McDonald, Philly Voice

Is intermission dead? Lots of hit musicals and plays are now skipping them.

Ellen Gray, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Interview: Jacqueline Goldfinger, playwright behind Babel

Tom Beck, South Philly Review

Eugenics at the Forefront in Dystopic Play ‘Babel’

Matt Silver, Jewish Exponent

With ‘Babel,’ a Philly playwright to get six world premieres

Howard Shapiro, WHYY

Bi Jean Ngo (Ann) is happy to be back at Theatre Exile. She is a Philadelphia based theatre actor, director, and educator. She holds an MFA from The Actors’ Studio Drama School at New School University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Film and Television from Boston University. She additionally trained at Dell’Arte International, The Suzuki Company of Toga, Shakespeare and Company, and The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski. She has appeared onstage at InterAct Theatre Company, Azuka Theatre, Arden Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Delaware Shakes, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and more. Bi thanks David and Archie for all their love.

Frank Nardi, Jr. (Jamie/Stork) a graduate from The University of the Arts, is returning to Theatre Exile for his third show with the company. He is excited to be working with a cast of some of Philadelphia’s most celebrated theater artists.  Regional: Buzzer (Neighbor/Theater Exile), Lydie Breeze Trilogy (Randolph’s Son/EgoPo Classic Theatre), Ready, Steady, Yeti, GO! (Goon/Azuka Theatre), Tommy and Me (Young Tommy/Theatre Exile), Dionysus was such a nice man (Jaimie[understudy]/Wilma Theatre). Performed in 11 operas as a Supernumerary with The Philadelphia Opera Company. Winner of the 2018 BroadwayWorld.com award for Best Supporting Actor in a play for Philadelphia Theater in ‘Tommy and Me.’ GO BIRDS! www.franknardijr.com

Anita Holland (Renee) is a performance artist, deviser, theatre maker, avid mover, and children’s book author. They are building a creative family in Philadelphia. Anita is thrilled to be back at Theatre Exile and has appeared on stage at Quintessence (company member), InterAct, Flashpoint, Orbiter 3, PolyGlamourous, Philadelphia Artists Collective, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, CCTC, StageWest, People’s Productions, Pioneer Theatre Company. They’ve created original roles in collaboration with Ninth Planet, Headlong Dance Theater (incubated artist), Swim Pony, The Painted Bride, Annie Wilson, and Applied Mechanics (Company Member). Hailing from the exotic states of Utah, Iowa, and New York, Anita has had the honor of studying at the University of Utah. When not onstage you’ll find Anita learning from the youth, making silly voices, playing games, and getting down on the dance floor. Enjoy! www.theanitaholland.com

Amanda Schoonover (Dani) is thrilled to be back home at Exile for her 9th production with the company! Amanda is a two-time Barrymore Award recipient as well as being a Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program Artist in Residence at 1812 Productions and an F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Finalist. Regional: Arden; Azuka; Theatre Horizon; Pig Iron; Lantern, EgoPo and Simpatico. Film/Television: Do No Harm opposite Phylicia Rashad and We Need to Talk with James Maslow. Look for her in AMC’s upcoming Dispatches from Elsewhere with Jason Segel and Sally Field. Follow her on Instagram @amandabethschoonover

Deborah Block (Producing Artistic Director/Director) has been a consistent figure in the Philadelphia arts community for over 30 years as a dramaturg, producer, curator, choreographer, educator and a director. She has received much recognition for her professional and educational work including receiving the Independence Fellowship in the Arts and the Albert Benzwie Award for playwriting. She received her MFA at Temple University where she taught for nine years. Prior to that she taught at Rowan University, University of the Arts, and was a teaching artist in many K-12 programs.  She is one of the founders of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe (now FringeArts) and was the program director for ten years. She is currently on the board of Theatre Philadelphia and has sat on many local and national panels. A sampling of her previous affiliations include Brat Productions, Theatre Ariel, Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival, The Wilma Theater and the CEC.  Deborah has been with Theatre Exile since 2006 and assumed the position of Producing Artistic Director in 2013.  For Exile she has directed Among the Dead, Sing the Body Electric, Guards at the Taj, SmokeRed Speedo, Cock, The English Bride, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Iron, Hunter Gatherers, dark play or stories for boys, Roosters and collaborated on Hearts & Soles. Much love to Doug and Josh.

Colin McIlvaine (Set Designer) is a Philadelphia-based, Barrymore nominated scenic designer named as one of American Theatre Magazine’s 20 People to Watch.  Recent credits include: St. Joan (Delaware Theatre Company), Salt Pepper Ketchup (Interact Theatre), Among the Dead (Theatre Exile).  Colin’s recent associate design credits include: Daddy (The New Group), Thunderbodies (Soho Rep), Pipeline (Lincoln Center).  In addition to his freelance career, Colin is lectures for Villanova, UPenn, UArts, and Temple University.  B.A. University of Maryland; MFA Scenic Design Temple University. www.colinmcilvaine.com

Drew Billiau (Lighting Designer)is a freelance lighting designer based in the Philadelphia area. Recent designs include Inflatable Space at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Arturo Ui at the Lantern Theater and the Samsung Exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Upcoming projects include a new lighting mural Electric Philadelphia
in collaboration with artist David Guinn, Othello at the Lantern Theater and Niceties at Interact. Drew has designed numerous shows for such companies as Jacobs’ Pillow, New York Theater Workshop, The Joyce, Vail International Dance Festival, Opera Philadelphia, Vancouver Opera, BalletX, Pennsylvania Ballet, Wilma Theater, Portland Ballet, Lucidity Suitcase, New Paradise Laboratories, Theater Exile and The Lantern Theater. Art installation designs include – The Electric Street, Electric Toronto, Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens and the Los Angeles Ice Cream Museum. Drew is currently the Director of Design & Technology at Opera Philadelphia and an Associate Designer with
the corporate/industrial lighting firm Fine Design Associates,inc.

Ariel (Liudi) Wang (Costume Designer) is a freelance Costume Designer and Makeup Designer. She came to the US from Beijing, China for graduate school and achieved her MS in Communication Management and MFA in Costume Design at Temple University. Her recent credits include Costume Designs for Sunset Baby, Ready Steady Yeti Go at Azuka Theatre, Among the Dead at Theatre Exile, Cry It Out at Simpatico Theatre, Medea at Hedgerow Theatre, Fishskin Trousers at Inis Nua Theatre Company, Original devised play In America: That is to Say Nowhere at Rowan University, Godspell, The Stinky Cheese Man at Camden County College, and Our Town, The Odyssey at Temple University.

Elizabeth Atkinson (Sound Designer & Composer) is delighted to be working with Theatre Exile again.  Liz is currently based in Philadelphia, after many years in Pittsburgh where she was Resident Sound Designer at the City Theatre Company.  Her freelance career includes regional theatre credits at The Wilma, Arden Theatre Company, Inis Nua Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Hartford Stage.  She is a faculty member at Swarthmore College, and previously at Point Park University and Carnegie Mellon University. Liz has also had the honor of exhibiting at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 Prague Quadrennials.

Missy Furth (Props Master)

Samantha Dugan (Stage Manager) (she/her) is happy to be back at Theatre Exile for her second season! When not working with Exile, Sam spends her time working in the worlds of opera and dance, as well as pyrotechnics. Recent credits include Madama Butterfly (Portland Opera), Denis & Katya (Opera Philadelphia), Vail Dance Festival, and Phillies’ XFINITY Fireworks. Temple University Class of 2016. Proud member of AEA & AGMA.

Alice Hakvaag (Assistant Director) Alice Hakvaag is so excited to be working with Theatre Exile! An alum of the Temple University Theatre Program, she has worked internationally as an actor, director, sound designer, and playwright. Some of her favorite credits include directing Fixed for the Shoebox Festival, serving as Assistant Director on Tommy! for the Tokyo International Players, and directing @Giselle, Love Fran for ENAensemble. Her newest play, Atrytone, recently premiered as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and she currently can be seen playing Tybalt and the Nurse in Indecorous Theatre Production’s Romeo and Juliet. Many thanks to Deb and Jacqueline!

Carter O’brien Ford (Production/Facilities Manager) started as a teen fellow at the Hedgerow Theatre and continued his theatrical education at Gloucester County Institute of Technology in their Performing Arts-Acting Program. Since then he has received a BBA in Arts & Entertainment Management from Pace University-NYC, directed Blood Knot here in Philadelphia and the first U.S. workshop of Rotterdam in NYC. As a technical director he started with numerous student productions in Philadelphia and NYC before moving onto the Atlantic City Ballet Tour, Frigid NY, and Soho Playhouse. He still tours as a lighting designer, workshops the plays he writes, and performs as a storyteller & improviser. He’d like to thank Theatre Exile for accepting him into their family and his family for accepting… well, keeping him in their… well, his family. Thanks!


Jacqueline Goldfinger is a Philadelphia playwright and dramaturg. She curates Page By Page
( patreon.com/pagebypage ), a resource for theater-makers, and teaches playwriting and dramaturgy in the graduate theater program at Temple University. She won the Yale Drama Prize, the Smith Prize, Barrymore Award, Brown Martin Award, and others. Her work has been developed and/or produced at theaters including: National Theatre/London, Wilma Theatre, Arden Theatre, Azuka Theatre, Theatre Exile, Simpatico Theatre, PlayPenn, Court Theatre/New Zealand, Kennedy Center, La MaMa, New Georges, The Barrow Group, Florida Studio Theatre, Disquiet/Lisbon, Perseverance Theatre, and Seattle Public.