The Rube Goldberg Variations

Thu 4/25 - Sat 4/27 8:00pm
Sat 4/27 2:00pm
Sun 4/28 6:00pm
New Hazlett Theater (6 Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA 15212)

Simplicity, ingeniously complicated.

In a neighborly feud, a small gesture adds fuel to the fire: a parking chair, a noise complaint, a sign placed just too close. As two neighbors face off over their apparent differences, notions of identity clash until a whimsical chain of events reminds them that getting along is better than getting even. Inspiration drawn from the uncanny world of cartoonist, Rube Goldberg merges with J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, as musical and choreographic vignettes create an ingeniously complicated machine that reveals the simplicity of human connection.
Featuring live musical accompaniment by pianist Nathan Carterette, and original compositions and recorded music by Flavio Chamis, Dave Eggar, and Chuck Palmer, this world premiere juxtaposes the classical with the contemporary, bridging two worlds through variations that divide and ultimately unite.
The roles of The Neighbors will be played by Carolina Loyola-Garcia and Mark Conway Thompson. Dancing the roles of The Workers are Isabella Bergamin, Kaitlin Dann, Simon Phillips, Dane Toney, and Sarah Zielinski.


$15 Artists, Seniors, Students, and Teachers
$30 General Admission
$45 Directors Seats
All ticket prices increase by $5 at the door.


Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 8:00pm (with a post-show Q&A)
Friday, April 26, 2019 | 8:00pm (with a post-show Q&A)
Saturday, April 27, 2019 | 2:00pm (Pay what moves you)

About Bach's Goldberg Variations

Written in 1742 and originally performed by harpsichordist, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, the Goldberg Variations is Bach’s only work composed in the variations form. For Attack Theatre's newest work, Latin GRAMMY Award-nominated composer, Flavio Chamis will provide music direction and original compositions to expand on Bach's musical score, performed on piano by Nathan Carterette. New York City-based Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer will also compose short recorded pieces as variations on Bach’s original concept. Interspersed throughout the Goldberg Variations, these recordings provide the soundscape for two neighbors on opposite sides of a fence, unable to communicate, yet longing for understanding.

“After deeply delving into this project, I see the Goldberg Variations as a 32 piece Rube Goldberg musical contraption. There is a permanent flow of musical ideas moving forward, all tracked on a recurring bass line which is the conduit of the whole piece. Each variation carries forward from the previous one, steering at the same time to the next. The marvel of this process is the final task of this chain-reaction-journey: a return to right where we started - the glorious Aria - but then we are the ones forever changed by our Odyssey.”

–Flavio Chamis

About Rube Goldberg

This performance comes on the heels of a five-month artistic investigation of Children's Museum of Pittsburgh's recent exhibition, Rube Goldberg: The World of Hilarious Invention. Through a series of creative movement workshops conducted with museum visitors, Attack Theatre company dancers were able to draw inspiration from the uncanny inventions and imaginative storytelling of cartoonist, Rube Goldberg.

Throughout American history the role of the cartoonist has been to highlight society’s changes and challenges, and to make them accessible to everyone. Rube Goldberg was a master of this. His cartoons were funny, sad, and ultimately humanizing, presenting a fantastical parody of the quest for automation and convenience. The Rube Goldberg Variations will leverage the spirit of Goldberg's convoluted contraptions and satirical social commentary to explore the often-needless complications of human interaction.

Artist Biographies (Alphabetical Order)

ISABELLA BERGAMIN (worker) received her BFA in Dance at Point Park University. She is originally from Westchester, New York, where she studied under Rose-Marie Menes at the Westchester Ballet Center for the Performing Arts. While at Point Park, she had the privilege to perform in works by James Gregg, Stefanie Batten-Bland, Dominic Walsh, and Matthew Powell. Following graduation, she attended the Colorado Conservatory of Dance for Dominic Walsh’s Compass Coaching Project. She joined the Pillow Project, founded by Pearlann Porter, and performed in the project, “Thought Pockets.” Most recently, she joined The Blanket, founded by Matt Pardo and Caitlin Scranton, performing Christopher Williams’ work, “Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins.”

NATHAN CARTERETTE (pianist) has distinguished himself in the concert world, performing a range of works from Elizabethan keyboard music to music written today. His innovative programming has inspired audiences to approach unfamiliar music with open ears, and familiar music with new appreciation. A long-time resident of Pittsburgh, he was heard frequently on WQED 89.3, including a 2015 live-broadcast performance of the Goldberg Variations in the Mr Rogers Studio. Nathan also recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Carnegie Mellon’s Kresge Theatre, and it is now available online and through his website. In 2018, Nathan performed in a 25-city tour with ‘Poets of the Piano,’ a recital series dedicated to narrative themes in piano music. The series explored the effect of immigration on music; artistic encounters that led to re-inventions and new inspiration; ghosts and spirits depicted in music; and expressions of faith. Nathan studied at Yale University and privately in Munich with composer-pianist Dafydd Llywelyn.

MARÍA MACARENA CASTELLÓN (bassist) is a second-generation bassist raised north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2017, Castellón made her professional debut as a member of DK Anderson’s Quantum Truth, at the AmeriServ FloodCity Music Festival. She also appeared in an episode of 91.3 WYEP’s 60 Seconds of Pittsburgh Music with Quantum Truth, and performed at BNY Mellon’s JazzLive Series and the Columbus Jazz & Ribs Festival with the group. Subsequently, Quantum Truth’s eponymous record was released, with Castellón’s playing being reviewed favorably by Jazz Weekly, All About Jazz, Neon Jazz and Raul Da Gama’s Jazz Da Gama. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Technology/Performance from Duquesne University.




FLAVIO CHAMIS (music director and composer), originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, began his formal training in conducting and composition at the Rubin Academy of Music (Tel Aviv University) under S. Ronli Riklis and Zubin Mehta of the Israel Philharmonic. He continued his studies with Martin Stephani in Detmold, Germany, graduating from the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie. He has served as the Music Director of Villa Lobos Ensemble (Austria) and Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra (Brazil). His European engagements have included work with the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Berlin and Nouvelle Philharmonique de Radio France. In 1985, Chamis was named conducting assistant to Leonard Bernstein and led the Israel Philharmonic in preparation for tours of Europe, Japan, and the United States. As a composer, his works embrace a wide range of styles, from solo, chamber, and symphonic pieces, to jazz and Brazilian music. “Especiaria,” a Latin GRAMMY-nominated CD exclusively with Mr. Chamis’ Brazilian Jazz compositions has been released by the Brazilian label Biscoito Fino.

KAITLIN DANN (worker) moved to Pittsburgh from New Hampshire in 2005 to study Modern Dance at Point Park University. Since receiving her BA, she has performed with such local companies as the Pillow Project, Knot Dance, No Name Players during their annual SWAN Day, and Bricolage during their run of STRATA. She spent two seasons with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet where she both choreographed and danced. Kaitlin has choreographed for No Names Players’ productions of ¡Viva Los Bastarditos! (2013) and Evil Dead: The Musical (2014). In her spare time she is a fitness instructor at Club One Fitness. She received her MFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin: Milwaukee. Kaitlin has been dancing with Attack Theatre since 2011.


MICHELE DE LA REZA (choreographer) is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Attack Theatre, now celebrating their 24th season. In addition to founding Attack Theatre with her partner, Peter Kope, Michele danced with Pittsburgh-based Dance Alloy (Mark Taylor, Artistic Director) and was a founding company member of NYC-based PerksDanceMusicTheatre (Rebecca Stenn, Artistic Director), creating and touring throughout the US with both companies for seven years. Michele is the recipient of three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships, Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2007 and the Hardie Educator of the Year award. Her work as a performer, co-choreographer and arts education director with Attack Theatre has received recognition throughout Pittsburgh, nationally and internationally. Michele received her BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and a Master’s of Science in Developmental Movement from the University of Pittsburgh. She is an Associate Teaching Professor of Dance at Carnegie Mellon University.

DAVE EGGAR (composer), a Grammy-nominated artist, has been the music director at Attack Theatre since 2000. He has performed throughout the world as a solo cellist and a pianist. Recent engagements include Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center Festival, the White House, among others. Dave has performed and recorded with artists such as the Who, Evanescence, Josh Groban, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Ornette Coleman, and Breaking Benjamin. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School and Harvard University.


SONJA GABLE (movement invention) received degrees in Dance and Early Childhood Education from Slippery Rock University. In her dance training she has learned from and collaborated with Jump Rhythm Jazz, Tara Madsen Robbins, Teena Marie Custer, Ursula Payne, and Diavolo Dance Theatre. Sonja has taught at Rock Dance Company for Kids and Butler Dance Center. Sonja began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2017 during two productions of Turandot with Pittsburgh Opera and Atlanta Opera.



PETER KOPE (choreographer) is Co-founder and Artistic Director of Attack Theatre. With his partner, Michele de la Reza, he choreographed and performed works for the Avignon Festival (France), the 7th Next Wave Dance Festival (Japan), the Spoleto Festival (USA), Tanzmesse (Germany), and the Broadway production of “Squonk”. In addition to Attack Theatre, Peter was a dancer with Jacob Pillow’s “Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy”, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Alloy, and PerksDanceMusicTheatre. His work with Attack Theatre was featured in Dance Magazine as one of “25 to Watch for 2007,” named “Best Dance Company” (Pittsburgh City Paper 2007-2011, 2016), “Best Dance Performance” (Post-Gazette 2006, 2010, 2011) and received the National Dance Project touring award for “Games of Steel.” Peter is on faculty Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music. 

CAROLINA LOYOLA-GARCIA (neighbor) is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and educator. She works primarily in media arts, including single-channel video art, video installations, video design for theater, digital print-making, and documentary. Her work explores topics of social justice, the dislocated identity that results from colonialism and migration, and complex themes of human existence like relationships, memory, and the tense interaction between economy and the environment. As a performer, she has worked with Quantum Theater; with Mark Thompson and the Renaissance City Winds; with Joan Wagman during New Moves Contemporary Dance Festival; and she leads the Pittsburgh-based flamenco ensemble Alba Flamenca. She is a member of the #notwhite collective, a multidisciplinary arts collective of bi/multi-racial/cultural, immigrant or descendants of immigrants which explores identity, race, and inclusion. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently Professor of Media Arts at Robert Morris University.




CHUCK PALMER (composer) has worked with Attack Theatre since 2009 and built a loyal Pittsburgh audience. He is a talented percussionist, songwriter, producer, and film composer. He has performed with artists such as The Way Of The Rain, Gil Goldstein, RJD2, Frank Ocean, Dr. Ralph Stanley, John Patitucci, Phillip Phillips, Cromeo, among others. He is a native of Columbus, Ohio and a graduate of Capital University, where he majored in percussion under Robert Breithaupt and Eric Paton.



SIMON PHILLIPS (worker) is originally from Macon, Georgia, where he began dance training primarily for recreation. He attended Kennesaw State University where he graduated with Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Dance, receiving the Who’s Who Among American Colleges & Universities award in 2017. He has worked nationally with notable dance companies, including Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Staibdance, GloATL, Brazzdance Miami, Slowdanger, Staycee Pearl Dance Project, and has performed works of Bill T. Jones, Arnie Zane, and William Forsythe. Simon’s career brought him to Pittsburgh, where he has been dancing and teaching with Attack Theatre since 2017.


MARK CONWAY THOMPSON (neighbor), actor/movement theatre artist, has performed in Mummenschanz on Broadway, was a principal soloist for six years with the movement theatre company Le Théâtre Magenia (Paris), has danced with Rudolf Nureyev and Noëlla Pontois (Perpignan, France), and has been a member of the American Dance Ensemble, Tomé Cousins’ Physical Theater Project, and the Ina Hahn Dance Company. He has written seven plays for movement theatre, most recently Kimono which premiered at Carnegie Stage in 2016. Presently he performs a one-man-show entitled Flight From Himself. Mr. Thompson has taught mime and movement for actors at the International Academy of Dance (Paris), Duke University, the University of Brazil, Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park University, Duquesne University, and Colorado College. In 2018, Mr. Thompson directed a workshop of the play Mâhân for the theater company MIlle et Une Scènes in the Paris suburb of Houilles, and he will direct the final staging of the play in 2019. His most recent creation, “Captive,” was presented as part of the 2018-19 exhibition DanceFilm at the Space Gallery.


DANE TONEY (worker) graduated with a BFA in Dance from Point Park University, where he worked with numerous faculty members and guest artists, including Dawn Stoppiello of Troika Ranch and Doug Varone of Doug Varone and Dancers. He trained intensively with Toneta Akers-Toler, founder and artistic director of the West Virginia Dance Company (WVDC). Dane has spent 16 summers with Theatre West Virginia’s Outdoor Drama Company and has performed as a guest artist with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and the WVDC. Dane is a recipient of the 2017 BRAZZY Award, which recognizes two exceptional Pittsburgh dancers each year in honor of Leslie Anderson-Braswell. Dane has been a company member with Attack Theatre since 2008.


SARAH ZIELINSKI (worker) graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Theatre. After graduating she moved to New York City, where she worked with the NYC Metropolitan Opera, Doug Varone, Jessica Taylor of DamageDance, Awakening Movement, ZviDance, Caleb Teicher & Company, Lorena Egan, Michael Mindlin, Gibney Dance GRIT, and Shining Light. Other credits include: National Tour of The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Starlight Express, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and West Side Story as Anybodys. In addition to extensive theatrical training, Sarah is dedicated to teaching and sharing movement studies to all levels through dance, Pilates & other somatic movement explorations. Sarah began dancing with Attack Theatre in 2016.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is this performance appropriate for children? — This performance is appropriate for all ages, including elementary school-aged children. Additionally, we are excited to share this work during a special school-day matinee for students of Allegheny K-12 and Kentucky Avenue School. If you have additional questions about the themes and content of this work, and whether it is appropriate for your family, please reach out to us directly (

How long is this performance? — This performance will be approximately 95 minutes in length, including a 15-minute intermission. There are two acts, each approximately 40 minutes in length.

Where should I park when I visit New Hazlett Theater? — On-street parking is available at no cost after 6pm, Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday. Paid parking is available in the Allegheny Health Network garage for evening events and weekend matinees. To find the garage: Drive past the theater and follow Allegheny Square East as if you were going back out onto East Commons, The Allegheny Health Network garage will be on your left, Pull in and a uniformed parking attendant will collect your fee, Parking in the garage is $7 (cash only). NOTE: The lot will close one hour after the show




The Rube Goldberg Variations is made possible in part by: 

The Fine Foundation

Henry L. Hillman Foundation

Opportunity Fund


Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Rube Goldberg, Inc. a Not for Profit 501c3

Exclusive Media Sponsor:

WQED | 65 Years