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PIT

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Name given to the Purdue Indiana Theatre that gave its first performance in 1964 in the Kettler Hall theatre. The play was Moliere's "The Imaginary Invalid." The theatre group's forerunner was Purdue University's Harlequin Club.  Legend has it that Robert Tolan who had been hired as the director of the new theatre visited the site where Kettler theatre was being built. When he saw it, he said, "What a pit!"  Another legend had to do with the painting of the walls of the theatre black. Frank Kenworthy asked that they be painted black and was told that black walls were not approved by Purdue University. He painted them black anyhow, giving credence to one of Dr. Kenworthy's approaches:  don't ask and beg forgiveness if necessary. The walls remained black. The purpose of a "black box" theatre is for light absorption and the empty room is fitted with flexible overhead lighting. Stages and seating can be set up in a number of configurations. When PIT moved to the new Williams Theatre, the old PIT theatre was renamed the Studio Theatre and continued to be used for productions requiring minimal set design and of an experimental nature. It was the site of the production of "Corpus Christi" in 2001. Many former PIT actors and actresses have gone on to achieve recognition nationally; for example, Sharon Gabet, Julia Buchheit Barr, Maggie McCormick, LuAnn Post, Jerome Grant and Pat Victor. The acronym PIT is now taken to mean Purdue-Indiana Theatre.
Sources:  The Communicator (September 7, 1978), p.5; Current (May 1989), pp15-16; (December 1990), pp. 8-9; (June 1993), pp. 7-10.

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