Experiencing Interruptions?

From the Ripple Tank

With the current political and artistic chaos “firing” traditions and beliefs we value, “From the Ripple Tank – CP4Life” shines the spotlight on the battles that the oldest theatre company west of the Mississippi faces to stay alive. 460 historic photos and video clips illuminate the USF College Players rising from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, riding the thrill of the psychedelic Haight Ashbury, and capsized by the post 9/11 demolition of their treasured theatre by a dollar-driven administration. As one of our 60-plus alums confess, “You never worry that there won’t be enough Bunsen burners in the bio lab, right?” From investment banker (“It allowed me to open up to the experience of founding Rolling Stone magazine”) to Cardiologist (“Selflessness and communicating to an audience is really what’s important and what helped me become a good doctor”), the alums testify to the critical value of an arts education, simultaneously touching souls and infusing careers.

  • Mary Bettini Blank, Tom Blank
  • Tom Blank
  • Jackson DeGovia, Helaine Head, Michael Fields, Deb Hecht, Suzanne Collins, John Lister, Scott Houghton
    Key Cast
    Feature film/TV/Broadway/National Tours/Regional Theatre.... commercial credits include: Die Hard, 40 year old Virgin, Sister Act, Law & Order, Looking, American Experience, King & I , Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Driving Miss Daisy, Cabaret, A Little Night Music, Miracle Worker ...
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 16 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 16, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.78 (16X9 v
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tom Blank

Tom Blank’s work ranges from producing to acting to directing, Broadway to Hollywood to Europe. As Executive Producer of Theatre-on-the-Green, Tom produced several seasons. He served as Artistic Director of the Musical Theatre school of Jandora International Opera Company in Ghent Belgium. Stage work includes NY/LA/National Tours with Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, Rex Harrison, James Whitmore, a favorite being teamed with Margaret Hamilton. As director, he has been at the helm of shows such as “A Funny Thing…Forum”, “Rabbit Hole”, “Grease”, “…Cuckoos Nest” and several world premieres including Ed Mast’s “Time Machine – Love Among the Eloi”. Tom concurrently served as Professor of Theatre for 30 years, having received his MFA in Directing from UCLA, under the tutelage of Michael Gordon (“Pillow Talk”, “Cyrano de Bergerac”). Tom served as College Player President in his senior year, 1971-72. (SAG-AFTRA/AEA)

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Director Statement

Reflecting the innovative spirit of San Francisco, the Gold Rush brought not only dusty miners to San Francisco, but also a pair of adventurous Jesuits, determined to build a center of learning for boys and young men. By 1863, the chrysalis gave birth to the City’s very own theatre troupe. Entering the creative forefront that defines California, the USF College Players continually morphed into new shapes with each new “Gold Rush”. They erected a formal concert hall on Market St. that toppled in the ’06 earthquake, struggled through the depression and two world wars, and emerged stately on Lone Mountain, while echoing the beat generation down in North Beach and accepting (gasp!) female students.
The battleground was firmly embedded in the intersection between the Haight/Ashbury heyday and Jesuitical traditions. But the crowning success, the recognition of the value of the arts as an academic program, was brought to its knees with the trickledown tides of Reaganomics. Defying the anti-arts push, the Players arrived at the millennium as the highest funded student program on campus, only to be gutted by the destruction of their home (the iconic, Gill Theatre) and a newly adopted perplexing hybrid program (Performing Arts & Social Justice) standing in fierce competition.
The vivid historical and theatrical media, painting the memories of alums (surgeons to singers, attorneys to actors) bring to life the importance of the humanities in education. And the bulls-eye is struck when they also come to embrace the vital contribution of arts education in every sector of our society