FringeArts Blog

Fringe Shows After the Fringe

Posted September 24th, 2018

The Fringe is over, long live the Fringe.

Though the 2018 Fringe Festival officially concluded yesterday, there are still numerous chances to see some Fringe this week. Here’s a selection of the continuing shows:

Humans 
Circa
Ten highly-skilled acrobats, a bare stage, and a stirring journey of what it means to be human. Straddling the borders between circus arts, theater, and contemporary dance, Australia’s bold contemporary circus troupe Circa explores the expressive possibilities of the human body at its extremes.
Presented with Annenberg Center Live and NextMove Dance.
September 28 at 8pm
September 29 at 2pm
More info + tickets

Stories of Refuge
Tania El Khoury
Tania El Khoury and Petra Serhal from Beirut-based Dictaphone Group collaborated with a group of Syrian refugees who had recently arrived in Munich. They provided each person with a discreet camera for a day, the only instructions being to film their lives in Munich and their favourite spots in the city. Interviews with the refugees work as a soundscape over the footage they created. Audiences engage with the films from metal bunk beds, outfitted with mattresses and pillows.
Presented in partnership with Bryn Mawr College as part of ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury.
September 26-29 during gallery hours 11am–5pm
More info

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Goodnight Sweet Fringe

Posted September 23rd, 2018

And flights of angels sing thee to your rest.

See you next year.

In Essence, Things Move: J. Wolfgang Fry talks Quiddity

Posted September 21st, 2018

Ideas form and dissipate. People move and imaginary things travel. Ideas, memes, concepts, and theories all move and grow, some grow old and obsolete, some grow strong and vibrant. What are the migration patterns of imaginary things? What is their essence?

J. Wolfgang Fry asks these questions in his 2018 Fringe show, Quiddity: Migration Patterns of Imaginary Things, which opens and has its sole performance this Tuesday. He spoke to FringeArts about the name and inspiration behind the piece.

FringeArts: Where does the idea for the show come from?

J. Wolfgang Fry: The idea for the show comes from the name of the show, Quiddity: Migration Patterns of Imaginary Things. Originally it was just art speak jargon meant to hold a place, a placeholder concept, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do a show about the movement of ideas.

FringeArts: What does quiddity mean?

J. Wolfgang Fry: Quiddity is a word that means essence, I first learned it reading a Clive Barker novel in which he had named a sea Quiddity, which in the story brought things into the essence of what they were or would become.

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Closing Time: Celebrate Fringe’s End at the Closing Night Party

Posted September 21st, 2018

It’s the closing weekend of the 2018 Fringe Festival and there’s plenty of shows left to see and plenty of reasons to celebrate. This Saturday, after your Fringe show head over to the FringeArts headquarters at Columbus and Race to celebrate like you just made it through three weeks of incredible contemporary art.

Harness your final dregs of energy and dance them out like there’s no tomorrow to Emcee Elroy at the 2018 Festival Closing Night Party!

You may have heard Emcee Elroy dropping the beat at the nighttime after party for Le Super Grand Continental or at FringeA-Thon in June. We’re excited to bring him back for a night of festivities and jamming out back at FringeArts! Join us late night or get your night started with us in Haas Biergarten. Make sure to ask for the ~secret menu~ at La Peg to get their $12 Festival food & drink special!

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Happy Hour on the Fringe: Phyllis Chen & Nathan Davis talk In Plain Air

Posted September 21st, 2018

FringeArts’ signature podcast series Happy Hour on the Fringe is back with International Contemporary Ensemble‘s Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis.

Phyllis Chen at an In Plain Air workshop.

During a residency at Christ Church, composers Chen (known for her work with hand-wound music boxes and toy pianos) and Davis (a percussionist fascinated by the mechanics of instruments) immersed themselves in the sound-making possibilities of the church’s newly installed organ, bells, and open spaces, as well as the history and public role of the venerable institution. The resulting compositions form In Plain Air, presented this weekend in partnership with Christ Church Preservation Trust as part of the 2018 Fringe Festival.

In this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe, the pair chat with hosts Zach and Katy about In Plain Air, the organ that will outlive us all, and Nathan’s security record.

Listen to the episode here.

Performances of In Plain Air will take place on September 22nd at 1pm, 3:30pm, and 6pm, and on September 23rd at 3:30pm and 6pm. Tickets are available at FringeArts.com or through the FringeArts app.

Excerpts from the Manifesto for a Dancing Museum by Boris Charmatz

Posted September 20th, 2018

This weekend’s performances of manger are part of a larger project, the Philadelphia Museum of Dance, copresented by Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design with FringeArts and the Barnes Foundation. The project presents Charmatz’s ideas for a new kind of dance and a new relationship between dance and public. He explains these ideas in his Manifesto for a Dancing Museum, excerpted below.

It seems to me that the designation “Museum, Dancing Museum” could function like a door flung wide open to culture and the art of dancing that we will not change into a sanctuary.

(…) Dance and its actors are often defined in opposition to the arts that are said to be perennial, lasting, static, for which the museum would be the favourite place. But today if one wants to stop obscuring the historical space, culture and choreographic heritage, even the most contemporary, then it is time to see, to make visible and bring alive the moving bodies of a culture which largely remains to be invented. And if one wishes the choreographic tradition to pursue the new technological trends and truly embrace the trans-media space of the contemporary world, then it seems to me that under the designation of “Museum” the artists will be able to have fun and create freely.

To not cut the matter short, ten commandments:

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Fringe Picks for Closing Weekend

Posted September 20th, 2018

Be not troubled, for all things must pass but the end has not yet come. We’ve all had a great Fringe so far and the fun continues. Though many shows have already concluded, some are just beginning.

Here’s so picks for what to see on the Fringe’s final weekend!

manger
Boris Charmatz
Whet your appetite with manger, a delectable work by French choreographer Boris Charmatz (Levée des conflits, 2016 Fringe Festival) that implores audiences to examine the nature of eating, of digesting information, of consuming. In manger (French for “to eat”), he sets bodies in motion not with the eyes, or with the limbs, but with the mouth.
Presented in partnership with Westphal College of Media Arts & Design as part of Philadelphia Museum of Dance.
September 22 + 23 at 8pm
More info + tickets

in plain airIn Plain Air
International Contemporary Ensemble
A 3,000-pipe organ, centuries-old bells as they are heard in the belfry, an orchestra of pipe whistles, community-built music boxes: the sounds of In Plain Air carry the audience through the campus and history of one of the nation’s most historic sites.
Presented in partnership with Christ Church Preservation Trust
September 22 at 1pm, 3:30pm + 6pm
September 23 at 3:30pm + 6pm
More info + tickets

ear whisperedear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury
Tania El Khoury
Working between Lebanon and the United Kingdom, Tania El Khoury meticulously crafts innovative performances and installations that engage the audience in multi-sensory interaction. Unlike more conventional theater and performance, El Khoury’s live art work comes alive through the audience’s interaction with it. An extensive survey of El Khoury’s art, ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury presents five pieces at locations in Old City and at Bryn Mawr College, all of which have performances or gallery hours this weekend.
Presented in partnership with Bryn Mawr College
More info + tickets

Company
EgoPo Classic Theater
Bring your blanket and pillow for a Beckett slumber party. EgoPo remounts their 2009 Fringe hit, which sold out in five cities. An immersive sensory experience, you are blindfolded on your back in the dark, the haunting text whispered in your ear. Free cookies and milk.
September 20 +21 at 7pm + 9pm
September 22 at 3pm, 5pm + 8pm
September 23 at 3pm + 5pm
More info + tickets

Circadium Presents: Autopilot & Galactic Garden Party
Circadium
Double bill: Autopilot is a circus-based examination of how life’s instructions are given, taught, or learned, and how we navigate life with and without those instructions. Galactic Garden Party utilizes juggling, dance, scientific lectures, and theater to show the wonders of Earth, and what lies beyond the atmosphere in the cosmos.
September 21-23 at 8pm
More info + tickets

a PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION (of the EFFECTS of KINESTHETIC OCULAR NEURO-PSYCHOLOGY and its POTENTIAL as an AID in the DISCOVERY of SELF)
Fred Brown / Philly Improv Theater
Your eyes are your window to the world. They are also the world’s window to you. Enter a world of seeing your own mind, as Dr. Rhampon Stietger—using music to keep time—introduces kinesthetic neuropsychology as a tool to unlock deeply imprinted images, feelings, associations, and fantasies.
September 20 + 21 at 7pm
September 22 at 3:30pm + 7pm
More info + tickets

Pillow Talk
The Footlights International Tour Show, Pillow Talk brings together the brightest stars of student comedy, whose assembled forces deliver fresh, witty and downright funny sketches, monologues and songs. You can expect free-flowing hilarity, excellent original writing and side-splitting character comedy, so don’t miss your chance to see this inventive new offering from the group that launched many comedy greats, including Stephen Fry, Sue Perkins, David Mitchell, Richard Ayoade and Mel Giedroyc.
September 20 +21 at 8pm
More info + tickets

Heightened Sight
Heighten your senses with Leslie Elkins of foursome performance and Tap Team Two. Leslie Elkins of foursome performance will accentuate transitional spaces in Embracing the Liminal. Tap Team Two utilizes Hoofing, the original style of tap dance, as a means to educate audiences on the history of tap. Hoofing is an American art form that evolved from the roots of Irish clogging, African dance, and street and social dances of the early 20th century. Tap Team Two will showcase vibrant sounds in Cadence of Color. Get ready to feel provocative images, see in-between states, and hear color spectra.
September 22 at 4pm + 7pm
More info + tickets

Paprika Plains Natalie Fletcher / Jessica Noel
Sisters Natalie Fletcher and Jessica Noel will take you back in time to tell a story of love, loss, and bargaining with the universe inspired by Joni Mitchell’s 1977 album Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. Told through live body painting and dance-theater, with lighting design by John Noel and music by Joni Mitchell. Philly PACK is an artistic home for dance- and theater-loving children and adults, located in South Philadelphia. Philly PACK is proud to welcome visiting artist Natalie Fletcher. Natalie is a Portland-based body-painter who won Skin Wars season 1.
September 21+22 at 8pm
More info + tickets

Darlings Kill Us Please
Good Good Comedy Theatre
The first Fringe production from Good Good Comedy Theatre, Philadelphia’s home for mercilessly unpredictable independent comedy. Darlings: Kill Us Please guts the innards of a full year’s worth of shows from Darlings, Good Good Comedy Theatre’s monthly, fast-paced comedy shit show featuring brand new bits, live music and special guests, and leaves in only the juiciest bits and chunks.
September 20 at 8pm
September 21 at 8pm, 10pm + midnight
September 22 at 2pm, 8pm + 10pm
More info + tickets

Metal & Kind’s Indestructible Flowers
Lily Kind and Mark “Metal” Wong
Metal is unexpectedly soft. Kind is unabashedly sharp. Together, they present a collage of new solo work designed for folks secretly underwhelmed by new solo work. Metal and Kind are both multidisciplinary powerhouses working in and around social and folk dance, devised dance theater, and experimental storytelling.
September 22 + 23 at 7pm
More info + tickets

Shelter
Drip Symphony
Shelter is the story of a group of artists living together in an abandoned theater, brought together by a shared sense of artistic integrity. It follows their lives as they create prolifically while their dreams and delusions grow wild inside their home. The show explores the value of art, the nature of creation, and the power of physical boundaries to shape our realities. Presented by Drip Symphony and Plays & Players, Shelter uses an immersive design where the entire theater is transformed into performance space, and the audience, seated on stage and scattered throughout the house, lives among the action.
September 20-22 at 8pm
More info + tickets

Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline (Music for Children and Other Curious People in the Fringe Guide)
Ants on a Log
Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline tells the musical story of Clio and her sibling Taylor as they strive to organize their town. With the help of a songful community, a dancing pencil, and you, dear audience, they strive for big change, even in the face of some bigger, more powerful people.
September 22 at 11am
More info + tickets

A New Kind of Whole
Paige Zubel & Eleanor Sofer
Written by Paige Zubel and directed by Claris Park, A New Kind of Whole is a surrealistic exploration of identity through sexuality and the relationship between the mind and the body. As Lea navigates the line between what is real and what is a projection of her deteriorating mental health, reality distorts and blurs.
September 20 at 7pm
September 21 at 8pm
September 22 at 3pm
More info + tickets

Tango, Tarantella and Tutus
The Rock School for Dance Education
Exciting, energetic young talent from around the world perform classical and contemporary vignettes that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Alumni from The Rock School go on to join the most prestigious dance companies worldwide. See the dance stars of tomorrow, today!
September 22 at 1:30pm
More info + tickets

Comedy to Kill For: Good Good Comedy Brings a Greatest Hits to the Fringe

Posted September 19th, 2018

Even before the company opened its Center City (Chinatown) theater in October 2016, Good Good Comedy was the leading presenter of new comedy in Philadelphia. Founded by powerhouse comedy team Kate Banford and Aaron Nevins, the company has only continued its rise to the pinnacle of local comedy, attracting local and visiting stand-up performers and hosting popular monthly game show, improv, and sketch shows. For the 2018 Fringe Festival, Good Good Comedy has taken all the best bits from the last year of its monthly show Darlings and combined them into an hilarious sketch revue. Darlings: Kill Us Please opens tonight.

Good Good Comedy Theatre.

FringeArts spoke to Banford and Nevins about the show, the theater, and appealing to audiences who don’t have rocks for brains.

FringeArts: How are things going with Good Good Comedy Theater? What’s excited you most about the space. What has been surprising?

Kate Banford & Aaron Nevins: Everything has been surprising and exciting at Good Good for us. We’re coming up on the two-year anniversary of the theater opening, and in that time, we’ve been named Best Comedy Club by Philadelphia Magazine, we’ve watched the local comedy scene AND local comedy audiences grow exponentially, and we’ve had performances from amazing people like Maria Bamford, Chris Gethard, Aparna Nancherla, Andy Kindler, Julio Torres, and so many others—people whose support of the theater has been incredible and unexpected.

FringeArts: That’s great! So what’s the story with Darlings: Kill Us Please?

Kate Banford & Aaron Nevins: Darlings: Kill Us Please is basically a hodgepodge of all the best bits from our monthly show Darlings at Good Good. It’s ostensibly a sketch show with all of our best and weirdest junk all smashed together.

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In Plain Air Will Close the Fringe Festival on a High Note

Posted September 19th, 2018

The 2018 Fringe Festival signs off this weekend on a high note. And a low note. And all varieties of notes in between. A free multi-movement program by International Contemporary Ensemble, In Plain Air takes listeners around the historic Christ Church campus in five daytime performances September 22 and 23.

Created by composers Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis, In Plain Air celebrates the installation of the brand new C.B. Fisk pipe organ at Christ Church. It features work performed on the impressively huge new instrument, the centuries-old church bells, and all manners of other instruments. It’s the perfect project for Davis, a percussionist fascinated by the mechanics of instruments, whose work brings out the acoustics of sound-making devices and the physicality of playing them. Davis talked to FringeArts about the pieces that make up In Plain Air and the process leading to this weekend’s performances.

FringeArts: How does this project fit into your larger career?

Nathan Davis: I have long been fascinated with instruments, such as the organ, that place intermediary mechanical steps between the performer and the sound production. Ten years ago I wrote a piece for Phyllis called “The Mechanics of Escapement” for toy piano and clock chimes that are played by pulling long cords. And other pieces of mine explore the relationship of distance, separation, and communication. This project takes that one step further: the organ is a vast mechanical instrument. My work here is partly on the components of the machine (air, bellows, valves, keys, etc.) and their correlation with the instruments that the organ emulates.

FringeArts: How does it fit into International Contemporary Ensemble’s mission?

Nathan Davis: The project is closely tied to its multiple missions of creating and commissioning new work, building new audiences, and connection with place.

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Gerald van Wilgen and Love Across Time and Place and Fringe

Posted September 18th, 2018

Gerald van Wilgen (“Gerhardus”) has an eye for a good story. He worked as a journalist in the Netherlands before he moved to the United States. He became an active member of the early 1990s South Street theater collaborative the Brick Playhouse, an institution which helped spawn the careers of dozens of local actors, directors, and playwrights. He moved to Nebraska to get an MA in theater from the University of Nebraska in Omaha; since his return he has produced and directed a variety of Fringe shows under hjs own name and as Ari Flamingo.

Gerald van Wilgen headshot by Christopher Kadish.

His 2018 Fringe Festival production, I 💘 Adriaen (listed in the Fringe Guide as “I <3 AvdD”) is a time-spanning monologue about a scholar who fall who falls for Adriaen van der Donck, an ambitious Dutch lawyer born 400 years ago who had big plans for America. Van Wilgen spoke to FringeArts about the play, which opens tonight at Old Swedes Church in South Philadelphia.

FringeArts: What inspired the show?

Gerald van Wilgen: Van der Donck has always been on my to do list, but I never knew how or what to do with him. This guy was a rebel, but one who fought with his pen. When I interviewed Julie van den Hout for a magazine I work for about her biography of Adriaen van der Donck, she told me she liked him a little bit “too much.” I loved the idea of a scholar falling in love with her own subject. I put the two together and started working on it. When I was in the Netherlands, I visited Adriaen van der Donck’s hometown, Breda, there the story started to crystallize.

FringeArts: How would you describe your style of writing?

Gerald van Wilgen: Someone once described my style as “economic.”

FringeArts: What themes or message are you trying to convey?

Gerald van Wilgen: I’m an unassimilated immigrant living in two worlds simultaneously.

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Cocktail Plays: Recipes for a Great Night of Theater

Posted September 17th, 2018

One morning, a few weeks ago, Sonya Aronowitz sat at a bar in Fishtown, double-fisting cocktails. The executive producer of indie theater company Juniper Productions had good reason: she was tasting cocktails for the company’s 2018 Fringe production, Cocktail Plays, which opens tonight.

Aronowitz sent the four short plays in the production over to Canyon Shayer, beverage manager at Philadelphia Distilling. The experienced bartender shook up four cocktails, one to represent the themes and characters of each play. Cocktail Plays runs September 17-26 in the spartan bar of distillery and each drink contains a spirit made in the copper stills which loom behind Shayer as he describes the cocktails.

For Date Night by Mark Costello, about a woman who’s uncomfortably dressed up for a meeting, Shayer created a sparkling pink drink made with lemon juice, raspberry simple syrup, Bluecoat gin, sparkling wine, and fresh raspberries. “I wanted a redness reminiscent of lipstick,” he says. “It’s about being too classy for a situation.”

For Out of Time by Bill D’Agostino, Shayer favored an “old man’s drink” to represent one of the characters onstage, so he used the distillery’s barrel aged gin, with birch bitters and maple syrup for a twist on the old fashioned.

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Fancy a Tipple? Whiskey Bonanza for Fringe Fans

Posted September 16th, 2018

Founded by actors and theater fans, Twisted Tail supports Fringe fans this month with a discount off the headline event of its Bourbon Heritage Month.

The fifth annual Whisky Bonanza on hursday, September 20, features over 70 whiskeys, a pig roast, bartender competitions, and tasty blues music.

The Whiskey Bonanza runs 7–10pm with a VIP Hour at 6pm with tastings of specialty and rare whiskeys that will not be available during the main event. Tickets start at $60, but Fringe fans get a discounted ticket using code FRINGE at eventbrite.com/e/2018-whiskey-bonanza-tickets-47300906284?discount=FRINGE.

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Of Arms and the Man They Sing: Interview with Donald Nally

Posted September 15th, 2018

The artistic director of contemporary choral group The Crossing, Donald Nally has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and for many seasons at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He’s been music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, chorus master at The Chicago Bach Project, and guest conductor throughout Europe and the United States, most notably with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, the Philharmonia Chorus (London), the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Latvian State Choir (Riga). Along with The Crossing, he won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance with Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century.

This Fringe, Nally and The Crossing bring their singular choral aesthetic to the Fringe for one-night only, in a new program featuring a world premiere by composer Ted Hearne. Nally spoke to FringeArts about Of Arms and the Man.

FringeArts: What inspired the use of the Virgil quote as the title? Do you remember where you were when that idea came about?

Donald Nally: The Park Avenue Armory asked me to develop a program for their ornate historic reception rooms.  Being the Armory, I got thinking about how the military has changed since those rooms were built; how it was a point of honor for the aristocracy that today mostly avoids it at all cost. So here are these beautiful rooms and they are a kind of monument to what we actually do in war: rich older people throw young people at a problem….So, we sing, and we do so about arms and about people: “Of arms and the man I sing.”  And, it’s a journey, so the first line of the Aeneid captures the whole thing well. I liked the program so much I wanted to bring it to the Fringe because you don’t need elegant 19th-century rooms to ask these kinds of questions: life, war, wealth, death, purpose. In fact, the clarity of FringeArts Theater is going to be a great environment for this musical discussion.

FringeArts: What themes or qualities unite the pieces in this program?

Donald Nally: The concert takes a look at life and war and life during war from a number of angles.  Some of it is national pride, some of it is grief, some of it is anger. Of course, I do not know quite what Ted’s new piece will be, but it’s going to fit into this overall theme of how we agree or disagree across nations and continents and what we’re actually doing when we act on those alliances or arguments.

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How to Fringe This Weekend

Posted September 14th, 2018

We’ve had one week of Fringe, how do you feel? FringeArts Blog is tired, hungry, happy, a little bit overwhelmed by all the great shows we’ve seen. But for many performers, Fringe is just getting started. The 2018 Fringe Festival enters its middle weekend with an unrivaled line-up of world-class contemporary performances.

Here’s some of the great work we’re trying to see this weekend.

Caen Amour
Trajall Harrell
Arising from performances at the World’s Fairs of 19th-century Europe and America, the hoochie-coochie presented bastardized, titillating versions of Middle Eastern dance. Informed by the ritualized moves of dance-floor voguing and the Japanese dance-theater tradition of butoh, Caen Amour explores the line between artistic and erotic dance of the past, and imagines how erotic dancing of previous eras would look today, exoticism and spectacle remaining intact. Choreographer Trajal Harrell returns to the Fringe Festival with a performance piece that invites the viewer to step into an unexplored historical imagination.
September 14 at 7pm + 9pm
September 15 at 5pm + 7pm
More info + tickets

The undergird
Meg Foley
Choreographer Meg Foley’s seven-year development of improvisational performance practice culminates in a viscerally affecting four-person work about death and grief as bodily experiences. The undergird is a love letter to what we think has been lost. It is a rhythmic and persistent celebration of where memory and imagination live inside the body and how they are remade real through moving ritual.
September 14 at 6pm + 9pm
September 15 at 3:30pm + 6pm
September 16 at 3:30pm
More info + tickets

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The PINK HAIR AFFAIR Returns, Heartbroken

Posted September 14th, 2018

A collaborative dance company started by UArts grads in 2007, the Pink Hair Affair a series of playful Fringe pieces in the late ‘00s showcasing their choreographic talents. Several of the Pink Hair founders —Annie Wilson, Christina Gesualdi—went on to become key figures of the Philadelphia dance world, but the company lay dormant for the last few years as its members spread across the world, from Oregon to Panama City.

Company director Laura Jenkins recently returned from Los Angeles and has revived the much-loved company for a 2018 Fringe Festival production, The HeARTbreak of a Serial Monogamist, with performances at The Whole Shebang September 17 + 18. The piece deals with the middle stages of grief, that time after the initial shock, when people simply offer the advice of “time will heal”. Jenkins compiled her  experiences with grief—break-ups, moves, career changes, deaths—and turned them into an interactive interdisciplinary work that shows there are tools we can use to help us through the rough times.

She spoke with FringeArts about the project.

FringeArts: What inspired the show?

Laura Jenkins: I moved back to Philly in October 2017 (after living in LA for just under three years). I knew once I got back that I needed and wanted to put on a show again, and I thought the Fringe Festival would be a good way to ease back into the dance scene here. I originally wanted to do a show idea I’ve had with PINK HAIR AFFAIR for almost 10 years now… but life happened. In April of this year, I had a strong desire to do a show based on experiences I was going through, experiences that I’ve been through and little did I know, experiences I was going to go through. It sort of evolved from the need to heal and process grief. Creativity is and was a huge part of my healing process and I felt driven to share it—to normalize this feeling of grief, and to let people know it happens to the best of us.

FringeArts: What themes/messages do you want to convey?

Laura Jenkins: I want to share the grief that we all go through (or will go through). I want to normalize the feelings of despair, depression, feeling lost and alone, feeling crazy and angry, feeling so sad and heartbroken you don’t know what to do. I also want to show that there are ways to deal, tools to use to get your through. To note that this shitty time is important for us to go through — because it’s where we learn, grow and tap back into our true selves or maybe even find ourselves. To stay present during the dark time and not just hide in our bed or fall into a replacement relationship.

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Happy Hour on the Fringe with Donald Nally of The Crossing

Posted September 13th, 2018

FringeArts continues its signature podcast series Happy Hour Hour on the Fringe.

The Crossing. Photo by Becky Oehlers Photography.

In this episode, Donald Nally, co-founder and conductor of The Crossing, joins hosts Zach and Raina to discuss the choral group’s unexpected origins, his brand spanking new Grammy hat, and The Crossing’s Fringe Festival show Of Arms and the Man.

Of Arms and the Man presents an enticing program of choral pieces performed by the 24-voice ensemble under the direction of Nally. In keeping with The Crossing’s mission of presenting new works for choir, the program features a world premiere from 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne—the nation’s preeminent composer of works of social advocacy—and a rare live performance of David Lang’s “depart.” Catch the Festival performance September 16 at 8pm at FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard.

Listen now to the the wide-ranging conversation about the show and Meg’s signature performance technique.

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Digital Fringe LIVE and ongoing!

Posted September 12th, 2018

“Going to the Fringe this week? If so, why not drop in to the Digital Art Showcase?”

So says John Timpane in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This year, Digital Fringe is bigger than ever, with twenty-five shows—games, artworks, films, podcasts, taped theater, and more—available throughout the Festival at fringearts.com/list-view/digital-fringe-2018. The offerings in the 2018 Digital Fringe are presented in collaboration with this  a charitable organization focused on supporting game development and indie game enthusiasts in Philadelphia.Presented by Philly Game Mechanics, the FREE showcase presents selections from the online Fringe in an offline setting one night only, tomorrow night at 6pm, at 16th Street and Spring Garden streets.

“The game-dev scene in Philly is very indie,” Jake O’Brien of Philly Game Mechanics told the Inquirer. “We decided to have a two-week game jam, with the theme of ‘making digital art,’ and several of the pieces at Digital Fringe came out of that.”

Timpane picks out a few of his favorite Digital Fringe shows, including  @hereafter, an “escape-the-room game” played in a chat room; live streamed cooking visit Chez VousR&J, a text-message game based on Romeo and Juliet; How to Dance by Sean Thomas Boyt; PhillytronVisualizationist by Michael Stauffer; Daniel Shumway’s Reset Hard; and Timpane’s “favorite Digital Fringe endeavor,” August in the City, which presents August Wilson monologues in places throughout Philadelphia.

These digital pieces are available online for your exploring, listening, and viewing pleasure. Share links using #DigitalFringe on social media.

This year, Digital Fringe is presented in collaboration with Philly Game Mechanics, a charitable organization focused on supporting game development and indie game enthusiasts in Philadelphia, PA. Stay tuned for details about their Digital Art Showcase during the 2018 Fringe Festival!

FringeArts also partners with Technical.ly Philly throughout the year, an organization dedicated to growing local technology communities by connecting organizations and people through news, events and services. Sign up to receive the latest on innovation from across the Northeast Corridor, including news, events and jobs from Philly, Baltimore, Brooklyn, D.C. and Delaware. Subscribe to the daily Technical.ly newsletter.

Read more of the Inquirer’s picks for the Digital Fringe here, check out all the Digital Fringe offerings here, and find more about the Digital Art Showcase here.

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Where Have All the Black Actors Gone? To Flying Quilt’s Day of Absence

Posted September 12th, 2018

Opening tomorrow at Painted Bride Arts Center (after two free performances for community groups), the thoughtful comedy Day of Absence explores the dilemma of an unnamed Southern town awakening to find all black folk…gone. Who will tend the children? Who will do the menial work? Who really wears the mask? It’s as relevant today as when Douglas Turner Ward wrote it in 1965.

The list of actors performing in Flying Quilt Productions’ Fringe show reads like a who’s who of black actors in Philadelphia: Joilet F. Harris, Cathy Simpson, Brian Anthony Wilson, Anthony Cooper, Steve Wright, Nastassja Baset, Rich Bradford, Kim Brown, Carlo Campbell, Niya Colbert, Walter DeShields, Andre N. Jones, Tiffany Bacon, Renee Lucas Wayne, Olivia Wayne, Lenny Daniels, Eric Carter, Chyna Michele, Jack Drummond, and Lary Moten. FringeArts spoke to Moten, artistic director of Flying Quilt, about his impressive cast and contemporarily pertinent play.

FringeArts: What first moved you about Day of Absence?

Lary Moten: When I first read it, I was in college—called Hampton Institute when i attended, now Hampton University—studying theater. It was 1968 and we were studying the plays that exploded from black playwrights during that turbulent time. Day of Absence struck me so much because it’s a comedy. It showed how all of the anger and frustration, analysis and commentary, could be turned into genuine laughter without casually dismissing the underlying causes, facing those issues unflinchingly. It grabbed me then. Unfortunately, it still grabs us now.

FringeArts: Why did you want to bring it to this year’s Fringe? 

Lary Moten: There is so much turmoil in the U.S. at this moment—people questioning black lives matter, political, social, cultural and economic upheaval—and Day of Absence speaks directly to those issues. And with lots of laughs. Day of Absence is castor oil smothered in honey. As usual in times like this, the best art rises to the challenge of connecting folks with issues that affect their daily lives concretely. That is why i wanted to see this show mounted. Especially during the Fringe. And at the Painted Bride given their history of community work.

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Gimme Shelter: Drip Symphony Returns to the Fringe

Posted September 12th, 2018

Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett are local Philadelphia artists who run Drip Symphony, an experimental performance company now entering its second season. This Fringe, Drip Symphony presents Shelter, the story of a group of artists living together in an abandoned theater, brought together by a shared sense of artistic integrity. Staged using an immersive design where the entire theater is transformed into performance space and the audience, seated on stage and scattered throughout the house, lives among the action, Shelter explores the value of art, the nature of creation, and the power of physical boundaries to shape our realities.

Shelter runs September 19-22 at Plays & Players Theatre (and Barnett also sings with the Grammy-winning ensemble The Crossing in its Fringe show Of Arms and the Man, September 16). Schwasman and Barnett spoke to FringeArts about their artistic process, upcoming production, and views of the Fringe Festival.

FringeArts: What was the inspiration behind Shelter?

Nick Schwasman: I just turned 19. I was sitting around a fire behind a barn, talking to my dad and friends. My dad had recently received a letter from his dad, who is homeless and schizophrenic, and whom I had never met. I was talking about how I wanted to meet him. The idea came to me somewhere in this moment, that any homeless person I saw could possibly be my grandfather, and that’s essentially where it started.

We began writing the script for it back in 2013, in a barn on winter break. We still have scraps from back then, and many of the characters still exist in evolved forms. But it’s changed a lot. We’ve allowed this process to take any twists and turns that appeared, so much had changed. The show is now most strongly inspired by our artist colleagues and ourselves, and the experience we all have trying to navigate a very fraught artistic landscape. It’s about the decisions we make to survive and stay true to ourselves, and the spaces we create in support of those decisions.

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“I’ve lost everything but I managed to save my life”: New Video of Stories of Refuge

Posted September 12th, 2018

Tania El Khoury and Petra Serhal from Beirut-based Dictaphone Group collaborated with a group of Syrian refugees who had recently arrived in Munich, Germany, fleeing the Assad regime and the violence engulfing the country. They provided each person with a discreet camera for a day, the only instructions being to film their lives in Munich and their favourite spots in the city. The resulting interactive installation, Stories of Refuge is on display this month at Twelve Gates Arts as part of the Fringe Festival show ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury.

On opening weekend, videographer Dave Tavani visited the installation to record interviews with some audience members and footage as they experienced the intimate, affecting work.

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