FringeArts Blog

FringeArts Staff Picks for the 2018 Fringe Festival

Posted August 27th, 2018

The FringeArts staff really get to know the shows in each year’s Festival, chatting to the artists, writing about the shows, fielding calls, and making sure everything goes smoothly all Festival long. We asked some Fringers what they’re looking forward too this year.

We work here.

“I’m looking forward to Tania El Khoury’s collection of works ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury. With the intense conversation and policy changes surrounding immigration and asylum in this country, it is easy to forget real people with real stories are impacted. For that reason, El Khoury’s pieces are that much more timely.” —Sabrina Carter, Festival Communications Coordinator

“I am looking forward to Le Super Grand Continental. I think it represents the Fringe spirit so well: art in a non-traditional venue with non-professional artists coming together to create a magical dance party of all ages. It provides such a sense of community and fun, you can’t help but to be filled with joy.” —Melissa Bridge, Director of Finance and Administration

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Location, Location, Location: Plays & Players Theatre

Posted August 26th, 2018

Location: Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place

Neighborhood: Center City

2018 Fringe Shows: Lay Me Down Softly, Salamander, Shelter, White Feminist

Description: Situated on picturesque Delancey Place in one of Philadelphia’s most coveted neighborhoods, Plays & Players is an attractive unrenovated three-story building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Completed in 1912 by architect Amos W. Barnes, the building was used a dramatic school and a try-out theater for Broadway shows under the name “the Playhouse,” making the building one of the oldest theaters in continuous use in the United States.

Theater company Plays and Players (founded in 1913) bought the building in 1922 and continues to produce theater in the charming mainstage space and the smaller 3rd-floor black box, Skinner Studio, which takes its name from the company’s first president,  Maud Durbin Skinner. Next door Quigs, a private club for P&P members, serves beer and cocktails to audiences before and after most shows beneath theatrical wall paintings.u

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Feminism in the Fringe

Posted August 26th, 2018

In the era of #MeToo and the pink hat brigade, it’s no surprise that feminism and the celebration of women and their stories is a recurring theme of the shows in this year’s Festival. These works use different performance forms to reflect on women, feminism, and the modern world.  

Animation Nation
The Women’s Film Festival
The Women’s Film Festival presents an amazing collection of animated films by, for, or about women. Come get a taste of award-winning short films from local and international artists along with a preview of our nine-day festival in March! Bring an open mind with a dusting of imagination!
More info and tickets here

The F Word
Radiant Bloom Productions
What does feminism mean now? Five women from different backgrounds use music to experience the conviction of the movement for women’s rights. Hear the stories of women who fought for equality, join in the songs they sang. Immerse yourself in the ongoing discussions about who gets a place in this movement.
More info and tickets here

For Colored Girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf
Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective
For Colored Girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, Ntozake Shange’s first work, tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society. The choreopoem is an innovative combination of poetry, drama, music, and dance.
More info and tickets here

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Comedy and Improv

Posted August 25th, 2018

Fringe artists are known for keeping audiences on their toes. Laugh out loud at these joyous comedy and improv shows that will leave you smiling and breathless.

An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park
Rose Luardo / Kate Banford
An interactive, questions-encouraged tour of LOVE Park with a completely legitimate, highly respected, and 100% real tour company. At each stop on this mind-bending guided walk through the park, facts will be manipulated and reality will melt. Maybe a bush will talk to you? And maybe that bush invented love. Presented by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
More info and tickets here

Darlings: Kill Us Please
Good Good Comedy Theatre
Darlings: Kill Us Please is the debut Fringe show from Darlings, a collective of Philadelphia’s most celebrated comedic heartthrobs. We’ve gutted the innards of a full year’s worth of shows at Good Good Comedy Theatre and only left in the juiciest bits and chunks.
More info and tickets here

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A Love Affair with Sarah Kane

Posted August 24th, 2018

In the mid-1990s, a young playwright took London theater by storm, producing five intense, provocative, controversial plays before she committed suicide in 1999 aged just 28. Sarah Kane divided critics and audiences, works such as Blasted and Crave dropping like powder kegs on the a complacent theater world. By the mid-200s, she was the most produced new playwright in the world. She’s only received a handful of production in Philadelphia, but Svaha Theatre Collective is trying to change that. After producing Kane’s Crave in 2016, the group return to the Fringe Festival with two works, an adaptation of a Shakespeare work and Kane’s Phaedra’s Love. With charged with, this contemporary adaptation of the Greek play focuses the audience’s attention on the cruelty which underlies human relationships.

Director Elise D’Avella writes about her love affair with Sarah Kane and what she finds appealing about her work:

My first encounter with Sarah Kane was at a production of Phaedra’s Love during the early days of my undergraduate career at the University of Pittsburgh when I was still flirting with theater as a mere acquaintance. It was love at first slice . . . I mean sight! I had never experienced anything like that before. I remember just sitting in my chair long after it had ended; short of breath, a little nauseous, nerves shot, and full to the brim with life. Which sounds cheesy, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. Sarah Kane’s plays have a way of stabbing you in the throat, gut, and groin until you are painfully, viscerally aware of your own humanity. It’s a hell of a trip and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.

As a director, I’m very interested in theater that generates a visceral response over a cerebral one. Although I believe theater should ask questions and produce possibilities, I think the danger of theater that is overly cerebral is that it begins to highlight and deepen divisions between opinions, political allegiances, and identity. Theater that attacks the senses and cuts through the surface to our very roots and what drives us as humans to survive can allow us to approach divisions from a place of understanding, empathy, and recognition.

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Family Friendly Fringe

Posted August 24th, 2018

The Fringe isn’t always adults only! Everyone is welcome at these fun, engaging performances suitable for the whole family.

Chichi Chip (an ode to the Gnarly)
Philly Kerplop
An interactive performance featuring hip-hop dance and a live marching band, taking place in Philly’s iconic LOVE Park. Philly Kerplop’s display of humor and daring physical dexterity will activate the park spaces in ways that feel both familiar and awe-inspiring.
More info and tickets here

FIGMAGO
Meg Saligman Studio
FIGMAGO is part art installation, part room escape, and all parts wonderfully immersive. Enter the mind of a muralist as you explore secret passages and mesmerizing art to discover a mysterious mural that comes to life. YOU become the artist as the story unfolds. Hands-on and phone-free fun for all ages!
More info and tickets here

Garden of Vessels
Sina Marie (I Am a Vessel Youth Initiative)
Welcome to the future of the pop-up garden phenomenon. Imagine a garden where imagination and technology fall in love, cultivating the minds and innate abilities of the youth to a full bloom. Visionary Sina Marie creates an interactive experience. A diaspora from the underground up! We welcome you to…the Garden of Vessels.
More info and tickets here

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Visual Art

Posted August 24th, 2018

Here at the Fringe, we love all types of art, not just performance! Come see this eclectic mix of visual art shows being displayed throughout the city and online.

Artworks Trenton & Common Threads Gallery Presents…
Common Threads Gallery / Artworks Trenton
Exhibitions and programs taking place at Artworks Trenton include two exhibitions, Art of the Counterculture (TPRFM) and Pride and Prejudice (André Terrel Jackson); song craft by Danielia Cotton; and a featured performance by master storyteller Denise McCormack (see above). See website for a breakdown of events.
More info and tickets here

A Stroke of Luck
Tom Luther
A Stroke of Luck is an audio/visual reflection on my experience of having a stroke, and the subsequent recovery process. It combines video, still photography, and audio using generative methods and fixed forms.
More info and tickets here

Color
Ellen Duong
Color is an interactive watercolor effect, non-photorealistic renderer that displays a 3D scene as if it were a watercolor painting with interactive artistic UI tools. This project was originally developed as part of the 2018 Interactive Mechanics Fellowship Program and has been extended.
More info and tickets here

Cycles
William Stallwood
An exploration of visual design through emergent systems, part of the Digital Fringe offerings in the 2018 Fringe Festival. All Digital Fringe shows go live by September 6 and are FREE and ongoing all Festival long.
More info and tickets here

ear whispered

As Far As My Fingertips Take Me. Photo by

ear-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. These five interactive installations and performances take place at sites at Bryn Mawr College and at art galleries in Old City.
More info and tickets here

FIGMAGO
Meg Saligman Studio
FIGMAGO is part art installation, part room escape, and all parts wonderfully immersive. Enter the mind of a muralist as you explore secret passages and mesmerizing art to discover a mysterious mural that comes to life. YOU become the artist as the story unfolds. Hands-on and phone-free fun for all ages!
More info and tickets here

One Hundred Abstracts
Katharine Goodall
This is an exhibition of paintings displayed in various locations throughout the city.
More info and tickets here

Pareidolic Expanses
Orlando Saverino-Loeb
Solo exhibition by Orlando Saverino-Loeb with paintings that stem from an exploration of visual primary sources. “How can I make a painting that eliminates what I want to force on the viewer? I want to give more power to the viewer, because I’ve always thought that the viewer is more important than the painter.”
More info and tickets here

Shelter: A Sculpture Exhibition
Da Vinci Art Alliance / Philadelphia Sculptors
Juried by Elaine Crivelli, this group exhibition features thoughtful and original three-dimensional artworks exploring the idea of shelter.
More info and tickets here

Works on Paper
Da Vinci Art Alliance
A group exhibition, juried by Moe Brooker. While thematically open, this exhibition features the diverse and tactile nature of work with and on paper including drawing or painting on paper; hand-pulled, photographic, or digital prints; collage; and paper constructions. Image: Moe Brooker, Future Memories, mixed media.
More info and tickets here

Fringe is pretty as a picture!

 

2018 Festival Spotlight: Circus Shows

Posted August 23rd, 2018

Contemporary circus is a growing genre in the performing art world, especially here in Philadelphia, and this year, Fringe artists are exploring its potential. Don’t miss these shows that push movement to new extremes!

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.
More info and tickets here

Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow
Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow
Avant-garde performance ensemble Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow presents a veritable filth olympics. Mind and gender-bending spectacle, entertainment guaranteed. You may witness: A demonic clown host! Omnisexual burlesque! Heavy metal standup! Extreme acts of Sadomasochism! An authentic Arabian dance! Some Rock & Roll! Audience participation is not required, but volunteers have a lot of fun. No one bleeds but the performers.
More info and tickets here

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Chuck Schultz Is That Guy Sketching the Fringe

Posted August 23rd, 2018

Who’s that guy sketching in the back of this Fringe show? It’s probably (though not necessarily) Chuck Schultz, a fine art-trained sketch artist. Schultz’s sketches of dance and theater provide a visual review of Philadelphia performing arts year-round and he brings his talents to bear on numerous Festival shows every year.

Schultz recently sketched FIGMAGO, an ongoing mesh of art and dance which runs as part of the 2018 Fringe Festival. He spoke to FringeArts about how his work intersects similarly with different art forms.

FIGMAGO

FringeArts: What’s your background?

Chuck Schultz: I grew up in New Jersey. I lived on a farm. When my parents divorced I lived on the Jersey Shore. I liked to draw people, or super heroes, and when I met another artist in Toms River, NJ, I decided that is what I am: an artist. I first attended Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington and I moved on to get a certificate of fine art painting at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


When I graduated college I tried to weave myself into where artists could find work. I been fortunate to be able to work with author Thom Nickels, photographer Katherine Weber, Thomas Kerrigan at the Kimmel Center, hairstylist Julius Scissor, and writer Chris Munden. I worked with an exceptional couple in Conshohocken: Jim Victor and Marie Pelton, alumni of PAFA. They are making food sculptures that give you an appetite! It is that effect that I am trying to copy.

FringeArts: How did you get into sketching theater?

Chuck Schultz: I always wondered what was happening inside theaters. I would just walk by while getting from point A to point B and I felt there must be something special inside them. When my father died in 2011, I began spending a lot of my time painting in Ocean Grove, NJ, where I met David Bates, a retired actor from the 60s who worked in movies, theater, commercials, and helped start The Muppets with Jim Henson. It was only natural for me to draw what I saw when going to the theater. It made me feel connected to the artists.

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Sorority of Storytelling: Sisters Combine Choreography and Bodypainting in Paprika Plains

Posted August 22nd, 2018

Natalie Fletcher and Jessica Noel are two talented creative sisters, but they’ve never performed on stage together… until this Fringe.

Fletcher, winner of the inaugural season of the body painting reality competition show, Skin Wars, will team up with Noel, a dance-theater artist who directs performance/education space and performance company Philly PACK, in an interdisciplinary storytelling performance inspired by singer Joni Mitchell’s 1977 album Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. Paprika Plains will run September 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. at the Philly PACK garage in South Philadelphia.

Natalie Fletcher bodypainting.

“This collaboration is something we’ve wanted to do for a while, but the timing was never right, until now,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher and Noel spent their childhood in Amarillo on the plains of West Texas and the sisters’ production tells a story of two sisters growing up in West Texas, finding their individual paths, but always coming back together with a common language: love. Lily Blaines-Sussman, a member of the Philly PACK company, will dance as the young dancing sister, and Noel will dance as the adult. At various times throughout the production, the dancers will pause and Fletcher will come in to the performance, painting the dancers, the backdrop, while pushing the story along.

“We are attempting to tell a story with choreography and bodypainting,” says Noel. It’s a truly interdisciplinary Fringe performance: There is also a sculptural installation, theatrical lighting elements, and live music—Philadelphia musician Heather Blakeslee of Sweetbriar Rose will play Joni Mitchell covers as the audience enters.

“We want to transport the audience to a very specific world as soon as they enter,” adds Noel. “The world is Joni Mitchell and paint. Heather and the bartenders will be painted by Natalie before the show starts. The whole project is somewhat of an installation.”

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A Super Grand Interview with Sylvain Émard

Posted August 22nd, 2018

Renowned dancer and choreographer Sylvain Émard’s infectious fusion of traditional line dancing and contemporary dance, Le Grand Continental ®, has been presented at locations around the world, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, South Korea, New Zealand, and Chile. After presenting his show in the 2012 Fringe Festival, Émard is back in Philadelphia with Le Super Grand Continental, an even bigger public dance spectacle.

Presented as part of the 2018 Fringe Festival, Le Super Grand Continental will see a cast of 200 non-professional dancers take over the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, performing all new choreography and eventually inviting the audience to join them as the performance space becomes an open-air dance party. FringeArts talked to Émard about the inspiration for the show, his memories of the 2012 Fringe Festival, and what we should expect this year.

FringeArts: What inspired the first Le Grand Continental®?

Sylvain Émard: As a kid, the first time I danced outside my home was at our church basement where there were line-dancing classes. Maybe that is why I was and still am fascinated by line dancing. To a point where I was often incorporating it (a bit more sophisticated I must say) in my stage work. Then I came up with this idea of choreographing a dance piece that would mix contemporary dance and line dancing. At first I thought that this would just appeal to Montréalers because of the great popularity of line dancing here. To my surprise, I realized that although line dancing is not that popular everywhere, there is a desire for the people to get involved in an artistic project and dance is perfect for that. It has no language limitation. It is somehow universal despite the specificity of the style.

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Happy Hour on the Fringe with Heiner Goebbels

Posted August 21st, 2018

FringeArts signature podcast returns with the first episode in a new series of enthralling Festival-related shows.

Frankfurt-based composer and director Heiner Goebbels has had his work produced around the world including his native Germany, Switzerland, England and New York. He taught for nearly 20 years at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen (1999–2018) and served as president of the Theatre Academy Hessen for twelve years (2006–2018). He was the artistic director of the International Festival of the Arts Ruhrtriennale for two years and and received the first appointment for the newly established Georg Büchner Professorship in 2018.

His works Stifters Dinge and Songs of Wars I Have Seen will be produced in Philadelphia in the 2018 Fringe Festival September 7 –9.

Listen now to the conversation between FringeArts president and producing director Nick Stuccio and world renown composer and director Heiner Goebbels covering Goebbels’ seminal works and long career.

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Shakespeare in the Fringe

Posted August 21st, 2018

No theater is more timeless than the work of Shakespeare. The artists behind these Festival shows honor the Bard of Avon’s legacy with new twists on his immortal classics.  

As You Like It
Indecorous Theatre Productions
Do you like the woods? Do you like crossdressing lesbian princesses? Do you like people who are incapable of expressing their deepest emotions? Then pack a picnic and join us for this unconventional production of Shakespeare’s greatest romantic comedy As You Like It in the gorgeous Spring Gardens Community Garden.
More info and tickets here

Long Trouble
Svaha Theatre Collective
Adapted from William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s Henry VIII, this new work calls attention to the trials and tribulations of Queen Catherine, her daughter Mary, and her lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn.
More info and tickets here

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Something to Chew On: Boris Charmatz on manger

Posted August 20th, 2018

Boris Charmatz subjects dance to formal constraints which redefine the field of its possibilities: a potentially infinite canon of gestures in his 2016 Fringe Festival piece Levée des conflits, inert bodies of children, animated by adult dancers in enfant. The stage is a notepad where he jots down ideas and organic concepts in order to observe the chemical reactions, the intensities, and the tensions engendered in their encounter. In manger, the center of gravity was subject to displacement: how to set bodies in motion not with the eyes, or with the limbs, but with the mouth? Gilles Amalvi talked to Boris Charmatz in 2013 about the ideas behind this delectable contemporary work.

Featured in the 2018 Fringe Festival, manger is presented in partnership with Westphal College of Media Arts & Design as part of Philadelphia Museum of Dance.

Gilles Amalvi: An important starting idea for you was the “not very spectacular” dimension of the action of eating, swallowing. Is this line of thought still relevant?

Boris Charmatz: Absolutely. The creation, as I now see it, increasingly tends towards a form of disappearance: treating food in terms of swallowing it, blotting it out. But then, this calls for careful, precise planning, very unlike the rather raw principle that I had initially envisaged. To tackle the dimension of disappearance, the dimension of blockage, of impediment—in speaking, dancing—I find some subtle, precise mechanisms, bordering on invisibility in order not to just dangle in front of the audience a vision of bodies in the process of ingesting.

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Location, Location, Location: The Adrienne

Posted August 19th, 2018

Are you in the market for a Fringe show? Does it have to be close to some good restaurants? Have some great theater? Great amenities? A quality school catchment?

Welcome to our new series of real estate guides to Fringe venues all around Philadelphia.

Location: The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street (Center City)

Peg! by Kylie Westerbeck at the Adrienne this Fringe!

2018 Fringe shows: Peg!, Pillow Talk, Real America, powerpoints for my friends, Quidity: Migration Patterns of Imaginary Things, a PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION (of the EFFECTS of KINESTHETIC OCULAR NEURO-PSYCHOLOGY and its POTENTIAL as an AID in the DISCOVERY of SELF), Almost Pregnant, The Arcane Mysteries of Vanderslice Manor, Close Your Legs, Honey: A New Musical, Drawn Out, FEEL, Only In Your Dreams, Song of My Self-Care, Villain

Description: Located in the heart of Rittenhouse Square area, Philadelphia’s premiere residential and business district, the Adrienne Theater is a charming yet vibrant three-story performance space. With easy access to public transportation, a parking garage across the street, a myriad of dining options in the immediate vicinity, a wealth of cultural organizations, and the PFS Roxy (movie) Theater on the block, the 2000 block of Sansom Street is the destination of choice for local nightlife.

Named for theater professional Adrienne Neye, the Adrienne has been home to dozens of Philadelphia theater companies, some of which (the Wilma Theatre, InterAct Theatre) outgrew the space including, some of which (Venture Theater, Theatre Catalyst) burned bright and went dark. It’s now the leading center for improv in the city, housing the Philly Improv Theater and ComedySportz Philadelphia.

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How Are You FEELing?

Posted August 18th, 2018

The Fringe wouldn’t be the Fringe without Bobbi Block. The artist and producer has been in EVERY SINGLE Fringe Festival since its foundation in 1997. This year, Block adds two more shows to her impressive Fringe resume: she’s dancing in Sylvain Emard’s Le Super Grand Continental on the Art Museum steps and producing another sure-to-be-a-hit improv theater piece by Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater.  

In FEEL, T&G is asking audiences “How are you feeling” and really wanting to know: they will improvise a show based on the feelings of the audience. To put the audience at ease, they’re offering free massages before every show. Now that feels good!

FringeArts asked Block how she was feeling, and other questions about her upcoming Fringe shows.

FringeArts: How are you feeling today and why?

Bobbi Block: Today? Today I’m feeling joyful and optimistic about my current artistic endeavors. You?

FringeArts: Oh, FringeArts Blog is doing just fine. Why ask audiences that question?

Bobbi Block: Well, first I’ll explain why Tongue & Groove asks that question of each other. For eleven years now, T & G begins every rehearsal and performance with an “Emotional Check-in”—we report how we’re feeling. This accomplishes two goals: 1. It “stirs the pot” of emotional fodder so that real feelings are readily available for us to use as inspiration for our improvised characters and scenarios, and 2. Sharing feelings is vulnerable, and vulnerability and transparency builds trust.

So why ask the audience? We’ve asked the audience so many questions over the years: “What secret are you keeping?” “What do you want to do before you die?” “Who are you?” The answers are written anonymously on cards and used to inspire our improvised work. We figured it was time to ask the most basic question—and possibly most difficult to answer. Most people do not get a lot of practice exercising emotional literacy. We are socialized not to talk about our real feelings—and we assume no one really wants to know. Rarely does someone ask “How are you feeling?” (unless you’re ill); we ask “How are you?” or “How ya doin?” The typical answer is “Fine,” and then we quickly move on, thinking we’ve satisfied our social connection obligation. Even if we’re craving to connect with each other, many of us follow this social norm because we’re afraid to speak the truth.

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Can You Feel the LOVE Tonight? Fringe Comes to LOVE Park

Posted August 17th, 2018

Love is in the air at this year’s Fringe Festival. It’s suspended seven feet off the ground and arranged in an instantly recognizable design. That’s right: Fringe is coming to LOVE Park.

Located in the heart of Center City, the park is home to Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue, which has become a symbol of the City of Brotherly Love and which serves as the photogenic entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Originally laid out in 1965 as part of an urban development project by city planner Edmund Bacon (father of actor Kevin Bacon), the park was designated “JFK Plaza” to honor the assassinated president in 1967. It became better known by the moniker LOVE Park after Indiana’s famous wordmark sculpture was placed there in the late 1970s.

The park became known as a hub for Philadelphians to meet, chat, take a lunch break, go for a dip in the fountain, and hone their skateboarding skills. Situated just across from City Hall, it serves as a haven from the busy streets of the city and a resting point for workers, residents, and tourists. Closed in 2016 for a $26 million redesign, LOVE Park reopened on May 30, 2018, with a brand new look.

To celebrate the grand reopening, FringeArts teamed up with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (with support from ArtPlace America) to present three FREE shows by leading local arts as part of the 2018 Fringe Festival: An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park, Chichi Chip (an ode to the Gnarly), and Same Picture Different Poses.   

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Evalina “Wally” Carbonell and Those We Carry

Posted August 16th, 2018

Known affectionately as “Wally,” Evalina Carbonell is passionate performer and creator—an innovator who creates sensual, inspired, highly physical dance that unearths humanity and frames it with clarity. A principal artist at Roxey Ballet Company, dancing as a principal artist from 2005 to 2011, she joined the internationally active Philadelphia company Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers in 2012. As a solo artist, she has presented nationally and locally, including at the last three Fringe Festivals (Traces of She, 2015; Fore-ign/Fore-out, 2016; Mujeres, 2017).

This year, Carbonell premieres her new work Carry Me, an evening-length dance work for five women dedicated to those we carry, those who carry us, and all that we carry inside. (Before the Fringe you can catch a preview 8/24 at The Gathering at the Sculpture Garden and “Dine with the Dancers” 8/29.) She told FringeArts what she’s carrying and what she hopes to communicate.

FringeArts: What are you carrying right now?

Evalina “Wally” Carbonell: At this very moment I am carrying, “Cain,” my son who is due to be born on November 21. I am also carrying the feelings from the rehearsal I just held; a blend of urgent, energized bursts of equal parts thrill and fluster. Lastly, I carry my head in my hand as I consider my strategy going forward.

FringeArts: How has the experience of motherhood affected your art?

Evalina “Wally” Carbonell: Motherhood has given me an increased appreciation of time, efficiency, creativity, generosity, fear, and flexibility. I have learned the values of improvisation and energetic momentum, as applied to life as well as dance. My art has become both more physically demanding, and emotionally fulfilling. The more I expend, the more I absorb. There is less time to waste and the risks I take feel more weighted.

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Pipeline of Fun: Ants on a Log Reach Kids through Humor and Music

Posted August 15th, 2018

Folk duo Ants on a Log (Julie Beth and Anya Rose) write music for children and other childlike people, songfully advocating for positivity, social justice, and silliness. They have been featured on XPN’s Kids Corner, at the Philadelphia Folk Fest, and on radio stations around the globe. In 2016 the Ants performed their debut musical Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline, using the power of eco-feminist music and humor to encourage families to stay “curious” about alternatives to fossil fuels.

Julie (a music therapist) and Anya Rose (an elementary science teacher) reworked their musical for the 2018 Fringe Festival show Music for Children and Other Curious People, performed on two dates in Fishtown and West Philadelphia. The pair spoke to FringeArts about creating a fun, socially conscious work for kids.

FringeArts: What do you like about creating theater and performing for kids?

Ants on a Log: Ants on a Log gives us an outlet for our silliness, and it’s a fun challenge to create something that is appealing to both children and adults. We love performing for kids because they are excited and curious about everything, which is how we think adults are too, but only in those rare moments when it’s deemed socially appropriate. Silliness aside, theater and music feel really important right now. This is how ideas are spread. It’s no accident that our songs are so catchy: we want you to accidentally memorize how to change the world for the better.

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What’s Going On Underneath: Meg Foley on The undergird

Posted August 14th, 2018

“The goal is to touch without touching—like really feel and be moved to tears among this long landscape of talking about what our bodies are doing, what we imagine they could do, and about death/loss/grief.” Meg Foley

For the last seven years Meg Foley has been experimenting and and refining her improvisational performance practice, “action is primary”. For a year, she paused every day at 3:15pm to dance, wherever she was, embracing the practice’s central tenet to “hold what you are doing at the center of what you are doing, even as slips towards new centers.” After developing the practice individually, she began to investigate how it could be used to make a group dance.

Foley’s entry into the 2018 Fringe Festival, The undergird is a four-person piece which explores the artists’ “felt experiences” of grief and death in a rhythmic celebration of where memory and imagination live inside the body and how they can be remade through movement. FringeArts talked to Meg about her intriguing title, performance practice, and process.

FringeArts: The undergird” is an intriguing title. How did you come up with it?

Meg Foley: I knew I wanted to use action is primary, an improvisational practice I’d been developing and performing at that point for almost seven years, to make a piece about grief and my relationship to mortality/death, which at first I was like “oh duh, it’s about my Dad dying”. And it is, but quickly I realized it was about something much bigger. I started writing early on and a lot of other material—my experience as a parent and of child birth, my relationship with my mother, the feeling of my own skin—emerged.

I knew that I was trying to stay close to something that I was either pulling away from or avoiding; I was trying to move towards the center rather than away. And I think I had an image of cement and rebar and how it’s held together, a little bit like going down into the boiler room or something to get to where all the mechanicals are.

I think a lot about the action and embodied sensation of words and linguistics, and so it was very clear to me that the title of this piece was a noun. Also thinking about something stretching underneath, holding other things up, or a constant underpinning. Because right away when I started working on the piece, I started thinking about time as a primary material and research point and also thought about earth matter and our bodies as part of that, so in that sense The undergird is both sort of biological and emotional/personal in terms of what’s going on underneath and throughout all the time.

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