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Archive for the ‘SoLow Fest’ Category

For A Good Time Call SoLow Fest

Posted June 15th, 2016

mike durkin 2Have you ever feared being the only one who shows up? To a party, a performance, a meeting? Mike Durkin wants you to be the only audience member. His latest work, For A Good Time Call, which debuts at SoLow Fest, has no time or location. June 16–24, you can call Mike at any time, you are given a task, and you meet up. “This is not a passive audience experience, this is an immersive, active and engaging experience from the moment you call in, through the physical meeting up, and the moment afterwards,” Durkin explains.

The weekend the Pope visited Philadelphia Mike Durkin was on a date with a person who proposed that Mike do a performance piece where people call him up and he answers questions, even offering that it should be called For A Good Time Call. “I responded, ‘That’s a stupid idea,’” Durkin remarks. “Needless to say the date didn’t go so well.” Months later, the idea still alive in his brain, Durkin did a workshop version of For A Good Time Call in the winter where he explored various neighborhoods in the city and sculpted “performances” in them. “I was interested in observing every inch of the neighborhood: its architecture, the people the live/work/play there, the conversations, the history, the development, the past-present-future of these locations,” says Durkin. And the title, For A Good Time Call, a play on the iconic bathroom stall graffiti soliciting sexual acts, grew on Durkin. He thought about creating intimate experiences about having a good time and exploring the city.mike durkin

Durkin walks the line between art and the mundane by questioning what performance is when you have an audience of one. “Does eating some water ice in Bella Vista while coloring in a coloring book and chatting about gentrification count as performance?” he muses. What constitutes a sign of life more than interaction with another person? Durkin gives his audience members the chance to learn about another person, themselves and their communities through these guided interactions while maintaining the intimacy of a one-on-one conversation.

Mike’s phone number is 267-343-2009.

 

For A Good Time Call at SoLow Fest
Mike Durkin
June 16–24

2016 Shows

—Emily Dombrovskaya

Layers of Onion Dances at SoLow Fest

Posted June 10th, 2016

“After slicing bags of onions, I still hadn’t cried. For most this would be a good thing, but for me, it was disappointment.”—Talia Mason

In preparation for her SoLow Fest performance, Onion Dances, Talia Mason chopped onions, attempting to cry while talking about family memories and associations with onions. “I was interested in it because of how onions make people cry and allow for vulnerability,” Mason explains.talia mason poster

Mason’s piece draws inspiration from a Headlong Performance Institute (HPI) exercise, a constellation, in which students create a work based on collections of objects that interest them. The unpeeled whole onion which Mason chose for her constellation became the starting point for a semester of intense performance making the result of which debuts at Headlong Dance Studios June 17th, 18th and 26th. Similar to the structure of an onion, the use of onions has multiple layers in Mason’s work. “They are central in my research but they also live on the periphery as part of the landscape of the piece,” she describes.

In the spirit of the SoLow Fest theme Signs of Life, Talia says, “Onion Dances is about my family stories and our family’s collective memory of history.” The piece is as much about childhood as it is about adolescence, adulthood, and the universal experience of learning and coming to terms with understanding death. In Onion Dances Mason incorporates play, dance, song, and storytelling.

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Mood Music and Mind Control at SoLow Fest

Posted June 8th, 2016

musictolaugh1Music accompanies modern life, whether it’s a new band your friends like, the on-hold music of doctor’s office or half your office going to see Beyoncé last Sunday. But what happens when music takes control?

“In the digital age, we are inundated with the subliminal effects of music and media. Being affected by these stimuli is a part of our modern life that we take for granted,” says physical theater artist Lesley Berkowitz, co-creator of Music to Laugh To, a clown show set to premiere at The Whole Shebang June 16th as part of SoLow Fest.

Hank Curry was reading the dramaturgy notes for a Fringe show last year, and he read that Muzak was designed to stimulate productivity in the work place. The notion that music was “scientifically” designed to have manipulative effects fascinated him, inspiring him to approach Lesley with the idea of a clown show. Hank and Lesley researched early Muzak and watched silent film era clowns, exploring people’s desire to control others through music. The music for Music to Laugh To was composed with the intention of imitating the Muzak style. (The composer, Andy Thierauf, is also performing a solo concert called The Post-Modern Percussionist in SoLow Fest.) As for the show’s title, Berkowitz and Curry were searching for something that could evoke the essence of mood music albums of the 1950s. “This one made us laugh,” they explain.

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