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Archive for the ‘Presented Fringe’ Category

Explore Macbeth, Third World Bunfight, and Congolese history with these events

Posted September 19th, 2016

This weekend FringeArts and Opera Philadelphia will present Macbeth as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. A reimagining of Verdi’s nineteenth century opera from South African theater company Third World Bunfight, this production brings the classic tale of greed, tyranny, and corruption to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where a brutal warlord, General Macbeth, and his ambitious wife murder the king and unleash atrocities on the crumbling province that they seize. For more info and to purchase tickets click here. Be sure to check out our timeline of Congolese history as well.

In anticipation of this tour de force opera gracing our city as part of its American premiere tour, FringeArts is hosting several ancillary events leading up to and in tandem with its Saturday and Sunday performances, each tackling different contextual aspects of the show with an overall focus on representation. Below you’ll find a rundown of these events. RSVP here. They’re all free, but those that precede performances are only open to ticket holders.

 

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(photo by Nicky Newman)

9/20 @ 6pm:
Panel discussion with members of Macbeth cast
Hosted by WURD’s Stephanie Renée

Join 900AM WURD’s Stephanie Renée at the African American Museum in Philadelphia in meeting the virtuosic cast of Third World Bunfight’s Macbeth. The cast will speak to their own experiences working with classical material, approaching the form of opera, and working with controversial theater maker Brett Bailey.

Stephanie Renée is the host of 900AM’s The MOJO, emphasizing issues of arts and entertainment, cultural identity, education and economics. Renée guides her audience through a daily exercise of finding beauty in the midst of ugliness, hope in the face of strife, and inspiration in moments great and mundane.

At the African American Museum of Philadelphia
701 Arch Street

 

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(photo by Nicky Newman)

9/23 @ 6pm:
Performance Provocations: 20 Years of Brett Bailey and Third World Bunfight
Lecture by Dr. Megan Lewis

Third World Bunfight strives to create innovative, multi-layered, deeply considered performance and installation works that reveal the beauty, the wonder, the darkness and the tragedy of our world, with a main focus on the post-colonial situation in Africa, and historical and contemporary relations between Africa and the West. This lecture from Dr. Megan Lewis will engage the history and work of this stalwart and controversial company and its director Brett Bailey.

Dr. Megan Lewis is a South African-American theater historian and performance scholar concerned with the staging of national identity, gender, and race. She is an assistant professor of theater history and criticism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

At FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Boulevard

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Caught in the Throat: On Romeo Castellucci’s Julius Caesar. Spared Parts

Posted September 19th, 2016

This week acclaimed Italian theater artist Romeo Castellucci will return to Philadelphia (following The Four Seasons Restaurant and On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God) with Julius Caesar. Spared Parts, a re-envisioning of his groundbreaking 1997 production Giulio Cesare distilled to a series of “fragments.” This powerful, visceral work runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Navy Yard, Building 694 as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Daniel Sack was on hand for the original premiere in Bologna back in 2014 and wrote the following essay in response. 


How can we, as Yeats asked us, know the dancer from the dance? Or, for that matter, the actor from the act? Knowing the speaker from the speech presents no such problem. These are the days of speechwriters and teleprompters, but even in those Ancient Roman days of oratorical improvisation, the treatises of Cicero dictated set tropes of persuasion. We have been, and remain, apart from our speech. In the theatre, as always, this division is doubled over. One speaks the speech that precedes and exceeds its vessel – the actor – Shakespeare’s corpse still sound 450 years after the fact. So Artaud wrote with terror about how his voice escaped himself to play a part that did not belong to his whole. Not only because sound cannot stand still or it would cease to be, not only because it must always leave us, but also because the speaking subject does not possess the word “I” it temporarily claims from a common language.

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(photo by Luca Del Pia)

The prophet foretold such a possession of the voice from without. A kind of pre-attic tragic actor, he is reduced to a carrier for the message of those divine playwrights, the gods. He may retain the grain of his voice – those textures particular to a body, a tongue, a throat – but the content belongs to another. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar questions not only the performance of rhetoric but also the disjoined nature of prophecy, a prophecy that visits the dreams of Calpurnia, that stalks the city streets in unnatural omens, that speaks in the mouths of soothsayers – resolutely ignored or misapprehended like all good prophecies (Cicero, the central presence in Castellucci’s first imagining of the play also wrote an extended dialogue On Divination). It asks, then, how power, divine or earthly, speaks through the body of another, that spare but necessary part.

No such speech for the masses in this grand hall at the heart of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna; a host of sculptures surround me like some mute chorus, mythic and familiar characters, Neoclassical fragments of Michelangelo’s David and the Laocoön, reduced to but a head or a father clutching at limbs in place of boys. These parts alone are spared. And yet, they are inversions of the monument. Clearly plaster casts, molded imitations of their more weighty granite originals—theatrical sculptures, perhaps, of accumulation rather than chisel’s negation. Set on pedestals of painted wood, it as if they stood frozen for eternity on a small stage, or what we call “the boards.” They are objects for study and future reproduction. In other words, they are characters in a play waiting for something to happen.

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Mel’s latest project (featuring Mark)

Posted September 17th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, like the one featured below, which we’ve been sharing throught the month. There are only two opportunities left to see this brave and bold performance in its current form, don’t miss out!

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This is a still from Mel’s new piece (with her collaborator Kelly Bond). That’s Mark as an animated “disembodied mountain god head.” —Mel Krodman

Athlete/Aesthete: A look at the costume design in Portrait of Myself As My Father

Posted September 17th, 2016
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credit: Elise Fitte-Duval

In portrait of myself as my father, choreographer Nora Chipaumire stakes out space in the male dominated arena of sport—and fashion. In an interview with FringeArts, Chipaumire speaks about sapology as an aesthetic influence on her work. Sapology is a Congolese fashion trend which gained popularity in the 1960s-1980s. Adherents of Sapology, called sapeurs, repurpose European dandyism to both imitate and differentiate themselves from colonizing cultural forces, while gaining prestige in their community.  Put simply, the sapeur is a Congolese version of the French flaneur. They walk the drab, dusty streets of the Congo-Brazzaville dressed in brightly colored patterns and fabulous textures. Take a look at these photo essays on sapology by Hector Mediavella and the Wall Street Journal

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(photo by Gennadi Novash)

The Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People (La Sape, for short) is based in Congo-Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At La Sape meetings, rival sapeurs gather to show off their latest fashion acquisitions. La Sape is more than a monthly fashion show, however, it’s a gentleman’s society governed by a code of conduct. In the short documentary on sapology embedded below, one sapeur describes the movement as a “way of being, behaving, and dressing.” For most sapeurs, this lifestyle means putting style before more basic needs. They spend money that they don’t have on credit from the government that they can’t repay. But they have little to nothing to lose, and elegance to gain in their extravagant spending.

—Hannah Salzer

portrait of myself as my father
Friday, Sept. 23 + Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7pm
Philadelphia Museum of Art
$29 general / $20.30 member
$15 student + 25-and-under

 

CATCH these performers tonight at BOK

Posted September 17th, 2016

Tonight CATCH—the Obie award-winning, itinerant, rough-and-ready performance series—takes a break from its native Brooklyn to treat Philadelphia to a one-night-only performance showcase, CATCH takes BOK, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Featuring a roster of some of the most daring contemporary performers from Philadelphia and NYC, what they’ll be doing may be a mystery, but considering the breadth and depth of each’s body of work it’s a safe bet that you won’t want to miss it. Also, your ticket includes free beer, so, yeah.

Not convinced? You’re awfully difficult to please. In that case, why not get acquainted with the evening’s lineup?

Brooke O’Harra is a director and performer based in New York. As co-founder of The Theater of a Two-Headed Calf she has developed and directed all fourteen of the company’s productions, including the Obie award-winning Drum of the Waves of Horikawa. In an interview with the Huffington Post, O’Harra remarked, “I have been drawn to theater because of the live-ness, the weird formal codes of storytelling, the strange intimacy that happens inside of a group experience, the vulnerability foundational to the act – the real possibility that something could go wrong – these things make the experience charged.” Get a taste of O’Harra’s work with this excerpt from Room For Cream, Two-Headed Calf’s Dyke Division’s live lesbian soap opera which she conceived, directed, wrote for, and performed in: 

Cynthia Hopkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and internationally acclaimed musical performance artist. Through her songs, albums, and groundbreaking multi-media performance works she intertwines truth and fiction, striving to obscure the distinction between edification and entertainment. “My creative process is a survival technique which alchemizes a combination of inner and outer (personal and socio-political) demons into works of intrigue and hope, for the audience and for myself,” she says in her artist statement. She recently relocated to Philadelphia after twenty years in Brooklyn and has been chronicling the experience with her podcast, Moving to PhiladelphiaSample her stunning musical chops in the video below from her 2013 performance at Celebrate Brooklyn: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4whnVrav9tE

Philadelphia native Kemar Jewel is an award-winning international director and choreographer. They are a founding member and creative director of Xcel Dance Crew, a dance group that incorporates dance and theater and specializes in dance styles such as jazz, hip-hop, African jazz, and, chiefly, vogue. A graduate of Temple University, Jewel gained to national recognition for a 2014 Youtube video, “Voguing Train,” filmed on Septa’s Broad Street Line. Since then Jewel has toured and performed across the US and Europe, including at the recent tribute to voguing icon and pioneer Willi Ninja at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Check out their latest short film, “Vogue Ball Tango,” a spin on Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” that mixes Broadway with Ballroom: 

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A Timeline of Congolese History

Posted September 16th, 2016
Above: From Macbeth (photo by Nicky Newman)

Next week FringeArts will proudly present two performances that engage the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo through radically different perspectives and means of storytelling.

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Faustin Linyekula in Le Cargo (photo by Agathe Poupeney)

Le Cargo is renowned Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula’s first and only solo dance piece, created in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his Kinshasa based performance company Studios Kabako. The piece finds Linyekula adopting the roles of storyteller and dancer in tandem as he leads his audience on an arresting and deeply personal journey to his homeland, a country marked by decades of violence and unrest, in search of a dance from his childhood that has since been erased.

Macbeth is South African company Third World Bunfight‘s reimagining of Verdi’s titular opera. Set in the DRC and centered on brutal warlord General Macbeth and his ambitious wife, the opera brings the classic tale of greed, tyranny, and corruption to postcolonial Africa with the help of its astonishingly talented cast and stunning set designs that make the show just as much a work of visual art as it is of theater. Be sure to check out the many ancillary events related to the show as well.

In anticipation of these exciting performances, dramaturg Meghan Winch has provided FringeArts with a timeline of  Congolese history—from the 13th century to present day—sourced from Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja’s book The Congo from Leopold to Kabila.


1400 – 1885
The Kongo kingdom of Central Africa is a prosperous, major force in the region based in agriculture and trade. 1482 brings the Kongo’s first contact with European explorers. Over the course of the next 400 years, the kingdom breaks up into autonomous chiefdoms.

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King Leopold II

1885 – 1908
King Leopold II of Belgium claims the Congo as his own private territory. The Congo is a major source of rubber and other valuable minerals, and the Congolese people are subject to a number of atrocities in order to harvest and export these resources. Beginning in 1891, several local uprisings are fought and repressed, including the Shi kingdom’s resistance (1900-1916) and the Luba-Katanga kingdom’s rebellion (1907-1917).

1908 – 1960
King Leopold cedes his claim to the Congo to Belgium, making it a colony. The effort to assimilate educated Africans into European culture includes the establishment of the “social merit card” and the “matriculation system,” which amounted to making a tiny Congolese elite into honorary Europeans. Established in 1950 to promote Kongo language and culture, Abako (the Alliance of Bakongo) eventually becomes a political force supporting Congolese independence. Workers’ strikes and anti-colonial protests culminate in a 1959 Kinshasa uprising for independence, leading to more rebellions and war throughout the Belgian-controlled region. Belgium agrees to complete independence for the Congo as of Jun 30, 1960.

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The Embedded Joy of The Elementary Spacetime Show

Posted September 15th, 2016

“How can we look at one of the most terrible things that happens in our society and try to find some hope, some way of thinking about it that doesn’t gloss over it but also doesn’t send us all spiraling into sadness?” writer and composer César Alvarez ponders. We’re discussing the great challenge at the heart of his latest production, The Elementary Spacetime Show, a musical that grapples with teen suicide and the difficult questions of existence that arise in the face of an enigmatic universe. Oh, and it’s also a vaudevillian comedy set in an absurd cosmic game show.

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(photo by Paola Nogueras)

So, how does an artist best address such difficult subject matter with enough gravitas and humor to leave audiences feeling changed for the better? The answer, as Alvarez sees it, lies in the show’s form itself. “No other form has the embedded joy that a musical has, the antidote to that kind of sadness,” he asserts. There’s no doubt that The Elementary Spacetime Show possesses this sense of joy with it’s enthusiastic young cast, uptempo music, and dazzling gameshow set, but in talking with Alvarez it becomes clear just how joyous realizing this show has been. Developed largely in conjunction with the University of the Arts and sporting a cast featuring wildly talented UArts students, the show is the product of a radical experiment in combining education and new musical development. Through its success, Alvarez has helped chart a new path for how great, unconventional musicals like it can get produced.

As an artist-in-residence at UArts, Alvarez and former director of the Brind School Joanna Settle launched Polyphone back in 2015. Conceived as a forum to explore the musical’s creative future, the annual festival creates much needed space for forward-thinking new musicals to develop. Five concert productions are mounted in just six weeks time with the help of UArts students. It’s an intensive process, but one that affords each creative team invaluable time and resources to hone their shows and work on their craft, and it’s time they’ve taken full advantage of. “For every single show there’s been all sorts of new songs written, new things added, huge changes, different big conceptual risks taken, and the students get to be in the room for all of that and be a part of the process,” Alvarez says.

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: The Camp’s at camp

Posted September 15th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them in the coming weeks.

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Welcoming the Philly bus to Camp Bonfire: summer camp for adults. — Benjamin Camp

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Running the Hugging Station on the final day of the first Camp Bonfire, a summer camp for adults co-founded by my brother Ben Camp and Jacob Winterstein (June 2015) — Rachel Camp

Overheard at Gala

Posted September 14th, 2016

Last night Jérôme Bel’s Gala had its Philadelphia premiere as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival and for all those in attendance it was a revelatory evening of unabashed dance from some fantastic local dance lovers. For those who missed it, lucky for you there are still two opportunities to see it, tonight and tomorrow night! In case you need any more enticement just check out what audience members had to say post-show:

“Just so much joy.”

“My heart believes in people again.”

“YAAAAASSS.”

“That was like The Sincerity Project… but for dance.”

“My face hurts I’ve been laughing so much. And you can see I’m still crying. Oh, the guts those people have!”

Gala last night… I think my heart exploded! Seriously, I’ve been so stressed lately, and it was just what I needed.”

Gala was moving (all senses of the word) and a total hoot! The entire show is phenomenal on many levels, and a joy!”

Gala in the 2016 Fringe Festival was one of the most joyful, moving, and essential works of art I’ve encountered in my life. Seriously, Philadelphia. This is not a drill. GET TO THIS SHOW.”

Gala just kicked my ass in the best way. If you can get a ticket, do it. I haven’t felt that much life in a theatre in a while. So much joy in one place.”

“I laughed, I cried, I did all the emotions. It was amazing.”

“I think it moved every audience member body and soul.”

“Oh my gosh, yas.”

“I absolutely love it.”

photo by Johanna Austin

photo by Johanna Austin

 

Pandæmonium’s Desert Recollections

Posted September 13th, 2016

Earlier this summer the devisers of Pandæmonium ventured out into the Mojave desert to build a drive-in movie screen, stage a version of the choreography, and collect footage for the live performance. They’ve kindly shared some photos from this endeavor with us as well as some brief recollections of the experience. Consider it a sneak peek of some of the breathtaking imagery this exciting cinematic dance-theater concert has to offer. More info and tickets can be found here.


“The first thing I did in the desert was watch a copperhead rattlesnake get killed. The man who killed it then made us a drive-in movie screen.” Lars Jan (Director, Creator)

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(photo by Nichole Canuso)

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(photo by Nichole Canuso)

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(photo by Xander Duell)

 

 

“The role of the mannequins was born out there in the desert. We found them on craigslist outside of LA and got to know them for the first time through the filming process. They quickly became an important anchor in the project.” Nichole Canuso (Performer, Creator)

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Mark’s reading

Posted September 13th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them in the coming weeks.

 

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Me reading from my first published chapbook of poems in Washington, D.C. — Mark McCloughan

The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Jenna meets one of her heroes

Posted September 12th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them in the coming weeks.

 

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I took a tour of Rush Hour in New York from one of my heroes, Timothy Speed Levitch, who is pictured here along with the ceiling of Grand Central Station. — Jenna Horton

Music is the perfect metaphor for the way the universe is built: An interview with César Alvarez

Posted September 10th, 2016

The Elementary Spacetime Show is a musical comedy set in a cosmic vaudevillian game show. Featuring up-tempo music that defies easy classification, a healthy dose of the absurd, and a cast featuring UArts students, the show will have its world premiere this week as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival, a co-presentation between FringeArts and The University of the Arts. Composer and writer César Alvarez spoke with us earlier this year about the show’s premise, his inspiration, and his interests in working with music.


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(photo by Eric Wolfe)

FringeArts: Why the title The Elementary Spacetime Show?

César Alvarez: From the script . . .

ELEMENTARY for dealing with fundamentals
SPACE for where you are
TIME for when it all takes place
SHOW because we know you need for us to bear witness to your difficulties.

FA: What was the initial inspiration for the show?

César Alvarez: The show started as a combination of two ideas. I wanted to write a musical about a kid who was trying to figure out why there is “something” instead of “nothing” and would travel around through time and space and meet with scientists and philosophers in a sort of ontological revue. Then I wanted to make a more autobiographical piece about a kid who sat under his desk pretending to go to space and finding himself in a sort of fantastical world where he could work through his problems. My wife and I lost a close friend to suicide in 2013 and both of those ideas morphed into The Elementary Spacetime Show. Our friend’s journey to suicide and the intense depression that followed really informed the course of the piece. The question, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” became very linked to the question, “Why live when it hurts so badly?” aka “To be or not to be”

FA: What was the first song you wrote for the show—was there a particular inspiration?

César Alvarez: The first song I wrote was “When It Starts” which is about a question at the heart of the piece. Why exist? Now that song is at the end which indicates how the show starts over for the next contestant who is making the same choice that Alameda did to take their own life. The second song I wrote was “VOID”, which opens the show. “VOID” really set the piece in motion for me as it created the character of Alameda. That song came out of a really dark moment. I was so sad and dealing with profound weight of grief and hopelessness. I went down to my studio and just wrote the song in one fell swoop. It created a very clear point of dark matter from which the show could emerge.

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(photo by Paola Nogueras)

FA: Can you discuss the set up of The Elementary Spacetime Show—and how you got to that point?

César Alvarez: The show begins with Alameda attempting suicide by overdosing on pills. She collapses and finds herself in a liminal vaudevillian game show, which she has to win in order to finally enter the void. The whole piece is a bit of a catch-22. The more Alameda wants to die, the harder she has to work to beat this ridiculous game. The set up allowed me to create a non-judgmental space to explore an incredibly touchy and complicated topic. Also the game is absurd and I’ve found that the humor opens people up to the darkness of it all.

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Mel’s 2015 Festival

Posted September 10th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them over the coming weeks.

 

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Mel outside Union Transfer before opening Swamp Is On with Pig Iron and Dr Dog

 

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Mel in Swamp is On fringe festival 2015

Fringe at 20 Profile: Nichole Canuso

Posted September 9th, 2016
Above photo:  Nichole Canuso and Dito Van Reigersberg in TAKES (photo by Lars Jan)

 

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Nichole Canuso and Scott McPheeters in The Garden (photo by Peggy Woolsey)

Name: Nichole Canuso

Type of Artist: Choreographer/Performer

Companies: Headlong, Moxie, Pig Iron, Nichole Canuso Dance Company

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:

As Choreographer/Performer:
1997 – Bored on a Sunday
1998 – Enter Night
1999 – Nichole Canuso’s Dance Shorts
2000 – InnerState Thirteen
2005 – We Spar Down the Lane
2006 – Fail Better
2007 – Wandering Alice (in progress)
2008 – Wandering Alice
2010 – TAKES
2011 – As the Eyes of the Seahorse
2012 – Return Return Departure
2013 – The Garden
2016 – Pandæmonium

As co-artistic director of Moxie Dance Collective (with Christy Lee, Heather Murphy, Leah Yeager, Peter D’Orsaneo):
2001, 2002, 2003 – We created group shows of short works. We thought of them as albums, a curated set of overlapping ideas.

As a co-host of The Rockies, Philadelphia’s dance awards:
2004 – with co-hosts Emmanuel Delpech and Lee Etzold we performed as our characters in Pig Iron’s FLOP (Snow, Millie and Fleur Savage)

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Nichole Canuso and Michael Kiley in As the Eyes of the Seahorse (photo by Matt Saunders)

As a performer/company member of Headlong:
1997 – Pop Songs
1998 – St*r W*rs and other stories
2000 – Pusher
2002 – Britany’s Inferno
2006 – Cell
2007 – Explanatorium
2009 – more

Additional performances:
1997 and 1998 – performer/company member with Karen Bamonte Dance works
1999 – David Gammon’s No More Masterpieces.
1997 – 2003 – the cabarets!!! Deb Block would curate those and I would always agree to perform short numbers in the late night cabaret series. Super fun.

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016Pandæmonium – Choreographer/Performer, Working in collaboration with Lars Jan and Geoff Sobelle

First Fringe I attended: 1997 – The highlight was biking around from venue to venue to perform and see shows. I had the feeling that the entire Philadelphia performance community was activated simultaneously in some way or another by the festival.  I was fresh out of college and it was incredibly exciting.  (I also performed that year in a couple shows, including a solo I’d made for myself)

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Makoto’s wife meets his family

Posted September 9th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them over the course of the coming weeks.

 

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Wife meeting her new extended family, Sendai Japan. — Makoto Hirano

Meet the dancers of Levée des conflits’ professional workshop, Pt. 4

Posted September 8th, 2016

On September 9th and 10th FringeArts and Drexel University’s Westphal College will present Levée des conflits, a dance in the round from world-renowned choreographer and dancer Boris Charmatz, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Beginning September 7th, Westphal is hosting a series of lectures and workshops—professional and community—around the performances as part of a series dubbed Boris Charmatz: Dancing Dialogues,capped off with an informal performance from the professional workshop of 24 local dance artists. In anticipation, Dancing Dialogues has been profiling each participant and we’ll sharing their reflections on their craft here. (Pt.1Pt. 2, and Pt. 3)

Rhonda Moore

rhonda moore“I was in a dance school literally for a while where they would just throw all of the leftover people to me. And I was supposed to figure out what to do with these people. And my greatest works have been those people that everyone sort of like dismissed, you know, because I am kind of the person for the underdog. I think that people haven’t ever been spoken to in a certain way or really believe that they can really get through their extremes too. Everyone is not going to be a dancer, clearly. But everyone has a story and if you’re a good teacher you find a way to get that person to get to the deepest level of really expressing what they have to say.”

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Christina Zani

“I feel like I’ve rubbed up against so many different cultures and communities as a performing artist, and as a dancer especially, and a person that lives in the body and does things with other people’s bodies, that is just considered strange and taboo in our culture. And all of that feels very subversive and human to me in ways that other professions, and other art forms as well, don’t get into that place.”

 

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Je Kim

“Q: What does it feel like to be in your own work? A: Home.

In other people’s work, it’s like being in somebody’s house, but I’m just their guest. But I’m mostly me, myself. But not like going to somebody’s house that I don’t know. It’s like going and visiting parents’ house, visiting best friend’s house, visiting girlfriend’s house, you know, just hang out and watch TV.”

 

erin elizabeth carneyErin Elizabeth Carney

“I consider myself to be a writer so usually I’ll journal and I’ll write a lot about certain ideas that I have circulating around that topic. Then usually I’ll try to find a story of a sort, or at least a theme that I’m trying to attack. For the past show that I made, I had so many different images and so many things that I wanted to say. But it didn’t make sense in my mind unless I made a map of it. So I drew a physical map, which then became like the actual odyssey. Like, there needs to be a river that they need to go over, and there will be a mountain. And each of those things eventually became more thematic things. But I drew so many floor plans of places that didn’t exist.”

A James Baldwin Reading List

Posted September 7th, 2016

This weekend FringeArts and The Wilma Theater will present Notes of a Native Song, a rollicking “concert novel” from Stew and Heidi Rodewald as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Inspired by the art and life of writer and activist James Baldwin, Stew and Rodewald, along with their musically formidable band, utilize a mix of music, video, and spoken word as they explore and celebrate Baldwin’s lasting and complex legacy. More info and tickets can be found here.


“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for that reason I insist on the right to criticize her.”

James Baldwin said this in 1955 in Notes of a Native Son. This quotation resonates today. We are in a critical moment in America. I believe the criticism Baldwin calls us to do is shallow if it is entirely external. Baldwin’s words have fueled my vision and mission since I was first handed Go Tell It on The Mountain by my 9th grade English teacher. Baldwin is a voice that can give clarity and meaning to the beautiful struggle that is existence.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

(photo by Earl Dax)

Giovanni’s Room (1956)
The power of this book is its achievement as a novel holding universal themes. I have never lived in Paris or the South of France, but I connected directly with the main character, David. David is white, as are all of the characters in Giovanni’s Room. Baldwin takes you on a journey into the world of France he observed. Baldwin took a bold step by presenting a gay love story between David and Giovanni to the world in the mid-twentieth century. Anyone who reads Giovanni’s Room feels as if the are walking next to each character and taking in every moment. It is a powerful and painful story. The book will make you take on a deep existential and introspective journey. You will be changed forever.

Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
Baldwin takes us into the complex world of John Grimes. He is a young man trying to find his way in life. This search is the foundation of much of the Baldwin’s writings. The book is set in Harlem in 1935, with flashbacks to the days of slavery (which we must remember are not so far behind us). When we meet James Grimes, he is desperate for the love of his father. Themes of religion, race, and coming-of-age are all intertwined into the story. John’s need for his Father’s love reveals a story of an empty search that has complications beyond the son’s existence.

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Festival MVP Brett Mapp’s 2016 Schedule

Posted September 7th, 2016

Opening night of the Festival is tomorrow, can you believe it? It will no doubt be an incredible couple weeks of inspired performances, but if you’re like me you haven’t quite locked down your festival schedule yet. I mean, who has times for puzzles these days? It might seem overwhelming to fit all these amazing shows into just little more than two weeks, but thankfully there’s hope. Fringe Festival veteran, Old City District director of operations, general man about town, and self-described “hardcore Fringer” Brett Mapp has been kind enough to share his 2016 Fringe Festival schedule with us. If you’re looking for some guidance on what to see and how to fit it all together, it can’t hurt to start here.

the chairs

Tomas Dura, Bob Schmidt, and Tina Brock in Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs (photo by Johanna Austin @ AustinArt.org)

9/7
Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs @ 7:30pm

9/8
CITIZEN @ 7pm

9/9
Exile 2588 @ 7pm
Feed @ 8:30pm
Anithero @ 10pm

9/10
Raphstravaganza The Kinetic Experience @ 12pm
Levée des conflits @ 8pm

who would be king

Rebecca Lehrhoff, Rachel Wiese, Jesse Garlick, and Veronica Barron in Who Would Be King (photo by Chris McIntosh)

9/11
Who Would Be King @ 2pm
They’ll Be Callin Us Witches @ 4:30pm
Notes of a Native Song @ 8pm

9/12
The Sincerity Project @ 7pm

9/13
Gala @ 8pm

9/14
I Fucking Dare You @ 8:30pm

9/15
Animal Farm to Table @ 6pm
Wroughtland @ 9pm

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The Sincerity Project Photo Diary: Rachel goes on Birthright

Posted September 7th, 2016

In 2014, an ensemble of seven intrepid Philadelphia performers gathered at FringeArts to present the first of what will be 13 iterations of the same structured performance. The Sincerity Project is a radical experiment in bringing honesty to a space familiar with artifice, a theatrical anti-play ritual from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation that will be recreated biennially for 24 years. FringeArts is proud to present the second iteration of this ambitious endeavor as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Each cast member has shared a collection of photographs from the last two years of their lives, and in anticipation of the premiere we will be presenting a selection of them over the next few weeks.

 

llama

With my sister on our Birthright trip in Israel. Also Dolores the Camel.