A Billion Nights On Earth
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A Billion Nights On Earth

Thaddeus Phillips + Steven Dufala

This holiday season, a show for the whole family.

 

Venue

FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA
+ Google Map
Phone:
215-413-9006
Website:
www.fringearts.com
DescriptionAbout the ArtistsInterviews

Back by popular demand!

“This piece is full of delicious moments of beauty and awe as the actors interact with innovative stage-crafting, light and sound design…[It’s] an adult’s lesson in falling out of reality, into the expansiveness of a child’s imagination, in order to remind ourselves how extraordinary this world truly is.” -Janna Meiring, thINKingDANCE

After a sold-out run met with standing ovations during the 2017 Fringe Festival, A Billion Nights on Earth returns for the holiday season to bring the whole family together for a fantastical experience all can appreciate.

Photo by Johanna Austin

When you become a parent, you are reminded more than ever as you explain to your child about the stars and planets, about the fantastic and sheer shock of how amazing and unexplainable it all is.” Thaddeus Phillips

A  journey into an alternative universe for audiences ages 3 to 99.

A treasured stuffed whale goes missing and a portal to another dimension though the kitchen fridge sets a father and son off on a spectacular quest through space and time. Objects on stage appear to come alive and the father and son must rely on their creativity, and each other, to survive wild landscapes that open like giant pop up books. Taking from classic children’s books, kabuki stagecraft, and spellbinding theatrics, A Billion Nights on Earth is an imaginative dive into the realms of parent–child relationships, exploring their varying perspectives on reality.

Visionary director Thaddeus Phillips and Obie award-winning installation artist Steven Dufala restage their epic of ingenious stagecraft and live action, with a cinematic score by Colombian composer Juan Gabriel Turbay, and staring the real life father/son acting duo Michael and Winslow Fegley.

Directed by Thaddeus Phillips Designed by Steven Dufala Dramaturgy Tatiana Mallarino Music Juan Gabriel Turbay Lighting David Todaro Costumes Jan Avramov Set Engineering Efren Delgadillio Jr. Performers Michael Fegley and Winslow Fegley

 

PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant initiative of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. In its ninth year, PNC Arts Alive challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement. A very prestigious grant, only twenty arts organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region are selected.

“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”

Major support for this project has been provided to Thaddeus Phillips by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. 

A Billion Nights on Earth is commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music, CINEtica and Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental.  The project received additional funding fromThe Wyncote Foundation with residency support provided by Mapa Teatro (Bogota, Colombia) + Buntport Theater (Denver). 

 

 

$25 general / $17.50 member (Click here to join and save 30% on tickets to all shows!)
$10 student + 25-and-under

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About Thaddeus Phillips

Thaddeus Phillips is a theater director, designer and performer originally from Denver, Colorado who is based between North and South America. His inventive and cinematic stagings have been seen Off-Broadway and at theaters and festivals internationally. Recent work includes the adaptation and direction of Ankomsten based on Shaun Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival and a tour of 17 Border Crossings throughout the USA, Europe, and Asia. He began his career doing object puppet performances of Shakespeare. Directed works and creations include: RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE, an action-opera about the last days of E. A. Poe; CAPSULE33 at Barrow Street Theatre; Flamingo/ Winnebago, Whale Optics, THE MeLTING BRiDgE in Philadelphia, and The Earth’s Sharp Edge at La MaMa. In 2004 his ¡El Conquistador! toured the US, Europe and 11 cites in Spain. For his performance as Polonio, he was nominated for at Drama League Award. Phillips’ is a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient and his work has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, and Hewes Design Award. On screen he has played the notorious pilot Barry Seal for MundoFox and appeared in Narcos for Netflix and Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

About Steven Dufala

Steven Dufala is a multidisciplinary artist and musician based in Philadelphia. While he works primarily in collaboration with his brother Billy as The Dufala Brothers. Steven has worked in the theater most recently on Underground Railroad Game at Ars Nova and The Object Lesson at New York Theatre Workshop. With his brother Billy, he received an Obie Award for design with rainpan 43’s machines machines machines machines machines machines machines at Here Arts Center. Along with entire creative team, he received a Bessie Award for design for Geoff Sobelle’s The Object Lesson at BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Steven and Billy co-teach sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and are represented by the Fleisher/Ollman gallery in Philadelphia. Their work is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the West Collection, and private collections.


Interview with Thaddeus Phillips

May 2017. Abridged, read the entire interview on the FringeArts Blog.

FringeArts: How did the title A Billion Nights on Earth come about?


Photo by Johanna Austin

Thaddeus Phillips: The title references a loose idea of every night we have ever had on earth – perhaps not a billion but many many many nights of humanity and all animal life on earth has lived under the stars and looking up wondering what is actually happening and in awe of the awesome beauty of it. When you become a parent, for me you are reminded more than ever as you explain to your child about the stars and planets, about the fantastic and sheer shock of how amazing and unexplainable it all is.

The show is inspired by being a parent and the desire to create not a work for children but a work that would be equally engaging for children and adults. A Billion Nights on Earth is at the same time an adult work for kids and a kids work for adults—or in simple terms, it is for three year olds and surrealists.

FringeArts: Can you describe your set?

Thaddeus Phillips: The instance that brought it all together was the playing with my son at the amazing Astrid Lindgren’s World Park in Sweden—on a playground made from a roof with a window. This image is the basis for our design and the entire show. This roof is a magic box that slides and reveals interior and exterior spaces – as the show is constantly referencing minute details of life and huge questions of existence at the same time. The framework for the performance is greatly inspired from Japanese Kabuki theater—in that each corner of the playing area is activated and able to change slowly and with transparent magic into wildly different locations. There will also be many large scale inflatables.

FringeArts: How will the two performers be encountering the scenic and design elements?

Photo by Johanna Austin

Thaddeus Phillips: Michael and Winslow Fegley are a real father son acting duo. The Fegleys are an acting family based in Allentown and we are very excited to draw on their real relationship to create the father son for A Billion Nights on Earth. We are sending them through a magic portal in the kitchen’s fridge—in a simple quest some late night milk—Winslow is taking to an insane universe where anything is possible. His dad son follows. What is exciting is to play with all the radically different places we can take these two very different characters through—and their totally different reactions to this universe they must navigate. The art elements that are characters include the sliding roof—which will seem alive with a mind of its own, as well as the various inflatable objects—making the design and art objects onstage have equal weight as characters to that of Winslow and Mike.

FringeArts: How does the creative process work with your partnership with Stephen Dufala?

Thaddeus Phillips: Steven is an artist. And I have approached this collaboration with him not as a set designer, but as an artist and using his amazing and playful mind to really create an onstage artwork—in which the stage landscape is created from the his artistic perspective as an installation artist, sculptor and painter. We have done something I have never seen, which is to create a totally black stage design—that will serve as a palette to allow objects of color to pop of the stage in a striking way—it is the contrast between dark and color that we have been playing with the most as well as creating the most fantastical large scale images using the simplest yet surprising means.

 

 


Interview with Michael and Winslow Fegley

September 2017. Abridged, read the entire interview on the FringeArts Blog.

FringeArtsTell us a little about your performance backgrounds.

Michael: I’m a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and have been working professionally for over twenty years. I’ve performed extensively in New York and Philadelphia in works ranging from classical to the avant-garde, including the Off-Broadway production of Small Potatoes.

Winslow: I’ve been doing plays and movies for a while now. Plus my whole family acts, and I watch them working all the time. I’ve learned a lot, and I like working with my dad.

FringeArtsHow much of your real-life relationship have you each brought with you to the stage?

Winslow: A lot, I guess. I mean, he’s my dad.

MichaelA Billion Nights on Earth is quite the fantasy piece, but there are moments of parental frustration that any parent can understand. We also touch on the unfortunate disconnect that happens in our busy world, and the importance of connection for both the child and the parent.

FringeArtsWhat has it been like working with this otherworldly set that constantly evolves as the piece progresses?

Winslow: Awesome, it’s just so much fun to be in so many worlds!

Michael: I also think it’s awesome. Performing on it carries your mind to all new places – you think in new ways, use your body in different ways, and experience things on many levels.