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Posts Tagged ‘Fringe at 20’

Fringe at 20 Profile: Dito van Reigersberg

Posted September 23rd, 2016
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Dito Van Reigersberg in Zero Cost House (photo by JJ Tiziou)

Name: Dito van Reigersberg, sometimes Martha Graham Cracker

Type of Artist: Actor/Cabaret Performer

CompanyPig Iron Theatre Company, Co-Founder

This is a partial list of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Cafeteria, Pig Iron, 1997 (First Fringe!) – Charlotte the cafeteria lady
The Lorca Cycle, Pig Iron, 1999 – Federico
Shut Eye, Pig Iron, 2001 – Clark
Hell Meets Henry Halfway, Pig Iron, 2004 – Henry
Isabella, Pig Iron, 2007 – Angelo
Welcome to Yuba City, Pig Iron, 2009 – Tom White/Joaquin
Takes, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, 2010
Oedipus at FDR Park, 2010, – Messenger
Twelfth Night or What You Will, Pig Iron, 2011 – Orsino
Zero Cost House, Pig Iron, 2012 – Present Okada
Pay Up, Pig Iron, 2013 – Scene 21

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: I’m mostly watching this year but then closing the festival with a Martha Graham Cracker show at FringeArts on the 24th of September, with some special guests I’m very excited about. I’ll also be doing sprints to prepare for scaling the steep seating risers of the FringeArts theatre. I have lovingly dubbed those FringeArts stairs “the K2 of alternative theatre.”

First Fringe I attended and highlight: I moved to Philly just in time for the first Festival in 1997.  During that first Fringe I remember meeting the incredible members of Headlong Dance Theater and New Paradise Labs, who by now have become lifelong friends (I think Whit McLaughlin let us Pig Ironers watch a dress rehearsal of Gold Russian Finger Love, a sort of James Bond fantasia which was deliciously odd and unforgettably beautiful); I guess that was the moment I realized that, as the Talking Heads might say, “this must be the place.”

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from Cafeteria (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First Fringe I participated in: So when we arrived in Philly in 1997, we had rehearsed all summer at Swarthmore College to make a wordless piece about the American life-cycle called Cafeteria. The piece is set in junior high, a corporate and then a retirement home cafeteria, and all the dramatic action in the show is told in movement. We had no audience in Philly, no sense of what kind of reach the Fringe might have, and also we had this new, weird, hard-to-categorize piece to try to sell. Thankfully we were veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe, so we shamelessly flyered for the show all over town like mad people and hoped for the best.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Manfred Fischbeck

Posted September 21st, 2016
Above: Direction of Harmonization (photo by Bill Hebert)

 

manfred-fischbeckName: Manfred Fischbeck

Type of Artist: Multi Media Dance Theater, Artistic Director

Company: Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in: All Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater shows as Artistic Director

Fringe show I participated in for 2016VIBRATO: 3 Solo Dances – Artistic Director, performer (music and spoken word)

First Fringe I attended: I can not remember, I was there from the beginning of time

First Fringe I participated in: Daedalus, as dancer/performer

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Vibrato (photo by Dominique Rolland)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I believe it was Interspace at the Painted Bride with Kenshi Nohmi (Japan). Or Spaces with Carol Brown (London) at the Arden Theater.

The craziest idea for a Fringe show I wish to one day do: A live stream interactive improvisational performance with another artist/company on another continent.

Fringe notes: I was member of the first two or three years curating panel for the Fringe Festival.

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Lung-Ta (photo by Bill Hebert)

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Chinnamasta (Bill Hebert)

Fringe at 20 Profile: Brenna Geffers

Posted September 19th, 2016
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Geffers with Shadow House performers Anthony Crosby, Kayla Grasser, and Michael Linehard (photo by Mickey Herr)

Name: Brenna Geffers

Type of Artist: Theater-maker and Director

Companies: I am a freelance artist, but have been proud to call Theatre Exile, EgoPo Classic Theater, Thom Weaver’s Flashpoint, and Rebel Theater in NYC my artistic homes in the past. Currently I am an artist-in-residence at The Powel House with the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks (PhilaLandmarks). I am also a member of the Philadelphia Opera Collective, which just means that I hang out with some gorgeous artists and singers for a few months out of the year.

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Mother Courage and Her Children, Wandering Rom, 2006 – Director
Planetary Enzyme Blues, New Paradise Laboratories, 2007 – Assistant Director
Masque of the Red Death, Wandering Rom, 2007 – Creator/Director
Mud, Wandering Rom, 2008 –  Director
Woyzeck, EgoPo, 2009 – Director
Marat/Sade, EgoPo, 2010 – Director
The Oresteia Project, Philadelphia Artist Collective, 2011 – Creator/Director
The Consul, Philadelphia Opera Collective, 2012 – Director
Opera Macabre, POC, 2013 – Librettist/Director
A Doll’s House, EgoPo, 2013 – Creator/Director
By You That Made Me Frankenstein, POC, 2014 – Creator/Director
Jump the Moon, Philadelphia Opera Collective, 2015 – Creator/Director

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Joe Canuso, Megan Snell, and Robert Daponte in Mud (photo by John Margolus)

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016Shadow House, an immersive opera and theater piece where 10 different storylines across 200 years are connected by a single location. Audience members follow characters and stories by moving around the historic Powel House, chasing what interests them to put the pieces together. There is music and movement and mystery happening in all the nooks and crannies of the house. I am the creator and director for the piece and was commissioned by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.

First Fringe I attended and highlight: I started seeing Fringe shows before I moved to Philadelphia, so the shows that I saw, like the epic Black Party Pink Palace and the achingly delicate Hell Meets Henry Half Way loom large in my mind. They inspired me to move to Philadelphia and be part of the strange and beautiful scene here.

First Fringe I participated in: The first show that I was actually hired to be a part of – rather than using the money I saved up all summer from shady telemarketing jobs – was Planetary Enzyme Blues with New Paradise Laboratories. I was the AD for the show and cherished every moment I was in the room with those artists; you don’t spend hours watching Mary McCool create work and leave unchanged. I learned a lot that summer, about art and collaboration and risk. I cried at the final moments of that show every time I watched it.

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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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Fringe at 20 Profile: Sam Tower

Posted September 8th, 2016
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Sam Tower (photo by Arielle Salkowitz)

Name: Sam Tower

Type of Artist: Director, Creator, Producer

Company: Sam Tower + Ensemble

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Bailout!, Off-Color Theatre, 2009 – Actor
Precipice, 2010 – Director, Creator
All Places from Here, 2011 – Director, Creator
27, New Paradise Laboratories, 2012 – Assistant Director
The Adults, New Paradise Laboratories, 2014 – Assistant Director
901 Nowhere Street, Sam Tower + Ensemble, 2015 – Director, Producer

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016FEED, Applied Mechanics – Marketing & PR

First Fringe I attended: My first Fringe Festival was in 2009, when I was attending Headlong Performance Institute, and we saw a show almost every day of the Festival. Since then, I’ve filled every free hour of my time during the Festival with as many shows as possible. That was also the year I became a life-long groupie of New Paradise Laboratories, who produced Fatebook in the old Live Arts warehouse on 5th street – oh, and the warehouse Fringe bar that year was so so so good!

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New Paradise Laboratorie’s The Adults (photo by plate3)

First Fringe I participated in: During the 2009 Festival, I was also performing in a ‘live action sitcom’ called Bailout! while attending school and seeing tons of shows. That Fringe was totally exhausting, exhilarating, and addicting! That year, I got to see MORE by Headlong Dance Theater and there was a moment when a dancer vacuums the rug while the radio plays on random – it destroyed me quietly and I still think about that moment to this day. I don’t think it will ever leave me.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The first Fringe show I was involved in producing included an installation of fabric corridors, which we were required to uninstall for 4 days in the middle of the run if we wanted to use that space. So, naturally, we agreed, and built the fabric walls to be taken down and put back up rapidly. And during the break between shows, we shot a short companion film. Our team spent the whole summer in a basement, working through the night in a crawl space, building an overly-ambitious immersive set of found objects and trash-picked speakers. It was our very first self-produced project, and looking back, we didn’t seem to need sleep that summer (just cigarettes and beer!)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: In 2011, I co-produced a very large-scale show in an abandoned lot next door to the newly opened Frankford Hall. The production had a full light, sound and projection installation, and was performed outside on a loading dock with a meager fence surrounding it. We had hurricanes during tech, daily lugging of 80 metal folding chairs, a dressing room made from tarp and extra beams, no bathrooms or running water — but damn! That was bold, Fringy experimentation in its purest form!

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Lauren Rile Smith

Posted September 6th, 2016
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Lauren Rile Smith (photo by Karen Rile)

Name: Lauren Rile Smith

Type of Artist: Trapeze artist and circus-theater producer

Company: Tangle Movement Arts

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Ampersand, Tangle Movement Arts, 2011 – Producer/Performer
You Don’t Say, Tangle Movement Arts, 2012 – Producer/Performer
Break/Drift/Resist, Tangle Movement Arts, 2013 – Producer/Performer
Loop, Tangle Movement Arts, 2014 – Producer/Performer
The Girl’s Guide to Neighborly Conduct, Tangle Movement Arts, 2015 – Producer/Performer

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: I’m producing and performing in Tangle’s 2016 show, Surface Tension, at Neighborhood House Sept. 14-17. We use trapeze and aerial silks to get under the skin of a Tinder date turned rocky relationship, an advice columnist who could use a taste of her own medicine, and a well-mannered office worker who snaps under pressure. It’s a circus-theater exploration of how much we see past the surface of other people—how much can you really know someone—at home, in the office, 20 feet in the air?

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Smith and Sal Nicolazzo (photo by Michael Ermilio)

First Fringe I attended: The first Fringe show I saw was 2008’s The Destruction of the City, and Also an Itinerary for Visitors, a show that was collaboratively devised by the theater ensemble Ad Hoc, using found text and live music and puppetry to evoke the ruins of Pompeii. I went to the performance because I had friends in the company, but also because I was curious about this multidisciplinary ensemble-generated devised-theater thing– what was it like? I was a writer and editorial assistant, just beginning the slow pivot in my life that eventually transformed me into a trapeze artist and ensemble-based circus-theater producer. True to its name, Ad Hoc only ever produced that one show, but the taste of freedom and magic potential I got from that Fringe show has inspired me ever since.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The Fringe Festival was the platform that launched my circus-theater company, Tangle Movement Arts, in 2011. On fire about the radical potential of circus performance, I wanted to make a feminist circus-theater show that mixed techniques from aerial acrobatics, dance, theater, and queer storytelling. I gathered a group of likeminded troublemakers and we worked obsessively for most of a year to create Ampersand. I had never produced a show before, but had this deep sense that it was possible. Sometimes I felt aware that I was re-inventing the wheel over and over, but that almost made me proud—say what you like, this one’s MY wheel!

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Bobbi Block

Posted September 2nd, 2016
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Bobbi Block (photo by JJ Tiziou)

Name: Bobbi Block

Type of Artist: Theater Artist; Producer; Director; Dancer; Drummer

Companies: Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater; LunchLady Doris; ComedySportz; P3: People’s Percussion Project; Unidos da Filadelfia

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in: I have produced and performed in every single Fringe Festival since the first one, including many years when I produced and performed in multiple shows. There was only one year when I didn’t produce, though I did perform with my band one night that year, so I’m counting that as participating in every single Festival! My memory sucks, so thank god the Fringe Guide Archive is online or I would not have been able to make this list!

  • The Improv Marathon, 1997 – producer, performer, host [Got every improv group that existed at that time to perform back to back, I think it was a grand total of 5!]
  • Debut of LunchLady Doris at the Quarry Street outdoor stage, 1998 — artist, co-producer [LLD was a 5 member longform improv company (the first in the city) that ran for 12 years, with Dave Jadico, Karen Getz, Kelly Jennings, Kevin Dougherty.]
  • Bingo Bedlam, BbBb Productions, 1999 – director, producer, actor [A 10-minute play in which ALL of the words start with the letter B; featuring Jen Childs, Tony Lawton, Pete Pryor]
  • Birth-day!, P3: People Percussion Project, 2002 – co-producer, co-choreographer, dancer [The debut of P3 as part of the curated Fresh Moves series, co-founded with Judy Freed]
  • Late Night Cabaret, 2002 — MC
  • P3: People Percussion Project, 2003-2004 – co-producer, choreographer, dancer
  • LEAP! The Actors’ Improv Experiment, produced by LiveArts, 2007 – conceived and directed [w/ Megan Bellwoar, Catharine Slusar, Ben Lloyd, Tom Byrn, Joe Guzman]
  • In Bed, Tongue & Groove, 2007 – producer, director actor [Fringe Debut of Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater*]
  • LunchLady Doris, 1998-2008 – actor, co-producer
  • Secrets, Tongue & Groove, 2008-2009 – producer, director, actor
  • UnSpoken, Tongue & Groove, 2010 – producer, director, actor
  • Six, Tongue & Groove, 2011 – producer, director, actor
  • Le Grand Continental, LiveArts produced, 2012 – dancer
  • WHO, Tongue & Groove, 2012 – producer, director, actor
  • Secrets, Tongue & Groove, 2014 – producer, director, actor
  • Unidos da Filadelfia, 2012-2015 – drummer
  • Groove, Tongue & Groove, 2015 – producer, director, actor [A collaboration with blues dancers and musicians]
  • Before I Die, Tongue & Groove, 2016 – producer, director, actor

*Current and Past Tongue & Groove ensemble members: Fred Andersen, Megan Bellwoar, Beth Dougherty, Adam Gertler, Noah Herman, Matt LydonJennifer MacMillan, Carol Moog, Ed Miller, Eoin O’Shea, Seth Reichgott, Josh Rubinstein, Fred Siegel, Rebecca Sharp,Carrie Spaulding, Jordan Stalsworth

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Tongue & Groove (photo by Aaron Oster)

First Fringe I attended and highlight: I was there at the very start (go on, Grandma). The highlight was the exciting community vibe in Old City. The first several years, with everything taking place within several blocks, it was just so much fun to hop from show to show. You’d bump into people, ask what they were about to see or what they just saw, and just dash off to the next performance without planning. You felt you could take a chance on just about anything, cause everything was only 5 bucks. There was no on-line sales back then, so the ticket-buying process was in person and very communal – the box office was the place to see and be seen. I also loved the cabaret in the old days when you would see snippets of shows as teasers and then decide whether or not you wanted to see the full production. The cabaret was one big love-fest, kinda like a family — with Scott Johnston as a very weird ‘Dad’ of us all — plus you never know what might happen there. You wouldn’t think to miss a night of the Cabaret or you might miss something everyone would be talking about the next day!

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Anna Michael

Posted August 29th, 2016
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Anna Michael (photo by Zoë Carmen)

Name: Anna Michael

Type of Artist: Devisor/Collaborator/Producer

Company: The Hum’n’bards

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Dolls of New Albion, 2015 – Actor

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016:
Pangaea: A Folk Opera – Deviser/Collaborator/Producer/Performer

First Fringe I attended and highlight: So I am not entirely sure, because I was very young, like five years old. Which, I mean, how lovely and fortunate was I that my parents thought that would be a good thing to do. In collecting our memories we recall it being outdoors, and free. In my memory it was an exciting downtown adventure in Old City I think, and the piece we saw was a dance piece, and there were two women in tutus, and they were dancing to Frank Sinatra, or maybe they were singing Sinatra while they were dancing, but again I was five, and at this point the memory might be fused with another, or fictionalized in my head. I remember they had umbrellas, and I was running around outside and getting to experience the piece as myself without being restricted or told to sit down and be quiet. It is a strangely strong memory, and in retrospect, the production, being one of my earliest memorable exposures to theater, probably strongly affected my ideas about theatre, and what an audience’s experience is allowed to be.

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Michael and John DiFerdinando in Dolls of New Albion (photo by Nicholas Pontoski)

First Fringe I participated in: That would be last year as an actor in the Dolls Of New Albion. The production itself was a lot of fun, it is a sort of underground steampunk opera with a bit of a casual cult following. We were out in Manayunk so audiences were not super fruitful, but we did have this group of girls, and 3-7 of them would come to almost every single performance. They would come in costume, sit in the front row, and sing along, and applaud, cry, and laugh generously. We chatted with them after most shows and they told us about how the show saved their lives, and that they had never been able to see a live performance of it up until our production. It was the most unusual performer/audience relationship that I have ever had. They honestly made the show for me.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Shelli Pentimall Bookler

Posted August 24th, 2016
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Shelli Pentimall Bookler, photo by Chorus Photography

Name: Shelli Pentimall Bookler

Type of Artist: Producer, director, actor, playwright

Company: Underbite Theatre Company

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Snyder v Phelps, the Musical, 2014 – Director
Salesmanship for Life and Limb, Tall Grass Productions, 2012 – Performer
Alchemy of Desire, 2008 – Performer

First Fringe I participated inAlchemy of Desire. I was so excited to see us covered on a local television news broadcast!

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: My musical, Snyder v Phelps is based on the controversial 2011 Supreme Court decision for the Westboro Baptist Church. On our opening night, Al Snyder, father of the marine who was killed in Iraq, who sued Fred Phelps and the WBC after they protested his funeral with signs reading “God hates fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers” attended the performance and met the cast afterwards.

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(L to R) Brittany Adams Recupero, Katie Romano McGrier, Marty Sherman, Maria Leonetti, Marquis Wilson in Snyder v Phelps (photo by Kevin Monko)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experiencedSalesmanship of Life and Limb was a wonderfully absurd comedy where a group of sales folk bought into the theory that is we amputated our limbs, the blood flow would be more confined to our brains and we would be more brilliant and creative. The end of the play had us all hobbling around with our missing limbs and featured our mentor with just his head on a podium, proud and still promoting his theory.

A Fringe show that influenced me as an artist: A few years ago I saw an opera of stories by Edgar Allen Poe. The music was brilliant the stories true to the text and there was a lot of creativity in the staging and lighting and was a great way to connect contemporary audiences to a classic genre.

Fringe at 20 Profile: Scott Sheppard

Posted August 15th, 2016
Above Photo: (L to R) Jesse Paulsen, Jack Meaney, Sheppard, and Alison King in Speed of Surprise (photo by Pete English)

 

Name: Scott Sheppard

Pictured: Scott Sheppard Credit: Pete English

Scott Sheppard in Speed of Surprise (photo by Pete English)

Type of Artist: Theater Artist

Companies: Lightning Rod Special, Groundswell Theater Company, Pig Iron Theatre Co.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
How to Solve a Bear, 2010 – played Connie LaPire, co-creator
Speed of Surprise, 2011 – played Bernie, co-creator
Hackles, 2012 – played Greg, co-creator
Go Long Big Softie, 2013 – played Derek, co-creator
99 Breakups, 2014 – played guy in bed, co-creator
Underground Railroad Game, 2015 – played Stuart, co-creator

First Fringe I attended: I’m not sure if it was the first Fringe I attended, but I remember watching Untitled Project #213 in 2010 and then sitting outside of Caribou Cafe for a few hours talking about the show, deciding that I wanted to make theater for the rest of my life.

First Fringe I participated in: I played Harry Truman in a rock opera one year about a political campaign for an invented position. The most memorable moment was when I was caught doing steroids but sang a song about how I did it because I loved Philadelphia so much. Everyone cheered.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: How to Solve a Bear, 2010. My favorite moment was getting pulled out of the ranger station by the hairy arms of the bear (our co-writer and Assistant Stage Manager Alex Cohen), getting pulled back and forth, clinging to a trash can for dear life until finally, Sandy, my sweetheart in the play, lit a stick of dynamite (cardboard tubing with a sparkler adhered) and stuck it in my hand, so that when the bear tried to eat me we would explode together in one fiery ball of martyrdom and chaos.

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: I may have to say Go Long Big Softie, which we made in an old South Philly boxing gym, 7up bottling plant, Vietnamese Cultural Center. We literally made that show amidst 5-15 hippy, burner artists who were living in the space at the same time as we made the show. One night two of them got married on the roof of the space during our performance and we had to really implore them to stay on the roof until the show ended. It was one of those, “it’s fine if you guys want to have your wedding up there right now, but just make sure everyone goes to the bathroom, because when the show starts you’re trapped up there,” kind of situations.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Jess Conda

Posted August 10th, 2016
Above Photo: Conda with Red 40 and the Last Groovement (photo by Chris K Photography)

 

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Conda in BRAT’s Eternal Glamnation (photo by Media Fine Imaging)

Name: Jess Conda

Type of Artist: actor, cabaret singer

Company: freelance, free love art maker; I get down a little bit with everyone

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
The Lazy Activist, BRAT Productions, 2003 – ensemble performer/creator
Pay Up, Pig Iron, 2005/2013 – ensemble performer/creator
Eye 95 Re-Tarred, BRAT Productions, 2006 – ensemble performer/creator
Armageddon at the Mushroom Village, Tribe of Fools, 2009 – ensemble performer/creator
Water Bears in Space, Transmissions Theatre, 2011 – ensemble performer/creator
Heavy Metal Dance Fag, Tribe of Fools, 2011 – ensemble performer/creator
Festival Bar, RUBA Club, 2011 – programming director
Eternal Glamnation, BRAT Productions, 2012 – ensemble performer/creator
99 Breakups, Pig Iron, 2014 – ensemble performer/creator
Purgatory, Gunnar Montana, 2015 – performer
The Lid, BRAT Productions, 2015 – ensemble performer/creator

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: Performing back vox and raps with Red 40 and the Last Groovement opening night of the Festival

First Fringe I attended: 2003. Highlight was was walking to rehearsal and seeing all of this ACTION, in the box office, postcards flying around everywhere, Greg Giovanni performing Noh theater in the street in a kimono, artists all a flutter with this Olde City Fringe hub bub that made me giddy to be a part of this weird and amazing new art life.

First Fringe I participated in: Ranch-O Trivio show was a game show about George W Bush that BRAT played in the street. It was memorable to see how little regular folks knew about their politicians. Some things never change…

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Conda as Babydoll in Eye 95 Re-Tarred (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I was pretty proud of programming the Festival Bar in 2011, even though every day was 16 hours of hard, down and dirty work: rehearsing other shows, booking everyone for the bar, and working with the technicians to get the Festival Bar space physically ready. On Opening Night of the Festival I was sweaty, covered in saw dust, wearing electrical tape around my wrists and my phone was in my bra ringing and glowing away. I had brought this whole gown and heels ensemble to wear to host that night but I was so tired I was like, “Fuck it, this is how I’m going on stage.” I riffed about how this is what Art Warriors REALLY look like and it was one of the most connected times on stage I’ve ever experienced.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Bethany Formica

Posted August 5th, 2016
Above photo:  Bethany Formica in Multi-Family Garage Sale (photo by JJ Tiziou)

 

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Bethany Formica in Babel (photo by Alan Kolc)

Name: Bethany Formica

Type of Artist: Dance/Theater Artist, Choreographer, Wood Artisan

Company: Currently dancing with Cardell Dance Theater

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Love After Death, Julia Ritter’s Performance Group, 2000 – Dancer/Actress
The Gathering, Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, 2003 – Dancer/Actress
Multi-Family Garage Sale, Reactionaries and The Bald Mermaids, 2004 – Dancer/Collaborator
Babel, Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre/Benchtours, 2004 – Dancer/Actress
Fervor, Blur, Bluff, Megan Bridge & Andrew Simonet, Late Night Cabaret, 2005 – Dancer/Creator
New Slang- Everything Looks Perfect From Far Away, Reactionaries and The Bald Mermaids, 2005 – Co-Director/Dancer/Choreographer
Philadelphia Live Arts/Fringe Festival, 2005-2010 – Production Crew
P’s and Q’s, Directed by Lee Ann Etzold, 2006 – Actress
Contest, Jeb Kreager/BrownSquad, 2006 – Dancer/Singer
Voyeur, BoanDanz Action, 2007 – Dancer
Wandering Alice, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, 2007 & 2008 – Dancer/Singer
Factor T., Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre, 2008 – Dancer/Co-Choreographer
Kill Me Now, Melanie Stewart Dance Theater, 2009 – Dancer/Actress
Decadere, BoanDanz Action, 2010 – Dancer
Le Grande Continental, Choreographed by Sylvan Emard, 2012 – Performer/Rehearsal Assistant

First Fringe I participated in: Fringe 2000, in a show called Love After Death with Julia Ritter Performance Group. Our show was performed in an outdoor venue in what was called the Ethearal Theater on Elfreth’s Alley next to the National Building. That was also home to the box office that year. I still lived in NYC at the time but was moved by the warm and welcoming community in Philadelphia. I was impressed by the $5 rush tickets that allowed participating artist to see each others work. This is also how I met Melanie Stewart, who was our dramaturge. I would go on to teach for her at Rowan University and perform with her in Philly for the next ten years.

2008 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival - Nichole Canuso's "Wandering Alice" rehearsal - with Nichole Canuso, Meg Foley, Bethany Formica, Makoto Hirano, Jaamil Kosoko, Rainey Lacey, Lorin Lyle, Scott McPheeters, Heather Murphy, Dito van Reigersberg, Christina Zani, Mike Kiley, James Sugg - also Suli Holum, Lee Etzold, Andrea Alessi, Anna Drozdowski Photo must be credited to "Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.net" adjacent to the image. Online credits should link to www.jjtiziou.net. Photo may only be used as permitted by the photographer.

Formica with Scott McPheeters in Wandering Alice (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: Co-Director of New Slang, Everything looks Perfect From Far Away, in 2005.  This was a huge, messy, and wonderful collaboration between REACTIONARIES (Mark O’Maley and myself) and The Bald Mermaids (Becca Sloan) and our kick ass cast and crew.

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: I did a lot of tech crew in order to pay my bills as a performer. There were so many fringy moments. I often think about the hundreds of abandoned spaces we revitalized as performers and crew members.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Rebecca Wright

Posted August 2nd, 2016
Rebecca Wright pic

Rebecca Wright (photo by Kate Raines)

Name: Rebecca Wright

Type of Artist: Director, Creator

Company: Applied Mechanics

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Rrose Selavy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia, New Paradise Laboratories, 2004 – crew
Batch, New Paradise Laboratories, 2007 – crew
Inside Julia Child, with John Jarboe, 2009 – director/creator
It’s Hard Times at the Camera Blanca, Applied Mechanics, 2009 – director/creator
Portmanteau, Applied Mechanics,  2010 – director/creator
Overseers, Applied Mechanics, 2011 – director/creator
Some Other Mettle, Applied Mechanics, 2012 – director/creator
Black Market, Applied Mechanics, 2015 – director/creator

2016 Fringe show I’m participating inFEED with Applied Mechanics, as director and creator

First Fringe I attended: 2004 was my first Fringe in Philadelphia. Everything was a thrill! I remember seeing Thaddeus Phillips do his Tempest in an alleyway, and watching Brian Sanders’ JUNK over a chain link fence by the Festival bar.

17 overseers treehouse

Mary Tuomanen in Overseers (photo by Tasha Doremus)

First Fringe I participated in: I ran camera for New Paradise Laboratories’ Rrose Selavy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia in 2004. I taped the show for live feed every night, and also had a few prep tasks that included hot-gluing a string to a glass bottle and emptying out a shop vac so that it could be set to reverse and blow rose petals out all over the space. I felt so cool. I got to watch that show maybe a dozen times and I loved it more with each viewing.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I produced two shows at once in 2009—Inside Julia Child with John Jarboe and It’s Hard Times at the Camera Blanca with Applied Mechanics. They were super different and both super memorable. John and I were living together at the time, and we had to make two tarte tatin for every show. I remember peeling and coring hundreds of apples together with this hand crank apple peeler/corer he got Williams Sonoma to lend us for the labor. John also performed in Camera Blanca, which Applied Mechanics produced at Murph’s Bar in Fishtown. They donated the space to us, but we didn’t realize until right before opening that they weren’t planning on closing down the bar during the show—rookie mistake on our part to not be clear on the agreement!—so every night was this wild mix of regulars and Fringe audiences, plus our actors who were playing down and out circus performers all over the bar.

som rad

(clockwise from front) Thomas Choinacky, Mary Tuomanen, Kristen Bailey, John Jarboe, and Jessica Hurley in Some Other Mettle (photo by Maria Shaplin)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: For Overseers in 2010, we rented the upstairs storeroom of a marble and tile business on Washington Ave. It hadn’t been used in years and was full of weird old stuff, and we had to (try to) sweep and mop all this 50-year-old tile dust out of there so that we could use the space. I remember just being covered in muck. And it was so hot in there that we had to eat our company meals outside—so many dinners sitting on a tarp in the parking lot! Inspired by the space, we built a play about a city suffering from drought. We ended up serving the audience cold beer and popsicles during the show, and giving them little spray bottles to keep themselves cool with.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Jennifer Kidwell

Posted July 29th, 2016

Name: Jennifer Kidwell

Pictured: Jenn Kidwell in The Underground Railroad Games Credit: Johanna Austin

Pictured: Jenn Kidwell in Underground Railroad Games Credit: Johanna Austin

Type of Artist: theater-maker, performer

Company: Lightning Rod Special

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Gayze: the Miniseries, 2013 – performer
The Object Lesson, 2013 – “assistant director”
99 Break-ups, 2014 – creator, performer
Underground Railroad Game, 2015 – creator, performer

First Fringe I attended: 2012’s Untitled Feminist Show (I’m a big Young Jean Lee fan)

First Fringe I participated in: 2013. The highlight was getting to watch people watch The Object Lesson.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: Underground Railroad Game – it was amazing walking into Christ Church the first day our set was actually in there.

Credit: Kate Raines

Credit: Kate Raines

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: sight-free Macbeth? Or, maybe Go Long, Big Softie in a soon to be demolished boxing gym?

A Fringe show that influenced me as an artist: Bang! – Made me want to go as far as possible

An artist I have met or was exposed to in the Fringe who I went on to collaborate with: I met Steven Dufala while working on The Object Lesson in 2013 and we’re still collaborating and now working together on two projects.

The craziest idea for a Fringe show I wish I had done or to one day do: Drag version of Drunk History stumbling tour/bar crawl/pageant of/through Olde Philadelphia.

Fringe at 20 Profile: Adrienne Mackey

Posted July 11th, 2016

Name: Adrienne Mackey

Adrienne Mackey, Swim Pony

Adrienne Mackey, Swim Pony

Type of Artist: Theater and lately interdisciplinary

Company: Swim Pony Performing Arts

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
A Portrait of Dora as a Young Man, Stolen Chair Theatre Co, 2003 – actor
Hell Meets Henry Halfway, Pig Iron Theatre Company, 2004 – assistant director, sound operator
Like Ink and Paper, 2004 – director
Bardo, Leah Stein Dance Company, 2005 – production manager and vocalist
The Ballad of Joe Hill, 2006 – director
recitatif, 2007 – director
Echo, Tribe of Fools, 2007 – director
The Giant Squid, The Berserker Residents, 2008 – director
Purr, Pull, Reign, Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret, 2009 – director
Lady M, 2011 – director
The Ballad of Joe Hill, 2013 – director
It’s So Learning, The Berserker Residents, 2015 – outside eye – fringe

Also a past LAB fellow.

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: Possibly working with Mary McCool on her in-progress piece. Still not definite . . .

First Fringe I attended: My initial experience with Fringe was in 2000 as a first semester freshman in college. I was only weeks into school, living away from home for the first time and so excited to see what Philly’s arts scene had to offer. I remember taking the train into Philly with some guy on my hall named Dima who I barely knew. We picked a show at random—all I remember about it was that it was a middle-aged woman in a tutu who took off all her clothes halfway through the show. I had no idea what was happening and I remember feeling both overwhelmed and extremely cool to be doing something so weird. Later that same festival I saw a play in a karate dojo in which actors were trapped in a scene with their own feelings portrayed by other actors wearing black and white mime makeup. Sort of Marcel Marceau meets No Exit by way of Pirandello. I remember thinking, “I could do that.” Two years later I was in my first fringe show.

First Fringe I participated in: While I was still a junior in college I acted in a show called Portrait of Dora as a Young Man that explored Freud’s famous case of Dora, one of the few women who ever rebelled against his analytic theories. We rehearsed an entire summer together at Swarthmore College—a mix of folks who had just graduated and a bunch of us still in school. We lived together and worked together in this commune-style experiment in creative collaboration. I played Herr K, a neighbor to the young troubled girl, I think, it’s all a blur now and designated this mostly using an old fedora and trying to talk in a low voice.

 The Ballad of Joe Hill, 2013. Credit: Kyle Cassidy

The Ballad of Joe Hill, 2013. Credit: Kyle Cassidy

What a gorgeous mess! I broke up with my boyfriend, the director, near the end of the process and half of us ended up furious with each other because we would rehearse all day and then have to go home and sleep 10 people in a tiny house with no room to get away from each other. I remember taking the train into Philly from Swarthmore and setting up a dress form mannequin in the courtyard of the old National Museum of American Jewish History (behind the bank on 5th and Market). I did an entire scene puppetting that inanimate mannequin while playing a German man named Herr K. Dear god, we had no idea what we were doing—all the actors wore khaki pants and either a forest green or maroon long sleeved shirt and did vocal warm ups outside the museum’s entrance as homeless people passed by looking at us in mild horror.

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Fringe at 20: John Schultz

Posted July 6th, 2016

Name: John SchultzJohn Schultz Headshot-003

Type of Artist: Actor/Director

Company: Bright Invention

Fringe shows I’ve participated:
Missed Connections, 2009 – actor
The Heart of the Revolution, 2013 – actor
Till Birnam Wood . . . , 2014 – director, producer, actor

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: This year I’ll be directing and producing my second immersive rendering of Shakespeare, Let’s Fuck Around With Hamlet.  The piece will be running in the Power Plant basement, and will be a show for anyone who hates Shakespeare and anyone who loves Shakespeare just little too much.

First Fringe I attended: I don’t remember the first Fringe show that I saw, but the first Fringe show to really leave its mark was Gunnar Montana’s Resurrection Room. I had never experienced that kind of work in Philly before. It was incredible.

First Fringe I participated in: My first Fringe show was in 2009, Missed Connections. It was a piece based entirely on found Craigslist postings. I believe it was among the first shows in West Philly, we ran at Curio Theatre, and at one point I delivered a monologue dressed as a giant cock. A penis, not a rooster. There is a picture out there somewhere.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Bruce Walsh

Posted June 29th, 2016

Name: Bruce Walsh

Chomsky vs. Buckley, 1969 (2012) (l - r) Rob Weatherington (Chomsky) and Bruce Walsh

Chomsky vs. Buckley, 1969 (2012)
(l – r) Rob Weatherington (Chomsky) and Bruce Walsh

Type of Artist: Playwright

Companies: Kaibutsu. And I did a show with Chris Davis, Douglas Williams, and Sarah Mantel.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
The Wounded Body, 2002 – playwright
Dasein, 2002 – playwright
The Guided Tour, 2004 – playwright, director
Northern Liberty, 2005 – playwright
The Guided Tour, reprise, 2006 – playwright
Chomsky vs. Buckley, 1969, 2012 – playwright, director
Holly’s Dead Soldiers, 2013 – co-playwright, co-director

First Fringe I attended: 1998. I was a sophomore at Temple University. I saw the opening performance of Brat Productions’ A 24-Hour The Bald Soprano, directed by Madi Distefano. It remains one of the highlights of my theater-going life. I was pretty much right out of high school. I think the edgiest thing I had seen to that point was Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July. I had no idea theater could be so bizarre, ridiculous, hilarious, lugubrious, et cetera, et cetera. At about 2 a.m. that night, I hailed a cab and watched three more performances. In one of them, the Maid stepped off the stage, sat in my lap, and gave her monologue while tussling my hair.

First Fringe I participated in: 2000. My friend Chanel Benz—now a novelist in Mississippi (long story)—produced and directed two of my very greenest, decidedly experimental short plays. It was on the third floor of Christ Church, and it was something like 104 degrees up there. Just before the show started, the ushers turned off the fans so the audience could hear every single word clearly! There was this very loud collective moan, and . . . lights up! I wanted to run screaming. Chanel and the actors did a wonderful job, though.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Meghann Williams

Posted June 27th, 2016

Name: Meghann Williams

credit: Lauren Schwarz

credit: Lauren Schwarz

Type of Artist: director, burlesquer, writer, props maker, teller of dirty jokes

Companies: I am one-half of Chlamydia dell’Arte: A Sex-Ed Burlesque (with Gigi Naglak) and was a co-founder of Flashpoint Theatre Company (RIP)

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Fatboy, Brat Productions, 2007 – assistant director, stage manager
Chlamydia dell’Arte: ASex-Ed Burlesque, 2009 – creator, performer
Chlamydia dell’Arte: MORE Sex-Ed, 2013 – creator, performer
Zombies…With Guns, Tribe of Fools, 2015 – guest zombie

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: None this year, looking forward to seeing some of my favorite companies and performers and hopefully discovering some new weirdos to love.

First Fringe I attended: Corinna Burns mentioned my first Fringe show in her interview – Tiny Macbeth. It was 2002 or 2003, back when everything happened in Old City and everyone wanted to hang out at the Fringe bar every night to see what was up. I was so excited to see something so small and so smart and as bizarre as Macbeth performed by one man, a desk lamp, and a legion of toys. I wish I could remember the performer or company name.

First Fringe I participated in: I worked at the Fringe before I participated as a performer. I was the Volunteer Coordinator in 2004, the year the name changed to Live Arts and people were just losing their minds about it for some reason. On my first day of work the entire staff went out to see a workshop showing of Pig Iron’s Hell Meets Henry Halfway. I fell pretty deeply in love with every person in that cast and had the distinct feeling that perhaps I wasn’t actually cool enough to work for this organization. Beyond that memorable first day, working with the Fringe in 2004 was how I met some of my absolute favorite people and I’ll forever feel like it was a charmed time.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: Gigi Naglak and I premiered the original Chlamydia dell’Arte show at the 2009 Fringe. CDA is a vaudeville-style burlesque (skits and scenes and fan dancing and strip tease and songs) where every section deals with different elements of sexual education in a fun, engaging way. There is a recurring CDA sketch called Cooking with Wine, which is basically a couple of boozy morning show hosts demonstrating different techniques (oral sex techniques in the 2009 iteration of the show). My incredibly supportive parents came to the show and I was a little nervous about how they’d like Cooking With Wine. When I asked my dad what he thought of it he paused for a moment and then said, “You know, Meg . . . you put a dildo in a room with that many people and someone’s gonna suck it.” Words to live by.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Megan Bridge

Posted June 24th, 2016

Name: Megan Bridge

Megan Bridge and Meredith Magoon. Photo: JJ Tiziou

Megan and Meredith Magoon. Photo: JJ Tiziou

Type of Artist: Dance, performance

Company: <fidget>

Fringe shows I’ve participated in: In the early 2000’s I co-produced, choreographed, and performed in several shows in the curated Fringe which at that point was application based. I was matched up by the festival with other choreographers and we shared double and triple bills. My wedding was a Fringe show in 2003. When the structure changed in 2004 I was curated into the festival one last time, and then my work wasn’t produced again by the Fringe until 2015, with Dust (and this was not part of the festival). More recently I’ve been involved with Fringe Festival shows as a venue manager of <fidget> space.

First Fringe I attended: 1997 was my first Fringe, I remember nothing except that the cabaret was at a place called Helena’s. The Late Nite Cabaret was always a highlight but I also remember some amazing outdoor theater in the Quarry Street alley, right next to what was then The Quarry Street Café.

First Fringe I participated in: I first participated in the Fringe in 2000, right out of college. I performed two solos, one choreographed by Rennie Harris and one by me. I think the show was just called Triple Bill . . . I was placed on a shared bill with Fleur Frascella, a bellydancer, and Rodney Mason, who was doing a solo show (he was then a Rennie Harris Puremovement dancer, and has gone on to do a lot of great acting stuff including playing Tony Sinclair, the Tanqueray gin guy). The most memorable part of that show was that Rodney, Fleur and I, total strangers to each other till that week, took all our completely different works and wove them together in a seamless program where we cross-faded all our pieces, sharing entrances and exits. That was my first “professional” gig and we got a great review by Merilyn Jackson in the Philly Inky, which called our show the Fringe’s sleeper hit!

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Mel Krodman

Posted June 21st, 2016

Name: Mel Krodman

Type of Artist: Performer, creator

Companies: I make and perform work with various ensembles including the Philadelphia-based companies Pig Iron Theatre Company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, and No Face Performance Group. And since 2010 I’ve worked in collaborative partnership with New Orleans-based choreographer Kelly Bond.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Elephant, 2010, with Kelly Bond – performer, creator
Colony, 2012, with Kelly Bond – performer, co-choreogrpaher
Swamp Is On, 2015, with Pig Iron Theatre Company and Dr. Dog – performer, creatorIMG_4776

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: Sincerity Project with Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (performer, creator).
Also in November my show JEAN & TERRY: Your Guides Through Dark, Light, and Nebulous will premiere at FringeArts.

First Fringe I attended: The first time I came to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival was with Kelly Bond when we were producing Elephant in 2010.  We were both still living in DC and drove into town in pouring down rain, rushing to make it to the Kimmel on time to see Jérôme Bel’s piece Cédric Andrieux. I was absolutely blown away by this work—instantly impacted, forever changed. As soon as the show was over we jumped back into the car and were rushing (possibly even more than before) to make it to Brian Sanders’ JUNK. It was a truly jam packed evening of dance work at two ends of a spectrum: Bell’s stripped down and Brian’s spectacle. From then on I was in love with Philly and totally hooked on the festival.

First Fringe I participated in: I was a co-creator and performer, along with Lillian Cho, in Kelly’s piece Elephant. Kelly had found a venue that was an artists’ collective—FLUX space—in North Kensington up near Allegheny and Front streets. Our piece was performed entirely in the nude, which was kind of hilarious in this raw space with fine sawdust everywhere. And it was hot out and we were sweating. So you can imagine. But that kind of artists’ space was so inspiring to see. It was my introduction to the badass DIY Philly art scene that I love. It was during this run of Elephant that we met the magnificent Megan Bridge of <fidget> space. She invited us to come back and perform Elephant at <fidget> the following spring. In 2014-15 Kelly and I were yearlong artists in residence with <fidget>, so we have Fringe to thank for launching a significant creative relationship and friendship.

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