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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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