Posts Tagged ‘FringeArts’

2017 Festival Spotlight: FringeArts ~After Dark~

Posted September 7th, 2017

This ain’t your grandma’s Fringe. Join us for some of the raunchiest, rowdiest, wildest shows at this year’s Fringe Festival. Hire a babysitter and leave your kids at home because these shows are decidedly NOT family friendly. Viewer discretion advised. 

Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret @ FringeArts
Martha Graham Cracker

The hairy-chested, fake eyelash-laden alter-ego of thespian Dito Van Reigersberg performs a balls-to-the-wall drag cabaret. Backed by her stellar band and with her killer voice, Martha Graham Cracker takes you on a raucous, joyous, uninhibited ride around her world.
“The Drag Queen King of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia Inquirer
More info and tickets here.



Bye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play @ Evil Genius Beer Company
Happy Hour Live, LLC

Two parts sketch comedy, One part drinking games: Mixed and served! Come party with us for a night you might remember with interactive drinking games between comedic romps about the drinking experience. Ticket includes your first beer from Evil Genius! More info and tickets here.


The Groom’s a Fag; The Bride’s a Cunt; The Best Man’s a Whore; and the Maiden of Honor (Just) Hung Herself in the Closet @ The Beard Cave at St. Mary’s Church
On The Rocks

Daniel is pretty gay, but he’s marrying Nora. Nora is a virgin that wants her wedding night to be a sexual awakening. Shit gets fucked up. A song, a dance, an image, a poem all wrapped in a sloppy burrito of a play about glamping, hookers, the Easter Bunny, cocaine, Emma Stone, hauntings, and the horrors of commitment. More info and tickets here.


KINK HAÜS @ The Latvian Society
Gunnar Montana

Gunnar Montana transports us once again, this time to a brutal underground nightclub where no fucks are given, and fierceness is always welcome. Fantasy, fetish, and carnal desire are all in fashion so leave your inhibitions at home because inside KINK HAÜS, anything goes. That is, if you can get past the doorman. More info and tickets here.



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The Loop of Integrity and Light-Up Sneakers : an Interview with Chelsea & Magda

Posted May 25th, 2016

“What would it be like to research yourself like an academic or test yourself like a scientist?”

Chels and Magda-246

Chelsea & Magda have been collaborating in Philadelphia for the past three years making dance theater duets. The Shame Symposium explores the link between shame and pleasure. Their research involves female friendships, public perception of aggression, the loop of integrity, Lisa Frank and light-up sneakers.

We caught up with Chelsea & Magda to find out more about their research process and work on The Shame Symposium.

FringeArts: How did you come up with the title The Shame Symposium?

Magda San Millan: We were in rehearsal sitting on the floor and talking about if we should stretch and start dancing or try to get some administrative work out of the way and we slipped into a title decision conversation. We were almost going to call it Recent Developments, Discoveries and Theories because our work is going away from the “show” format, with a unified theme, and towards a presentation of research. As an artist, what if I could present all of my interests and practices in one evening without trying to make it have a narrative or a cohesive-ish-ness? But admittedly much of our research has focused on shame and we want to give people the heads up—not everyone is interested in watching shame transformation.

Chelsea Murphy: I like the word “symposium” because it puts our work in an academic arena. It lets people know that we will be presenting research, experiments, and demonstrations. It will be a collection of performances, photographs, thoughts, and experiences around being a person with shame, which is every person. I agree with Magda, not everyone is interested in watching people explore their shame. So in that way I think this title is scary for us. It feels like it is really putting the vulnerable thing out there for everyone to see.Chels and Magda-300

FA: Describe the shame/pleasure cake.

MSM: This term originated in an improvisational movement and text score that we developed at our Yard residency this past summer. The importance of the term now resides in the linking of shame and pleasure. We are not interested in shame that is action based or traumatic. Like: I was mean to this girl and I feel guilt about it and it made me think I was a bad person, etc. We are interested in shame that is linked to pleasure and reveals something about the personality that culture condemns. So, I often feel that I am an “aggressive woman.” I feel shame because people have shamed me about it. Telling me I’m too intense, etc. I feel shame because it implies that I want to hurt others, which I don’t want (to be clear). But I also feel pleasure in the experience of power, in the act of domination, in the explosiveness and playfulness. I don’t believe these qualities are inherently bad or harmful. And the question we pose to others is: Is there an aspect of your identity that causes you pleasure and shame? Let’s look at that. Let’s celebrate that. Because when we do we are going to see your full flawed and complex self onstage. And we are going to break the cycle of idealization to shame to idealization to shame . . .

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Hannah Van Sciver

Posted May 24th, 2016
Hannah Van Sciver in Safe Space, Photo: JJ Tizou Photography.

Hannah Van Sciver in Safe Space, Photo: JJ Tizou Photography.

Name: Hannah Van Sciver

Type of Artist: Theater: physical theater, devised theater, actor, lead artist, director, playwright, producer, musician, photographer . . . I wear a lot of hats.

Companies: The Greenfield Collective, iNtuitons Experimental Theatre, Apocalypse Club, The Porch Room, Revolution Shakespeare.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Alternative Theatre Festival, 2012 – actor
Raw Stitch, 2013 – actor
Alternative Theatre Festival, 2013 – playwright, director
Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives, 2013 – actor
Marbles, 2014 – actor, playwright, producer
Safe Space, 2014 – actor
Fifty Days at Iliam, 2015 – lead artist, actor, producer
Love’s Labours Lost, 2015 – actor/musician

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: King John (Revolution Shakespeare), actor/musician.

First Fringe I attended: Oh man. The First Fringe event I saw would have been the iNtuitons 2010 Alternative Theatre Festival. I was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, and was invited to attend a night of new work by the resident student-run “experimental theater” company, iNtuitons. I fell madly in love with them, and spent the next three years serving on their board. I remember seventeen-year-old Hannah being bowled over by a piece called Going In which was about coming out as heterosexual. It was written and performed by Joshua James Herren.

First Fringe I participated in: After working with David O’Connor on Cymbeline over the summer at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, he invited me to audition for Raw Stitch–a play set in Quigs pub, featuring a bunch of lady superstars in Philly doing incredible, vulgar monologues by Jacqueline Goldfinger. I was totally out of my league. I remember auditioning on his back porch, and meeting Jackie for the first time. I was deeply intimidated. The monologue was about a Southern Jewish gal on trial for acts of public indecency. She claimed she had no control over her behavior, as she had been born with the “double-slut gene.” I remember thinking, “Oh god, WHAT am I doing? Do they care if the neighbors hear this stuff?”

Jackie and David are now both on the advisory board of my theater company, The Greenfield Collective. This July, David and I will produce our seventh show together. So, it worked out. Also, rather memorable: in that show, Jennifer MacMillan played a thirsty, deaf lesbian. She demonstrated to the audience how to give proper head, using a peach. It remains one of the most outrageous and hysterical things I’ve ever seen happen onstage in Philly.

Hannah Van Sciver and Sam Sherburne in Marbles, JJ Tizou Photography

Hannah Van Sciver and Sam Sherburne in Marbles, JJ Tizou Photography

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We Don’t Study History, We Just Keep Reenacting It: A Conversation with Jenn Kidwell

Posted May 9th, 2016

It’s not easy to get a hold of Jenn Kidwell. The wildly accomplished performing artist, co-founder of JACK in Brooklyn, and co-founder/co-artistic director of Lightning Rod Special keeps a busy schedule these days. Prepping her and co-creator Scott Sheppard’s show Underground Railroad Game (tickets/info) for a remount here at FringeArts is just one thing crowding her plate, but with tech week fast approaching Kidwell still managed to find time to generously chat with me one rainy afternoon about her process, the show’s evolution, and the aspects of our country’s troubling relationship with its past, which the show seeks to interrogate. “Making everyone participate in the same way when what we’re participating in does not treat people the same way is problematic,” Kidwell said, adding, “There’s no way for us to actually learn and change what we’re doing, it just reifies systems of the past.”

“We don’t study history, we just keep reenacting it.”

It’s that culture of reenactment that frames Underground Railroad Game, and Kidwell and Sheppard take it to task as questions of race, sexuality, dominance, privilege, and pedagogy all become inextricably tangled in their characters’ misguided attempts to educate. Based on experiences from Sheppard’s schooling, the show follows two teachers—a black woman and a white man—as they lead their middle school class (i.e. the audience) through an immersive, interactive unit on the Civil War by day and engage in a taboo-defying, sex-forward relationship by night. The 2015 Fringe Festival breakout hit—which critic Howard Shapiro called, “Hands-down the best piece I’ve seen in the Fringe Festival this year and in many years”—returns this week after months of tireless re-tuning.

When I asked Kidwell if anything had surprised her throughout the show’s development she chuckled and claimed the fact that she and Sheppard have been able to make it together at all has been one of the biggest surprises. She attributed this to their very different processes and viewpoints, but as she further explained their working dynamic it seemed as though this creative friction was crucial in developing the show and tackling such contentious subject matter. “There’s a way you can shut off your listening if you’re dealing with somebody who you know thinks the same way you do, but that’s not in this room,” she explained. “Here, it’s this constant state of being open in order to try and understand what the other person is saying or where they’re coming from.”

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Good Maneries: interview with choreographer Luis Garay

Posted April 8th, 2016

Maneries is also about imagination, and the bodily production of imagination, so the commitment of the performer must be very high.”


Colombian choreographer and director Luis Garay brings Maneries, performed by (and created for) the fiercely captivating dancer Florencia Vecino, to FringeArts April 14-16 (tickets/info). Garay (who is now based in Argentina) will also be leading a workshop for area dancers on April 13 (info/register). Maneries “explores a catalogue of gestures, pictures, poses, sculptures” and is a highly original evening of movement showing the incredible diversity of the human body. We caught up with Luis last fall to ask him about the dance.

How did you come up with the title Maneries?

Luis Garay: I don’t remember where I was or the exact moment. But I know we didn’t have many options for the title. It was pretty much the first and only option. Maneries is a concept from Giorgio Agamben’s book The Coming Community. He teaches us that maneries is not the plural of manare (ways of), on the contrary. Maneries is one place, like a fountain, from where all possible forms emanate. Maneries embraces both the universal and particular at the same time, like an example. In each example the “universal” is contained. So Maneries is collections of examples.

Maneries 3How do you create a solo work on another’s body?

Luis Garay: We developed a special relationship with Florencia [Vecino]. We created rules, collections of gestures, pictures, poses, sculptures—and she mixes them up, live, like a deejay. The structure of the piece is very rigid, but at the same time it allows [the performance] to be changed every time. Maneries is also about imagination, and the bodily production of imagination, so the commitment of the performer must be very high; Florencia commits 100% to what she does and that is why the piece is still alive.

What kind of conversations took place between the two of you?

Luis Garay: We talked about the state in which she needs to be, to start and to build the piece. We talked about it a lot, because this “state” is very complex, it requires that she is very attentive, at the same time inside the piece and observing herself from the outside—all the time, so it is very paranoiac. She has many rules to administrate at the same time. Many archives to execute. We talk about warriors all the time and what that could mean: she is a warrior of language. The piece is about what she does as much as it is about what she doesn’t do and we imagined out of her.

luis garay

Choreographer Luis Garay.

What did you work on most when fine-tuning Maneries?

Luis Garay: The energy. Because it is very fragile. We know the energy and the place the piece needs to grow. It is very thin. So we train that as much as possible. I know the ambient and the atmosphere in which I want the audience to be. It is very broad and at the same time very specific.

What experience do you get out of watching the performance now?

Luis Garay: I like watching it because I surrender to the performance every time. When the piece produces the kind of energy we want to create in the room, I am the first one to enjoy it and live it and experience it.

Thank you, looking forward to the show.

Luis Garay

April 14–16 TICKETS & INFO

140 North Columbus Boulevard (at Race)
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Maneries photos  by Dudu Quintanilha.

Homegrown Art Is in Bloom: Spring at FringeArts, Pt.1

Posted March 24th, 2016

Ah, spring has sprung once again! Or is about to. Or already did. Oh, you didn’t get the memo? It’s winter again! Wait, never mind, it is spring. But maybe don’t get too comfortable in those jorts. Even though we can’t seem to rely on nature to be on schedule these days, you can rest assured that FringeArts will be. We’ve got an incredible spring season packed with some of Philadelphia’s most lauded, boundary-pushing artists, as well as notable guests from out of town. Here’s what’s going down at our waterfront headquarters from April to June.

Coming April 9 is a show for all the talkers, drunk debaters, sidewalk weather reporters, water cooler pundits, backseat philosophers, pseudo intellectuals, haters, hype-men, chatter boxes, gossips, and even the silent types. The Society of Civil Discourse, a co-production between Team Sunshine Performance Corp and The Philly Pigeon/Jacob Winterstein, is looking for new members and thinks you’d be a perfect candidate, whoever you are (info/tickets).

SCD-183The evening plays out in three phases. During phase one the proceedings and rules of participation are laid out and all attendees are inducted into the Society. Phase two asks Society members to voice their opinions at three designated stations: a “hater” station, an “appreciation” station, and a “mini-debate” station. Once everyone’s oratorical muscles are warmed up we enter phase three. Participants become audience for The Great Debate, where two teams—made up of professionals and a few recruited audience members—debate on an audience-selected topic. If you’re someone who enjoys passionately debating pointless topics you don’t understand or care about, you’re going to want to grab a ticket quick for this “celebration of truth-stretchers, fabricators and pseudo-intellectuals in all their misinformed glory,” as a writer for City Paper so aptly summed it up.

luisgaray.hotglue.meNext up is Maneries, our first international offering of the season from Colombian-born Argentina-based choreographer Luis Garay. A solo created specifically for and in collaboration with dancer Florencia Vecino, the show positions the body as a cipher of linguistic material. Working with iconic symbols, Vecino takes on the difficult task of embodying a universal catalogue of gestures, pictures, poses, and sculptures, utilizing her body to represent all bodies, a vessel for all manner of possible meanings, perceptions, and experiences. Garay equates her performance, the manner in which she mixes these images live, to that of a DJ, asserting, “The structure of the piece is very rigid, but at the same time it allows [the performance] to be changed every time. Maneries is also about imagination and the bodily production of imagination.”

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Getting to know you: Interview with Gabrielle Revlock

Posted March 23rd, 2016

“I think the intimacy comes from having to be really attuned to each other. I can’t space out or go off on my own. I’m constantly thinking about where he is and what he’s doing and how he might respond. There is an alertness.”


This weekend, March 24–26, Gabrielle Revlock brings her new dance work Show No Show to FringeArts. (Link to tickets.) Created with fellow dancer Aleksandr (Sasha) Frolov, the dance is a lively and intimate portrait of two people getting to know each other for the first time—two people who have few personal boundaries. We caught up with Gabrielle back in October of 2015 to ask about Show No Show’s beginnings and how it’s evolved.

FringeArts: How did the title Show No Show come about?

Gabrielle Revlock: This title came from Sasha [Aleksandr Frolov]. I like that it’s a little ambiguous/confusing/broken English/symmetrical/compositional. It gets at a are we performing or are we not performing—both for the audience and for each other. There is a game element. It reads as a game name to me. In the piece we do a lot of role playing and stepping into different states. Show relates to showing a thing and also doing a performance. I like it as a title because it’s open and has room for many interpretations. As soon as he said it I felt, yes, this is the title.

FringeArts: How did you meet Sasha and can you talk a little about how the two of you worked and created together? 

Gabrielle Revlock: We met at a residency at Omi International Art Center in August 2014 and generated thirty minutes of material. We were really dedicated to working on the piece during the residency. It’s hard to say exactly how we began. I remember being impressed with him as a dancer and also curious about the way he moves because it’s different from my own movement patterns. I also enjoyed the solo he performed, My Life—it was brave and personal. It felt very present. I knew that I wanted to work with him but it’s always hard in the beginning because you don’t want to force someone to work with you if they don’t want to. At one point we ended up being partners in an exercise someone else at the residency led. (The first week everyone leads workshops for each other.) It was super awkward and did not go well and so I though okay, tried that, didn’t work, no chemistry, moving on. But somehow we got another chance to work together and it flowed so we kept going. We improvised a lot. I guess that’s how it began. We found a really good chemistry and share a sense of humor. I guess that’s why it continued.

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Get to Know Show No Show’s Gabrielle Revlock and Sasha Frolov

Posted March 22nd, 2016

This weekend marks the premiere of Show No Show, a duet created and performed by Philadelphia native Gabrielle Revlock and Russian-based Aleksandr (or Sasha) Frolov. The pair began developing the piece during a 2014 residency at the Omi International Arts Center where they first met, and fittingly it follows two characters as they get to know each other. Speaking to FringeArts, Revlock noted that the two did not strike an immediate connection in their initial exercise together. As she puts it, “It was super awkward and did not go well and so I thought okay, tried that, didn’t work, no chemistry, moving on.” Thankfully the two had another chance to work together before the residency ended and something clicked: “We found a really good chemistry and share a sense of humor. I guess that’s why it continued.”

Show No Show 2533

Photo by Hallie Martenson

These notions of chemistry and humor are central to Show No Show. This is not a mannerly, polite meeting of two strangers, maybe sharing a cup of coffee and talking about the latest Netflix show or that hip restaurant that sells $10 ramen. This is, as described on both artists’ websites, “a truth or dare using a peach, a megaphone, two chairs, and a white tablecloth.” The work charts the process of two people really getting to know each other; all the awkwardness, vulnerability, cruelty, and tenderness—and not many boundaries to boot. Unpredictable and entrancing, they use each other and the space to mine the complexities of opening oneself up to another, laying bare the hilarious, maddening, and heartbreaking feelings that come with it. Without the chemistry and comedic sensibilities Revlock and Frolov share, such powerful notions would likely be lost on most viewers, but in their capable hands it’s strikingly palpable.

Seeing as we’ll soon be witnessing Revlock and Frolov getting to know each other onstage, why don’t we all get better acquainted with the individuals? Below you’ll find a brief sampling of works these startlingly accomplished dance artists have produced. Undoubtedly there are many great things to come from both, and Show No Show is one of them. Be sure to catch it March 24-26.

Gabrielle Revlock

On her website Revlock describes her body of work as, “Projects [that] blur the line between living and performing… Imaginative and sincere, the works invite the viewer in and are intended to evoke emotional reaction and stimulate intellectual exploration. Speckled with humor and surprise, they also entertain.” While this is a pretty apt summation of her body of work—and is particularly tangible in Show No Show—it only hints at the breadth of her always surprising, genre-defying work. Here are a few recent highlights.

So You Think You Can’t Understand Contemporary Dance?

Revlock often addresses and plays with the belief that contemporary dance is inaccessible in her work and in this film commissioned by thINKingDANCE she attacks that fallacy head on. Born from her interest “in bridging experimentation and populism,” she provides a short, sweet contemporary dance primer with the help of her favorite 5 year old. The short has been translated into Italian, Swedish, Polish, Hungarian, and Russian (more on that last one later).

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Stripping the Piano Poet of his Piano: Michał Zadara on CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO

Posted October 23rd, 2015

It’s a radical concept, to strip the piano composer of his piano.  But really, isn’t that just the way Chopin would have wanted it? A radical progressive for his time, he would have appreciated a subversive approach to his music.

Where on earth did the idea come from? We caught up with director Michał Zadara to chat about the genesis and development of Chopin without Piano, experiencing its US premiere at Swarthmore before its run at FringeArts this Saturday!

FringeArts: How did the idea for Chopin without Piano first come about? 

Michał Zadara: We first started thinking about CWP three years ago when the conductor Jacek Kaspszyk told me a story about a performance of the concertos to which the pianist did not show up. But instead of canceling the concert, the first violinist decided that they would play all the non-piano sections, and that he would simply explain to the audience what the piano is doing. And when I heard that story, I thought, that’s an an amazing opportunity for theater—to play both of Chopin’s piano concertos, but without the piano, with an actor describing what the piano does but as an exact equivalent of the piano part. As a kind of a lecture, a kind of entry into the musical world of Chopin, but also as a way to criticize and attack the way Chopin had been absorbed by Polish culture but never really processed. How Polish culture has instrumentalized Chopin. We wanted to come back to an original Chopin, a Chopin who was a radical artist of his time, wild, incomprehensible, transcending the boundaries of what people thought was possible in music.

FringeArts: How did you and Barbara Wysocka develop Chopin without PianoBarbara Wysocka quote-2

Michał Zadara: We first looked at each of the six parts—both concerts have three parts—and realized that each one of them is a very unique piece, and has a very different approach to how the music works in each part. These aren’t just different melodies, but different ways of making music. So we decided that each part had to have a different character in the text part—and then we thought: well, how can one talk about Chopin? So eventually, the first part became very musicological, the second biographical, the third cultural–political, the fourth philosophical, the fifth personal and the sixth a kind of collage/mixture. And while we were working on this, we just read and read as much as we could, and then we would sit down, listen to the music, analyze the structure, and put verbal or logical themes I place of the musical ones. So if in a piece you have theme A, which is repeated four times with variations, we have a verbal thought that we repeat with variations four times. And we listened to those concertos so much when writing that in fact we didn’t need to rehearse that much—about four weeks—because we were so familiar with the piece.

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“I think I’m a full-time movement researcher”

Posted September 18th, 2015


Did you get tickets for David Zambrano’s Soul Project, up tonight and tomorrow at Christ Church Neighborhood House? No? Sorry, it’s sold out. Your humble blog manager won’t even be able to go . Lucky for you, whether you have tickets or not, we’ve gotten permission to run an interview from Nouvelles de Danse 32/33 with David to give you some insight into his processes. The interview was conducted by Agnès Benoit in May 1995, during the workshop “La Composition Instantanée — Approches et techniques d’improvisation,” organized by Mark Tompkins at the TCD (Théâtre Contemporain de la Danse) in Paris.

How would you define yourself as a performer? Do you consider yourself as an improviser?

Yes, before anything else I like to see myself as an improviser. I like improvisation a lot. That’s what I’ve been doing since I started, somehow without knowing what I was doing until I met Simone Forti and other people, but especially Simone. When I saw her doing… (David imitates animal sounds), I said — “that’s what I love to do.”

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Now For A Brief InternUption

Posted September 8th, 2015

PurgatoryMany of the people who make the Fringe Festival happen are interns. I know, because I, your humble blog manager, once was one, hired into a grant-funded seasonal intern position in 2009 to overhaul this blog and envision what it could be for moving forward. Somehow, I’ve tricked them into letting me do it ever since. Interning and working here, I’ve had the chance to see transcendent work (Dance, for example), meet great friends and colleagues (like our information manager Josh McIlvain, who’s written some of the funnier stuff I’ve seen on stage), and convince people to share their ambition and fear and excitement and exuberance with me, and thus with you (like Adrienne Mackey, who just wrote a beautiful piece for us on what it means to be a theater artist). And me? I was able to write the article of which I’m perhaps the most proud of anything I’ve ever written: Contemplating audiences and terrorism, I had the revelation that by coming together, again and again, in public, to share and to celebrate and just to be together with performance and each other, performance spaces have a heightened sense of communion and indeed have become de facto radical spaces where we can, and do, resist the death cult of the American gun. But enough with my tendentiousness. Let’s just say the experience has left its mark.

After the jump, two of our interns, who are beloved at least as much as this skeleton, share their experience executing a Scratch Night. I can only hope that their time here will be as formative as mine has, and that the passion that brought them to us sustains them in where they head next. And as we always do, to give credit where credit is due, the title for this post came from Marly Logue, our development intern.

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Pics: Last Scratch Night

Posted August 29th, 2014


See what you missed on Monday, and get a flavor of five Neighborhood Fringe productions via Kevin Monko’s awesome pics on Facebook of the last Scratch Night of August.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo by Kevin Monko

Tonight: Neighborhood Fringe Scratch Night Spotlight, the Fourth

Posted August 25th, 2014

Is it already the last Monday in August? What happened to summertime? Rehearsals, plannings, plottings, I guess. Anyway, today’s arrival means the arrival of the last Neighborhood Fringe preview Scratch Night, featuring:

bodylautrecOne of the Neighborhood Fringe shows I’m personally most excited about, because I love the painter: The Body Lautrec from Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen. And those two are pretty good too.

Ombelico Mask Ensemble, who returns to the Fringe with Flim Flam Phantom Sham at NoLibs’s Liberty Lands Park.

Anna K, which you can find from Chris Davis this year in rowhouse on Wharton Street.

Underbite Theatre Company delves into the Westboro Baptist Church protests of military funerals with Snyder v. Phelps, an original musical.

And Katie Horton et al. runs us through the four seasons of emotions.

Free! RSVP here.
140 N. Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
August 25 at 7 pm

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Experiment on Me!

Posted August 12th, 2014

For the 2014 Presented Fringe, FringeArts is bringing the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure to Old City for Experiment #39. In case you’re wondering, the experiment is kind of on you. No details on this one quite yet, but for a sense of what you can expect, check out this video from their 2013 Brooklyn experiment, Experiment #17:

Experiment #39
Old City Location TBA to ticket holders
September 6 and 7, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm
Starts every 15 minutes
(Tix selling fast, FYI).

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Talking about The Talkback: Interview with The Berserker Residents

Posted June 5th, 2014

“We are satirizing everyone we’ve ever worked with and also our own lives as artists. No one is safe.”

Clockwise: Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain, David Johnson

Clockwise: Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain, David Johnson

For the next three Sunday evenings, the Berserker Residents will present in-progress showings of The Talkback at FringeArts (140 N. Columbus Boulevard). Philadelphia-based artists Justin Jain, David Johnson, and Bradley K. Wrenn joined forces in 2007 and created The Berserker Residents, performing a fantastical blend of physical theater, puppetry, music, sketch, and prop comedy. The group is in residence at FringeArts in June to finesse their 2013 Fringe Festival hit, The Talkback, before taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

Part-scripted and part-improvisation, The Talkback begins at the end of a show the audience has never seen, leading the audience through a discussion of the unseen show, which then goes completely awry. Curious, we went to Justin, David, and Bradley for the inside scoop on creating The Talkback, and what they’ll be working on while at FringeArts.

FringeArts: What was the inspiration for The Talkback?

Brad: It started back when Justin was a FringeArts LAB fellow. We had found ourselves in a rut. We were making the same show over and over. We spent a week or so exploring new ideas and trying figure out how we could mix things up and make ourselves uncomfortable. We finally hit on the post-production discussion as a format.

We generally aren’t big fans of improv, it makes us weak in the knees just thinking about it. But our aim was to disrupt our usual patterns, and we love playing with an audience. The form also allowed us to be ourselves, literally. We aren’t playing characters really, we keep our real names and plop ourselves into a fake theater company at the end of a fake show.

Dave: We often rehearse long blocks of stream-of-consciousness improvisation that make us laugh and push the boundaries of our own comfort as far as what is funny—and go on way too long. At one point we thought: how can we make this a show?

FringeArts: How did The Berserker Residents form?

Brad: The Berserker Residents didn’t form. The Berserker Residents have always been. Just like time or love or war. We were forged in the heart of a dying star and we’ll be here long after this feeble experiment called humanity has been snuffed out.

Dave: Brad and Justin wanted to create a show and they knew something was missing. ME!

Justin: In 2006 we came together to make The Jersey Devil for the Fringe Festival of that year. We do divide the labor. An unseen Berserker is Meghan Walsh, who also takes on some of our administrative work.

David Johnson, Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain

David Johnson, Bradley K. Wrenn, Justin Jain

FringeArts: What is the process for creating a show like The Talkback, which depends so much on the audience?

Dave: The Talkback is a lot like stand-up comedy. It cannot be created in a vacuum. The show lives and learns in front of a live audience. The early days of this show were like imagining the worst stand-up comic you have ever seen, bombing alongside two other crappy comics, and none of them know how to leave the stage. Now we have better material, more confidence, and ripped abs.

Brad: It’s maddening rehearsing this thing by ourselves. We have dummy questions on a chair in front of us as we rehearse, and we each take turns wandering into the audience to pretend we are asking questions.

Justin: I love seeing what has stuck since that first showing in 2012. The usher character, the way we fuck with audience members, the dance, the all-bets-are-off logic that the show takes in the middle. All of these things have survived each revision and are essential to the show. Creating an audience-participatory show without an audience in the rehearsal studio is extremely difficult.

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Shameless Plug: Phindie

Posted September 18th, 2013

phindie1Hey, I work here, and even I have a hard time keeping up. But this year’s new flood-the-zone coverage of Philly Fringe comes courtesy of our friends at Phindie, which has dispatched an army of reviewers to cover like 70 shows. If you’re looking for some guidance to your last week of the 2013 Fringe Festival, saunter on over. Thanks, Phindie!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Alyesha Wise: Poetry and Performance

Posted April 17th, 2013
“Poetry started off as the feeling I got when I screamed in the pillow.”
Alyesha Wise. Photo: SP Photography.

Alyesha Wise. Photo: SP Photography.

On May 13 and 14, FringeArts presents our second annual Jumpstart, a showcase designed to identify new and emerging talent in the field of live performance. 2013 will feature six artists/companies performing short works, and we here at FringeArts Blog thought we’d catch up with them, starting with poet and storyteller Ms. Wise (mswisedecision.com), who will be performing her work A Denzel Theory.

Ms. Wise is Alyesha Wise, a poet and teaching artist from Camden, NJ, who has performed throughout the country. Currently residing in Philadelphia, she is the founder of Love, Us, which serves to spread universal and self-love through the arts. Alyesha is a two-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist, placing 5th in the world in 2010. Recently she was interviewed by film director Ron Howard who called her work “very powerful.” (Hey Ron, come to the show! You can get tickets here!)

FringeArts: Why is your show title A Denzel Theory?

 Alyesha Wise: A Denzel Theory is named after my kid brother, Denzel. Growing up in my hometown didn’t necessarily pave an easy road to success. Denzel made it look quite the opposite, remaining focused, engaging in sports and academics, then getting a full scholarship to college. This piece is about how our old city eventually swayed him in the opposite direction. This piece is about how this happens to many youth in environments like ours. This poem is a cry. And it’s a theory. Not sure when it came to me; but it’s one of the fastest poems I’ve ever written.

FringeArts: Where did you grow up?

Alyesha Wise: I grew up in Camden, New Jersey. It was a broken community. But it was community. I remember playing kickball and hide-n-go-seek. I remember growing up too fast. It made me the super person I am today.

FringeArts: How did you go about creating this work?

Alyesha Wise: It presented itself as a theory to me. I thought about all of the things I knew about my younger brothers, my older brother, the peers I grew up with, my students. I thought about how I changed my life around and how some don’t or never had to do so. I wanted the poem to have a hip hop feel without lacking “the poem.” And I wanted to finish saying to myself, Now this theory here makes perfect sense.

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Posted April 11th, 2013

FringeArts facebookHey, in case you missed the title of this piece it is A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE, HOW EXCITING.

Because we are now FringeArts and because the people at facebook can’t get with the program, we have started a new facebook page, with our new name on it! (FringeArts.)

What could be more exciting?

You liking our facebook page would no doubt be more exciting.

What does liking the FringeArts facebook page do for you? EVERYTHING. Plus exclusive access to photos, announcements, hints on what to do, and other random tidbits necessary for the continued rotation of our planet (Earth).


It wasn’t us who abandoned you because we had to make a new page, it hurt us to walk away from the old page. The meanies at facebook were trying to come between us with their rules.

But we can survive this together, and grow even stronger than before, because YOU WILL LIKE OUR NEW FACEBOOK PAGE.

The "Like" button is to the left of the "Message" button.

The “Like” button is to the left of the “Message” button.

The Name of This Place is FringeArts

Posted April 11th, 2013

What was our name before? Who cares! Our name is now and forever FringeArts.

FringeArts, it says FringeArts

You may refer to us as FringeArts, no Mr. or Mrs. necessary.

Why FringeArts? It has 10 letters.

Think about it.

Not even the word TEN has 10 letters.

You probably never thought of that.

Have a good day!