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International Fringe 2018: A Welcome to Artists from Around the World

Posted September 2nd, 2018

The United States government may be pursuing an isolationist policy but the Philadelphia Fringe is doing the opposite: opening its doors not only to the most creative American performers and performances but also to the best and most creative theater artists and their productions from around the world—overcoming the ancient fear of the symbolic Tower of Babel with people not understanding each other.

To show the worldwide scope of the 22nd Philadelphia Fringe Festival, we offer this spotlight on performers from abroad and productions by American artists that present a global perspective.

Theater writer Henrik Eger, editor of Drama Around the Globe and contributor to Phindie and Broad Street Review, among other publications, has lived in six countries on three continents and has visited Africa and Australia as well. He bids everyone a hearty WELCOME to the City of Brotherly Love—this year in 18 different languages: Arabic, Celtic, Chinese, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Latin, Polish, Romanian, and Spanish.

We start this year’s overview with a special welcome to two programs featuring a wide range of global creators:

INTERNATIONAL CREATIVES

  1. le super grandBienvenue & welcome to Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Émard and Le Super Grand ContinentalLe Grand Continental wowed audiences during its run at the 2012 Fringe Festival and has garnered enthusiastic response across the world. Fully realizing a blissful marriage between the pure delight of line dancing and the fluidity and expressiveness of contemporary dance, the celebratory event enlists hundreds of local people to perform its synchronized choreography in large-scale public performances. The world’s most infectious performance event returns to the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in an even larger spectacle of dance.

More info and tickets here

  1. Bonvenon, willkommen, bienvenido, witamy, bienvenue & welcome to Do You Want A Cookie? from The Bearded Ladies Cabaret—a world premiere with an international cast. Do You Want A Cookie? serves up a delicious romp through cabaret history, with an international cast of artists performing a live revue of cabaret from the Chat Noir to Weimar nightlife to 21st-century drag. The all-star cast comes draws from around the world, including Bridge Markland (Berlin), Malgorzata Kasprzycka (Paris/Warsaw), Dieter Rita Scholl (Berlin), and Tareke Ortiz (Mexico City).

More info and tickets here

REFUGEES and EXILES

  1. ear whispered

    As Far As My Fingertips Take Me. Photo by

    وسهلا اهلا (ahlaan wasahlan) & bienvenu. Welcome to Tania El Khoury who lives in Lebanon and the UK with her multifaceted program ear-whispered. Little is known about Palestinian refugee camps and their communities. El Khoury presents her Fringe work in five parts through interactive performances and installations at Bryn Mawr College:

    1. Gardens Speak, an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in Syrian gardens. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.
    2. Camp Pause, a video installation that tells the stories of four residents of the Rashidieh Refugee Camp on the coast of Lebanon. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.
    3. As Far As My Fingertips Take Me, an encounter through a gallery wall between a single audience member and a refugee. (Old City & Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.  
    4. Stories of Refuge, an immersive video installation that invites audiences to lay down on metal bunk beds and watch videos shot by Syrian asylum seekers in Munich, Germany. (Old City.) Read more.
    5. Tell Me What I Can Do, a newly commissioned work featuring letters that audiences have written in response to Gardens Speak. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.

More info and tickets here

  1. Bienvenido & welcome to the bilingual (Spanish & English) cast of La Fábrica performing Gustave Ott’s Passport. Lost in a foreign country, Eugenia is detained and thrown into a vicious maelstrom of miscommunication. This poetic and immersive Kafkaesque thriller delves into the question of immigration—exposing the mechanics of language and power. Some performances will be presented in English, some in Spanish, and some will be decided at the toss of a coin.

More info and tickets here

Read More

Hot Spontaneous Performers: Interview with David Zambrano on Soul Project

Posted July 28th, 2015

Second time photographed Sould Project in Brussels at the Raffinerie. This time with Mat Voorter's costumes. Dancers: Mino (Milan) Herich (Slovakia); Peter Jasko (Slovakia); Horacio Macuacua (Mozambique); Edivaldo Ernesto (Mozambique); Nina Fajdiga (Slovenia); Ermis Malkotsis (Greece); Matthieu Perpoint (France); Eleanor Bauer (USA); Sue-yeon Youn (Korea); Eugenie Rebetz (Switzerland); David Zambrano (Venezuela).

“Since the beginning of my career as a choreographer, I have always selected a group of international individuals. I like the idea that everything we have created in dance has come from a cultural exchange.”

Experience soul in all of its manifestations: spiritual and musical, abstract and personal.

World renown experimental choreographer and improviser, David Zambrano, is bringing his high-intensity dance, Soul Project, to the 2015 Fringe Festival. Taking place at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Zambrano’s piece features an international cast of dancers performing a series of solos to classic soul music. Instead of watching the powerful dancers from a distance, audience members are invited to meander about the dancers and see them dance up close. There are two performances of Soul Project on September 18 and 19 and each show, rooted in spontaneous improvised movement, is different. We recently asked Zambrano questions about Soul Project.

soul_project_website_1FringeArtsWhy is the title Soul Project?

David Zambrano: I finished my group piece Twelve Flies Went Out At Noon (2005), a resemblance of a social centric society where decisions are made by the community of people. Dancers were constantly moving through each other, under over and around, always going somewhere dancing together. After that work, I got the idea to make the opposite. A choreography where the dancers, one by one, would take any center in the performance room, root themselves on the floor (with feet very well planted), and make the audience come to watch them from close up. After many rehearsals, I thought to give the title for that work: “Solo Project”.  I choose Soul Music for those rehearsals. And through the doing with the feet very well planted on the floor, I arrived into the thought that when the sole of our feet feel very comfortable  interconnected with the ground, very well rooted into the Earth, our souls feel very happy.  So from the combination of the Soul Music and rooted feet dances, I came to the title of Soul Project.

FringeArts: How do your live recordings affect the body?

David Zambrano: Not all the recordings are live recordings.  I think there are about three pieces recorded in studios.  One strong reason I thought when I heard all those singers singing live, was the way they come out through their voices when they have public. It was more sublime and orgasmic.  With the dancers we practice a lot to be able to arrive in those kind of states while performing for each other and later on, for the general public.  We have enormously enjoyed to dance to those live performances of the singers.

soul_project_website_3FringeArts: Why is working with an international cast of dancers so important to you? 

David Zambrano: Since the beginning of my career as a choreographer, I have always selected a group of international individuals. I like the idea that everything we have created in dance has come from a cultural exchange. My selected dancers and I have always learned a lot from each other while working together. Not only from our different dance backgrounds, but also from different ways of eating, cooking, living, etc. I also love to make a possible environment in all my creations where it feels like a little representation of our world but without borders.

FringeArts: What does the closeness of the audience do for the performance?

David Zambrano: The idea of having the audience coming very close to watch each one of us performing came from the way I directed our rehearsals. Everyday we performed for each other during the creation process, and the way I selected that act was to come as close as possible and watch every little and big movement from each performer. After I took that idea to the general public. We became really good improvisers of small powerful movement that can only be appreciated if public come closer to watch.

FringeArts: How do you approach working with dancers to create a solo that is both yours and theirs?

David Zambrano: I do not teach dance steps to the dancers I select. I many times give them images/qualities/tools to work with as we are creating the pieces. The dance is made by the dancer and myself as a director. For Soul Project I worked more as a coach until they became really hot spontaneous performers.

Thank you, David!

Photos: Anja Hitzenberger

2015 Fringe Festival

Soul Project
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 North American Street
Sept 18 + 19 at 8pm

Tonight! Maya Beiser’s “Uncovered” at the FringeArts Stage

Posted September 7th, 2014

You’ve probably gotten wind of how awesome our late night programming is, but in case you haven’t, check it out for yourself tonight at 9:00 pm. Cellist Maya Beiser covers iconic rock songs, from “Lithium” to “Kashmir.” Preview below:

Maya Beiser’s “Uncovered
Tonight, 9:00 pm
FringeArts Stage
140 N. Columbus Blvd.
Free!

The Weekender: QFest, family friendly community disco, the mass appeal of sugar substitutes, and storming the Bastille with high-kicking ferocity

Posted July 12th, 2013
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

See such born-to-be classics as Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?, The Secret Disco Revolution,and Meth Head at the biggest queer film festival on the east coast, Philly’s QFest! The festival, kicking off Thursday, July 11th and exciting our filmic senses until July 22nd, is stocked with goodies from the cow hide-laden James Franco/Travis Matthews film Interior. Leather Bar. to the scintillating Pratibha Parmar documentary Alice Walker:Beauty in Truth. View the event shedule and venue map and make good choices!

Caili Quan, Billy Cannon and Richard Villaverde in Beautiful Decay, Photo by  Alexander Iziliae

Beautiful Decay, Photo by Alexander Iziliae

“Is it like, all classical?” a friend asks as we enter The Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street.  “No, it’s BalletX! Like the “Z“ in Zorro, the “X” clearly indicates that we are about to see edgy, cerebrally demanding contemporary ballet!” And that’s just what choreographer Nicolo Fonte and the BalletX company deliver in their Summer Series piece, Beautiful Decay. Running July 10th through the 14th with tickets ranging from $22 to $40, it is an enthrallingly impressive work The Philadelphia Inquirer pronounces as “too important to be unknown to Philadelphia ballet lovers.” (TIX)

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ParkJam at Malcolm X

Strap up your workman’s boots and prepare to A-town stomp the chlorophyll out of West Philly’s outdoor discotheque, otherwise known as the spacious green at Malcolm X Park, running between 51st and 52nd Street and between Pine Street and Larchwood Avenue. On Saturday, July 13th from 2pm to 7pm, the green lends itself to ParkJam, a  Garden Community Association sponsored community dance party featuring co-presenter and Philly DJ Danophonic Dan, folk rock/golf enthusiast band HighKick, a moon bounce (!!), local artisans, food trucks, and community members and groups galore.

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Tastier by Leslie Friedman

Ongoing until July 26th, Philadelphia printmaker and installation artist Leslie Friedman, explores the bodily and psychological effects of our culture’s strange sexual attraction to Coke ZeroTastier, showing at Space 1026, 1026 Arch Street, 2nd Floor specifically aims to stage interventions between Crystal Light lemonade packet suckers and art goers all over Philadelphia by drawing parallels to the allure of simulated pleasures and stripping sleek, sexy soft drink labels from bottles and replacing them with bright sugar-rushes of technicolored sex. Bring your own juice box.

Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

The Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

As we mourn the loss of Twinkies, we look to Marie Antoinette, patroness of good will and hope, as she cries “Let them eat Tastykake!” from atop Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue. All day Saturday, July 13th the Penitentiary will celebrate Bastille Day with discounted tour rates, the beheading of Antoinette, emcee Edith Piaf, French-themed menus at surrounding restaurants, and a slew of sobering, historically faithful theatrical performances including a visit from experimental cabaret group, The Bearded Ladies. Before you go, check out this instructional video on how to dance like a revolutionary. 

Spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon entranced by ornately costumed body rolls and globally infused instrumentals. For $12 on July 14th at 7:30pm, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street provides the scene for ANIMUS- Philadelphia’s Belly Dance Spectacular. Musical ensemble ANIMUS brings its culturally diverse musical concepts and traditions–Greek, Blues, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Spanish, Funk, Latin, Rock, Indian, Jewish Klezmer, and African and tosses the norm amongst the reverberations of emotional rhythmic energy. (TIX)

–Maya Beale