Posts Tagged ‘Mascher’

Almanac Presents Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes

Posted June 8th, 2015

“We want audiences to be engaged in every moment, but we also want them to feel like anything can happen at any moment.” 

JennaSpitz-1What happens when we trust too much? Come see Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes to find out.

Philadelphia’s Almanac Dance Circus Theatre brings Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes to the ecclesiastical confines of the Sanctuary Space at Fleisher Art Memorial, June 24–28. This is the company’s second full-length undertaking, after last year’s Communitas. Almanac is the resident company at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and are artists-in-residence and Mascher Space Cooperative. Early stages of the show began with a residency in Montreal with Cirque du Soleil’s Jerome Le Baut and Cirque Eloize’s Robert Bourgeoisie.

Mixing acrobatics, theater, circus, dance, and music, Leaps and Faith and Other Mistakes tells the story of four hobbyists who form an isolationist seafarer cult. Through powerful levels of trust, exceptional acrobatics, and the help of their trusty sofa, the four individuals journey to a greater world. The show is created by performers Nicole Burgio, Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg, and Adam Kerbel, along with writer Josh McIlvain of SmokeyScout Productions and music by Patrick Lamborn, who also performs live. We gathered a few of the Almanac gang—Ben Grinberg, Nick Gillette, Adam Kerbel—to talk to them about their upcoming show!

JennaSpitz-4FringeArts: What’s this show about?

Ben Grinberg: It’s about what happens when we trust ourselves, and those around us, too much. It uses partner acrobatics, which demands levels of physical trust that would be insane to normal people—even sometimes those in committed relationships—as a lens for this. What is the difference between that kind of conviction and the convictions of a religious zealot? A cult-leader?

Nick Gillette: It’s about four people taking the hard road towards something bigger than themselves. Each one of them has an individual reason to leave everything behind for a new world.

Ben Grinberg: Oh yeah, the play is about the four of us forming an isolationist seafarer cult, leaving the world behind, taking new names, and freeing ourselves.

FringeArts: With a little less than 4 weeks to go, what are you working on to get the show ready?

Nick Gillette: We’ve created a ton of material and now have the task of sorting it into a cohesive whole. Much of the next few weeks will be spent ordering scenes and acrobatic phrases and seeing how it feels as a whole piece. With so many facets and modes of performance, we want to really craft a satisfying ride through the different styles.

Ben Grinberg: For this piece, we want audiences to be engaged in every moment, but we also want them to feel like anything can happen at any moment. To do that requires a lot of sculpting.

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Jumpstart Rejects Live At Mascher

Posted May 6th, 2013

What’s better than black market performing arts?

Ben Grinberg and Mascher Space Co-op have put together their own performing arts showcase of performers and creators who were not chosen for the official Jumpstart here at FringeArts (Monday May 13 and Tuesday May 14 at 7pm at the Painted Bride).  What a fantastic idea! As FringeArts LAB director Craig Peterson, who heads the Jumpstart program, observed, “This is a great idea–having sat on the panel, I can tell you there was a lot of great work that was auditioned that didn’t make it into the showcase. Only in philly could “rejection” be reframed as a programming opportunity. Thanks for giving this work a home!”

Turning "reject" into a positive. Christina Gesualdi to perform at Jumpstart Rejects.

Turning “reject” into a positive. Christina Gesualdi to perform at Jumpstart Rejects.

They have aptly named their showcase Jumpstart Rejects and the current line-up includes Christina Gesualdi, Dan Stern and the If Man is 5 ensemble, Katie Gould, Alice Yorke, Sarah Mittledorf and Kaleid Theatre, Darcy Lyons, and Ben Grinberg and Nick Gillette. The event is free, and happens this Sunday May 12 at 7pm (a day before the FringeArts Jumpstart—enabling you to compare and contrast). Jumpstart Rejects will be at Mascher (155 Cecil B. Moore Avenue). There is a chance that some slots will open up—interested performers (and Jumpstart rejects) can email Ben Grinberg at bgringerg [at] gmail [dot] com

We caught up with Ben to get the skinny.

FringeArts: What is your role in this? And Mascher’s?

Ben: I’m co-producing this show with Mascher, specifically with a whole lot of help from Annie Wilson and Christina Gesauldi, who are both Mascher members. Mascher is generously providing space, marketing, and hopefully even hotdogs. I’m also going to be performing with Nick Gillette.

FringeArts: How did the idea come about?

Ben: I started having conversations about wanting to do something like “Jumpstart Rejects” with other members of the theater and dance community as soon as I applied for a Jumpstart audition. Jumpstart is incredibly competitive—not only do they audition 50 artists and chose 6, but there’s a waiting list at least 20 deep for those audition slots. Personally, I ended up losing out on the lottery and was 17th on the waiting list, though I was able to audition a different piece with my collaborator Nick Gillette. That means that there’s a lot of work worth seeing that can’t be presented as a part of Jumpstart. It would be such a shame for those short pieces to die without ever seeing an audience. So I got the idea to program a low-key night of art for art’s sake out of pieces that for whatever reason couldn’t make it into Jumpstart. When I spoke to Annie Wilson, she was thinking along the same lines—and deserves all the credit for the name “Jumpstart Rejects”—and it became an easy co-production with Mascher.

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