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Posts Tagged ‘Philly Improv Theater’

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

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Comedy and Improv

Posted August 25th, 2018

Fringe artists are known for keeping audiences on their toes. Laugh out loud at these joyous comedy and improv shows that will leave you smiling and breathless.

An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park
Rose Luardo / Kate Banford
An interactive, questions-encouraged tour of LOVE Park with a completely legitimate, highly respected, and 100% real tour company. At each stop on this mind-bending guided walk through the park, facts will be manipulated and reality will melt. Maybe a bush will talk to you? And maybe that bush invented love. Presented by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
More info and tickets here

Darlings: Kill Us Please
Good Good Comedy Theatre
Darlings: Kill Us Please is the debut Fringe show from Darlings, a collective of Philadelphia’s most celebrated comedic heartthrobs. We’ve gutted the innards of a full year’s worth of shows at Good Good Comedy Theatre and only left in the juiciest bits and chunks.
More info and tickets here

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2017 Festival Spotlight: Comedy and Improv, Part 2

Posted August 31st, 2017

This year’s Fringe Festival features features an abundance of comedy and improv. Check out just some of the riotous performances hitting our city next month. Find Part 1 here.

 

Elysian Fields @ The Adrienne Theater Second Stage
Philly Improv Theater (PHIT Comedy)

Like no improv you have seen before! A new dramatic one-act play channeling the works of the great American playwright Tennessee Williams is created before your eyes each night. Enter a world of tortured, desperate characters—ripe with unfulfilled dreams, desires, and the struggle to find escape from a harsh reality. The cast creates a show ripe with unfulfilled dreams, desires, and the struggle to find escape from a harsh reality. More info and tickets here.

 

Roll Play: An Improvised Adventure @ The Adrienne Theater
Roll Play

Roll Play is an improvised fantasy epic, combining the excitement of role-playing games with the spontaneity of live improv comedy. Guided by a mysterious Dungeon Master, the audience helps craft the world and its characters while dice rolls decide their fate. Join our heroes as they face mythical monsters, strange spells, ridiculous riddles, and more. Every show is a brand new adventure! More tickets and info here.

 

Dream Sequence @ The Adrienne Theater Mainstage
Cambridge Footlights/PHIT

Join “the most renowned sketch troupe of them all” (London Independent) transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe for free-flowing hilarity, excellent original writing & side-splitting character comedy. Don’t miss your chance to see this inventive new offering from the group that launched Monty Python and John Oliver! More info and tickets here.

 

 

The Flat Earth @ The Adrienne Theater Mainstage
The Flat Earth/PHIT

Favorites of comedy festival audiences across North America (multiple Best & Producer Picks), The Flat Earth return to where it all began—the Philly Fringe—and present a best-of extravaganza, showcasing material from a half decade of remarkable success: sometimes dark, often silly, occasionally experimental, and always impeccably costumed. Featuring Matthew Schmid, Jacquie Baker, Molly Silverman, Rich Lee, and Paul Triggiani. More info and tickets here.

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2017 Festival Spotlight: Comedy and Improv, Part 1

Posted August 29th, 2017

This year’s Fringe Festival features features an abundance of comedy and improv. Check out just some of the riotous performances hitting our city next month. Find Part 2 here.

 

2 INCREDIBLE 2 DREAMZ @ Space 1026
The Incredible Dreamz

Incredible Dreamz is a comedy collective featuring The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie and The New Dreamz. An exploration of loneliness and connection within the context of everyday relationships. Four performers create a ritual of life that slides between the mundane grind and surreal hallucination. Using a formula where 1 tittle twister = 2 wet willies and 1 homemade meal = 1 hand job, these drama bodies look for formula for love, understanding, comfort and control. This piece uses darker obsessions as material to peel back the pain and beauty inside the desire to be validated—the desire to be fulfilled and to land in a place that is full of froth. More info and tickets here.

 

TOWN The Adrienne Theater Second Stage
Jolie Darrow & Jack O’Keeffe/Philly Improv Theater (PHIT Comedy)

Welcome to TOWN. TOWN is in America, maybe. TOWN is an inviting place where nothing bad happens. The locals of TOWN are hiding plenty of secrets – silly secrets, sinister secrets, and they will all be revealed by the end of the metaphysical horror-comedy modeled after Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town. More info and tickets here.

 

I’m Ok, Are You Ok? @ The Adrienne Theater Mainstage
Molly Scullion/Philly Improv Theater (PHIT Comedy)

Molly Scullion has been to therapy, and she’ll tell you all about it. In I’m Ok, Are You Ok?, Molly explores living and healing after trauma. With both hilarious and emotional stories, this show takes you far into the depths of just how weird our brains can be; they keep secrets from us, they explode on us, and yet, they’re always trying to protect us. Exploring some of the darkest times in her life, Molly Scullion brings forth a story about overcoming the past and finding strength and humor in pain. More info and tickets here.

 

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Tall Tales: An Interview with Clayton Storyteller

Posted August 10th, 2017

Clayton Storyteller hails from Brunswick, Georgia, and has been telling stories for decades in the south, and now, in Philadelphia. He worked as a performer in Las Vegas, backpacked for two months around Europe, and is a two-time USDA Nutrition Study guinea pig. In his Fringe Festival Show Don’t be Cruel to Your Puppy…Lemme Give YOU A Twisted Tale, he has prepared three different programs of stories, each a mix of all kinds of tales. “Program A has westerns and ghost stories, B has science fiction, and C has darker, grittier, more violent tales, plus strange romances,” says Clayton. “Some tales are wilder, some milder, but they have no political or philosophical point, save entertainment.” Each program ends with his signature tale, “A Safe Sex Story,” which will also be available as an illustrated chapbook. He’ll be telling stories beginning before the official Fringe Festival kick-off on September 5th, and will continue to tell them every night afterwards until September 23rd, from 5:30 to 6:10 pm at the Philly Improv Theater. Audiences can come and hear his wild stories as an appetizer before the many events at the Philly Improv Theater and many locations in the nearby area. He hasn’t been to Philly since passing through on a 7th grade school trip, “a half-century ago.” I talked with Clayton about his life and work, and how he happily ended up as a newcomer to the 2017 Fringe Festival.

FringeArts: Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Were there storytellers in your family? 

Clayton Storyteller: I was born in Tampa. We moved some miles south to Bradenton when I was a toddler, then at age eight up to metro Atlanta, where I spent most my life (so far). I’ve been in Brunswick, Georgia, for last twenty years and enjoy it immensely. My southerner father went to Detroit for work and married a Michigan bride. We didn’t have any Deep South or Appalachian tradition of storytelling in our family. What fostered my love of stories was my mother, who was an avid reader and passed that on to my brother and me. Erle Stanley Gardner was her favorite author. A golden memory of my childhood was looking at black-and-white photos on a wooden stereopticon in the loft of an old library.

FringeArts: How did you learn to tell stories, and when did you start telling them?

Clayton Storyteller: Literature was always my favorite class. In my five-grade high school I wrote dark, dreck poetry—copies of which fortunately no longer exist—and funny stories. I was flattered when I was an 8th-grade “sub-freshman” and a 9th-grade girl in my science class—name sadly disremembered—liked one of these stories enough to copy it front and back on a piece of paper during a study period. Our friends in the desks around us laughed at this, but she scribbled on, repeating, “But it’s so funny!” This was some nonsense about a blackboard named Charlie who was actually green and the silliness goes on from there and is also now lost. That was the girl’s only interest in me, alas! I was a shy kid. My interest in actually telling stories started when I joined Toastmasters in the mid-80s. I also joined the Southern Order of Storytellers about then, which had several “cluster group” meetings in metro Atlanta neighborhoods, where aspiring storytellers could practice stories and get feedback. I started writing my own stories for storytelling, eventually working into all verse tales.

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A Micromanaging Comedy Lover’s Golden Opportunity: Audience improv with Matt Holmes

Posted July 11th, 2013

Have you ever been to a comedy show and thought about how much more infinitely talented you were at the comedic arts than the performers onstage? Alas, acting classes cost hundreds and the emotional damage suffered from the season finale of Game of Thrones has left you marginally less extroverted than is required of a professional performer.

MattAnd-improvSince 2008, Co-founder of Rare Bird Show, Philly Improv Theater team member, and regular fixture in Philadelphia improv Matt Holmes has been jolting audiences from quietly disgruntled passivity in a whimsical experiment that plucks a single audience member from the crowd and plants them onstage to create a boisterous, hour-long improv comedy show. Matt&, quickly attracting buzz as must-see innovative comedy, has toured in eight states spanning the country. In its milestone 50th performance, Holmes brings the daringly probing comedic feat to the upcoming 2013 Fringe Festival, starring himself and, possibly, you. FringeArts recently stopped in with Matt Holmes to get insight on the upcoming show, its stylistic evolution thus far, and a look back on his improvisational career and inspirations.

FringeArts: How did you first get into improv?

Matt Holmes: I’ve always been really interested in comedy. I remember staying up to watch The Tracey Ullman Show and getting really into Laugh-In reruns and tapes from the first cast of Saturday Night Live one summer. I was an eight-year-old who knew every stand-up’s act from TV. But, I was pretty shy until I was like sixteen or seventeen. I started coming out of my shell slowly. Improv really opened me up and trained me to be personable when I have to. I was in a college improv group after trying out on a whim. Then I formed a group with some other did-improv-in-college types, also kind of on a whim. Along the way, I did a bunch of projects and a lot of teaching, and of course, was always learning more and more myself.

FringeArts: Do you remember where you were when you first realized that this was what you wanted to do?

Matt Holmes: I don’t think there was one specific instance where it all came together. There was probably a point where the loose creativity of improv clicked in my mind as a particularly good fit for me, and there was probably a point where a certain project really felt like it was working, but I can’t think of one exact moment. It’s been more like growing a plant than getting hit by a lightning bolt.

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WEEKENDER: Tropical Storm Fest 6/7-6/9

Posted June 7th, 2013
Photo courtesy of Ladyfest Philadelphia

Courtesy of Ladyfest Philadelphia

Nothing says ideal June weekend like torrential downpours, flash flood warnings, and a buttload of festivals. LadyFest Philadelphia kicks off this Friday, June 7th, and rocks into the wee hours of Sunday June 9. The weekend-long feminist soiree, inspired by Sleater Kinney’s 2000 Ladyfest in Olympia, Washingston, reignites after a 10 year hiatus. Enjoy live music, interactive workshops, lively discussion groups, and more spread across three West Philly locations: The Rotunda,Locust Moon Comics & Movies, and Airspace Gallery. It also snagged the cover story of this week’s Philadelphia City Paper, here. (SCHED + TIX)

Scott Adsit, Photo by Nicole Rivelli/NBC

Scott Adsit, Photo by Nicole Rivelli/NBC

The fourth year of Duofest, the only improv festival in the world for comedic duos, will be presented by the Philly Improv Theater, 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 700 from June 6th to 9th. The festival will be stocked with 30+ of the best improv duos from around the country and the world, worshops with Asaf Ronen and Mark Chalfant, and parties. Look out for big hitters like 30 Rock star Scott Adsit. (SCHED + TIX)

America’s oldest residential street Elfreth’s Alley will open its doors for Fete Day, this Saturday from 12pm to 5pm. For $10 (students) to $55 (families), sample authentic colonial cookery, original plays, colonial games, scavenger hunts, and historic characters. (TIX)

The largest African American festival in the country,  ODUNDE, is on Sunday, June 9, from 10am to 8pm on 23rd and South Streets. Observe one of the original models for African American festivals with up to 500,000 attendees, over 100 arts & craft and food vendors, and two stages for live music over the expanse of 12-city blocks. (SCHED)

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Preview Time!

Posted August 13th, 2012

I can’t hardly believe that it’s already preview time! If you’re involved in some pre-Fringe preview or showcase action, be sure to email me at NickG[at]livearts-fringe[dot]org, and I’ll be sure to plug you here. To get us started, the WaitStaff are bringing together a slew of people for their take on The Match Game, while giving you a taste of:


ComedySportz Philadelphia

Fringe Wraiths
Jeff Coon and Ben Dibble Must Die
Ivona, Princess of Burgundia
Raw Stitch
I Hate Monologues and The Alphabet Plays
Wawapalooza 6: The Great Almost
The Grimacchio Variety Hour
Real Housewives of South Philly Play Match Game!

You get two nights of previews from this crew. Sunday, August 19, doors at 6:30 pm, show at 7:00 pm; Thursday, August 23, doors at 7:00 pm, show at 7:30 pm. Both shows at L’Etage, corner of S. 6th and Bainbridge Streets. $15. Click here for info and tickets.

–Nicholas Gilewicz