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Posts Tagged ‘Rebecca Wright’

On the Record: Rebecca Wright on Applied Mechanics’ Latest Performance

Posted June 22nd, 2018

Philadelphia’s Applied Mechanics established itself as a Fringe Festival favorite with half a dozen shows between It’s Hard Times at the Camera Blanca in 2009 and Feed in 2016. The company will be absent from the Festival this September, but the cast of its latest offering, This Is On Record, draws heavily from 2018 Festival stars: Annie Wilson will feature in Meg Foley’s The undergird, Thomas Choinacky is part of Simpatico Theatre’s 4Solo show, and contributing writer Mary Tuomanen will appear in the Bearded Ladies’ Do You Want A Cookie?

This Is On Record displays Applied Mechanics’ signature immersive style, transforming 3,800-square-foot Glass Factory performance space in Brewerytown to tell six intersecting stories simultaneously. The show investigates the construction of cultural narratives through the lives of six different people as their paths intersect across time. FringeArts spoke to company member Rebecca Wright about the play, which opens tonight and runs through July 1.   

The cast of THIS IS ON RECORD: Alison Ormsby, Annie Wilson, Brett Robinson, Thomas Choinacky, Anita Holland and Daniel Park.

FringeArts: How does the format of the show contribute to its meaning and to the audience’s experience of watching the performance?

Rebecca Wright: This is a piece about the construction of cultural narratives and the various biases and circumstances that shape both the stories we tell and those we inherit. The parallel narrative immersive structure—where many stories are unfolding simultaneously and the audience is free to watch who and how they want—highlights how subjective storymaking is, as well as the question of how much we can and can’t control about what we see and inherit. Multiplicity is also really key here: there is not, in fact, ever one story—there are always multiple perspectives—and the structure of our work reflects this quite literally.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Rebecca Wright

Posted August 2nd, 2016
Rebecca Wright pic

Rebecca Wright (photo by Kate Raines)

Name: Rebecca Wright

Type of Artist: Director, Creator

Company: Applied Mechanics

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Rrose Selavy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia, New Paradise Laboratories, 2004 – crew
Batch, New Paradise Laboratories, 2007 – crew
Inside Julia Child, with John Jarboe, 2009 – director/creator
It’s Hard Times at the Camera Blanca, Applied Mechanics, 2009 – director/creator
Portmanteau, Applied Mechanics,  2010 – director/creator
Overseers, Applied Mechanics, 2011 – director/creator
Some Other Mettle, Applied Mechanics, 2012 – director/creator
Black Market, Applied Mechanics, 2015 – director/creator

2016 Fringe show I’m participating inFEED with Applied Mechanics, as director and creator

First Fringe I attended: 2004 was my first Fringe in Philadelphia. Everything was a thrill! I remember seeing Thaddeus Phillips do his Tempest in an alleyway, and watching Brian Sanders’ JUNK over a chain link fence by the Festival bar.

17 overseers treehouse

Mary Tuomanen in Overseers (photo by Tasha Doremus)

First Fringe I participated in: I ran camera for New Paradise Laboratories’ Rrose Selavy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia in 2004. I taped the show for live feed every night, and also had a few prep tasks that included hot-gluing a string to a glass bottle and emptying out a shop vac so that it could be set to reverse and blow rose petals out all over the space. I felt so cool. I got to watch that show maybe a dozen times and I loved it more with each viewing.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I produced two shows at once in 2009—Inside Julia Child with John Jarboe and It’s Hard Times at the Camera Blanca with Applied Mechanics. They were super different and both super memorable. John and I were living together at the time, and we had to make two tarte tatin for every show. I remember peeling and coring hundreds of apples together with this hand crank apple peeler/corer he got Williams Sonoma to lend us for the labor. John also performed in Camera Blanca, which Applied Mechanics produced at Murph’s Bar in Fishtown. They donated the space to us, but we didn’t realize until right before opening that they weren’t planning on closing down the bar during the show—rookie mistake on our part to not be clear on the agreement!—so every night was this wild mix of regulars and Fringe audiences, plus our actors who were playing down and out circus performers all over the bar.

som rad

(clockwise from front) Thomas Choinacky, Mary Tuomanen, Kristen Bailey, John Jarboe, and Jessica Hurley in Some Other Mettle (photo by Maria Shaplin)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: For Overseers in 2010, we rented the upstairs storeroom of a marble and tile business on Washington Ave. It hadn’t been used in years and was full of weird old stuff, and we had to (try to) sweep and mop all this 50-year-old tile dust out of there so that we could use the space. I remember just being covered in muck. And it was so hot in there that we had to eat our company meals outside—so many dinners sitting on a tarp in the parking lot! Inspired by the space, we built a play about a city suffering from drought. We ended up serving the audience cold beer and popsicles during the show, and giving them little spray bottles to keep themselves cool with.

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