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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Tower’

Sam Tower Straps On Her Director’s Helmet For Simpatico’s Red Bike

Posted June 1st, 2018

Sam Tower is a longtime Fringe Festival favorite, having participated in at least six Festival shows since 2009. Her newly renamed production company, Ninth Planet produced Festival hits 901 Nowhere Street (2016) and Strange Tenants (2017).

This month, she’s teaming up with Simpatico Theatre as director for Red Bike, a play written by Caridad Svich that follows an 11-year-old child who, while riding a bike, discovers a world bigger than they could have imagined. We asked Sam about the play, her directing, and her newly rebranded company.

FringeArts: How did you become involved in this project?

Sam Tower. Photos courtesy Plate 3.

Sam Tower. Photo courtesy Plate 3.

Sam Tower: When Allison Heishman became the new artistic director of Simpatico Theatre, it was clear that her talents as a producer and director would support the community-centered mission of the company, and that she would continue to bring imaginative, socially driven new work to Philadelphia. Well, she decided to waste NO time in getting a new season up on its feet. She approached me as a director for Red Bike, and upon my first reading of Caridad’s play I was shook/enthralled/conflicted/inspired… all the things you want to be when beginning a new artistic process.

FringeArts: What appeals to you about Caridad Svich’s writing and this play in particular?

Sam Tower: The play is direct address from the perspective of “The Kid”, an 11-year-old. “The Kid” is a detailed storyteller, and also a dizzying narrator, taking you down winding curves and tunnels of memory, fantasy and vulnerable confessions of the pre-adolescent person. The play is cyclical, raw and poetic, and the language is so vibrant — dreamy and cutting at the same time. On first reading, I was already seeing three bodies in space as The Kid and hearing percussive musical scoring inside my head — that’s when you know you have to go for it. I quickly brought Jordan McCree and Andrew Nittoli of ILL DOOTS on board as live musicians to score this Kid’s epic afternoon on their bike.

FringeArts: How does directing this play fit into your other work?

Sam Tower: Caridad has written, “Writing for live performance is about writing for the body. It’s all in the body,” which speaks to my artistic process so directly. The rhythm and physicality of the body are integral in the work I make with actors. Athletic physicality is a vessel to be filled, a container for our deepest rivers of unexplainable expression. Those experiences must be held somehow. And in this play, they live in between the details, in lives in the long strings of broken words, they live in the music, and in the body.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Sam Tower

Posted September 8th, 2016
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Sam Tower (photo by Arielle Salkowitz)

Name: Sam Tower

Type of Artist: Director, Creator, Producer

Company: Sam Tower + Ensemble

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Bailout!, Off-Color Theatre, 2009 – Actor
Precipice, 2010 – Director, Creator
All Places from Here, 2011 – Director, Creator
27, New Paradise Laboratories, 2012 – Assistant Director
The Adults, New Paradise Laboratories, 2014 – Assistant Director
901 Nowhere Street, Sam Tower + Ensemble, 2015 – Director, Producer

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016FEED, Applied Mechanics – Marketing & PR

First Fringe I attended: My first Fringe Festival was in 2009, when I was attending Headlong Performance Institute, and we saw a show almost every day of the Festival. Since then, I’ve filled every free hour of my time during the Festival with as many shows as possible. That was also the year I became a life-long groupie of New Paradise Laboratories, who produced Fatebook in the old Live Arts warehouse on 5th street – oh, and the warehouse Fringe bar that year was so so so good!

The Adults - image by plate3.com

New Paradise Laboratorie’s The Adults (photo by plate3)

First Fringe I participated in: During the 2009 Festival, I was also performing in a ‘live action sitcom’ called Bailout! while attending school and seeing tons of shows. That Fringe was totally exhausting, exhilarating, and addicting! That year, I got to see MORE by Headlong Dance Theater and there was a moment when a dancer vacuums the rug while the radio plays on random – it destroyed me quietly and I still think about that moment to this day. I don’t think it will ever leave me.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The first Fringe show I was involved in producing included an installation of fabric corridors, which we were required to uninstall for 4 days in the middle of the run if we wanted to use that space. So, naturally, we agreed, and built the fabric walls to be taken down and put back up rapidly. And during the break between shows, we shot a short companion film. Our team spent the whole summer in a basement, working through the night in a crawl space, building an overly-ambitious immersive set of found objects and trash-picked speakers. It was our very first self-produced project, and looking back, we didn’t seem to need sleep that summer (just cigarettes and beer!)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: In 2011, I co-produced a very large-scale show in an abandoned lot next door to the newly opened Frankford Hall. The production had a full light, sound and projection installation, and was performed outside on a loading dock with a meager fence surrounding it. We had hurricanes during tech, daily lugging of 80 metal folding chairs, a dressing room made from tarp and extra beams, no bathrooms or running water — but damn! That was bold, Fringy experimentation in its purest form!

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