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Posts Tagged ‘Scratch Night’

June Scratch Night

Posted June 6th, 2016

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

This month’s line-up:

 

The Oregon Militia Trail

by Shamus Hunter McCarty, Katherine Perry, & Britney Hines

The Oregon Militia Trail: a gamified look at how problems aren’t solved in America. Plug in. Ford the river. Feed your family. Face the hate. The structure is politics. You make the decisions.

Oregon Militia Trail

 

faith shift

by Belle Alvarez

Photo by Bill Hebert

Photo by Bill Hebert

faith shift is a work in progress triggered by doubt and an estranged relationship with religion. faith shift searches for clarity, resolution, and meaning through movement, text, and song for those of us who have ever felt particularly uncomfortable talking about religion in public at any point in our respective spiritual journeys. faith shift brings into question the role of spiritual identity, tradition, and ritual.

 

 

 

Solow Scraps

by Erin Carney and Monica Wiles

Erin and Monica are performing individual solo shows for the Solow Festival on June 17th, 18th, and 19th consecutively in a South Philly row home. They decided to combine elements from each of their shows for this one performance at Scratch Night. This is an experimental prompt.

 

Dracoola

by Are you in our House?

Photo by Fred Brown

Photo by Fred Brown

Dracoola is put on by professionals. If there are any local awards that are currently up for consideration then the cast of Dracoola would like to be considered. It’s a show put on by idiots, I mean, professionals. They’re very, very professionalism.

 

 

 

Micromania

by Julius Ferraro & Dani Solomon

Photo by Julius Ferraro

Photo by Julius Ferraro

Trapped in the abominable TeamWorkShop with no tools but their minds, three coworkers will escape only by ridding the office of an (imaginary?) infestation. Are they emotionally equipped to handle the situation? Or will they fall prey to the infernal machinations of this mellifluous influence? An intimate theatrical performance about obsession with the tiny, inconsequential, and useless.

 

 

 

 

 

Comedy with Kate Banford

by Kate Banford

Kate Banford and her bag of Powerpoints travel around the globe teaching the world about important things like politics, climate change and how to wear makeup. Join her and her .ppt on this comedic educational adventure!

Photo by Ed Newton

Photo by Ed Newton

 

Marguerite

by Martha Stuckey

Marguerite has no friends. Marguerite has ideas. Marguerite will use ideas to have friends. Friends! Ideas! Marguerite! Ideas!

May Scratch Night

Posted May 2nd, 2016

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

ChronotopeDressRehearsal11CHRONOTOPE: part 2 etudes
by Applied Mechanics

CHRONOTOPE is a trilogy about historical resonance — how different time periods speak to each other through similar movements, revolutions or values. Part 2 of the trilogy focuses on food, examining how heritage is passed down through recipes, and exploring what our relationships with common ingredients can mean about our relationships with each other. Photo: Tasha Poremus

 

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SP3 Movement Study
by <fidget>

<fidget> is in the R & D phase for a new project with the working title “Space Pulse Pattern Presence (SP3),” with music by Peter Price and choreography by Megan Bridge. The musical and movement material is built from pattern-based repetitions that loop and evolve, allowing explorations of humanity and presence to peek through an overlay of formal architectural structures. SP3 includes a cast of six of Philly’s finest dancers; for Scratch Night, however, Bridge will perform a solo movement study, improvising through some of the movement ideas that are shaping the full work. Photo: Michael Yu

 

2007-2016graphic2007 — 2016: research for “every angle shines a movable gleam
by Asimina Chremos

Asimina Chremos dances at the FringeArts Scratch Night in May 2016 with a video projection of herself dancing at the High Zero Festival in Baltimore in September 2007. The 10-minute piece is a meditation on the passage of time and the aging body. Photo: Harmonica Semis

 

DSC_0027 (1)Pedagogy of Performance in Dance
by Chelsea and Magda with UArts dancers

Chelsea and Magda direct and collaborate with UArts dancers to explore the vulnerable, terrifying and exciting act of performing shame portraits- an exaggerated aspect of one’s personality that is shameful and pleasurable. The students are smart and brave and wonderful.

 

The Dream and the Weird Thing
by Josh McIlvain

A solo piece about a man who has difficulty grasping the meanings of things.


A Turn for the Worse
by Emily Moore

An exploration of using abstract dialogue to create different worlds for an audience. We endeavor to find alternate ways of conveying meaning within a somewhat conventional form. The work implores the audience to use their imagination in conjunction with ours to make a rich and meaningful piece of art.

April Scratch Night

Posted April 4th, 2016

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

This Month’s line up:

Brilliant Traces by Irina Varina
A solo piece about longing. There will be objects – some ordinary, some a little bizarre. A reading from a play. And moving around.

 

 

 

TE Rehearsal photo 1They Extract! by Alma’s Engine
They Extract! is a new play by Eppchez. Unplug into an imaginary era where mining emotion keeps the lights on. A combustible story about love, but by no means a love story. Funny, physical, lyrical, and heart breaking; poke at that uneasy feeling of scarcity, so ludicrous in a world that is so abundant.
Photo by Eppchez

 

 

DK_Beowulf-Grendel-0054Beowulf/Grendel by The Renegade Company
Enter the cemetery. Follow one of two figures, standing in the sunset. You won’t know if you have yoked yourself to Beowulf, or Grendel ­­ until the end. There is a monster in the dark, atop a pile of bodies. Will you be able to see clearly enough to know who it is? A site­-specific performance based on the Old English epic, Beowulf/Grendel takes the audience on a journey through historic Mount Moriah Cemetery, inviting you into a world where storytelling is always suspect, and any deed can wear the guise of honor.

 

spcp hailey pic (1)UArts Sophomore Performance and Coaching Project by University of the Arts Dance majors
Sophomore Project offers students the opportunity to make physical, conceptual, choreographic, performative and intellectual connections through engaging in creative process. This project assists students in making important physical/conceptual connections within the development, rehearsal and performance of new dance work.

 

 

Daniela Sanchez edit 4Excerpt from ‘Jerk’ by Alex Romania
This physically vulnerable choreography frames the male body between violence and pleasure — a microphone is bound to the body and swung from the pelvis evoking forms in the realm of BDSM, pornography, athletics, games, and flagellation. Through genital hypnosis and rigorous discomfort, this is a dance of (narcissistic) pleasure and (quiet) longing, (self) mutilation and (self) care. A dance to flatten and complexify the male body, to tenderize the flesh, to move beyond and to newly inhabit — a phallic solo to recompose the phallus.

February Scratch Night

Posted February 1st, 2016

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

February’s Line up:

Dream Of Land - Under the Lion Mountain DreamHua Hua Zhang’s Visual Expressions: Dream of Land – Mountain Lion Dream

Using simple brown paper, “Dream of Land” explores the fluid world of dreams and the phenomenon of the self. Somewhere between the desire for worldly achievement and for inner peace lies a balance. “Dream of Land” explores this balance through live sculpture, hand puppetry, shadow puppetry, dance and theater in a series of dreams about the quest for oneself.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.01.16 AMAnna Kroll : Bees Are Singing on the Back of Your Heart

You are a big wobbly jellyfish floating in midair. You are the crumbs of a stale day old cookie you left in your pocket. My head and limbs lie on fluffy clouds. My palms are cold and crisp to the touch. Focus on your breath. Deep inhale. Slow exhale. Can you be here with me? Can we be here now? Can you feel this?

 

DSC_0244Lily Kind: Dirt Solo/Shame Portrait

Dirt Solo is a solo for myself, a privileged white American woman, who sees American history as Black dance history. Shame Portrait is a solo framing aspects of my own pleasures that are complicated and processed by public expression. For now, the two solos occur simultaneously.

Photo by David Brick

 

melmaddycowNat & Veronica: Clouds/Cows

Attention is something that we pay– it’s a currency. It can be borrowed, spent and stolen. We live in an age of unprecedented demands on our attention from sources that yield less and less in return. Clouds/Cows is a diptych portrait of two commonplace subjects, one meteorological, one animal, that explores the transformation of perception that occurs when we shift our focus from that which clamors for our attention to that which simply exists. Tonight we are showing an excerpt from Cows.

Photo by Marin Sander Holtzman

o-HU-900Jenn Kidwell, Mary Tuomanen, Justin Jain, James Ijames: American Family With A Secret
Long Day’s Journey Into Death of a Salesman in Osage County. Maybe they were all my sons. Jenn, Mary, James and Justin break it down for you: why American Theater has only ever needed one plot.

Photo by Gordon Parks

 

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

January Scratch Night

Posted January 4th, 2016

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

JANUARY 4 LINEUP

Shame Portrait Project: Chelsea&Magda
MagdaAndChelsea_squareWe ask performers to embody a “less than ideal” version of themselves for these portraits. The first step is to define an element of your personality that you are ashamed of, but also brings you pleasure. Are you a pushover and you secretly love being soft like that? Come shoot a shame portrait with us.

 

 

Time Had a Job: Fire Drill
Fire Drill THaJ_squareTime Had a Job was originally developed in a residency at Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis, MN as an intervention in how we watch live performance at a time of media saturation and the 24-hr news cycle. Taking its organizational principle from the Vine Video, Time Had a Job originally consisted of 150 6-second dances and corresponded to the eponymous categories described in theorist Sianne Ngai’s work Our Aesthetic Categories: Cute, Zany, Interesting. Ngai indicates the minor contemporary affects of “interesting” (expressed here as a disconnected series of movements), “cute” (their shortness), and “zany” (our expenditure of energy in performing these) as being the representative aesthetic categories of our time.

11057351_10156246541050704_2434471756037450912_oPlant Me Here: The House at the End of the World

This is the house at the end of the world. Where everything is broken, and flat and there is nothing to do. This is the house at the end of the world where we sit on the shoreline and wait for something to come over the water. Multidisciplinary art collective, Plant Me Here continues its ongoing experiments by asking questions about time, the body and waiting.

Juan Winfield-Escutia Scott or the Mexican-American War, a butcher’s play: Chris Davis
A new work in progress by local writer/performer Chris Davis. Winfield Scott, a General in the Mexican-American War, and Juan Escutia, a young Mexican military cadet, meet. The piece explores the Mexican-American war and the infamous last stand of the Ninos Heroes (Boy Heroes).

 

STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION AS THESE SHOWS EVOLVE!

Before Scratch Night come to a designer and director happy hour.

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

December Scratch Night

Posted December 7th, 2015

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

DECEMBER 7 LINEUP

 

John Hawthorne/The Hopefuls

Hopefuls1_small_sq

Lindsay Browning

The Hopefuls are a punk band with presidential pretensions from Philadelphia, PA. They really care about the current state of American political discourse. #Hopefuls2016

 

 

 

Jimmy Grzelak: St. Jimmy Grzelak’s Analog Vlog

StJimmyScratchNightDec2015

Jimmy Grzelak

Jimmy Grzelak is a spiritual voyager and work in “progress” (see the Oxford Dictionary of World History). After traversing Eurasia by train in pilgrimage to the holy places of new religious movements, and touring the U.S. in gastro-liturgical communion with Paula Deen and other divinities, St. Jimmy is ready to give his people of Philadelphia a Christmas gift. He invites you to witness the birth of a fresh apostolate and novel artistic form: St. Jimmy Grzelak’s Analog Vlog.

 

 

Sam Henderson: You Receive a Love Letter From Me You’re Fucked Forever

You Receive a Love Letter From Me You’re Fucked Forever is an emerging Hundredsolo performance about love, madness, and dicks by Sam Henderson, creator of FringeArts festival oddity 100: a procedurally generated performance for one person. Recent appearances include Three Sisters (Arden Theatre Company), Closer (Luna Theatre), and Azuka Theatre’s upcoming world premiere of Local Girls, by Emma Goidel.

 

 

Daniel Park: We Need to Talk

WeneedtotalkWe Need to Talk can most easily be described as Dungeons and Dragons about relationships. Whether breaking up, starting a family, or what we want from sex, some conversations are terrifying to have. What’s scarier, slaying a dragon or ending a relationship? Can a break up be turned into a game? Could we roll a D20 and come out on the other side more generous, loving, and open?

 

 
Hallie Martenson: MonkeySong

MonkeySong

Part ritual, part coming of age story, the solo performance Monkeysong explores friendship, faith, and the hidden magical threads of love. Fat Girl and Jenny are best friends, growing up together in a new age Hindu temple run by hippies in the New Mexico desert. When Jenny disappears during a ceremony in honor of the monkey god Hanuman and comes back changed, Fat Girl struggles to pull her friend back down to Earth.
MonkeySong was developed in part through a Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Residency at 1812 Productions

 

Sam Tower/Plant Me Here: I’d rather choke than be a quitter

SamTowerDecember3

Emilie Krause

I’d rather choke than be a quitter is a mash-up between art collective Plant Me Here, director Sam Tower, and musician Shakai Mondai, with aesthetic design from Emilie Krause. Influenced by paintings from visual artist, Sam Whalen, it explores primordial femininity, abstract mythology, and our stubborn fixation on transcending body and time. Shakai Mondai’s shimmering, ethereal sound breaks open a portal into the fantastic nature of the imagination. Featuring Emma Arrick, Caitlin Dagle, and Tess Kunik, this work riffs on our obsession with all things occult.

 

 

STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION AS THESE SHOWS EVOLVE!

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

November Scratch Night

Posted November 2nd, 2015

The popular, long running works-in-progress series on the first Monday of every month.

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

NOVEMBER 2 LINEUP

Anomie Fatale: I am Great Neck

nomieguitarI’m a singer/songwriter/disability rights advocate that recently did a feature for FringeArts. In the show I told a lot about my personal story, medical history, how I went from a 4.0 biochemistry student to a burlesque/sideshow performer using comedy and my music to tell the story.

 

 

 

Lightning Rod Special/Strange Attractor: Sans Everything

sans5_sm

photo by Flordelino Lagundino

Sans Everything follows a ship of elite space explorers as they are forced to perform As You Like It for the entertainment of a hostile extraterrestrial presence. Set so far in the future that Shakespeare has been forgotten, Sans Everything asks: What do we owe the past when thinking about the future? Sans Everything is a co-production between Lightning Rod Special and Strange Attractor Theatre Company and will be developed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Providence, and Boston.

 

 

Andy Thierauf: Drumming on Ursonate

Andy Thierauf

photo by Sean Thomas Boyt

This work is based on a DADAist poem by Kurt Schwitters using nonsense syllables. The performer recites parts of the poem and plays an interpretation of those sounds on 6 drums.

 

 

 

 

University Of The Arts School Of Dance: Sophomore Project

photo scratch night 11_15_smSophomore Project offers students the opportunity to make physical, conceptual, choreographic, performative and intellectual connections through engaging in creative process. This project assists students in making important physical/conceptual connections within the development, rehearsal and performance of new dance work.

 

Nicole Quenelle: The Long Tides

The_Long_Tides_sm

photo by Nicole Quenelle

The Long Tides is a solo performance piece exploring themes of time, work, solitude, and correspondence in a mysterious flooded landscape. Rooted in clown with nods to film noir, dance theater and radio drama, the piece is in development throughout 2015 and will premier in 2016.

 

 

60 minutes
FREE / Suggested Donation

Now For A Brief InternUption

Posted September 8th, 2015

PurgatoryMany of the people who make the Fringe Festival happen are interns. I know, because I, your humble blog manager, once was one, hired into a grant-funded seasonal intern position in 2009 to overhaul this blog and envision what it could be for moving forward. Somehow, I’ve tricked them into letting me do it ever since. Interning and working here, I’ve had the chance to see transcendent work (Dance, for example), meet great friends and colleagues (like our information manager Josh McIlvain, who’s written some of the funnier stuff I’ve seen on stage), and convince people to share their ambition and fear and excitement and exuberance with me, and thus with you (like Adrienne Mackey, who just wrote a beautiful piece for us on what it means to be a theater artist). And me? I was able to write the article of which I’m perhaps the most proud of anything I’ve ever written: Contemplating audiences and terrorism, I had the revelation that by coming together, again and again, in public, to share and to celebrate and just to be together with performance and each other, performance spaces have a heightened sense of communion and indeed have become de facto radical spaces where we can, and do, resist the death cult of the American gun. But enough with my tendentiousness. Let’s just say the experience has left its mark.

After the jump, two of our interns, who are beloved at least as much as this skeleton, share their experience executing a Scratch Night. I can only hope that their time here will be as formative as mine has, and that the passion that brought them to us sustains them in where they head next. And as we always do, to give credit where credit is due, the title for this post came from Marly Logue, our development intern.

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Monday Night is Scratch Night: the Itch Returns!

Posted August 24th, 2015

Welcome back to Scratch Night at FringeArts!

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

This week’s lineup includes artists from our 2015 Northern Liberties Fringe, South Philly Fringe, and Fishtown-Kensington Fringe festivals. Performances begin at 7 on our main stage at FringeArts at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard. Admission is free!

MONDAY, AUGUST 24 LINEUP:

Gunnar Montana: PURGATORY

hires_purgatory-5Gunnar Montana takes us to church with another wickedly beautiful production – his most mature and thought-provoking work yet. Be baptized in this raw and sometimes uncomfortable exploration of the state of Purgatory, examined through a series of very human struggles that bring people to their knees each and every day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Sanders’ JUNK: American StandardAmerican-Standard_JUNK-crop-300x141

Escape the crush of urban living and be transported to a more bucolic way of life; American Standard mulls JUNK’s evocative style with the twangs of bluegrass, the sweet smell of rotting hay and bare flesh atop a shaggy Hereford. Where will a quest for a more tranquil existence lead us? Our roots hold a certain veracity…

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Got an Itch? Come to Scratch Night!

Posted August 17th, 2015

Tonight is Scratch Night at FringeArts!

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. Scratch Night features short performances by four-to-six companies/artists, offering an inside look at the future of performance.

This week we are hosting 6 artists from this year’s Center City Fringe, South Philly Fringe, Fishtown-Kensington Fringe, and Fairmount Fringe lineups. The performances begin at 7 on our FringeArts stage at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard. Admission is free!

So, what’s on tap?

MONDAY, AUGUST 17 LINEUP:Loves-Labours-Lost_Revolution-Shakespeare-271x300

 

Revolution Shakespeare: Love’s Labour’s Lost

“To fast, to study, and to see no woman,” (IV, iii) agree the gentlemen of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of love, clowns, and wit. RevShakes’ second free fall outdoor production will be directed by Samantha Bellomo, and feature live, original music. Shows will run Fringe and post-Fringe, through Sept. 27th.

NewStreet027-1024x683

Photo Credit: Geoff Sheil

New Street Dance Group + The Radical Sound: Structurally Sound
NSDG and new music ensemble The Radical Sound bring you a performance experience that begs the question, “Just what are we made of -and how stable is it, anyway?” Featuring choreography by Krista Armbruster and Shannon Dooling, re-imaginings of historic music, and a world premiere commission by composer Tomek Regulski.

Haygen Brice Walker: Spookfish11707785_10153020872795980_2634809601896238907_n

A haunted house that’s not a haunted house… until it is. A play
about slasher flicks, the horrors of high school, firework accidents, cat colonies, and a Canada Goose. The meanest play in this year’s Neighborhood Fringe will have you guessing who’s the Spookfish until the end. *Audience members must sign a waiver.

Of-our-remnants.OPD_.Kaitlin-Chow-credit-3-1024x757

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Chow

Olive Prince Dance: Of Our Remnants

The stage is set with a collection of chairs, empty frames, and abandoned objects for a dance of expressive physicality to emerge. Of Our Remnants is an intimate site-specific work where visual art and dance collide. The viewer is immersed in the installation creating an absorbing impact from all vantage points.

 

Brian Shapiro Presents: A Few Thousand Upgrades Later

scratch-night-4_Kevin-Monko-1024x683

Photo Credit: Kevin Monko

In 1995, nobody downloaded, payphones existed, and performer Brian Shapiro created a show on how people predicted computers would impact human interaction. 20 years later, we download daily, payphones died, and Shapiro revisits that show to raise questions in an era where waiting 15 seconds for answers is wasting time!

Ferdinand Presents: NOT FOR PROFIT

Slide2by
MJ Kaufman
Doug Greene
Jennifer MacMillan
Christina May
and Jack Tamburri
The theater is dying. Only three actors can save it by playing dozens of roles and telling all of their stories, from the box office to the boardroom, from the page to the stage, everything you love and everything you hate about theaters and theater people will be NOT FOR PROFIT.
Catch a glimpse of these performances in their infancy before they get all grown-up in September!

60 minutes

FREE / $5 Suggested Donation

140 N. Columbus Boulevard (at Race St.)
Philadelphia, PA 19106

-Brendan Farrell

 

Scratch Night and FEASTIVAL Patron Party Pics

Posted August 15th, 2014
Dan Hodge performs an excerpt from Philadelphia Artists' Collective "The Rape of Lucrece"

Dan Hodge performs an excerpt from Philadelphia Artists’ Collective “The Rape of Lucrece”

For more pics what you saw (or missed, for you lazy-boneses) at Scratch Night on Monday, click here for pics from Kevin Monko. And don’t forget we have another Scratch Night coming up this Monday night.

And early this week, FEASTIVAL had a preview tasting. Pics here, FEASTIVAL tix here.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo by Kevin Monko.

Tonight: Neighborhood Fringe Scratch Night Spotlight Part 2

Posted August 11th, 2014

Every Monday night in August, we’re offering free previews of the 2014 Fringe Festival–Neighborhood Fringe artists are serving up short excerpts of their work, and we’re serving up free beer. Tonight is round two:

Get a taste of Susan Chase’s Susan’s Undoing:

RealLivePeople‘s humanism will be on display with Would I lie to you?

DC Theatre Scene called the acting of RHolt Productions’s Sisters of Ellery Hollow by DC playwright Stephen Spotswood “exceptional” when it was in DC Fringe a couple years ago; actor Rachel Hold will reprise her role in the Neighborhood Fringe edition.

Philadelphia Artists’ Collective offer’s a one-man-performance take on Shakespeare’s poem The Rape of Lucrece.

And New Street Dance Group’s Another Word for Missing will be there too. Catch them in rehearsal:


Free! RSVP here.
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
August 11 at 7 pm

–Nicholas Gilewicz

On Talkbacks: Theater Artist Justin Jain Dissects The Form

Posted June 8th, 2012

Justin Jain is a Philly-based theater artist, member of The Berserker Residents, and a 2011–12 LAB Fellow.

Justin Jain, all set and ready to listen. And listen. And listen. Photo by Josh McIlvain.

Audience talkbacks and artist feedback sessions have always been tricky for me. Personally, if I am showing a work-in-progress, I will have already gained all the information I need for my future studio work during the showing itself. I read what resonates and what doesn’t by the audience’s reaction to the piece as it happens. The heat of performance changes everything–the performers step into a level of presence nearly impossible to recreate in rehearsal. It is this presence, and the physical focus of the audience, that allows everyone in the room to ride the wave of the piece together. I can hear the audience laugh at the parts that should (or shouldn’t) be humorous, I can feel the collective confusion or affirmation of moments in the performance, I can sense when the audience’s breathing changes—we all can.

On the other hand, more often than not, during feedback or talkbacks the information I am given from a particular audience is vastly mixed. Feedback participants need to know that the artist is in a very raw mental and emotional state. They have just shown their work—sometimes for the first time—and if they are not ready to receive general feedback, the comments made can indeed be detrimental to that artist’s process. For example, if the people giving feedback are not people I have personally gathered, whose opinions I truly value and whose tastes I understand (thus giving me an insight whether what they are responding to is genuine or simply playing into or against their aesthetic), sometimes the feedback reads as uneducated, uninformed, hurtful, or useless. And this goes for both positive and negative feedback. This is not always the case, but general audience members will speak to a moment I already know needs work, or they’re commenting on something that isn’t valuable at that particular stage in the process, or they praise something that suddenly locks that thing into place. I’ve participated in over a hundred talkbacks, both as artist and audience, and only a handful of those have been useful, practical, and poignant.

However, talkbacks are a now nearly ubiquitous part of the artistic process and can indeed be very helpful. And I, as an artist, will have to continue to participate in them. Different institutions have different models for these, and I have broken these into four models below. It is my hope that with the understanding of these models, the artists’ point of view, and how each of these can be helpful, we can all become better talkback participants.

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