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Posts Tagged ‘The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’

Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium Peels Back the Layers of This Absurd World

Posted May 18th, 2018

“The absurd is not in man…nor in the world, but in their presence together”—Albert Camus

Each Fringe Festival, the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s entry into the Fringe Festival is one of the first shows on the schedule and one of the most frequently performed. After several years exploring the works of French avant-garde playwright Eugene Ionesco (Rhinoceros [2014], Exit the King [2015], The Chairs [2016], Bald Soprano [2017]), the absurdist theater company switches its 2018 Fringe Festival attention to Tennessee Williams with a staging of his seldom-performed The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, September 4–23,  at The Bethany Mission Gallery. First though, IRC pads their Festival budget this Sunday, May 20, with a special one-night performance of Raw Onion 2018: Comfort Food.

The cast of IRC’s Raw Onion 2018: Comfort Food.

An annual tradition  at L’Etage Cabaret since 2008, Raw Onion stages commentary pieces from satirical magazine The Onion.

The show traces its history to acting classes in the early ’00s. “We began testing out material from magazines: editorials mostly, to see how the thoughts on the page held up/could be adjusted slightly for drama and comedy,” says Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium artistic director Tina Brock. “One of our favorite characters was the alter ego of Herbert Kornfeld, an employee in the accounts receivable department at Midstate Office Supply [in a fictitious Onion column]. A guy in class worked up one of Herbert’s monologues, it was ridiculous. We continued to test out this material in class, figuring out how to activate the words that were written to be read.”

IRC contacted The Onion for permission rights to perform pieces from the commentary section. Now the challenge lies in selecting material to illustrate the current gestalt, where real-world headlines feel drawn from the pages of The Onion.

“Since the election, selecting material for the IRC seasons (both Onion and regular mainstage season) has become a different challenge,” explains Brock. “Since the daily news is far more absurd than anything the IRC could present, the question becomes what is the response to that, as opposed to illustrating the thing. It would be a daunting task to outdo theatrically the current political situation.”

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Fringe at 20: Tina Brock

Posted June 15th, 2016

Name: Tina Brock

Madwoman of Chaillot (2010)

Madwoman of Chaillot (2010)

Type of Artist: Producing artistic director, absurdist theater company

Company:  The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Tales of a White Hoe, solo show, 2004 – performer, director, sound design
The White Hoe Returns, solo show, 2005 – performer, director, sound design
Catastrophe, director’s female assistant, 2006 – performer, director, sound design
Come & Go, Flo, 2007 – performer, director, sound design
For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Amanda, 2007 – performer, director, sound design
Desire, Desire, Desire, Blanche, 2008 – performer, director, sound design
The Chairs, old woman, 2009 – performer, director, sound design
Madwoman of Chaillot, Countess Aurelia, 2010 – performer, director, sound design
Ivona, courtier, 2012 – performer, director, sound design
The Castle, innkeeper, 2013 – performer, director, sound design
Rhinoceros, 2014 – director, sound design
Exit the King, 2015 – director, sound design

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs, old woman – director, sound design.

First Fringe I attended: Not sure. . . perhaps 1998? Beckett’s Endgame, directed by Mark Lord, and starring Pierce Bunting and Maggie Siff is the show that sticks as the starting point.

First Fringe I participated in: Tales of a White Hoe in 2004. The most memorable moment was getting through a solo show without dying, as a solo performer.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: Three One Acts: Works by Beckett, Ionesco and Durang in 2006. In the middle of one of the long silences during Beckett’s Catastophe, the blender whirring, whipping up frozen margaritas at L’Etage Cabaret was a highlight.

Tina Brock and Bob Schmidt, The Chairs (2009)

Tina Brock and Bob Schmidt, The Chairs (2009)

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: So many.
Carmen Funebre, Teatr Biuro Podrozy (2002), beautiful, disturbing street theater; Beckett’s Endgame, Mark Lord, Pierce Bunting/Maggie Siff (1998); Cynthia Hopkins’ Accidental Tourist (2005); The Wooster Group, The Emperor Jones (2007); The Cherry Orchard, Hungary’s Moving House (2001).

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Tina Brock And Her Absurd Theater Company Take On Kafka

Posted June 7th, 2013

Nobody told Tina Brock that starting a theater company was going to be this way.

The Idiopathicridiculopathy Consortium, producing Kafka’s The Castle at the 2013 Fringe Festival, did not go through the typical track that many theater companies go through: clicking with like-minds at school, then building a company upon graduation. “Ours is not that story at all.”

Currently on the Clinical Skills Evaluation Board by day and directing theater by night, Brock came to theater indirectly; she studied journalism in college and took classes in theater and dance before she moved to Philadelphia. After a job at WHYY radio, she found herself with the other two founders of IRC at George DiCenzo‘s scene study class at what used to be the Triangle Theater. “I used to get the critique, ‘You’re really right for this absurdist stuff.’ And I would think, ‘What does that mean?’ and it probably has something to do with the existential anxiety that I feel 24/7,” she laughs.

http://idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org

http://idiopathicridiculopathyconsortium.org

Thus began the Idiopathicridiculopathy Consortium. “The consortium is a couple of us, and then it’s more than a couple of us. I’m the producer and artistic director with another colleague who does more of the technical part, and then it’s a group of actors who tend to be consistent in this ensemble.”

These actors also come from and contribute with a variety of backgrounds. “We work with a mix of disciplines: several have graduate degrees in theater, some with dance, music, philosophy, English. The writing is very musical, so experience in dance or with an instrument is common.”
The actors themselves are sort of nomadic, yet their unique individual processes mix well under the direction of Brock. In all of its manifestations, the consortium has consistently produced about two shows a year.

“There’s a form to the work–and a way of working on it that together–that we’ve developed and experienced with. This process isn’t necessarily the way most people would work if they were going to work on something like American Realism.”

“Absurdist theatre” works as shorthand to describe the content of the plays, but Brock is quick to qualify the label that Martin Esslin used to pool together authors like Arthur Adamov and Eugene Ionesco together in the fifties and sixties. “It’s not so much a title; it’s more a list of attributes that the work seems to have in common.”

And how does one process absurd, existential, or nonsensical theatre?

When the consortium first started, “We just got on our feet and just tried to work through the material because so much of it is not plot-driven. It’s like an episode of Friends; little happens. It’s about an emotional state that fuels the action or non-action . . . it wants to be visceral and not cerebral.”

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Roundup Roundup

Posted August 31st, 2012

It’s that time in a young cowboy/cowgirl’s life where we round up the roundups, as the Festivals are about to begin. Here’s some press and press-sorting of shows to help guide your way through the next three weeks:

>>>The South Philly Review has a beautiful cover story on the Aryadareis, one of the families performing in Headlong’s This Town is a Mystery.

>>>Great story from WHYY’s Peter Crimmins on the same. Hey, ditto for the Chestnut Hill Local!

>>>WHYY’s “Arts Calendar” pulls out some pics for the festivals, including Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, Brat RockPile, Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder, and Return Return Departure.

>>>uwishunu offers up lists of top participatory shows and top bets for unusual sites.

>>>Rep Radio‘s kicked off its podcast coverage of Live Arts and Philly Fringe this week. So far: interviews with Eric Balchunas about Wawapalooza, Whit MacLaughlin about 27, and commander-in-chief Nick Stuccio about all things festivals. Listen over here.

>>>J. Cooper Robb writes in Philadelphia Weekly about what is sure to be a most amazing post-show talk on body politics in the arts (following the single performance of Arguendo), featuring John Collins of Elevator Repair Service, Charlotte Ford (of this year’s Bang), and playwright Young Jean Lee (UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW).

>>>Art Attack, the Daily News-Drexel U collab arts reporting project plugs Barbie Blended, this year’s first Philly Fringe offering (opens tomorrow, whoa!).

>>>Top ticket for Stage‘s Debra Miller? The Gate Reopened.

>>>The Montgomery News runs down the MontCo connections.

>>>Ditto for Mount Airy, via the Mount Airy Patch.

>>>Dispatch from central Jersey, who loves us. We love you too! Come on down!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

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