Go Deeper

The Festival, Pared Down: 32 Experiences

Posted September 3rd, 2010

We know that navigating the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is sometimes a challenge, especially for newbies, or when trying to convince your friends who, somehow, don’t think that theater, dance, or the what-have-yous of the Fringe are for them. But they’re missing out on dark shows, funny shows, darkly funny shows, a surprisingly large number of undead shows, and Shakespeare from his bloodiest play to a Top Gun mashup.

So, in the spirit of making your life easier while dragging recalcitrant friends out to revelatory experiences for which they’ll thank you later (and don’t forget the Festival Bar, opening tonight), after the jump you can find a list of 32 quirky endeavors that might suck them into your Fringe hole for the next few weeks.

AFOOT: Northern Liberties
The Brothers Cromie present another foot-based walkabout. With only a map, your wits and a series of clues, you and your team of 4-6 people must find a pathway through the giant game board that is Northern Liberties. Groups leave every ten minutes, starting at 11 am with the last group leaving at 5 pm. Prizes and swag for all. Shoes recommended.

Our city lives at the mouth of it – what history is hidden in it? The Schuylkill River is a CONSTANT in our lives. Take an interactive performance journey to travel back in time and witness the changing history of Philadelphia, as one body of water remains CONSTANT.

Twenty performing artists bring Andy Warhol’s Factory to life through a cutting edge production combining dance, acrobatics, aerial work, and multimedia. Watch Warhol’s world of art, sex, and glamour unfold in this compelling glimpse into an artistic movement that would influence generations to come.

A Flashmob Performance: What happens when a spontaneous celebration suddenly turns violent? See high school artists’ reactions,as they take a provocative look at recent events. Multiple-media, movement, storytelling tells the tale of what happens when people “mob” and what misconceptions drive public panic. Presented by Yes! And . . .’s Shadow Company.

habitat (de)fragmentation
A collage of seven physical poems that investigate spaces that divide and connect. Four women highly influenced by a psyche we share with nature launch the viewer into a holographic transformative journey using choice substances -darkness, dance, declaration, impression, and light- reclaiming the rites formerly known as passage.

A visceral play, dance concert, and aerial spectacle! The audience will catapult into our whirlwind fantasyland of flying wasps, fireflies, and a towering praying mantis. As we interact and perform among you, there is surprise and depth in this raw, yet sensual love story. A project from Karen Fuhrman, who has performed with Pilobolus, Cavalia by Cirque du Soleil, De La Guarda, and MOMIX, and Insectinside includes performers from them all.

Zombies Are Forever
Zombies! Unicorns! Glitter! Blood! Peek into the lives of everyone’s favorite zombie-pop duo as Rainbow Destroyer invites you to an “open audition.” Come as you are – mortal or undead – and ready for a night of karaoke-debauchery. Do you have what it takes to be larger than death?

A Tale of Two Brains
With the Zombie apocalypse averted, there is still something rotten in Denmark…PA. Two dentally challenged zombies wander the land of the living searching for the meaning of un-life. LBV plagues you with a decay-dent zombie puppet comedy that’s sure gnaw at your brains!

Dead Air: The Final Broadcast
In 1938, Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre brought the terror of the Martian invasion into living rooms across the nation. Today, as the dead reanimate and society crumbles (eats itself), we bring humanity’s final words from the infinite space of radio. There is no hope. This is Dead Air.

Brain fever, nightmare, shadows and madness saturate this dynamic new look at Dracula. By using scientific methods designed to stimulate fear in the human brain, this original adaptation kicks you into the swallowing abyss of terror. Audience members must sign a waiver to participate.

Iron goes behind the prison bars to find Fay and Josie, a mother and daughter struggling to reconnect 15 years after a brutal murder. The spellbinding Catherine Slusar stars in this taut mystery about how we condemn ourselves to a life sentence of isolation with literal bars and figurative walls.

Jester’s Dead
Top Gun and Shakespeare? Thou speak’st aright. New York-based ensemble The Outfit re-imagines the classic 80’s flick in a theatrical parody packed with swordfights, songs, and text from every play in Shakespeare’s canon. In this adrenaline-fueled mash-up, we’re going straight to the danger zone.

What does it mean to tell a story? What lies behind the lines and verses we know so well? From the creators of Something with Wings (Philly Fringe, 2009) comes Tales, a thought-provoking journey through a modern version of Ancient Rome that investigates and challenges the conventions of storytelling.

Boat Hole: another evening of outrageous short comedies by Josh McIlvain
A show brought to you by a Festival staffer! Brings together 15 of Josh McIlvain’s funniest and most popular short plays as well as world premieres. Starring some of Philly’s best comedic actors, expect smart, edgy, and completely outrageous humor. And a sleazy clown in the lobby. Paper magazine’s website on Josh’s work: “A very worthwhile show . . . they were all great!”

Another Festival staffer! This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. On stage. Or on paper. This is your brain on New Zealand Mean Time. Your brain on longitude. Your brain off. Isn’t this your brain? I swear it looks just like you. And haven’t I seen you around here before?

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
When a charismatic leader promises change, people want immediate satisfaction -or blood will run. In one of the most controversial plays ever written, EgoPo recreates the French Revolution in West Philly’s breathtaking Rotunda. Enter the bloody world of the Marquis De Sade where musicians, dancers, and Asylum inmates run the show.

The Rocky Horror Show
Richard O’Brien’s classic cross-dressing, time-warping odyssey as you’ve never experienced it before. Fresh, edgy, and exciting, The Rocky Horror Show is a lipstick-and-horror-infused can’t miss at this year’s Fringe!

The Tell-Tale Heart
Creepy, darkly comic and suspenseful, this faithful, word-for-word stage realization of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story stars Barrymore Award-winning actor, John Zak, in a chilling portrayal of a man on the brink of insanity. Conceived for the stage and directed by Domenick Scudera.

Titus Andronicus
Murder. Dismemberment. Cannibalism. Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy from Plays & Players, who gave you Zombie! The Musical and William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead. Retired general Titus Andronicus finds the intrigue of a crumbling empire even more dangerous than war. His loyalty betrayed, he has no choice but REVENGE.

Tongue & Groove
This unique ensemble spontaneously creates one-of-a-kind serio-comic theatre pieces inspired by texts, emails and other personal information provided anonymously by the audience. City Paper: “These skilled actors create genuine, complex, unscripted relationships… both hilarious and painful… anchored by a delicate clarity, and more moving than the best scripted plays.”

Jolie Ladie Project Space (visual art)
Jolie Laide, a new Center City contemporary art space features a special exhibition with video and performance art from social myth-buster, Jacolby Satterwhite, anthropomorphic installations by Fabienne Lasserre, and a kinetic wonderland of systems by Jordan Griska. Includes live performances by Satterwhite on September 3 and 4 at 8:00 pm, and by Griska on September 17 and 18 at 8:00 pm. FREE!

Utopia in Four Movements (visual art)
Utopia in Four Movements is Academy Award-nominated documentarian Sam Green’s unique hybrid of film and live performance. Featuring live narration from Green and musical accompaniment by Dave Cerf, Utopia investigates humanity’s impulses toward achieving an ideal world, from the history of Esperanto to glimpses at the world’s largest mall.

Winnipeg Babysitter (visual art)
In the late 1970s through the 1980s, Winnipeg, Canada experienced a “golden age” of public access television. Anyone with a creative dream, concept or politic was on the air. Winnipeg Babysitter, artist Daniel Barrow’s live video and performance project, traces these unique vignettes from a brief synapse in broadcasting history.

Dance (Live Arts)
Lucinda Childs with music by Philip Glass and film by Sol LeWitt. Three masters of minimalism, choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer Philip Glass, and conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, collaborated to construct this seminal work of dance—one of the purest examples of interdisciplinary art-making ever created. An exploration of musical movement, rhythm, and harmony, Dance is a bold statement on the very nature of movement.

Sanctuary (Live Arts)
This is where the lost take charge. Take a wall fourteen feet high and one hundred and twenty feet long and make it into a stage. This is the set for Sanctuary, a dance of intense movement, ritual, and mistaken assumptions about the past from celebrated choreographer and Festival favorite Brian Sanders. Sometime in the future, a group of people inhabit a blown out, old industrial architectural relic from the past.

Cankerblossom (Live Arts)
Pig Iron Theatre Company. Welcome to a dark fairy tale for kids aged 9 to 90. It begins, as so many of these stories do, with a knock at the door. A young couple discovers a cardboard baby on their stoop. They grow to love the child, who is completely flat, as their own. Then someone or some thing takes away the baby to the Flat World, a planar landscape populated by characters whimsical, sinister, and flat as pancakes.

A fierce, undead tension animates the American frontier: the struggle between the freedom of the individual and the question of who or what belongs in the club. FREEDOM CLUB is a savage comedy about the delirium and danger in American extremism, a hallucination on national themes. It time-travels from a feverish dream-play starring Shakespearean assassin John Wilkes Booth to Virginia, 2015, where a determined group of self-styled radicals are rapidly coming unglued. Funny, lyrical, and provocative, FREEDOM CLUB is the result of an intense collaboration between New York experimental theater company The Riot Group, known for their potent barrage of language, and New Paradise Laboratories, who are famous for their witty and dynamic physicality. Together the two companies present a Lincoln White House full of prophetic visions, a Tea Party from beyond the grave, and a group of feckless separatists careening to their destiny.

CHICKEN (Live Arts)
Turning the other cheek can be a very bad idea. Deep beneath the icy swells, a nuclear powered submarine carries three imbeciles in charge of a highly classified mission. A buzz-cut she-beast, a Casper Milquetoast somnambulist cross-dresser, and a passive-aggressive Elvis devotee vie for bunk beds, safety goggles, and poopie suits.

TAKES (Live Arts)
Enter a genre-bending exploration of dance, video installation, and film. Within a large cube wrapped in semi-transparent screens two dancers perform fragments from their lives. Captured by multiple video cameras, their actions are woven into an elaborate reel of “takes,” and projected back onto the screens as large black-and-white films.

First Love by Samuel Beckett (Live Arts)
A young man, expelled from the family home, takes refuge on a bench by a canal. There he meets a woman who takes him home. She is his first—perhaps only—love and a major hindrance to his desire to rid himself of contact with others. Conor Lovett’s solo performance of Samuel Beckett’s First Love is a masterpiece of tragicomedy, featuring the bone-dry humor of a character besieged with a clutter of emotions. He is a man who says terrible things in a beautiful way and beautiful things in a terrible way. He tells you things best left unsaid.

Decadere (Live Arts)
It’s an abandoned place, where abandoned people meet. They come wearing half underwear, half office clothes. They are trying to recreate the routines of their former lives–their work, their culture, their food, their speech, their dancing. They are being watched. They are speaking out on the microphone—where they become stars, where they reveal secrets, maybe sing a song. They collide with each other in good ways, in bad ways. Sometimes they dance for themselves, sometimes they dance for the camera, for those who are watching. A large screen projects their intimate, violent, sorrowful movements.

Cosmic Terrarium /Motion Painting Project (Live Arts/Philadelphia Mural Program)

In Cosmic Terrarium, four artists transform a vacant weedinfested lot across from the Festival Box Office into a visual spectacle, using paint and found objects. The mural installation evolves daily as the artists visually riff off one another, responding to the work from the day before, to transform the site. The team includes local artist Paul Santoleri, who has produced extensive mural and installation work in Philadelphia as well as in Copenhagen, Havana, Mexico City, and Paris; Alexandre “Psyckoze” Stolypine, a Paris-based graffiti artist with whom Santoleri recently completed a mural in the suburbs of Paris; Dan Murphy of Megawords; and Josh “Le Josh” Smith. The entire process will be documented through digital photography and edited into a time-lapse video short.