Go Deeper

Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Mark Kennedy

Posted July 13th, 2011

Believe it or not, Checkers isn’t just Richard Nixon’s dog. Mark Kennedy, creator of Checkers—the performance, not the beast—describes his 2011 Fringe piece as “a kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-ening of Gombrowicz’s classic play Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, taking a minor character and weaving in parts of the play’s storyline through this character’s perspective.” Checkers provides audiences the chance to discover the psychology of a disturbed character who has survived the tragic events of Gombrowicz’s absurdist play. We caught up with Mark to get a better idea of the man behind Checkers‘ lovelorn story.

Name: Mark Kennedy

Age: 23

Where do you live now?
Center City, Philadelphia

Where were you born?
London, Ontario, Canada

What was the first thing you stole?
A bottle cap from a nearby campsite in Kejimekujik National Forest. I was collecting them for a few months.

What’s your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Any Belgian beer. Or gin.

What was the last performance you saw?
I saw Jenna Horton’s beautiful and quirky ON AIR, one of the pieces in the independent solo performance festival SoLow Festival at which I workshopped Checkers in back in June.

What’s your favorite Philly intersection?
Sixth and Walnut, between Washington Square and Independence Hall. I like making diagonal crosses in this gridded city and bounding up the stairs.

If you were a “Founding Father,” which one would you be and why?
Ben Franklin, because he was always doing thousands of things at once and he still had time to write flirtatious letters to his lady friends.

Do you care about the Civil War Sesquicentennial?
I cared enough to look it up on Wikipedia.

What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
I worked at a Hollywood Video in Los Angeles when I was in high school. I was once asked on the 4th of July by a perfectly normal looking American citizen why people always had fireworks, and I was forced to explain with a straight face that the United States wasn’t always its own country.

Do you have relatives more famous than you? Who are they?
They used to run the country before they were all assassinated. Just kidding, I’m not related to those Kennedys at all. Except maybe way way back, when we all were cow thieves from ancient France.

Do you own a gun? If so, have you fired it in anger?
I’m Canadian, if that answers your question.

So is Lulu! Do you guys know each other? Mark Kennedy’s Checkers will run during the 2011 Philly Fringe. Tickets on sale soon!

–Logan Tiberi-Warner