Go Deeper

The Festival Is: Unusual Spaces

Posted August 15th, 2011

What makes something Fringe? For one thing, unsual spaces. Philly Fringe is by far the richest time of year to see performances in unexpected places. Past shows have happened under Interstate 95, in an abandoned pool, and in the old warhorses, warehouses.

After the jump, I got five Fringe shows that will take you to surprising performance venues spanning the entire city of Philadelphia.

Dancing Dead
Last year’s Live Arts show Sanctuary was described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “nonstop, exhilarating, wondering-what’s-next action.” This year, the latest dance-theater work from Festival-blockbuster Brian Sanders’ JUNK delves into the sub-basement of a renovated industrial building hard by the Vine Street Expressway. Promises include: a tractor, bodies, grass, dirt, digging, stone, grit, ash, John Denver, ten dead, darkness, candlelight, dancing.

Japan House PhiladelphiaJapan House/Philadelphia
Leah Stein Dance Company takes you on a dance journey through the 17th century Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. American and Japanese dancers they incorporate the site and its Senju paintings into choreography, expressing cultural synergies through movement and sound.

Awakened Ruins
This evening-length site-specific dance installation inhabits Girard College’s Founder’s Hall, exploring the beauty, decay, and permanence of forgotten and antiquated architectural forms. Accompanied by live violin and piano, five dancers embody the traces of life that remain within these “fallen” forms.

Revolving Spaces
Beginning in South Philadelphia’s Bardascino Park, Revolving Spaces uses dance and music to reflect the neighborhood bocce ball court and park’s role in the community. Inspired by history and cultural trends, the piece–along with the audience–travels through side streets and ends in the Italian Market.

An outdoor, site-specific production that takes as its home two Philadelphia cemeteries: Gloria Dei Old Swedes Church and Laurel Hill Cemetery. REV Theatre Company’s Carthaginians is set in a Derry, North Ireland, graveyard where seven survivors of the 1972 Bloody Sunday Massacre wait for the dead to rise. Seating? Bring chairs and blankets.

–Nicholas Gilewicz