Go Deeper

Late Night Fringe-ing: Where The Wild Things Are

Posted September 7th, 2012

Wolf-suited Max, from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, is sent to his bedroom for mischievous behavior; little does his mother know that the real mischief begins at a boy’s exile post. As the moon rises outside his window, so does Max’s threshold for indoor foliage: his nightstand becomes a bush, and trees grow in place of his bedposts. Soon, an ocean sluices through the door and he rides away on a boat towards the forest where the wild things are: those bird-boar-Hagrid monstrosities depicted by Sendak.

In this year’s Philly Fringe (which, if you haven’t been living in Max’s world, should know opens tonight), there are more than a handful of shows that take place in the bewitching hour where today, tomorrow and yesterday all squat; it’s the hour where anything can–and if you’re Fringe-ing–will happen. I spoke with Jake Blouch of Jawbone Junction: Live at the Twisted Tail and Rebecca Wright of Applied Mechanic’s Some Other Mettle about what it means to perform in the time-space where the wild things lurk.

But before you jump: listen to Christopher Walken read (and improv his own lines) from Where the Wild Things Are.


After the jump: Skynyrd, and a performance that takes place at the Earth’s core.

Applied Mechanics’ Some Other Mettle at Jolie Laide

This year’s Applied Mechanic’s show is set in an alternate realm, not unlike the one Sendak’s Max inhabits: “[Some Other Mettle] takes place under the Earth’s core, with various languages, and singing, and supernatural things happening.”

A devised play, director Rebecca anticipates that the performance’s premise will whet audiences’ imaginations: “Since the show is so wild in its delivery system, I’m hopeful that performing at a witching hour will set the tone of the piece.”

“It’s not a piece for your intellectual theatergoer,” said Jake of Jawbone Junction’s rock show, which stars a fictional band whose “stereotypical asshole egocentric” lead singer is bound to go at it with either the “band drunk” or the “sad case” female member who can “do a great overbite with her teeth.” “If you are there thinking about themes then I haven’t done my job.”

Jawbone Junction: Live at the Twisted Tail

Of course, there’s also the idea that Jake need not worry, that those who come out to a midnight show are not as bookish as they are splintered from one of the Wild Things: “People who come to a midnight show tend to be more rowdier and have an idea of the show as a party,” said Rebecca. Rather than earlier shows–“Maybe if we had a show around 7:00 or 8:00 we’d get a bunch of Southern rock Deadhead fans, some Baby Boomers, who were actually around when Skynyrd was touring,” said Jake–replete as they may be with hip golden-agers. “Our show is a concert alternative to the Festival Bar,” Jake said of Live at the Twisted Tail. “We were just trying to create an after-hours party.”

I prayed Rebecca wouldn’t hot-glue gun her hand as we spoke over the phone. “For better or for worse, I can’t seem to change it,” she said. Her voice was strained under the onslaught of last-minute tasks: “I am a late-night person, no matter what time I have to wake up in the morning.”

Jawbone Junction’s midnight shows will be Jake’s third performance of the day; before an earlier Jawbone showing at 10:00 pm, he will perform in a matinee show of New Jerusalem with the Lantern Theater Company. “I hope to go home in between and take a nap,” he said.

Jawbone Junction: Live at the Twisted Tail runs September 9, 16 and 23 at 10:00 pm and midnight at the Twisted Tail, 509 South 2nd Street. $10.
Some Other Mettle runs September 8 at midnight, September 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 10:00 pm, September 10 and 17 at 7:00 pm, and September 11 and 18 at 6:00 pm at Jolie Laide, 224 North Juniper Street. $15.

–Audrey McGlinchy