Late Night Fringe-ing: Where The Wild Things Are
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.
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.”
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.