Go Deeper

Inside “Underground Episodes”: Q and A with Allen Clark

Posted September 10th, 2014

UndergroundEpisodesFlyer1The first performance of the 2014 Neighborhood Fringe show Underground Episodes is already sold out–we just caught up with Allen Clark, the executive producer of Run Boy Run Productions, to find out what the fuss is about.

What’s the basic idea behind the show?
The premise of Underground Episodes comes from everyday riding on the train and seeing the interaction of people within the subways. From the homeless men and women, the many going to work, the kids going to school, the hustlers, the police officers and the old, many are characters within themselves with stories that you can only imagine want to be told. Think about this. When you see a person loud-talking on their cell phone to someone and it’s about, oh, the baby for example. You get to see the beauty of the story come out in the form of someone screaming and telling you details that you didn’t even want to know, but it’s nonetheless a story that you are now part of. After that you go home and for some strange reason that story becomes part of your conversation of crazy stories of the day.

How is the show structured?
I structured the play as a spoken word theater piece. I have been a poet for years and a writer even longer, and this project was 10 years in the making. However the issue I had was people thinking it was just poetry when its not just poetry but pieces put together to make a story. Finding people that can bring to life the pieces through acting and performance was key.

Why did you decide to present in Neighborhood Fringe this year?
My reason for wanting to be in the Fringe is simple: I love the arts. I have been going to Fringe events for years and seeing some of the best local talent this city had to offer only made me believe that my work belonged within this forum as well.

Why did you pick the Philadelphia Art Alliance as your venue?
Picking the Philadelphia Art Alliance was a dream come true. Meeting Eva, the marketing and event curator of the facility, and her opening the space up to our event was perfect. I mean it’s Rittenhouse Square: a mecca of places to go and people to see all in one area so having an artistic event in a place that prides itself on art made since to me.

What is it about the everyday that you find compelling?
What’s not compelling about the everyday? Riding trains, buses, and cars, all you see is stories around you.

Does everybody really have a story worth telling?
I believe so. How many homeless people get on the train and ask for money and tell you they have no place just lost their job and are just trying to get a meal? Those lines alone contain a story that you or myself can relate to. After all, many of us are working just to pay the bills, right? So to see that type of picture possibly happening to you or someone you may know isn’t far from your mind. Now is that a story you may know or understand or even want to hear? I believe so.

Underground Episodes
September 12 at 8:00 pm
September 13 at 1:00 pm
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 S. 18th Street

–Nicholas Gilewicz