Center City Fringe: Get into the GROOVE!
Philadelphia Fringe Festival favorite Tongue & Groove, Philly’s cutting-edge critically-acclaimed unscripted theater company, announces a first-time collaboration with blues dancers and musicians for a unique improvised performance based on personal information from the audience. Founded in 2006, Tongue & Groove has created nine unscripted show formats, including their popular SECRETS, in which the actors are inspired by the audience’s true secrets. Tongue & Groove has been invited to perform at the Kimmel Center for both Philadelphia International Festivals of the Arts. For PIFA 2013, Tongue & Groove collaborated with dance company RealLivePeople and developed THAT TIME. That collaboration was so successful that Tongue & Groove Artistic Director, Bobbi Block, was eager to find another project in which improvisational dance and music could share the stage with the actors. That desire is being realized with GROOVE.
FringeArts: What can audiences expect when they come out for a performance of GROOVE?
Bobbi Block: When the audience arrives, they will be asked to anonymously write on a card their response to this prompt: “Describe a specific time when you were in the groove…with yourself, a partner, a group, or something you were doing.” The ensemble will draw random cards, read them aloud, and begin riffing off of the themes and characters submitted. Tongue & Groove is dedicated to exploring the collaboration between artist and patron, reflecting the spirit of each audience at every one-of-a-kind performance.
FringeArts: How do you use music and dance in the show?
Bobbi Block: GROOVE will follow Tongue & Groove’s signature format, creating a montage of scenes and monologues, both comic and dramatic. Interspersed in the montage will be blues dances that comment on and interpret the themes and characters created by the actors, inspired by the audience.
FringeArts: What is Blues Dancing?
international movement popularized in the past decade. Primarily partner-based, the lead and follow are in sync while improvising every move–fun, funky, sensual or swinging.
FringeArts: What brought you across disciplines to Blues Dancing?
Bobbi Block: The first time I saw blues dancing, I assumed it was choreographed. I was surprised and delighted to discover that the partners were improvising–the dancers were so seamlessly connected. That’s when I knew we had to work together, as our processes are similar; audiences often feel that Tongue & Groove performances are scripted and are surprised and delighted to discover that we are creating on the spot.
FringeArts: Can you talk about your Blues collaborators on this project?
Bobbi Block: Carol Moog, of Tatter, Tucker and Moog (among other bands), is a veteran blues harmonica player and member of Tongue & Groove, providing live improvised accompaniment to all Tongue & Groove shows. Carol has played for blues dancers in the past, and is thrilled to improvise with them now, following and leading their dancer & musician relationship. For GROOVE, Carol is partnering with special guest Radka Kasparcova, a 17-year-old rising star blues guitarist who has already recorded an album, and was invited onstage to play with blues legend Buddy Guy. Carol and Radka are excited for their first-time collaboration, veteran and emerging talents, grooving off the audience and dancers.
Over the years, Tongue and Groove has garnered much critical acclaim. What are people saying?
“I was blown away. I have never been disappointed by T&G, and can’t say that of many other companies, improv or not…this is great theater, acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence and humor. GO SEE THIS.” –Philadelphia City Paper
“Hilarious…. and fearless.” –Philadelphia Weekly
“Dazzling” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“Will explode your expectation of what improvisation can be.” –phawker.com
City Paper Award: “Bobbi Block: Actress Who Will Lead Improvisation to the Promised Land.”
2015 Fringe Festival
Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre
September 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19
The Playground at the Adrienne
2030 Sansom Street
Click for tickets and info