Fringe at 20: John Schultz
Type of Artist: Actor/Director
Company: Bright Invention
Fringe shows I’ve participated:
Missed Connections, 2009 – actor
The Heart of the Revolution, 2013 – actor
Till Birnam Wood . . . , 2014 – director, producer, actor
Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: This year I’ll be directing and producing my second immersive rendering of Shakespeare, Let’s Fuck Around With Hamlet. The piece will be running in the Power Plant basement, and will be a show for anyone who hates Shakespeare and anyone who loves Shakespeare just little too much.
First Fringe I attended: I don’t remember the first Fringe show that I saw, but the first Fringe show to really leave its mark was Gunnar Montana’s Resurrection Room. I had never experienced that kind of work in Philly before. It was incredible.
First Fringe I participated in: My first Fringe show was in 2009, Missed Connections. It was a piece based entirely on found Craigslist postings. I believe it was among the first shows in West Philly, we ran at Curio Theatre, and at one point I delivered a monologue dressed as a giant cock. A penis, not a rooster. There is a picture out there somewhere.
First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The first Fringe show I created was Till Birnam Wood . . . in the 2014 Fringe. A production of Macbeth that the audience experiences completely blindfolded. The show is a sensory, immersive experience.
A Fringe show that influenced me as an artist: New Paradise Laboratories’ 27. I felt completely disconnected from the piece while I was watching it, but to this day the moments, images and performances have stayed with me, as if the show began to do its work after you left the theatre. That’s powerful. It was one of the seeds that got me interested in creating pieces that have an afterlife, which lead me to take an interest in immersive theatre.
The craziest idea for a Fringe show I wish I had done or to one day do: A fellow actor and I want to produce a send up of the Barrymore Awards called the Barryless Awards, hosted by two bitter bitches in drag and sponsored by a walnut. Thom Nickels would, naturally, be our guest of honor.