Go Deeper Fringe at 20 Profile: Bethany Formica

Fringe at 20 Profile: Bethany Formica

Posted August 5th, 2016
Above photo:  Bethany Formica in Multi-Family Garage Sale (photo by JJ Tiziou)



Bethany Formica in Babel (photo by Alan Kolc)

Name: Bethany Formica

Type of Artist: Dance/Theater Artist, Choreographer, Wood Artisan

Company: Currently dancing with Cardell Dance Theater

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Love After Death, Julia Ritter’s Performance Group, 2000 – Dancer/Actress
The Gathering, Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, 2003 – Dancer/Actress
Multi-Family Garage Sale, Reactionaries and The Bald Mermaids, 2004 – Dancer/Collaborator
Babel, Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre/Benchtours, 2004 – Dancer/Actress
Fervor, Blur, Bluff, Megan Bridge & Andrew Simonet, Late Night Cabaret, 2005 – Dancer/Creator
New Slang- Everything Looks Perfect From Far Away, Reactionaries and The Bald Mermaids, 2005 – Co-Director/Dancer/Choreographer
Philadelphia Live Arts/Fringe Festival, 2005-2010 – Production Crew
P’s and Q’s, Directed by Lee Ann Etzold, 2006 – Actress
Contest, Jeb Kreager/BrownSquad, 2006 – Dancer/Singer
Voyeur, BoanDanz Action, 2007 – Dancer
Wandering Alice, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, 2007 & 2008 – Dancer/Singer
Factor T., Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre, 2008 – Dancer/Co-Choreographer
Kill Me Now, Melanie Stewart Dance Theater, 2009 – Dancer/Actress
Decadere, BoanDanz Action, 2010 – Dancer
Le Grande Continental, Choreographed by Sylvan Emard, 2012 – Performer/Rehearsal Assistant

First Fringe I participated in: Fringe 2000, in a show called Love After Death with Julia Ritter Performance Group. Our show was performed in an outdoor venue in what was called the Ethearal Theater on Elfreth’s Alley next to the National Building. That was also home to the box office that year. I still lived in NYC at the time but was moved by the warm and welcoming community in Philadelphia. I was impressed by the $5 rush tickets that allowed participating artist to see each others work. This is also how I met Melanie Stewart, who was our dramaturge. I would go on to teach for her at Rowan University and perform with her in Philly for the next ten years.

2008 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival - Nichole Canuso's "Wandering Alice" rehearsal - with Nichole Canuso, Meg Foley, Bethany Formica, Makoto Hirano, Jaamil Kosoko, Rainey Lacey, Lorin Lyle, Scott McPheeters, Heather Murphy, Dito van Reigersberg, Christina Zani, Mike Kiley, James Sugg - also Suli Holum, Lee Etzold, Andrea Alessi, Anna Drozdowski Photo must be credited to "Jacques-Jean Tiziou /" adjacent to the image. Online credits should link to Photo may only be used as permitted by the photographer.

Formica with Scott McPheeters in Wandering Alice (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: Co-Director of New Slang, Everything looks Perfect From Far Away, in 2005.  This was a huge, messy, and wonderful collaboration between REACTIONARIES (Mark O’Maley and myself) and The Bald Mermaids (Becca Sloan) and our kick ass cast and crew.

The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: I did a lot of tech crew in order to pay my bills as a performer. There were so many fringy moments. I often think about the hundreds of abandoned spaces we revitalized as performers and crew members.

However my time at the HUB on 5th St. when I was working on tech crew in 2008 was probably the most memorable. Robert and I had the pleasure of cleaning up the large filthy (and I mean FILTHY) parking lot area for Jo Stromgren, Verdensteatret, and the Fringe Cabaret. It was 100 degrees out and the lot was covered in drug needles, human and animal waste, and decaying garbage that had been there for years.  There was an abandoned and unusable trailer in that parking lot with someone living in it at the time.  Believe it or not, the trailer actually got used in Stromgren’s show.

A Fringe show that influenced me as an artist: Sylvan Emard’s Le Grand Continental brought me back to my roots and reminded me the importance of community and social justice through the arts.

Example of artist I have met or was exposed to in the Fringe who I went on to collaborate with: Conrad Bender. Still collaborating with this lighting designer/executive technical director as my main partner in crime. I met my now husband at the Fringe Cabaret Bar on Race St. (the building doesn’t exists anymore).

There are so many couples that have met at the Philly fringe.


Formica in Factor T. (photo by Hershey Photography)

Fringe notes:

  • The cross-culture of artists and mediums
  • Tech Crew’s “All Ball”
  • Gold and Silver people at the bar
  • When the Ryder Trucks brakes failed and hit a car at the National Building
  • Not a single venue at the fringe had AC!!!!
  • All the amazing artist and people I have met thru the Fringe