Making Art in 2017: Dawn Falato and Karen Getz on The Gorgeousity
Name: Dawn Falato and Karen Getz
Company: The Gorgeousity (produced by Chalk, Chair and Broomstick)
Show in 2017 Festival: Gorgeousity – The Army of Love and Art
FringeArts: Tell us about your show.
Dawn Falato and Karen Getz: Our show is a “play romp” for grown-ups—a musical wrapped inside an informal party.
We wanted to make a creative respite—a place to drop responsible, adult “skins” at the door for a couple of hours. We were interested in making a safe, inviting experience to sing, dance, play, and color for everyone who came to our event. We also wanted to make an instant community, with no “us” and “them.” It was important to us that the experience traveled easily, didn’t hold us back with production costs and could be experienced in almost any location.
Our main questions were: Could we could craft a truly immersive musical experience around our own strengths that would also naturally invite the audience in? How does the experience get crafted so that the participants’ input is genuinely significant to the outcome of the show? Could we ask people to sing and dance and play act without any performative or creative pressure?
It took us about three years to craft both the musical that is the center of the experience and to craft the means by which audiences can step into that musical as themselves, without performative pressure or cynicism. And we added home cooked food. And crayons.
FringeArts: Tell us about an instance from 2017 where your interaction with art—either as creator or audience—provided some much needed solace or refuge from outside troubles.
Dawn Falato and Karen Getz: We’ve had some pretty amazing feedback, from a joyful, post-salon attendee who said “I want to do this every day,” to a train filled with strangers singing together on our way to stand with stranded refugees at PHL. The most striking experience we had this year was one that rocked us, the creator/performers. We brought The Gorgeousity to a community center in South Philly. This is in Dawn’s neighborhood, and we knew many of the participants were going to be people who voted for someone we both believe is, well, spreading a potent, hate-filled virus. We had our own preconceived notions about who these older adults were going to be. We really wanted to meet them and work with them, but we also categorized them in our minds. That disappeared almost immediately once we started the musical adventure, and we were both extremely moved and inspired by our experience making art with them. We stayed and talked for quite a while, making new friends ourselves. Now, Dawn can’t walk South on 15th Street without running into our one of our new friends who always want to return to the experience of the show. It absolutely challenged our assumptions/doubts about connecting with people of alternate political beliefs.
The Gorgeousity – The Army of Love and Art
Dawn Falato and Karen Getz
$20 / 90 minutes
Sept 15-17, 21, 24 @ Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square