Can You Feel the LOVE Tonight? Fringe Comes to LOVE Park
Love is in the air at this year’s Fringe Festival. It’s suspended seven feet off the ground and arranged in an instantly recognizable design. That’s right: Fringe is coming to LOVE Park.
Located in the heart of Center City, the park is home to Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue, which has become a symbol of the City of Brotherly Love and which serves as the photogenic entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Originally laid out in 1965 as part of an urban development project by city planner Edmund Bacon (father of actor Kevin Bacon), the park was designated “JFK Plaza” to honor the assassinated president in 1967. It became better known by the moniker LOVE Park after Indiana’s famous wordmark sculpture was placed there in the late 1970s.
The park became known as a hub for Philadelphians to meet, chat, take a lunch break, go for a dip in the fountain, and hone their skateboarding skills. Situated just across from City Hall, it serves as a haven from the busy streets of the city and a resting point for workers, residents, and tourists. Closed in 2016 for a $26 million redesign, LOVE Park reopened on May 30, 2018, with a brand new look.
To celebrate the grand reopening, FringeArts teamed up with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (with support from ArtPlace America) to present three FREE shows by leading local arts as part of the 2018 Fringe Festival: An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park, Chichi Chip (an ode to the Gnarly), and Same Picture Different Poses.
An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park is an improvised, mind-bending guided tour through the park led by Rose Luardo and Kate Banford. The audience is encouraged to ask questions during the tour, and the two (unreliable) guides will stretch the truth and lead a tour unlike any other. Kate Banford, a comedian and co-founder of Good Good Comedy, teams up with the artist and live performer Rose Luardo to create a wild and wonderful performance to welcome the new park into the hearts of Philadelphians. (More info and tickets here.)
Chichi Chip (an ode to the Gnarly) is an interactive dance performance by Philly Kerplop that will use comedy and daring physical feats to bring life into the new park, activating the otherwise flat space. Philly Kerplop is a dance group that creates performance for all ages, and whose work unites entertainment with thought-provoking questions. When creating pieces, Philly Kerplop’s dancers and musicians work collaboratively, each informing the work of the other. Their performances invite the audience to join in the celebration and to find playfulness in life’s difficulties. (More info and tickets here.)
Same Picture Different Poses is a work by 3AM Theater that blends circus, dance, and theater to create a site-specific piece for LOVE Park. Kyle Driggs, an acclaimed circus performer, and Andrea Murillo, a dancer who has performed in New York and around the world, join forces for a show that explores the complicated, interwoven relationships in the web of love. (More info and tickets here.)
Although distinct from each other, each of these shows will activate the new park and bring the space to life, welcoming Philadelphians of all ages to experience live theater and feel the LOVE in the heart of the city.
—Alyssa Kerper & Christopher Munden