Go Deeper

2018 Festival Spotlight: Shows from the Theater Canon

Posted August 28th, 2018

This year’s Fringe artists have looked to the past and taken inspiration from great playwrights and authors of the past. Check out these shows that create new work based on the theater canon. (There’s a noticeable absence: we covered Shakespeare in last week’s Festival Spotlight.) 

Samuel Beckett


The Accountant // Trey Lyford
In the forgotten office of an aging clerk, the tedium of everyday life transforms into a comical and haunting world of futility, remembrance and regret. The Accountant is a visual theater piece inspired by Samuel Beckett’s raw rumination on impermanence, Krapp’s Last Tape, and the disorientation that death can bring into our lives.
More info and tickets here

Company // EgoPo Classic Theater
Bring your blanket and pillow for a Beckett slumber party. EgoPo remounts their 2009 Fringe hit, which sold out in five cities. An immersive sensory experience, you are blindfolded on your back in the dark, the haunting text of modernist master Samuel Beckett’s short story “Company” whispered in your ear.
More info and tickets here

Sarah Kane

Phaedra’s Love // Svaha Theatre Collective
Phaedra is sexually obsessed with Hippolytus, her son. Hippolytus hates everyone and everything. The crown is burning and everybody is waiting for any excuse to rip the royal family to shreds. Literally. A riot erupts in gruesome hilarity because that’s just human nature, am I right? After producing Crave in 2016, Svaha returns with Phaedra’s Love by Sarah Kane, poete maudit of contemporary theater.
More info and tickets here


AntiCone // Happy Theater and sorrows&songs
Two performers walk the tightrope between comedy and pathos in this contemporary take on the Antigone story famous told by the classical Greek playwright Sophocles. Told through physical theater, dance, clowning, audience interaction, and…orange traffic cones. An “exquisitely executed” experience.
More info and tickets here

Tennessee Williams

Eccentricities of a Nightingale // The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium
American master playwright Tennessee Williams at his shining, gentle best, interpreted by the IRC, Philadelphia’s absurdist theater troupe. Bethany Mission Gallery transforms into Glorious Hill, Mississippi, for this rarely performed, preferred revision of Williams’s Summer and Smoke. The gallery’s unique collection of outsider art frames an unusual, poetic blending of two art forms.
More info and tickets here

August Wilson

August in the City // Patrice K. Armstead and Richard Bradford
Iron Age Theatre and August Wilson Consortium present August in the City. Black actors perform monologues from August Wilson’s Century Cycle in different sections of Philadelphia, spreading Wilson’s voice and ideas throughout the city, giving the audience a peek into one of America’s most influential and seminal artists, and showing how Wilson’s powerful words resonate within various environments.
More info and tickets here

Gustavo Ott

Passport // La Fábrica
Lost in a foreign country, Eugenia is detained and thrown into a vicious maelstrom of miscommunication. This Kafkaesque thriller by influential Venezuelan playwright Gustavo Ott delves into the question of immigration, exposing the mechanics of language and power. Poetic and immersive, Passport is performed in Spanish or English; for some performances a coin toss decides the language.
More info and tickets here

Sam Shepard

True West // Subscension Theatre
Written by the dark poet of American drama, Sam Shepard, True West is a character study that examines the relationship between Austin—a screenwriter—and his older brother Lee. Set in the kitchen of their mother’s home 40 miles east of Los Angeles, Austin and Lee find themselves forced to cooperate in the creation of a story that will make or break both of their lives.
More info and tickets here

Kenneth Lonergan

This is Our Youth // Anais Theatre Company
Set in the Reagan 80s, This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan (author of much-produced play Lobby Hero and award-winning movies Gangs of New York and Manchester by the Sea) follows three disaffected teenagers of the Upper West Side of Manhattan as they hook up, screw up, buy, sell, steal, and scheme and struggle their way towards some semblance of maturity.
More info and tickets here

J.M. Barrie

Mary Rose // The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective
J.M. Barrie’s reckoning with loss, love, and immortality explored in and around the haunting Woodlands. A generation lost after World War I, remembered by their loved ones as the young men and women they were. What might it be like if one of these lost children returned? Find out in Mary Rose from the PAC.
More info and tickets here

P Pan and Beyondland // Kathleen Murphey
P Pan and Beyondland is a world-premiere retelling of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan story where Krystal, Kyle, and Jamie realize that their society won’t allow them to express the gender identities that seem truest to their core selves. P Pan offers them sanctuary in Beyondland, and they go to find new lives of acceptance and support.
More info and tickets here


Featured image image of the Tsar Cannon by Graham Colm.