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Events Business As (Un)Usual

Business As (Un)Usual


September 30-October 4

2020 Fringe Festival

60 minutes

Pass the Hat


Why can’t white people seem to listen to black people? In Business as (Un)Usual, a new virtual performance written by Dr. Maisha Akbar, Mecca Akbar, Brian Shapiro, and Dr. Teri Varner, with original music by the band brain-head, three black women researchers seek an answer to this age-old question through a misinformed research subject. As the researchers delve into nature or nurture/science or culture questions, they  forge a bond around their success as they contemplate what it means to make a real, lasting change. A combination of virtual theater and musical performances seamlessly edited together, the show engages race through a novel and empowering lens.


Link to content provided upon ticket reservation. Recommended for 13+.


Wednesday, Sept 30 at 8PM
Thursday, Oct 1 at 8PM
Saturday, Oct 3 at 8PM
Sunday, Oct 4 at 2PM & 7PM


Free, Pass the Hat donations encouraged

About the Artists

Dr. Maisha S. Akbar (co-writer/performer) is the author of Preaching the Blues: Black Feminist Performance in Lynching Plays (Routledge, 2020) in which she discusses (anti) lynching plays as an under-examined genre of American drama. She is a 2020-2021 Iman Artist Roster fellow. Dr. Akbar practices on a “playground” of scholarship, performance and activism as an Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at Fort Valley State University (GA) where she also directs the Joseph Adkins Players student drama group. @ablackplaybook (Twitter);

Mecca Akbar (performer) is an American actor based in New York. Her most recent film, The Truck (2019) debuted in Times Square at BET’s Urban Film Festival. Her background includes Shakespearian training at British Academy of Dramatic Arts (BADA) as well as film and television acting at New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

Benjamin Kutner-Duff (musician) is a Philadelphia native and grew up attending Fringe with his theatrical family. After attending Berkeley College of Music for guitar performance, he returned home, took up drumming, and teamed up with this closest friend, Ed Moman. Ben is a fitness and movement buff and works as a personal trainer.

Ed Moman (musician) is from Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. He started playing piano at 7. In high school, Ed also picked up the bass so he could play in a rock band. His influences lie heavily in rhythm and blues concepts, modal improvisation, and “pocket” grooves. In college he continued playing while furthering his knowledge of audio manipulation. He continues to play in various bands, work for local venues, and has even joined a few national tours.

Brian Shapiro (co-writer/performer/musician) is the founder of brain-head, a performance art musical ensemble. Brian has been performing for 25 years, writing and performing in numerous original works, including the last 6 Philadelphia Fringe Festivals. Brian is also an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and operates a boutique communication consulting practice.

Dr. Teri Varner is an Associate Professor of Communication at St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX). She holds a Ph.D. in Communication with an emphasis in Performance Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches basic courses in communication, communication theory, nonverbal communication, public speaking, and active listening.

brian-head is a musical performance group formed by Brian Shapiro in 2020. brian-head is a band. brain-head is a brand. brain-head is.

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