Posts Tagged ‘Bethany Formica’

International Fringe 2018: A Welcome to Artists from Around the World

Posted September 2nd, 2018

The United States government may be pursuing an isolationist policy but the Philadelphia Fringe is doing the opposite: opening its doors not only to the most creative American performers and performances but also to the best and most creative theater artists and their productions from around the world—overcoming the ancient fear of the symbolic Tower of Babel with people not understanding each other.

To show the worldwide scope of the 22nd Philadelphia Fringe Festival, we offer this spotlight on performers from abroad and productions by American artists that present a global perspective.

Theater writer Henrik Eger, editor of Drama Around the Globe and contributor to Phindie and Broad Street Review, among other publications, has lived in six countries on three continents and has visited Africa and Australia as well. He bids everyone a hearty WELCOME to the City of Brotherly Love—this year in 18 different languages: Arabic, Celtic, Chinese, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Latin, Polish, Romanian, and Spanish.

We start this year’s overview with a special welcome to two programs featuring a wide range of global creators:


  1. le super grandBienvenue & welcome to Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Émard and Le Super Grand ContinentalLe Grand Continental wowed audiences during its run at the 2012 Fringe Festival and has garnered enthusiastic response across the world. Fully realizing a blissful marriage between the pure delight of line dancing and the fluidity and expressiveness of contemporary dance, the celebratory event enlists hundreds of local people to perform its synchronized choreography in large-scale public performances. The world’s most infectious performance event returns to the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in an even larger spectacle of dance.

More info and tickets here

  1. Bonvenon, willkommen, bienvenido, witamy, bienvenue & welcome to Do You Want A Cookie? from The Bearded Ladies Cabaret—a world premiere with an international cast. Do You Want A Cookie? serves up a delicious romp through cabaret history, with an international cast of artists performing a live revue of cabaret from the Chat Noir to Weimar nightlife to 21st-century drag. The all-star cast comes draws from around the world, including Bridge Markland (Berlin), Malgorzata Kasprzycka (Paris/Warsaw), Dieter Rita Scholl (Berlin), and Tareke Ortiz (Mexico City).

More info and tickets here


  1. ear whispered

    As Far As My Fingertips Take Me. Photo by

    وسهلا اهلا (ahlaan wasahlan) & bienvenu. Welcome to Tania El Khoury who lives in Lebanon and the UK with her multifaceted program ear-whispered. Little is known about Palestinian refugee camps and their communities. El Khoury presents her Fringe work in five parts through interactive performances and installations at Bryn Mawr College:

    1. Gardens Speak, an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in Syrian gardens. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.
    2. Camp Pause, a video installation that tells the stories of four residents of the Rashidieh Refugee Camp on the coast of Lebanon. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.
    3. As Far As My Fingertips Take Me, an encounter through a gallery wall between a single audience member and a refugee. (Old City & Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.  
    4. Stories of Refuge, an immersive video installation that invites audiences to lay down on metal bunk beds and watch videos shot by Syrian asylum seekers in Munich, Germany. (Old City.) Read more.
    5. Tell Me What I Can Do, a newly commissioned work featuring letters that audiences have written in response to Gardens Speak. (Bryn Mawr College.) Read more.

More info and tickets here

  1. Bienvenido & welcome to the bilingual (Spanish & English) cast of La Fábrica performing Gustave Ott’s Passport. Lost in a foreign country, Eugenia is detained and thrown into a vicious maelstrom of miscommunication. This poetic and immersive Kafkaesque thriller delves into the question of immigration—exposing the mechanics of language and power. Some performances will be presented in English, some in Spanish, and some will be decided at the toss of a coin.

More info and tickets here

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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 / www.jjtiziou.net" adjacent to the image. Online credits should link to www.jjtiziou.net. 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.

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Supper, People on the Move: The Physicality of Migration

Posted June 15th, 2015

img_9727Supper, People on the Move reveals the traces of migration on the body. For the show, choreographer, Silvana Cardell and her dancers have been exploring the layered and physical experiences of immigration. Cardell inspirations include works of 15th century and post-modernist art. “The Last Supper has a strong emotional component: all the subjects—even though they are celebrating a ritualistic dinner, Passover—are placed in twisted and bent ways which expresses an awareness about the turn that their lives are about to take,” says Cardwell. She is also drawn to more recent artworks and stated, “Then the rest of the title: People on the Move was inspired in Porter Series by artist William Kentridge; one of the sections that I call “balance” is inspired by these paintings that have human silhouettes carved into a map, silhouettes of people travelling—they are on the move, carrying everything they have on their bodies.”

img_9755Silhouettes are black. They allude to unclear, shifting, or hollow identities. Cardell refers to her identity and the notion of “in between.” She explains, “In between places, cultures, languages. Constantly translating thoughts in both languages, dreaming in English, speaking Spanish, thinking in Spanish and speaking English. In between is the overlap, where many people live.” In 2002, Cardell moved to Philadelphia to gain her masters in choreography at Temple University and to avoid political turmoil in Argentina. While she originally planned on returning home after school, she remained in the US. The transition between homes was marked by two cultures, conflicting sensations, and physical suffering. Cardell sums up her duel experiences, “Even though we arrived to the US with a university fellowship and work offers, we had financially lost many resources, and relocating the family was hard. Even though I am grateful for all my new friends, my kids’ great education, and the many professional opportunities Pablo and I have had, we paid a big price for them, financially and emotionally. Once more I feel in between being grateful for the cultural immersion and regret for all our losses.”

supper_bw_img_94701Cardell has since embraced her identity grounded in transition. “Supper is a return to myself, to the beginning, to my core. Supper starts with my own my departure; I am now ready, after many moves, to live with my decisions. I am examining the impulse to move away—changing culture, language, territory—as a search.” Instead of longing for a community she has left behind or feeling frustration for the one she has entered, she celebrates the space where seemingly distant cultures touch. She says, “In transit, in between, that is how I felt for years. I have to admit that perhaps that was an interesting practice for me, it taught me to be in the moment. I find that the best response in dance and performance is when you are alert, in the moment, ready to go. For me it has been living in the overlap of culture and places. After a while you became a dual citizen, you are able to navigate comfortably both cultures, there is certain richness about that experience.” Cardell copes with the transition between places by locating home. Her dance performances have shown us that home is within the physical body. “Immigration and moving is a constant search and recreation of home: Home is an endless space where place, family, relationships, and endless memories collide. Right now, my home and country are my body, where many experiences collide.”

Immigration is a physical transition as much as a mental one. Cardell described the dancing in Supper, People on the Move and said, “The goal is to expose noisy departures, bumpy beginnings, bodies exhausted by gravity pulls, contorted balances and extended suspensions in the nether world of being other.” Cardell’s movement concentrates on physical reactions of the body as they switch environments and the objects, like legal papers, that clutter the immigration process. Her dancers recreate the strenuous physicality of moving and each performer houses a different immigration story within their body.

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