Posts Tagged ‘Go Long Big Softie’

Avant-Garde Men’s Therapy with Groundswell Players’ “Go Long Big Softie”

Posted September 6th, 2013

img_3342Flourishing from its foundations in long-form improv comedy, experimental theater group Groundswell Players’s brand of ingenious theater has come into its own in the Fringe Festival. Starting as a group of friends who met while studying at Haverford College, founding members Alison King, Jack Meaney, Jesse Paulsen and Scott Sheppard have swooped to the forefront of Philadelphia DIY theater scene, provoking outrageous and refreshingly self-aware conversation surrounding of a host of topics, historical and philosophical. They have responsible for such Festival favorites including How to Solve a Bear, The Speed of Surprise, Hackles, and 2013 Jumpstart Showcase’s The Living History Project. Groundswell Players emphasize collaborative artistic outlook and recently bulked up their performative arsenal by collaborating with fellow members of the inaugural class of The Pig Iron School, including Fringe Lab Fellow Mason Rosenthal (director, Hackles).

For the 2013 Fringe Festival, they’re once again armed with concepts as provocative and incisive as ever with Go Long Big Softie, a raw, clownish dive into the complex minefield of contemporary masculinity. For more insight, FringeArts recently caught up with artistic director Scott Sheppard.

“We take  a ‘what have you been reading lately’ approach.” Scott explained to me as  he broke down his inspiration. Groundswell  takes it upon themselves to stress relevancy in their artistic efforts by extracting from everyday material; they search for trends. As theater artists well immersed in the works of their community of peers, what really turned Groundswell’s attention towards theatrical dynamics of contemporary masculinity, was the overarching themes of contemporary femininity in two previous Fringe Festival shows, BANG! and Untitled Feminist Show.

“Charlotte Ford (BANG!) and Young Jean Lee (Untitled Feminist Show) dealt with feminine issues: fluidity of gender and sexuality identity and the liberation of the female body.  We were inspired, and that’s when we starting looking at the changing nature of male identity . . . to explore that  fluidity.”

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If You Don’t Know Now You Know: Mini Artist Profiles at Philly Post

Posted September 3rd, 2013

sobelle-the-object-lesson-2Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo runs down 10 notable FringeArts performers worth checking out this year.

It’s a pretty good quick guide to some awesome shows this year, actually: Martha Stuckey of Pay Up, Gunnar Montana of Basement, McKenzie Maula of A Doll’s House, James Michael Baker of Ballad of Joe Hill, Geoff Sobelle of The Object Lesson, Jess Conda of Eternal Glamnation and Pay Up, Scott Sheppard of Go Long Big Softie, Mary Tuomanen of St. Joan, Betrayed, Kevin Glaccum of Dutch Masters, and Brian Sanders of Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak.

If you’re looking for somebody to pick some especially adventurous shows for you, you couldn’t do much better than Victor’s list.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo of Geoff Sobelle by Lars Jan.