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Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia theater’

Installation and Impact: The Disability History Timeline

Posted February 28th, 2019

In conjunction with our presentation of A Fierce Kind of Love (March 1—3), the Institute on Disabilities’ work that tells the untold story of Pennsylvania’s Intellectual Disability Rights Movement, FringeArts and the Institute have developed two public history timelines that follow the movement for disability rights and self-determination from the turn of the 19th century to today. The first timeline has been installed in the second floor gallery hallway at the Parkway Central Library, and the second one can be found in the East-West corridor of the City Hall courtyard. The project, focused on continuing engagement for the performances of A Fierce Kind of Love in partnership with Disability Equality in Education, displays the largely untold history of this particular civil rights movement to areas of Philadelphia with high foot traffic. The timeline is made up of 24 decals that each recall an imperative moment in the struggle for accessibility and dignity.

disability history timeline

In 2016, the Philadelphia Research Initiative reported that 16% of people living in Philadelphia had a cognitive, emotional, or physical disability. That equates to roughly 246,000 people and crowns Philadelphia as having the highest percentage of citizens with disabilities amongst the nation’s top 10 largest cities. For such a large percentage of people, it’s quite surprising that finding information around the city about accessibility, disability history, and disability activism is not exactly an easy feat. A Fierce Kind of Love was created from this disregard and its mission is to draw attention to the lost history of this movement and the overlooked reality of living with disabilities. The Disability History Timeline helps expand on the show’s mission and provides valuable information that draws connections between the movement’s past and its evolution to the present. It was also designed to bridge the gap between the intellectual disability rights movement and the physical disability rights movement which are consistently separated. This design is inclusive among those with any kind of disability and represents all of these folks on an equal spectrum.

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A Fierce Kind of Love Q&A with Tenara Calem

Posted February 28th, 2019

We sat down with Audience Engagement Coordinator Tenara Calem to chat about connecting and engaging communities around A Fierce Kind of Love, March 1—3 at FringeArts, as part of High Pressure Fire Service.

FringeArts: Can you start by telling us a bit about A Fierce Kind of Love (AFKoL)?

Tenara: Sure. The show is about the history of the intellectual disabilities rights movement specific to Pennsylvania. It started out of research that the Institute of Disabilities was doing in 2012. And they learned a lot from mothers of folks who have intellectual disabilities and were institutionalized. Pulling at that thread revealed so much information about the movement for self-advocacy and they realized that sharing those stories in a performance medium was a really incredible vehicle to communicate the themes of the show, which is all about love, acceptance, and building a more just world that is inclusive and designed universally for everyone to enjoy it.

FringeArts: What about the accessibility of the performance itself?

Tenara: It’s a mixed ability ensemble. So accessibility is baked into the conceit and design of the show, so all of the performances are ASL interpreted, have audio description for folks who are blind or have low vision. There’s sensory seating, accessible seating, and closed captioning. It really is a unique piece and we are really lucky to have it here at Fringe.

FringeArts: In your role as Audience Engagement Coordinator, can you tell us a bit about your process in beginning with AFKoL?

Tenara: I always start my conversation with the artist. So, I’m very lucky at FringeArts that the pieces are brand new and that they are being created by artists that are in the room and get to have conversations with me. Not every person gets to do that. With AFKoL specifically I feel very lucky to be working so close with Lisa Sonneborn who is the Director of Media Arts at the Institute on Disabilities. She’s an amazing collaborative partner. She really really understands and practices a community engaged approach to her art-making so that all of the work that is being done to cultivate an audience that is going to resonate really strongly with the material has the flavor of “not about us without us”.

FringeArts: Where did your early conversations take you about engaging with different communities?

Tenara: I mean, AFkoL is a very interesting project because it’s already made with community performers. So it’s very involved and engaged in that way on its own. But Lisa and Suli [Holum] and David [Bradley] were really excited by the idea of locating where AFKoL performs not as well, which is with the physical disability community. Unfortunately the physical and the intellectual disability rights movements are very separate. And there are a lot of reasons for that and some of them are really arbitrary and some of them are by design of institutions of power who are holding all the funding. So Lisa and David and Suli were particularly excited by using the opportunity to create community engagement with this show that tried to bridge that gap and try to include folks of physical disabilities and those activists into the conversation of the piece so we could maybe create a more comprehensive discussion about disability rights movements at large.

So we got a bunch of folks into a room and had an open forum.

FringeArts: What came out of these conversations?

Tenara: We proposed to them an idea we had to develop a timeline of the Disability rights movement that included both the physical and intellectual disability activists and that was basically placed somewhere where there was a lot of natural foot traffic so it would accomplish a number of goals. It would create more visibility for the play at FringeArts. And it would also engage a really high volume of people on the themes. The activists at Liberty Resources and ADAPT, and Disability Equality in Education, they got super excited about the idea and said they would create the content for the timeline if you guys worry about the production and installation. So that’s what happened!

Read more about the installations at Parkway Central Library and City Hall here.

Visit the show page for more information about the talkbacks and roundtables following each performance.

HPFS: A Commitment to Philadelphia

Posted February 25th, 2019

With the opening show in the new High Pressure Fire Service series kicking off this weekend, FringeArts Artistic Producers Zach Blackwood and Katy Dammers share what HPFS really stands for and why we’re pumped about the next few months of programming at FringeArts.

A HISTORY

HPFS philadelphia

Photo by Robby Virus

In 1903, he FringeArts building at the intersection of Columbus and Race Streets opened as the nation’s first High Pressure Fire Service system, its name carved on the east and west façades. Water was pumped from the Delaware River via a six-foot diameter pipe into the brick edifice and then funneled out to more than 900 fire hydrants from Girard Avenue to South Street. This innovative system allowed firefighters to shoot a two-inch stream of water 230 feet in the air and led to a significant decline in fire-related deaths and damages. With this reassurance, insurance companies subsequently dropped additional charges on tall buildings, and Philadelphia’s downtown area entered a renewed period of urban growth and architectural advancement. Though the pipeline from the Delaware has long since been capped and decommissioned, a spidering pathway of pipeworks still connects our building to a huge swath of the city: to cafés and community centers, taverns and libraries, and inevitably several cheesesteak spots.

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Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service, part one

Posted February 13th, 2019
by Raina Searles, Marketing Manager

Opening this March, High Pressure Fire Service (or more colloquially, HPFS, pronounced “hip-fizz”) brings an incredible lineup of Philadelphia artists to the FringeArts stage for a series dedicated to highlighting the creativity and innovation that runs rampant in our city. The artists include an exhilarating mix of familiar and new faces to the FringeArts stage, from longtime collaborator Pig Iron Theatre Company’s newest work to prolific poet and noise musician Moor Mother’s first play. Some performers even appear in multiple HPFS shows. To get you ready for this new series, we’re breaking down Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service…part one.

Kicking off High Pressure Fire Service, is A Fierce Kind of Love written by Suli Holum, directed by David Bradley, and produced by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.

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Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 23rd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

Wedgwood on the Green was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, The University of the Arts’s annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, Wedgwood reflects on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood. In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience. This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see. This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience. Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

Website Facebook Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 23rd, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

 For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

 $18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based “Actors’ Improv,” and have created fifteen original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review

“Dazzling.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 

“Hilarious . . . and fearless.” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, and humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 23rd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 22nd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 22nd, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

 

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 22nd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 21st, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 21st, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 16th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 14th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 9th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 8th, 2017

 

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes & monologues!

For a detailed description of our Fringe show theme, and more info about the company and cast, go to tongue-groove.com.

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

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Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand! “I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review “Dazzling” Inquirer “Hilarious… and fearless.” Philadelphia Weekly

Mr. Darby Goes to New York: Double Time, All The Time

Posted July 7th, 2015

langston actingLangston Darby is continuously working. “Double time. All the time,” Darby comments as we recently talked on the phone one afternoon. Born in Laurel, Mississippi, Darby is an actor based in Philadelphia. This September, after completing an apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre and growing into one of the strongest actors in the Philadelphia theater scene, he is departing for the Atlantic Acting School in New York on a full scholarship. “The Atlantic Acting School is tailor made for what I was looking for.”

Langston photoThe decision to venture to New York was a difficult one. At first, Darby expresses his anxieties about the full-time conservatory program. He asks, “How much will this sustain me after?” As our conversation continues, however, Darby reveals his sadness for leaving Philadelphia. “It’s a dagger in the heart,” Darby remarks as his describes the close relationships, personal and professional, he has gained over the past five years. Philadelphia has become Darby’s supportive web. After finishing his apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre, Darby was offered a position teaching acting to children. “No matter the profession, everyone who teaches their craft for the first time talks about how they have to reconsider everything that they’re doing to make someone else understand. Teaching acting has made a lot of my work much more specific,” Darby says as he talks about his growth through teaching. Darby has also began comedy improv through ComedySportz Philadelphia. Improv has influenced the young actor to take acting risks. “I realized how even my scripted work could benefit from me letting go more and really focusing on what is going on around me moment-to-moment. Not only do I listen better, I now have a sense that my next line adds to the scene.” The opportunities in Philadelphia, from picking up improv techniques with ComedySportz Philadelphia and later Bright Invention to teaching to struggling with Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Unfortunate History, have contributed to Darby’s larger growth.

“Philly taught me that you don’t need to be in LA, that you don’t need to be in New York.” After a successful last season full of tremendous opportunities, Darby fears that he is leaving at a vital time in his career. While he is upset to leave, he believes more training in New York is the next step in his path.

Langston 2The Atlantic Acting School’s Full-Time Conservatory is offering two full scholarships for the first time. Darby will be attending the Atlantic Acting School on one of these scholarships. He had determined that he did not want an MFA, but instead was attracted to the rigorous training from actors and actresses within the industry, that the Atlantic Acting School offered. “Now that I am at this stage, I can take more ownership over the things I want to learn,” Darby mentions. He is interested in the school’s primary acting technique, Practical Aesthetics. First encountering Practical Aesthetics in A Practical Handbook for the Actor, and gravitating toward the technique’s concrete and literal essence, he will apprentice himself to the technique for the next two and a half years. Beyond Practical Aesthetics, Darby also strives to “fill in the gaps of my training.” Darby is drawn to the multilayered aspects of theater, such as voice-over, television, movies, and dancing. He says, “I am going to take advantage of every morsel of information.”

Darby has started a campaign to raise money and support for his upcoming experience. While Darby is receiving a scholarship, New York is still expensive. “Why should I receive any support?” Darby initially questions as we talk about his fundraiser. The hard working actor constantly considers his privilege and opportunities, however, as our conversation goes on, his perspective shifts. He shares, “I should not need to feel guilty for gaining resources.” Similar to the way theater companies raise money for new projects, Darby started this fundraiser to gather help from his surrounding communities to fund his upcoming endeavor. Instead of feeling guilty about asking for help, Darby has begun to embrace his campaign. “I’m going to ask for what I want.” 

After unpacking his larger anxieties about leaving Philadelphia at a time when he is rapidly growing, Darby has one last anxiety: the potentially long and unfamiliar commute.

You can learn all about Langston’s work on www.langstondarby.com. If you’d like to give to his Indiegogo fundraising campaign, go to: life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/support-langston-s-big-step.

–Courtney Lau

Other Blogs: Lessons From Newt Gingrich on How to Make America Love Performing Arts

Posted August 21st, 2013
Good people.

Good people.

A few months ago, Phindie.com, a new website covering Philadelphia theater and arts, re-publsihed an old blog post of mine from 2011 titled Lessons from Newt Gingrich: or how we in the theatre and dance communities can stop acting like losers and learn to make the nation love us. The article (originally published in the currently dormant theppaa.org), spurred by going through an old stack of New Yorkers and reading a profile of John Bohner, details his mentor Newt’s rise to prominence and his ability to change the course of a defeated Republican Party largely through rhetoric and looks to apply that same thinking to the performing arts. Rereading the article recently, I thought, wow, there’s some pretty good stuff in there that continues to be super-relevent.

Lessons from Newt poses a number of the following questions: “How often have you heard that performing arts are dying, that we’re a niche market, that you can never make a living off of it, that we’re a charity case? That dance and theatre will never be the way it used to? Have you ever caught yourself saying, as an excuse for some failure or inability to accomplish a simple task or even some slightly unseemly arrangement in your programming: well, you have to understand, that’s life in the performing arts.”

And goes on:

“Do you accept as given that theatre and dance will never be as culturally or socially as relevant as TV or film? Has it ever bothered you, that whether through foundation giving or corporate giving or the generosity of patron saints, that you have geared your programming, and by dint your organization, to appease the money that comes from those aforementioned sources, as oppose to appeasing your artistic vision and audiences? Yet you still make the spurious claim that you are not commercial because you have sold out to your funding “partners” as oppose to Dentyne?”

Who should come to the rescue of this dilemma? Newt Gingrich, that’s who! To quote from The New Yorker profile upon which Lessons is based:  “After Newt Gingrich served a few terms as a member of the Republican minority in Congress, a circumstance he detested, he devised a plan to achieve what most of his colleagues could scarcely conceive—a Republican majority in the House. Gingrich believed that the G.O.P. had been the minority party for so long—ever since the first Eisenhower Administration—that Republicans had lost the ability to imagine themselves as anything else.” (My emphasis.)

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Stop With The Fake Sold-Outs And Extended-by-Popular-Demand Lies

Posted May 30th, 2013

For a while now, theater companies (and other performing arts companies) have been roping off sections of the theater during a performance, limiting the number of seats, at times by half or more, then claiming the show is “selling out!” in order to attract attention. At times it might feel as if those ropes close in on whatever the audience size is so that the “sold out” claim can be made.

This is not the Alps and that is not a Bentley.

This is not the Alps and that is not a Bentley.

Now, if you are playing the Academy of Music or the Miriam, or some other enormous venue, and you close the top balcony and “sell out,” well, it’s more like a little lie, because you’re still selling a shitload of tickets and that means lots of people are coming to the performances. But when you are in a 150- to 250-seat theater, and you sell 75 tickets (or 55 tickets and 20 comps) and you claim to be selling out your show, you are completely full of shit and only damaging yourself.

The problem isn’t just that you are lying to the public and your audiences, who after one or two times of this, don’t believe a word you say. The problem is also that you are buying into your own lies. It is not a good marketing strategy to lie to make yourself feel better. When a theater is half full, the show is not a runaway success, no matter how many seats you’ve “closed off” for the night. For small and mid-size companies, embracing a strategy that limits your audience numbers, and ensures success only through doublespeak, is not a good plan for growth. Because you are separating reality from work. You are embracing your own fantasy. How in god’s name do you plan responsibly to gain an audience?

Similarly, people may have noticed a lot of suspicious “Extended By Popular Demand!” show extensions that have no basis in popularity, announced at the beginning of a run, even though you may have just heard about this play from your friend in it. And then there are also plenty of seats available—look even some discounted ones—for the originally announced run. These are not runs extended by popular demands, these are pre-planned runs that are announced as extensions by popular demand in a desperate attempt to generate unwarranted publicity.

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Phindie’s in Town: New Website Covers Philadelphia Independent Theater

Posted April 12th, 2013
Christopher Munden of Phindie, spotted in a crowd.

Christopher Munden of Phindie, spotted in a crowd.

There’s a new place to go for Philadelphia theater coverage: Phindie! Phindie (www.phindie.com) is a website that features reviews, articles, reflections, and the like on theater arts and performing arts more generally. At the helm of Phindie is Christopher Munden who has been covering theater for a number of outlets over the past few years–and been a theatergoer all of his life. He wanted to have a site that coalesced his work, and that of others, and where he could showcase some new projects, like a podcast series with local theater artists. We caught up with the British born, but Philly suburb-raised Christopher to get the scoop on Phindie.

FringeArts: What made you start Phindie?

Christopher Munden: I started Phindie for a few reasons: to get more editorial control over theater and arts writing in the city, to house a new conversational podcast series, and yes: to help address the dearth of coverage of theater and arts in Philadelphia.

The site launched with a backlog of 120 articles by me and other writers, drawn from often-defunct websites, covering theater, dance, writing, and museum exhibits. For now, my focus is on independent theater, with occasional and growing coverage of other arts. I want to bring contemporary and fresh voices to this coverage, writing that acknowledges it is 2013 and it’s the internet.

FringeArts: How has it been going so far? What’s been the reaction?

Christopher Munden: With anything like this, it’s a bit like throwing a snowball into a snowstorm, it’s hard to know what mark it made, if any, but the small reaction I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. I have a slow-burning strategy for the first few months, but I was surprised at the immediate reception. I had a soft launch, posted a few new articles, and told a couple friends, and with a day or two I had PR people contacting me for coverage, theaters putting a Phindie credit in their promotional emails, and over 100 visits a day. Also, I was in a bar after a show and two young actors told me they’d listened to and liked the podcasts. So the snowball is hitting something.

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