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Posts Tagged ‘Society of Civil Discourse’

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

Posted April 2nd, 2019
by Raina Searles, Marketing Manager

In March, we kicked off High Pressure Fire Service (or more colloquially, HPFS, pronounced “hip-fizz”) with an incredibly moving production chronicling the disability rights movement in A Fierce Kind of Love, produced by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, and we followed that with a thought-provoking musical satire about the American abortion debate, The Appointment, by Lightning Rod Special. In just a couple weeks, we’ll kick off a highly interactive show made for a family unit and exploring the line between play and performance, Broccoli, Roosevelt and Mr House! by the Berserker Residents. But today, we’re talking about the final three shows in HPFS: where you’ve seen these artists, what to expect in their work, and breaking down Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service…part two.

Coming up this May,  A Hard Time by Pig Iron Theatre Company opens at FringeArts. Long time Fringe fans will recognize Pig Iron from many of their notable devised works presented by FringeArts. Most recently, they produced A Period of Animate Existence in the 2017 Fringe Festival. Other recent works include Swamp Is On (2015), 99 BREAKUPS (2014), Pay Up (2013), Zero Cost House (2012), Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2011), and many more going back to the origins of the Fringe Festival in 1997!

What makes A Hard Time stand out, however, is that this is the first production with female lead artists and with lead artists who are not one of the Artistic Directors of Pig Iron Theatre Company. Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman are no strangers to the FringeArts stage though. Jess Conda is a cabaret and performing artist who was mostly recently seen on our stage in the cabaret extravaganza, Do You Want A Cookie? by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret in the 2018 Fringe Festival, but you may have also caught her in 1812 Productions’ Broads this past February. She has also joined us onstage for Get Pegged Cabaret in the past, 99 BREAKUPS (2014) and Pay Up (2013) with Pig Iron, and as a band member of the popular group Red 40 and the Last Groovement. In Philadelphia, she’s also a Teaching Artist at Wilma Theatre, has performed with a multitude of organizations including BRAT Productions, Arden Theatre, and Shakespeare in Clark Park, and she is a two-time Barrymore nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play.

Jenn Kidwell has collaborated with a number of past Fringe artists and is notably not only a company member of Lightning Rod Special, but is also the lead artist on their work Underground Railroad Game, which won an Obie Award in 2017 for Best New American Theatre Work and was hailed as one of the 25 Best American Plays Since Angels in America. She was last seen on the FringeArts stage in Geoff Sobelle’s HOME in the 2017 Fringe Festival, and was also seen recently in Sans Everything with Lighting Rod Special and 99 BREAKUPS with Pig Iron.

Mel Krodman is also a familiar face, especially if you came to see THE TOP at FringeArts in 2017 from No Face Performance Group. As a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, Mel was also seen in A Period of Animate Existence (2017) and Swamp Is On (2015), and she has choreographed a number of works with collaborator Kelly Bond, appearing in the Independent Fringe Festival (Elephant (2010) and Colony (2012)) and our season programming as well (JEAN & TERRY: Your Guides Through Dark, Light and Nebulous (November 2016)). Mel is also in another High Pressure Fire Service show, which leads us to June…

¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE! Photo by Kate Raines

Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (TSPC) will be producing the third iteration of their 24-year series The Sincerity Project. This work, The Sincerity Project #3 (2019), will feature the same cast as the first two productions and follow the lives of the performer-creators as they change and grow every two years. Dedicated to creating opportunities for people to share in the pleasures and difficulties of our collective contemporary experience, Team Sunshine was last seen on the FringeArts stage in April 2018 with their bilingual production ¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!, and in 2017 for The Society of Civil Discourse, a co-production with The Philly Pigeon. The cast features Mel Krodman (see above), Benjamin Camp (Founding member of TSPC), Makoto Hirano (Founding member of TSPC) , Aram Aghazarian, Jenna Horton, Mark McCloughan, and Rachel Camp and is directed by Alex Torra (Founding member of TSPC).

These performers come from all over Philadelphia every two years to put together the next iteration of The Sincerity Project, and where are they now? Benjamin has performed with a number of groups around Philadelphia (Pig Iron, Shakespeare in Clark Park, etc) and was lead artist for TSPC’s Punchkapow, Terrarium, and Zombie Defense. Currently, he is also a realtor with The Kelly Group, selling houses to artists all over Philadelphia. A former US Marine, Makoto is currently a dance and theatre artist who has created over 20 original roles and collaborated with artists such as Bill Irwin, Thaddeus Phillips, and also Pig Iron Theatre Company. In addition to co-founding Team Sunshine, he also created an art duo, Gatto+Hirano. Aram is currently on the faculty at the Pig Iron School and has performed with the company as well (Swamp Is On (2015), 99 BREAKUPS (2014), Pay Up (2013)), co-founded Strange Attractor Theatre Company (Sans Everything (2017)), and has also performed with Lightning Rod Special and SwimPony Performing Arts in the past. A performer as well as a writer for thINKingDANCE, Jenna has collaborated with a wide range of artists including past Team Sunshine works, Annie Wilson, The Berserker Residents, SwimPony, Applied Mechanics, Lightning Rod Special, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Chris Davis, and The Bearded Ladies Cabaret.

THE TOP

Mark is one half of No Face Performance Group with Jaime Maseda (recently seen in The Appointment last month) and performed THE TOP (2017) at FringeArts. They are also a writer and visual artist, with poetry awards from the American Poetry Review and L+S Press. Rachel is a theater and teaching artist who has performed across the city with Philadelphia Theatre Company, Opera Philadelphia, Arden Theater, 1812 Productions and more, and she has been nominated for 5 Barrymore awards, winning Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Theatre Horizon. And finally, director Alex Torra is a Swarthmore professor, a 2018 Pew Fellow, the director for all of TSPC’s major works, a regular collaborator with Pig Iron Theatre Company, and he has received fellowships from the Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Live Arts Brewery, the Princess Grace Foundation, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and NY’s Drama League. The cast of The Sincerity Project #3 (2019) has touched just about every corner of Philadelphia theater.

In late June, we’re excited to close out High Pressure Fire Service with a new work that’s part musical, part choreopoem, and part play, Circuit City by Camae Ayewa, stage name: Moor Mother. Camae is a prolific poet and noise musician who has made Philadelphia her home and is taking on the housing crisis, highlighting the connections between public and private ownership and technology through original poetry and live music by the Irreversible Entanglements and the Circuit City band.

Camae is co-founder of Black Quantum Futurism Collective, a literary and artistic collaboration with Rasheedah Phillips, and Rockers! Philly, an event series and festival focused on marginalized artists. As Moor Mother, she has released more than a dozen EPs since 2012, and just recently became one of the newest members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a group whose work she’s long admired. She’ll be featured on their upcoming album We Are On the Edge later this year. In her music and her public work, Camae sees herself as an archivist of black memory against erasure, and this work will be no exception. You can get a feel for Moor Mother’s musical style by listening to her 2018 album, FETISH BONES.

We’re excited for such a creative and collaborative cohort of artists to be joining us at FringeArts this May and June. Click below for more information on each show, and make sure to purchase a subscription for the best deals on tickets! You can also check out our blog post: Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service, part one.

A Hard Time
Pig Iron Theatre Company
May 1–12, 2019

The Sincerity Project #3 (2019)
Team Sunshine Performance Corporation
June 4–8, 2019

Circuit City
Moor Mother
June 20–22

HPFS Subscriptions:
15% off tickets to 3-4 performances / 30% off for members

Single Tickets:
$31 general / $21.70 members
$15 students and 25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS members

FringeArts Flash Debates Part 3

Posted April 4th, 2017

We’re back with our final installment of Flash Debates, in honor of The Society of Civil Discourse coming up on April 8th. This round, David and Sophia will be arguing the age-old Chipotle conundrum: burrito vs. burrito bowl

Burrito vs. Burrito Bowl

Burrito: David, Communications Intern

This isn’t even a question. How could anyone deny the importance and the deliciousness of the burrito? It’s a tiny gluten pillow filled with all of the warm (and probably unhealthy) goodies you could ask for.

You also don’t even need a fork; the tortilla is a perfect mode of transport for all of the delicious goodness inside. AND it keeps the contents at a nice temperature and melts the cheese some. Who doesn’t love melted cheese?

Look, I get it. You can make the argument that the burrito bowl is more food. But what is more objectively filling? A classic, no frills burrito.

Burrito BowlSophia, Development Coordinator

Here’s the thing about a burrito vs. burrito bowl at Chipotle. Any burrito bowl can be made into a burrito by getting a (FREE) tortilla on the side.

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FringeArts Flash Debates Part 1

Posted March 31st, 2017

On April 8th, Team Sunshine Performance Corp and The Philly Pigeon/Jacob Winterstein are returning to Fringe with the Society of Civil Discourse, a night of heated discussion and raucous debate about topics that don’t matter. In honor of this, we poached member of our staff for their hot takes on various hot-button issues. Our first debate topic is the highly contentious toaster oven vs. microwave.

Toaster Oven vs. Microwave

Microwave: Jason, Institutional Giving Coordinator

The microwave oven will be remembered as one of the great, period-defining inventions of its time, like the cell phone or the internet. It cooks food quickly, safely, and without fire, and it does it by bombarding it with (harmless) radiation. It vibrates your food until the friction of its own particles causes its temperature to rise; how COOL IS THAT? Are you going to cok the best meal of your life in a microwave oven? No. But it lets you relive those meals by giving your leftovers a second chance at deliciousness! Mom’s famous mac and cheese might have been made in late August, but pop that bad boy in the microwave and you might as well be back in her kitchen, basking in the cheesy warmth. Popcorn, hot chocolate, mug cakes, a host of quick, cheap, and scrumptious treats are in your grasp in mere minutes and with no more effort than plopping it on the tray and pushing a few buttons. Plus, you ever try to defrost a chicken in a toaster oven? *Disclaimer: you shouldn’t do this, it will create a dangerous, disgusting, inedible mess*In short, the microwave is a shining example of humanity’s ability to overcome the limitations of nature, and a testament to our inexorable advancement of reason for the sake of the greater good.

Toaster Oven: Hallie, Communications Director

So let’s talk about cancer.  It’s everywhere.  It’s in our cell phones, in our cigarettes, in our deodorant.  So why, dear ones, WHY would you add it to your perfectly good food?

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FringeArts Flash Debates

Posted April 5th, 2016

This Saturday, April 9, Team Sunshine Performance Corp and Jacob Winterstein are convening The Society of Civil Discourse at FringeArts. All are welcome to join the Society and get in on the fun of hating on, loving, philosophizing about, and debating things that don’t matter. This night is about bullshitting your way to the top. In order to warm up our argumentative sides we decided to have a brief series of lightning debates with members of our staff on a handful of highly contested trivialities: baby carrots, winking, and hoverboards. Below, you’ll find their cases for or against their topic. Though these may not be their true opinions on these hot button issues, it’s clear they’ll be ready to square off against anyone looking to argue come Saturday night. Will you be ready?

Debate #1:

Winking

Pro: Dan, Marketing Director

Winking is a primary form of human communication and we should no sooner oppose it than other more questionable forms, like G-chatting with the coworker beside you or YouTube comments. As humans we are from time to time reminded of the acute inadequacy of words to express true meaning. Under emotion’s influence—love, disgust, surprise, fear—our faces say more and say it better than whatever clumsy collection of syllables we could possibly muster. In addition, the adaptation of the wink into popular emoticons and emojis is evidence that, as technology replaces human interaction with a digital screen, the wink is needed now more than ever.

Against: Meg, Venue and Patron Services Director

Winking: Secretive, inconclusive, cheeky. What does a wink even mean? Are you flirting? Are you suggesting an inside joke? Are you inferring that there is an unspoken agreement between us? Maybe you’re just somebody that winks a lot and there is no actual message. Either way, winking is a vague and inconsistent form of nonverbal communication. 99.9% of winking results in unclear messaging. Furthermore, it cannot ever be universally embraced, as a wide and diverse segment of the human population (up to 12%!) does not have the facial muscular capabilities to wink. It’s blinking or nothing—no one eye isolation. For that reason, winking is an exclusive nonverbal communicator, and imperfect. If a wink requires a returned wink in order to complete the exchange, there is a nearly 1 in 10 possibility that the recipient of the initial wink simply cannot return said wink. For this reason, I strongly argue against winking.

Debate #2:

Baby Carrots

Pro: Constance, Marketing Intern

Here’s the problem. When you want a snack, you want to be healthy, but there’s always things like chips and cookies that get in the way. That’s why there’s baby carrots. They’re nature’s chips. You get that same satisfying crunch but without the trouble of washing all that cheese dust off your fingers. They’re simple, they’re cheap, and they’re easy to carry around, unlike their full-sized carrot parents with that annoying tuft of inedible greenery on top. And, if people see you choosing that healthy snack option, it’s so much easier to trick people into thinking you have your shit together. When everything else in your life looks like it’s falling apart, at least you’ll have a win if you choose baby carrots.

Against: Anna, Marketing Coordinator

A startling fact: There’s no such thing as a baby carrot. Baby carrots are created by the plastic surgery of ADULT carrots that were JUST FINE. Baby Carrots are the status quo and the fetishization of youth vegetableified. Baby carrots represent everything wrong with society. Instead of dipping normal, healthy, curvy carrots that are beautiful just the way they are we strip them down and cut them shorter so they all look the same. Not everything is easy to hold, chew, or fit in a snack sized Ziplock bag and that’s OK. We should be empowering our carrots and ourselves to be diverse not homogenous and slimy.

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