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Posts Tagged ‘SPARK festival’

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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The Fringe Hit Experience (And Now What?): An Interview With Terry Brennan About 2011’s Heavy Metal Dance Fag

Posted April 3rd, 2012

Janice Rowland and Terry Brennan in Heavy.

In every Philly Fringe a few shows capture the festival buzz, and take off in popularity, audiences, and critical attention. In the 2011 Philly Fringe, Heavy Metal Dance Fag by Tribe of Fools definitely caught that buzz, establishing itself as a festival hit that nearly all Fringe goers knew about. It became the default show to see if you were going to see a Fringe show, and got a long glowing review from The Philadelphia Inquirer and a parade of good press from just about every media outlet. We wanted to find out how being the center of Fringe attention felt, what Tribe of Fools did to make it happen, and how, and if, the company has been able to use their Fringe success as something more than a one-off. We caught up with Tribe of Fools cofounder, and Heavy Metal Dance Fag co-creator and performer, Terry Brennan.

Live Arts: Did all the pieces just kind of come together for Heavy Metal Dance Fag, or did the buzz and the attention take you by surprise?

Terry Brennan: I can’t really speak for the rest of the cast, but the buzz and attention took me by surprise. We were hoping for some good buzz and word of mouth, we were promoting the show everywhere we could, and we tried to get as many reviewers and media folks in as we could. But Tribe of Fools has been creating shows since 2003 and every year we hope that lots of people come to see our shows and while recently we’ve been getting larger audiences, there were many times in the past when we thought we had a knock-out only to discover that the show just wasn’t received as well as we’d hoped it would be. So, I was psychologically prepared for Heavy Metal Dance Fag to be received tepidly as well. After a bunch of good reviews the first weekend, the biggest being Howie Shapiro’s glowing review in the Inquirer, I was floored. I didn’t really know how to react.

LA: Were you prepared for the attention, and did it alter the show in anyway—either as a performer or a producer? 

TB: Well, as a performer the only thing that really affected me was occasionally there would be people in the audience that I saw who intimidated me. During the show I have six sections of a eulogy for [the main character] Timmy’s father that I give. If I didn’t hit my light correctly, which was rare since it was a single spotlight, I could see people in the first row. One night I saw that Frank X was sitting in the front row and I almost went up on my lines. But usually I just tried to do the show, not think about the buzz or who might be in the audience, and if I did that it didn’t really affect the show too much.
As a producer, it altered a lot of stuff. Mostly ticket stuff and infrastructure stuff: boring stuff. But it really changed the way we deal with audience members because so many different types of people came to see our work. We usually just get Fringy young adults and a few older theater-goers who are looking for something weird and different. But Heavy Metal Dance Fag brought in everybody: young, old, theatre-types, non-theatre-types, LGBT, old-school South Philly—everybody.

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