Posts Tagged ‘The Off-Broad Street Theater’

Throwing It Out

Posted August 29th, 2012

Joanna Sycz in The Hoarder’s Child.

Early this summer I set about making space in my childhood bedroom for more adult (read: terrifying) things: student loan bills, GRE study books, and the considerable anxiety of job applications. First, I set out to tackle the at-random piles of books that marked the floor space, the desk top, and my reading chair. Soon though, I was overwhelmed. Convincing myself that a pile on the floor, in the corner, was a fine enough place to house several Murakami novels and an astronomy textbook, I moved on.

Trash was easier to remove. I tossed out a few receipts crumpled on my dresser, and jewelry that dated back to middle school. I left though the notebook from eleventh grade physics on my desk chair; I had just gotten my blog internship with Philly Fringe, and what if two Fringe artists were barreling towards each other, one moving at 10 mph, the other at 15 kph, whose show would be the sleeper hit?

Then of course, for weeks I hoarded the Q & A from Heather L. Jones, playwright of 2012 Philly Fringe’s The Hoarder’s Child, refusing to set it free (in this case, publish it on the blog); e-mail, I’ve concluded, is the greatest enabler of hoarding, because notes and photos and videos of Corgis playing in water parks all fit into one compact computer-ma-bob and its neat and small and doesn’t look messy and like the repository of all my neuroses. But it is. And I’m sorry Heather.

After the jump: we try to redeem ourselves, and Heather talks about theater in Tampa-St. Pete.

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Good Sex, Better Conversation

Posted August 22nd, 2012

Festival Blog contributor Richard Bon lives in Northern Liberties with his wife and daughter. He posts original flash fiction of his own or by a guest writer every other Monday on his blog, liminalfiction.com.

Random sex happens. In David Ireland‘s The End of Hope, The End of Desire, co-produced for 2012 Philly Fringe by Tiny Dynamite and Extreme Measures, it happens just before the play’s opening lines. Characters played by Corinna Burns and Jared Delaney are introduced during detumescence and, after conveying their mutual satisfaction, engage in a conversation that takes them to unexpected places.

While their characters in End of Hope met via a web site dedicated to sex between consenting strangers, Corinna and Jared met in real life ten years ago when they both were cast in a collaborative play called The Artist’s Workshop. “We were both very opinionated and always seemed to disagree,” Corinna tells me, “but eventually we came to respect each other and became good friends.” Though they’ve rarely acted together since, their friendship has grown, as has their mutual respect. When Emma Gibson, producing artistic director for Tiny Dynamite, asked them to star in End of Hope’s Philadelphia debut as part of her “a Play, a Pie, and a Pint” program in October 2011, they jumped at the chance.

“Corinna’s unique quality as an actor,” says Jared, “is believability. It never seems like she’s acting, I never doubt her.” He can hardly finish the sentence before Corinna nods and declares that Jared has a similar “honesty and a grounded presence on stage.”

With only a few weeks to prepare for End of Hope last autumn, the duo relied heavily on their natural chemistry to make the show work. And work it did, selling out The Red Room of The Society Hill Playhouse, Fergie’s Pub in Center City, and MilkBoy in Ardmore.

After the jump: summing the whole of human existence (you read that right).

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That Show That Makes Me Think of Bing Crosby: Samantha Pearlman’s “Devotedly Sincerely Yours: The Story of the USO”

Posted July 23rd, 2012

The director tells the actress to pause. She backs away from the microphone. The director sidemouths a comment to the lighting designer, who considers it, then nods. The director turns her gaze back to the stage, and tells the actress to take a step towards stage left; here, she says, her hair will catch the light—catch it in such a way that there is a buoy of yellow: a halo.

Look again. A young woman—walnut, curly hair and green eyes—talks to herself. She’s acting one moment, then running off stage the next, sitting in the audience to direct the role she has just left—trying to wrestle a phantom it seems.

Why is she doing this? Is she insane?

Samantha Pearlman and her ‘boys’ backstage for DSY’s run at Wesleyan University.

Samantha Pearlman is not insane. The enthusiasm with which she speaks is a thrice-churned product—one part ambition, one part intelligence, and one part love. Perhaps then, she is lesser-than-sane; but, she is not insane. That adjective she saves for her decision to research, write, direct, set design, produce, and star in the original run of a one-woman musical, Devotedly, Sincerely Yours: The Story of the USO. “I needed to do everything. I needed to try wearing all those hats,” Samantha said.

For this year’s Philly Fringe in steps Kate Galvin, former casting director at the Walnut Street Theatre (she also recently directed Proof at Walnut Street Theatre’s Studio 3), to spare Samantha the pangs of overcommitment and to add her touch of brilliancy. “These past couple of weeks I’ve been rewriting, revisiting the script, changing some things, making things better with Kate’s help,” Samantha said. She is grateful for Kate, the sincerity of her thanks unmistakable because of her sighs, the admissions —  “I’m so lucky to have her,” Samantha said — and the vivid memory of DSY‘s full-throttle genesis: “Usually during tech week the director is in the audience with the designers looking at each lighting look, and saying, ‘I like that. I don’t like that. That change is weird. It has to be slower.’ I’m on stage. I can’t see any of this. It was so insane.” A circus performer trying to juggle her own limbs.

After the jump: Wild claims about Wesleyan University, and stories of the women of the USO.

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