Posts Tagged ‘The Renegade Company’

2018 Festival Spotlight: FREE Fringe (part one)

Posted August 29th, 2018

Art should never be out of reach. In addition to our full slate of free digital offerings, this year’s Festival features nearly twenty shows—curated and independently produced—that are free or pay what you want, leaving the door to contemporary performance art open to all.

This is just a segment of the array of FREE Fringe offerings. See the rest of the list tomorrow.

Airport Opened
Brian Shapiro Presents
Airports are endlessly fascinating places—intersections of almost every imaginable personality with logistical challenges galore. Based upon interviews conducted with airport personnel globally, Airport Opened offers an opportunity to bear witness to an airport’s human side through the perspectives of people who actually work there.
More info and tickets here

An Unofficial, Unauthorized Tour of LOVE Park
Rose Luardo / Kate Banford
An interactive, questions-encouraged tour of LOVE Park with a completely legitimate, highly respected, and 100% real tour company. At each stop on this mind-bending guided walk through the park, facts will be manipulated and reality will melt. Maybe a bush will talk to you? And maybe that bush invented love. Presented by Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation with support from ArtPlace America.
More info and tickets here

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Animal Farm to Table: a new kind of dinner theater

Posted July 19th, 2016

“Food is an engine for conversation as well as understanding a culture that is unlike our own.”

What is a food utopia? Writer and Artistic Director of the Renegade Company, Mike Durkin, admits that he doesn’t know what this ideal would look like. However, through Renegade’s new production, Animal Farm to Table, he hopes performers and audience members can put their heads together to understand what a food utopia might be and how it may be reached. Durkin believes that “food is an engine for conversation as well as understanding a culture that is unlike our own.”

An 3Animal Farm to Table is not a traditional theater experience. There isn’t a fourth wall to be broken because there are no walls. Described as one part performance, one part town-hall style discussion, and one part meal, Animal Farm to Table follows in the footsteps of previous Renegade shows. The Renegade Company partners with local artisans and community organizations to present familiar stories in new ways, reimagining and applying them to life in Philadelphia. They have presented shows in the Fringe Festival for the past four years, including productions such as Bathtub Moby-Dick and The Hunchback of Notre Dame . . . A Mute Play, with titles telling of their experimental nature.

In Animal Farm to Table George Orwell’s allegorical, dystopian novella, Animal Farm, emerges at the Urban Creators’ Farm in North Philly where the audience will forage for food in preparation for the meal communally prepared at the end of the show. In Orwell’s novella the shortage of food, and the animals’ inability to access food without the farmer motivate their revolt. Although food is Orwell’s use, his tale demonstrates the power of sustenance to affect human interactions. For Renegade’s audience the food will be literal. “A key to this production is to come in with an open mind and open stomach,” Durkin advises.

Mike Durkin worked at a branch of the Free Library adjacent to the Urban Creators’ Farm in Nicetown when he became interested in food culture in Philadelphia. He observed the food culture of the farm, noted what his students ate, as a result the idea for Animal Farm to Table arose. Together with community partner, Farm to City, Renegade began working on Animal Farm to Table by distributing surveys related to food purchases at the Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market. Renegade wanted to find out how Philadelphians feel about access to sustainable foods, food hierarchy, and ethical consumption. Many of the answers Renegade received dealt with the question of quality rather than access, but Durkin doesn’t despair. In the coming weeks he’s conducting further surveys at the Port Richmond Farmer’s Market.

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In a Bathtub Reading Moby Dick, Live!

Posted August 20th, 2013
Artwork by Eric Scotolati, Graphics by Daniel Kontz

Artwork by Eric Scotolati, graphics by Daniel Kontz.

Spend the day in the bathtub and you can gain a lot of things. Peace, stillness, fingers like a pack of California Raisins, and a reasonably sanitary body.

Known for its adventurous refurbishings of classic works, Philadelphia-based theater group The Renegade Company presents their latest in the 2013 Fringe Festival when they undertake the grand theatrical experiment of seeing what a good, long soapy soak in the bathtub can do for the iconic literary masterpiece Moby-Dick. An equally brilliant and wayward path to deeply existential quandaries surrounding love and loss, Bathtub Moby-Dick observes a heartrendingly nude and vulnerable Robert (Ed Swidey) alone in his bathtub.  Jobless and recently divorced, disillusioned and overwhelmed, Robert escapes to the diversions of Herman Melville’s tale of the great white whale, and finds himself steeping deeper and deeper into the turbulent psyche of Captain Ahab. Before hopping onto the boat and into the bathtub, FringeArts wanted to get inside the head of  The Renegade Company’s founding artistic director, Mike Durkin, and get an idea of what’s going to be going down in that bathroom come September.

FringeArts: When and where did your interest in theater begin?

Mike Durkin: I was in ninth grade and a girl I had a crush on signed up for drama club. I’d thought I’d impress her by signing up, as well. It didn’t work. Fourteen years later and I’m creating works that involve the classics and iconic works and re-imagining them.

FringeArts: How did The Renegade Company get started?

Mike Durkin: In the summer of 2008 I had a tomato, which caused the formation of my company. I don’t usually eat tomatoes, but one summer afternoon I decided to have a BLT. I was in New York at the time and that was the summer there was an outbreak of salmonella in tomatoes. Yada yada yada, I got salmonella poisoning. I was delirious and was in a waiting room in Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and sweating, and contemplating my existence. Through my delirium, I was thinking about plays I’d like to direct. I thought about Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. I realized that I liked that play and I’d like to direct it one day. I’d really like to direct it. Why shouldn’t I direct it? I’m going to direct it. Then, I started musing on creating theater. I’d love to form my own company someday. That’s what I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to spend about nine months traveling around the country seeing all types of theater in various cities, formulating a company. Five years later, The Renegade Company is producing two works a season.

FringeArts: How did you settle on the group’s mission of re-imagining classic stories?

Mike Durkin: I’ve always been fond of adaptations and the classics, and I’ve always been fond of The Food Network. After watching many shows about reinterpreting classic dishes, I thought about how I could do that with theatrical works. Anyone can do a production of a classic story, whether the production is good or bad is beside the point, but how can we understand those stories through a different lens? How can we use the music of Woody Guthrie and union workers of the 1930s to understand the story of Prometheus, giver of fire? If I compared Renegade to a certain kind of food it would be Korean tacos; a little bit of one type of food mashed up with another style of food to create something new and exciting and different. That’s kind of like Renegade.

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