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There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and the Other

Posted September 11th, 2019
DescriptionAbout the Artists

September 11–22, 2019

Where are we? where? There is a where, because we are, stubbornly, and have been, and who are we, if not you and me?

Wilma HotHouse Company adapts a book-length meditation on conflict and identity by Lebanese American poet Etel Adnan. Visual art pioneer Rosa Barba and Wilma’s innovative artistic director Blanka Zizka collaborate to bring their shared love of this seminal work of contemporary poetry to the stage.

Adnan’s text plays with the idea of self and other, with the multitudinous voices within us, with the amorphous boundaries between the oppositional concepts we use to define our worlds: you/me, man/woman, lover/enemy, citizen/foreigner. Mining English phrases for the essential thoughts from which language was born, the poem makes an ideal vehicle for Wilma’s innovative HotHouse Company, a diverse group of highly trained Philadelphia actors who use full-body expressions to go beneath the surface meanings of a text to its emotional core.

Barba’s set reconfigures The Wilma’s proscenium space, stretching over the usual seating plan and serving as both a stage and a projection surface, recasting the audience as an active observer-participant in Adnan’s self-discovery. And as Wilma HotHouse’s interpretation reveals, when we seek to discover ourselves—a search which is inherently also a consideration of other people—what we are really embarking upon is a quest for love.

Who are we, if not you and me?

“I threw my memories out the window and they came back, alien, beggars and witches, leaving me standing like a sword. Is that why the sun is so bleak when it looks at us, and why is there so much love under the heat and the truth?” Etel Adnan, There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and the Other

There pursues questions that are at once ancient and modern, united in their urgency and difficulty … [it] asks that we turn with renewed attention to some of the most important matters before us.” Robert Kaufman, Stanford University

$35 general (preview Sept 11)
$48 general (weekday)
$52 general (weekend)
$15 students/25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS
Member discounts available
Buy Tickets

60 minutes

Support for There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and the Other has been provided to The Wilma Theater by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

 


About Etel Adnan

Adnan was born in 1925 and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, Paris. In January 1955 she went to the United States to pursue postgraduate studies in philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, and Harvard. From 1958 to 1972, she taught philosophy at Dominican College of San Rafael, California. In 1972, she moved back to Beirut and worked as cultural editor for two daily newspapers—first for Al Safa, then for L’Orient le Jour. She stayed in Lebanon until 1976. In 1977, her novel Sitt Marie-Rose was published in Paris, and won the France-Pays Arabes award. In the late seventies, she wrote texts for two documentaries made by Jocelyne Saab, on the civil war in Lebanon, which were shown on French television as well as in Europe and Japan.

About Blanka Zizka

Blanka Zizka has been artistic director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. In January 2016, The Vilcek Foundation announced Zizka as recipient of the Vilcek Prize, which is awarded annually to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society through their extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities. She received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in 2011, and was a Fellow at the 2015 Sundance Institute/LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat. For the past six years, she has been developing practices and programs for local theater artists to create working conditions that support creativity through continuity and experimentation.

At the Wilma, she has directed over 70 plays and musicals. Most recently, Blanka directed Romeo and Juliet, the World Premiere of Christopher Chen’s Passage, her own play Adapt!, Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling, Tom Stoppard’s U.S. premiere of The Hard Problem, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Paula Vogel’s world premiere Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Richard Bean’s Under the Whaleback, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, and Macbeth. Her recent favorite productions are Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love and Rock ’n’ Roll, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (which featured an original score by composer Toby Twining, now available from Cantaloupe Records), Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, Athol Fugard’s Coming Home and My Children! My Africa!, and Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9. She collaborated closely with Dael Orlandersmith on her plays Raw Boys and Yellowman, which was co-produced by McCarter Theatre and the Wilma and performed at ACT Seattle, Long Wharf, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Blanka was also privileged to direct Rosemary Harris and John Cullum in Ariel Dorfman’s The Other Side at MTC. For the Academy of Vocal Arts, she directed the opera Kát’a Kabanová by Leoš Janácek. She has collaborated with many playwrights including Paula Vogel, Richard Bean, Yussef El Guindi, Doug Wright, Sarah Ruhl, Tom Stoppard, Linda Griffiths, Polly Pen, Dael Orlandersmith, Laurence Klavan, Lillian Groag, Jason Sherman, Amy Freed, Robert Sherwood, and Chay Yew.

About Rosa Barba

Rosa Barba was born in 1972, in Sicily, Italy and now lives and works in Berlin. She has had solo exhibitions at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA; MAXXI, Rome; and the Tate Modern, London. In addition her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including MASS MoCA, Massachusetts; Akademie der Künste, Berlin and La Cinémathèque Française, Paris. She has participated in the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art; 19th Biennale of Sydney; 2010 Liverpool Biennial and the 52nd and 53rd Venice Biennale. Subconscious Society, a Feature was awarded the 2016 International Prize for Contemporary Art, Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. Find out more at rosabarba.com

Why Wait? Fringe Festival Performances Begin Today!!!

Posted September 4th, 2018

The long wait is over!

Philadelphia’s 2018 Fringe Festival officially launches this Thursday, September 6, kicking off 17 days of world-class performing arts. But anyone who has looked at the Fringe Guide Day-By-Day knows that the excitement isn’t contained within the strict Festival dates. Some shows (FIGMAGO, Lay Me Down Softly) had performances this past weekend; many works in the Digital Fringe are already live and available for enjoyment, and tonight has a full schedule of preview performances for some of the Fringe’s hottest shows:

Do You Want A Cookie?

6:30pm
Kill Move Paradise, The Wilma Theater

7:30pm
Do You Want A Cookie?, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Tennessee Williams: Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium

9pm
Unhinged, Matter Movement Group

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The Madness: Interview with Theodoros Terzopoulos of Greece’s Attis Theatre

Posted July 27th, 2013

“Madness is the core of Ajax.

Theodoros Terzopolous, photo by Johanna Weber.

Theodoros Terzopoulos, photo by Johanna Weber.

Theodoros Terzopoulos is a highly acclaimed director specializing in ancient tragedy and he is bringing AJAX, the madness to the 2013 Fringe Festival (thanks to the show’s co-presenters The Wilma Theater and its artistic director Blanka Zizka). Theodoros was born in the village of Makrygialos in northern Greece, the mythical birthplace of Euripides—so right away he had old school thespian cred. In 1982, he founded Attis Theatre in Athens, one of the most original experimental theater companies in Greece. AJAX, the madness takes on the mania of the Ancient Greek hero at the center of Ajax (or Aias) by Sophocles, and is performed by three actors trained in the intensely physical and immersive style of Attis Theatre. This correspondence interview was conducted in May of 2013.

FringeArts: Why is the show title AJAX, the madness? And what made you choose this story to explore?

Theodoros Terzopoulos: The performance focuses at that incident of the tragedy when Ajax, in a state of divine madness, slaughters the flocks [sheep, cattle, etc.] of the army, believing that he is killing instead his enemies that did injustice to him. The narration of that incident concentrates the issue of rage, of “mania,” which is a kernel and fundamental issue in Ancient Greek tragedy. Nevertheless, Attis Theatre and me personally are mainly interested in working deeply in the core of each tragedy. Madness is the core of Ajax, like bacchaeia (the trance) is the core of Bacchae and lament is the core of Perses. I am mainly interested in the kernel condition, the state, than in the personae of each tragedy.

From AJAX, the madness, photo by Johana Weber.

From AJAX, the madness, photo by Johanna Weber.

FringeArts: What’s the process of creation in such a work?

Theodoros Terzopoulos: The performance has many elements of a visual art performance. It literally embarks on the set installation that I designed. We could say that it is a spoken installation. The main idea was to use the classic kothornoi, the shoes, that the actors were standing on in Ancient Greek theater, also as troughs (the pots where the animals eat), as coffins, etc. Kothornoi have many symbolisms and change [into] many forms in this performance.

We did not start working on the performance with free improvisations, but with a very particular idea, based on a triptych. The first actor performs the monologue bearing the pathos and the “mania,” through the rules of tragedy. The second actor interprets rage through the elements of a satiric drama. And the third one interprets it through the norms of comedy.

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The Weekender: QFest, family friendly community disco, the mass appeal of sugar substitutes, and storming the Bastille with high-kicking ferocity

Posted July 12th, 2013
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

See such born-to-be classics as Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?, The Secret Disco Revolution,and Meth Head at the biggest queer film festival on the east coast, Philly’s QFest! The festival, kicking off Thursday, July 11th and exciting our filmic senses until July 22nd, is stocked with goodies from the cow hide-laden James Franco/Travis Matthews film Interior. Leather Bar. to the scintillating Pratibha Parmar documentary Alice Walker:Beauty in Truth. View the event shedule and venue map and make good choices!

Caili Quan, Billy Cannon and Richard Villaverde in Beautiful Decay, Photo by  Alexander Iziliae

Beautiful Decay, Photo by Alexander Iziliae

“Is it like, all classical?” a friend asks as we enter The Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street.  “No, it’s BalletX! Like the “Z“ in Zorro, the “X” clearly indicates that we are about to see edgy, cerebrally demanding contemporary ballet!” And that’s just what choreographer Nicolo Fonte and the BalletX company deliver in their Summer Series piece, Beautiful Decay. Running July 10th through the 14th with tickets ranging from $22 to $40, it is an enthrallingly impressive work The Philadelphia Inquirer pronounces as “too important to be unknown to Philadelphia ballet lovers.” (TIX)

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ParkJam at Malcolm X

Strap up your workman’s boots and prepare to A-town stomp the chlorophyll out of West Philly’s outdoor discotheque, otherwise known as the spacious green at Malcolm X Park, running between 51st and 52nd Street and between Pine Street and Larchwood Avenue. On Saturday, July 13th from 2pm to 7pm, the green lends itself to ParkJam, a  Garden Community Association sponsored community dance party featuring co-presenter and Philly DJ Danophonic Dan, folk rock/golf enthusiast band HighKick, a moon bounce (!!), local artisans, food trucks, and community members and groups galore.

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Tastier by Leslie Friedman

Ongoing until July 26th, Philadelphia printmaker and installation artist Leslie Friedman, explores the bodily and psychological effects of our culture’s strange sexual attraction to Coke ZeroTastier, showing at Space 1026, 1026 Arch Street, 2nd Floor specifically aims to stage interventions between Crystal Light lemonade packet suckers and art goers all over Philadelphia by drawing parallels to the allure of simulated pleasures and stripping sleek, sexy soft drink labels from bottles and replacing them with bright sugar-rushes of technicolored sex. Bring your own juice box.

Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

The Bearded Ladies, Bastille Day 2011

As we mourn the loss of Twinkies, we look to Marie Antoinette, patroness of good will and hope, as she cries “Let them eat Tastykake!” from atop Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue. All day Saturday, July 13th the Penitentiary will celebrate Bastille Day with discounted tour rates, the beheading of Antoinette, emcee Edith Piaf, French-themed menus at surrounding restaurants, and a slew of sobering, historically faithful theatrical performances including a visit from experimental cabaret group, The Bearded Ladies. Before you go, check out this instructional video on how to dance like a revolutionary. 

Spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon entranced by ornately costumed body rolls and globally infused instrumentals. For $12 on July 14th at 7:30pm, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street provides the scene for ANIMUS- Philadelphia’s Belly Dance Spectacular. Musical ensemble ANIMUS brings its culturally diverse musical concepts and traditions–Greek, Blues, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Spanish, Funk, Latin, Rock, Indian, Jewish Klezmer, and African and tosses the norm amongst the reverberations of emotional rhythmic energy. (TIX)

–Maya Beale