It's that magical time of year again...Theatre Christmas!
To celebrate, we are bringing you 17 Fringe Picks to kick-off our 17th Season. We look forward to seeing you around the city - we will be out and about marveling at all the wonders wandering around town this month (that is when we aren't getting our rehearsals on for How We Got On).
Without further ado...
Real life inside of the theater.
The second iteration of an audacious 24-year performance experiment captures the passage of time and its impact on the bodies and psyches of a group of individuals. Every two years, the same seven-person ensemble reassembles, engaging in a long-term process of creating and recreating a presentation of performance art, physical theater, music, ritual, and dance. Together they piece a quilt of their real lives, memories, predictions, ultimately celebrating the achievement of the unknown dream, or mourning the loss of an unrealized future. With the audience seated onstage, facing the empty seats of the theater, an intimate encounter occurs in a vast space. The Sincerity Project is a true combination of life and art, an encounter with all that is beautiful and terrifying, funny and sublime.
Hailed by media as "accessible, technically flawless and thrilling," JUNK strives to inspire with creativity through its work and serve as a catalyst for generating fresh ideas that encourage audiences to see the world in a new and vital way. Since 1992, Brian Sanders and his troupe, JUNK have, as one critic put it "left audiences spellbound by the intricacies and daredevil risks of Sanders' ingenious choreography."
Applied Mechanics is back, exploring the fields where we grow crops and the tables where we break bread. Seeds are important time capsules, recipes are histories, and food unlocks rituals for communing with the dead. A cast of three plays out a host of edible narratives. Bring your appetites: this is a play you can eat.
A Berserker clown doubleheader! Tremble as a lunatic prince (Brad Wrenn) drags you deep into bowels of his dank dungeon. Then go mad with a wispy English shut-in (Lee Minora) flouncing about her decaying manor. Boundaries will be tested, laughs will be had as this two-headed beast sucks marrow from your funny bone!
You are all here because you seek something. This is very special. In here, tonight, we will seek together.... Profundity abounds in this mystical performance-comedy event written and performed by New Paradise Laboratories co-founder and Pig Iron Theatre Company regular, Mary McCool.
You can die, you just have to answer a few crazy questions first. And sing. And dance.
A young girl attempts suicide and wakes up trapped in a cosmic vaudevillian game show that she must win in order to enter the void of death. But the more Alameda wants to die, the harder she has to work -- winning means she must confront avatars of scientific truth, ostentatious musical numbers, elaborate dance sequences, and acquaint herself with the enigmatic laws of the universe. From the creator of Futurity, comes a new not-your-traditional musical of up-tempo genre-bending songs and a healthy dose of absurd in the search of why to exist when you no longer want to.
Chris Davis re-imagines the iconic film Apocalypse Now in a hilarious and dark 60-minute adaptation set in and industrial warehouse on Gray's Ave.
Chris Davis has been self-producing in the Philadelphia Fringe for the last seven years. He worked on Fringe hits Anna K, Holly's Dead Soldiers, and last year he co-wrote Damned Dirty Apes! for Renegade Theater Company. His solo shows Drunk Lion, Bortle 8, and Violence of the Lambs have toured throughout the United States and Europe. This August he will be performing a debut stand-up show in the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 titled Chinchilla Coats, before returning to Philadelphia for the Fringe.
Intrigue. Murder. War. This King John is set in a future after the collapse of civilization. A corrupt ruling class, after seizing power, finds itself embroiled in a vicious struggle for total dominance. With political relevancy that mirrors our own time, King John asks "Where do you stand?".
A co-presentation with the Barnes Foundation
Curated by Lee Tusman in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop
This site-specific performance is an inspired musical response to the artworks of Room 21 at the Barnes Foundation and Albert Barnes' extensive record collection. The actual Room 21 displays an eclectic mix of Pennsylvania German furniture, Modigliani's painting Reclining Nude from the Back, African masks, religious works, and paintings by Barnes students. Composer Jace Clayton (also known as DJ /rapture) plays on ideas of adjacency between vastly different artists and cultures. Carefully choreographed, Clayton's concert rewards roaming through the performance, much like visitors roam through the art collection.
How far can you see beneath the surface? Tangle's acrobats explore life's hidden currents and push through the forces that pull us together. Merging circus arts with theater, dance, and innovative storytelling, Surface Tension uses trapeze and aerial silks to dive into a world of fixed points and sudden changes.
Manhattan, 1992: Two young men from opposite sides of the poverty line share a chance encounter in an empty subway car. What starts off as a tenuous relationship, quickly becomes something altogether much more difficult to compass. This play weaves a thrilling mystery in a frank discussion about personal prejudice.
***How could we NOT give this a shout out?! Not only is this one of our favorite plays, but it stars James Whitfield, one of the newest members of the Azuka family - you can see him onstage AGAIN later this month in How We Got On!
Exile 2588 is an acrobatic folk-music space epic adaptation of the story of lo set 572 years in the future. Smashing together the genre of space epic with the sweet strains of American folk music, Almanac's physical vocabulary swells to include break dance, static trapeze, and ever more innovative ensemble acrobatics, asking timeless questions about mortality and how much control we have over our bodies.
Almanac's signature style of physical storytelling, dance, and circus will be accompanied by an original song cycle by Chickabiddy (Aaron Cromie and Emily Schuman). The piece is outside eyed by Pig Iron Theatre Company's Dan Rothenberg.
Inspired by the art of writer and activist James Baldwin, Stew and Heidi Rodewald (creators of the Tony Award winning musical Passing Strange) explore Baldwin's trailblazing legacy. A rollicking "concert novel," Notes of a Native Song is a high-energy blast of music, video, and spoken word that captures the essence of the man who spoke out about uncomfortable truths. As Stew and his musically formidable band draw the audience in, the show confronts the more complicated aspects of Baldwin's life and ideas, even as it celebrates his lasting impact.
And the living kept living, and the dead stayed dead. And one by one, we gathered at dawn: there in the dark white rooms of the house that isn't my house anymore. There in the House at the End of the World. A silent film scored live by ensemble.
15. Gala: Jerome Bel
A spectacle where the act of dancing, or the act of trying to dance, is celebrated, Gala showcases the desire to dance without complexes.
Twenty dancers take the stage, from professional dancers and actors to first timers -- people across ages, backgrounds, professions. Interpreting a series of dances across a range of eras, their performances reveal each person's desire to move, to strive for joy, perfection, to transform with unabashed expression. With a simple framework, like an end of year assembly, audiences become deeply connected to the individuals on stage, their dance revealing the world of their own imagination. There in the House at the End of the World. A silent film scored live by ensemble.
Comic book nerds turn vigilante against the Philadelphia Parking Authority. "Top-notch, beautifully stylized fight dancing" and a "feminist critique of comic book culture" tell the hilarious story of one man's ridiculous obsession with Batman, Justice and heroes who do the wrong things for the right reasons.
Birdie's Pit Stop is the shittiest bar in the shittiest part of the shittiest town. But when a tribe of queers (from up north) crash in -- all hell breaks loose. Literally. A play about demonic possession, drag queens, sacrifice, stuffed deer heads, and Jennifer Lopez. All audience members required to sign a waver. This show is BYOB!
Happy hunting, friends! See you at the Fringe Bar!