New York-based author Mike Daisey has published more than two dozen monologues, with subjects that have included everything from Burning Man to L. Ron Hubbard to Steve Jobs. His work is not without controversy. In 2012, the popular public radio show This American Liferetracted and apologized for a story it ran about Daisey’s visit to the Apple factory in China, explaining that “many of Mike Daisey’s experiences in China were fabricated.”
Well, Daisey’s latest work will no doubt be controversial as well. In July, the “master storyteller,” as the New York Times labelled Daisey, will perform his brand new monologue The Trump Card at FringeArts — just in time for the Democratic National Convention. We got him on the phone to discuss. Read more »
Stro Productionz returns with another all-inclusive event, hosted by Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca, that celebrates beard culture, fresh cuts, unique styles, fashion, and individuality in the Gayborhood. Don’t miss the giveaways and best beard contest. Please note that free entry will be given to anyone wearing Timberland boots, so no need to worry whether you’ll be able to get in. More details at stroproductionz.com. Read more »
New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3
Machinal @ Latvian Society of Philadelphia | April 20 to May 8
Feminism! Murder! American Expressionism! EgoPo Classic Theater is putting on the 1928 drama Machinal, inspired by the life of Ruth Snyder, who was executed at Sing Sing Prison for teaming up with her sidepiece to kill her husband. Here’s an unexpected photo of her being electrocuted. Philly theater staple Mary Tuomanen, who looks like an entirely different person in every play, takes on the female anti-hero role.
“They are regular kids,” said Employee of the Year‘s co-creator Abby Browde, the New York-based artist who has worked with the cohort of children since 2014 as part of the performance group 600 Highwaymen. “None of them are industry kids.”
Yet, these girl actresses are given quite a daunting task in Employee of the Year: They tell the story of one woman’s life from start to finish through the use of movement, monologue, and song. At first, Browde and her artistic partner, Michael Silverstone, weren’t necessarily committed to using kids in the performance. Read more »
They dress up as nuns at midnight, fall asleep, wake up every half-hour, and improvise.
That may sound really strange, and, heck, it sort of is, but it’s just a regular part of the creative process for Mark McCloughan and Jaime Maseda. The pair make up No Face Performance Group, and they’re exploring a series of acts that were inspired by artwork they discovered in The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The second in the series, titled Abbot Adam: None, comes to FringeArts this week. Both McCloughan and Maseda chatted with me about their work, their very interesting nighttime improvisation, and what audiences can expect from one of their shows. Read more »
There are some people that are so absurdly complex, so full of drama (of the literal kind), that you could easily see their lives as a stage play with a built-in human tragedy that Tennessee Williams or Eugene O’Neill would have died to have created.
That’s the case with one Ms. Elizabeth Petruccione. Chances are, the common person doesn’t know Ms. Petruccione, who, at the age of 62, launched her own rather zany health venture, “Losing Weight With Elizabeth.” Yes, there’s even a YouTube channel where you can watch Ms. Petruccione talk about food and dieting:
But underneath all of that life and zeal is a story about loss, and not just of physical weight: A series of awful marriages, a terrible and abusive childhood, and, perhaps most tragic, the death of a 20-year-old son who was killed when he was struck by lighting while riding a motorcycle (he survived a near fatal car accident when he was 16). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read more »
The FringeArts Festival has made a name for itself by taking audience members out of their comfort zone. Some may not know if they’re up for a two-man show with nudity that gives you scenes of male intimacy, friendship, and raw aggression. But, you may be surprised to see how audiences react to this show that’s toured extensively through Europe and parts of the U.S. FringeArts producing director Nick Stuccio describes the pair as “very smart, courageous, contemporary artists. But they’re also beer-drinking, bearded guys” who are “playful as hell in this physical romp. It’s tasteful and fun, even with the ball-tugging. No one will be bored.” We talked with Belgian artist and dancer Pieter Ampe by phone from his home in Brussels about Still Standing You, the 45-minute dance performance piece made with Portuguese artist and dancer Guilherme Garrido. Pieter, 33, and Gui, 32, perform Wednesday through Friday at the Painted Bride.
What was the process to create this piece? Gui and I met at a big festival a couple of years before we made the work and took a liking to each other. Both of us are playful and have high energy. Gui invited a group of us to meet him in Portugal where he lived to do some work. I arrived at his house with a lot of friends and we had fun. I took my next holiday from school in Porto to work on something with him. I knew it would be about celebrating our friendship, but we didn’t know where it was going. At a residency in France, we forced ourselves to stay in the studio and find what we wanted to make together. It took awhile. I was trying to be more intellectual than I am. The moment we stopped trying so hard, things started working. Read more »
Last night, a selection of the FringeArts Festival‘s most intriguing queer and LGBT artists presented samples from their shows at a big old gay party via Tabu. Besides featured performances from Growing Into My Beard, Zanna Don’t!, and Me First, other queer favorites attended the evening of entertainment, followed by karaoke and socializing. Don’t forget to check out all of our LGBTQ FringeArts Festival coverage here.
"Growing Into My Beard" producer Artem Yatsunov
Jason Rosenberg of "Me First."
The cast of "Zanna, Don't" rehearse before the performance.
Jason Rosenberg, Topher Layton, and guests.
Bay Bryan of "Growing Into My Beard" also served as the show's host.
Jason Rosenberg performs from "Me First."
Topher Layton in "Zanna, Don't."
Topher Layton and Richie Sklar from "Zanna, Don't."
The cast (and impromptu musical crew) of "Zanna, Don't."
The 19th annual Fringe Festival kicks off tonight and will run through September 19th with over 100 performances from international theater troupes and local art-scene movers and shakers alike. If that sounds a little overwhelming, you’re totally right. We take a stab at making your Fringe decision-making a little easier with a guide to the “curated shows” (the folks—many from outside Philly—who are getting paid to perform) and the “independents” (intrepid Philly artists who sign up to take part on their own dime.) Check out those guides here and here, respectively.
First, though, get to know some of our favorite local players at this year’s festival, and find out where you can see them performing over the next few weeks. Be sure to get your tickets fast. We’re not the only ones who love them.
As usual, there’s way too much to see at this year’s 19th iteration of the Fringe Festival, with 143 different events split between the “curated” shows, a.k.a. the performers who are invited and paid for by the festival, and the “independents,” a.k.a. the come-one-come-alls, which include everything from a comedy hypnosis show to stuff you should actually see. Today, we’re focusing on the latter to bring you our 9 must-see independent shows. (Click the show titles for ticket links.)