10 Live Arts and Fringe Artists You Need to Know
What you’re doing this year: I’m directing Annie Baker’s The Aliens.
What it’s about: The play is about three lost individuals, struggling to exist. Jeb Kreager, Sam Henderson, and Aubiee Merrylees are gutsy actors who are allowing themselves to live in the silences and ambiguities of Baker’s writing.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: Pig Iron’s Twelfth Night and Lady M. I like Shakespeare references. And I’d also like to see the piece that Amy Smith did for Headlong.
What you’re doing when not this: I watch a lot of baseball. I have a season ticket package – the 17-game plan. My ideal world series would be Phillies-Red Sox with the Phillies winning in five games, because if it goes to seven, I’ll be in previews for The Whipping Man at the Arden. Baseball has been an obsession since I was five.
What you’re doing this year: I’m playing the character of Viola in Pig Iron’s Twelfth Night. We’re doing it at Suzanne Roberts Theater, and we’ve got 17 shows. We always perform our butts off during the fest.
What it’s about: It’s Shakespeare, definitely with a twist. It’s really beautiful. Dan Rothenberg, the director, is all about the music onstage. A huge part of this is a Balkan-inspired band that weaves in and around the action. It’s got a lot of heart. A lot of longing. I’d say the production is… sexy.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: Elephant Room, first and foremost. I was just saying earlier, I’m so broke this year that I’ll only be able to see the shows my friends are in. Red Rovers. Thaddeus’ piece. A couple of shows in the Fringe.
What you’re doing when not this: Stressing about the future. I don’t have a whole lot of work lined up for next year. But I’m getting ready to direct a new piece and teach at the Pig Iron school. And I’m doing a 3-woman clown show with Charlotte Ford and Lee Etzold that’s directed by Emmanuelle Delpech.
JACQUES-JEAN (“J.J.”) TIZIOU
What you’re doing this year: Documenting the festival. And being an audience member, community member, cheerleader, et cetera.
What that’s about: Someone dragged me to the Late Nite Cabaret back in 2001 or 2002, and I was so excited by the community and the creative energy I felt there that I told myself I would go to Fringe stuff every night. A couple of years later, I set myself the goal of photographing the crap out of the festival and shot 30,000 frames in three weeks. That’s how I got sucked into that whole world.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: Ooh, Lady M. That’s the piece I am most excited about, but there are always the great surprises.
What you’re doing when not this: I’m gearing up for the next act of How Philly Moves photo sessions and spending far more time staring at the computer than I would like to. I’ve been trying to reclaim the darkroom time in my life. Digital makes it easy to be in go go go manic mode all the time.
What you’re doing this year: I’m doing a site-specific performance at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. The piece is called Rock Reed Tatami Stream.
What it’s about: It’s a collaborative work that began with Roko Kawai in Japan, where she invited me to create a site-specific work with her at a 200-year old house. We worked there a few years. I wanted to bring that collaboration to Philadelphia. This show doesn’t specifically reference the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but the experience of a major life-changing disruption and what the aftermath of that is. The Japanese house is so calm, the tradition is to leave your cares outside, put your swords away, and walk inside without that identity of who you are so you can just reflect.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: You know how that is, when you’re doing your work. I just got the guide. I was excited to look at it. John Jasperse’s Canyon. And Play. Red Rovers. I know Headlong has been working a while on that. And Lady M. I love Adrienne Mackey’s work and what she does. And Thaddeus Phillips’ Whale Optics looks great.
What you’re doing when not this: This is what I do. I have a dance company. I teach dance. I run the company.
[Photo: Michael Bartmann]