Philadelphia Live Arts and Fringe Festival: 10 Artists to Watch
The Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival officially gets underway this week, with a dizzying array of theater, dance and performance art events throughout the city, with venues ranging from a church in Old City to a bar in Rittenhouse Square to a home in Northeast Philly (bring a covered dish!). Here, ten of the actors, directors and choreographers who make the festival worth going to tell you all about what they’re up to, what events they’re going to see (hint: these are the events you shouldn’t miss), and where you’ll find them throwing back beers after the show.
[Photos by Colin Lenton]
What you’re doing this year: New Paradise Laboratories’ 27
What it’s about: The play deals with topics like how to really experience the joys of life, what death is, and if it’s possibly a good thing.
Your role: Riley, a mortal who enters a room of godlike figures. A glitch in the system.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: Whatever Thaddeus Phillips does. And I have a bunch of friends in a theater company called Found. They’re doing Electric Jungle. Somebody wears an alligator mask.
What you’re doing when not this: I sling espresso and pour hearts in lattes at Bodhi.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Tattooed Mom’s and Sugar Mom’s are pretty splendid places, and I’m in Quig’s a lot.
Movie role made for you: Something in a Hitchcock film, just so I can make out with Jimmy Stewart.
Why not New York: New York would eat me alive and devour my soul. We’re making great theater here.
What you’re doing this year: Applied Mechanics’ Some Other Mettle
What it’s about: It’s a piece exploring transformation and bravery. It will start in a traditional theater setup but then kind of explode throughout the theater.
Your role: Sy. He has an addiction problem, and he’s trying to recover. But it won’t be a typical addiction story.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech; Iminami by PuppeTyranny; and The Consul, by the Philadelphia Opera Collective.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: I love Tavern On Camac, but my favorite bar is the Bike Stop, because I used to work there.
Movie role made for you: Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel or Anthony Perkins in Psycho.
Why not New York: There’s space and resources and time and a reasonable cost of living.
What you’re doing this year: Jacqueline Goldfinger’s Raw Stitch
What it’s about: Very off-color monologues that Jackie wrote in her wonderfully lewd, bawdy, hilarious sense of humor. Theater for the sexually active.
Your role: A beauty pageant contestant.
What you’re doing when not this: I’m a really awesome aunt.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Watkin’s Drinkery. More often than not, you’ll see five theater folks in there.
Movie role made for you: The secretary in Secretary. Or anything in a David Lynch film.
Why not New York: Most of my actor friends who live there spend most of their time trying to make money to live.
What you’re doing this year: Brat Productions’ Popsicle’s Departure, 1989
What it’s about: It’s about the end of the punk-rock era, right before grunge hit mainstream. It’s semi-autobiographical. Matt Pfeiffer is directing.
Your role: It’s a one-person show with two characters, and I play both: a young woman on meth, and a 20-something guitar-player dude.
What you’re doing when not this: Did I mention Quig’s Pub? I’m also a mommy.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: I kick everybody out of Quig’s and lock the door. I don’t go out.
Movie role made for you: Calamity Jane in Deadwood. I’d get to ride horses and swear.
Why not New York: People here are so supportive. Everyone is rooting for everyone else. There’s not a catty, competitive spirit.
What you’re doing this year: Theatre Exile’s The Edge of Our Bodies, by Adam Rapp
What it’s about: A Holden Caulfield-esque tale of a young woman who ditches her boarding school and goes to New York to live with her boyfriend.
Your role: I’m the director. There’s just one character, a young woman named Bernadette, played by Philly native Nicole Erb.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: I’m always curious to see what New Paradise is up to.
What you’re doing when not this: I watch a lot of disheartening baseball and Breaking Bad episodes.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Devil’s Den. They have those chick pea fries, and no, I am not a vegetarian.
Movie role made for you: Anybody in the Dark Knight trilogy. “Third Cop On the Left” would have been fine.
Why not New York: It’s not Philly. It’s simple. It has nothing to do with money or fame. Just hometown pride.
What you’re doing this year: Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental’s and Wilhelm Bros. & Co’s Red-Eye to Havre de Grace
What it’s about: An action opera about the last days of Edgar Allan Poe. He wants to tell the world his theories of the universe. They just want him to do The Raven.
Your role: Director, stage designer, co-creator.
What you’re doing when not this: I like to skateboard, and I just acted in a Colombian movie.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: It’s random, but Race Street Cafe, sitting outside, drinking really strong beers.
Movie role made for you: Tony Stark in Iron Man.
Why not New York: I lived there years ago. It was just too difficult, crowded and hard to move around in, and not that interesting.
What you’re doing this year: Charlotte Ford’s Bang
What it’s about: A three-woman clown show that explores female sexuality and the challenges and expectations that we all carry with us about women.
Your role: Barb. A hot mess. She’s not in control of her body, has no fashion sense, and has no desire to be conventionally sexy.
What you’re doing when not this: I teach at the Pig Iron School and Wharton, and I hang out with my cat.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: On a cheaper day, Cantina on Passyunk. Indulgent, Stateside.
Movie role made for you: Nicole Kidman in The Hours. I already have the nose.
Why not New York: Pig Iron.
What you’re doing this year: Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Zero Cost House
What it’s about: A collaboration with Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada. It’s about Toshiki rereading Walden and moving out of Tokyo after the tsunami. But it’s also about what you really need to be happy.
Your role: Director. It’s challenging. Okada is a brilliant and unusual writer.
What you’re doing when not this: The term “foodie” probably applies to me. I am out there looking for the place with the chef who isn’t a celebrity yet.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Stateside. I’ve been enjoying the strange pickles.
Movie role made for you: C-3PO. I would have nailed it.
Why not New York: New York is a terrible place to make ensemble theater.
What you’re doing this year: Return Return Departure
What it’s about: I’m collaborating with dancer John Luna. We’re playing with the idea of time and how documentation plays with time.
Your role: Choreographer, performer and videographer. The two of us are each wielding a camera throughout our dance.
What you’re doing when not this: I like to go to the pool with my son and go for walks. I take my time.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Race Street Cafe or Sugar Mom’s, but I’d really rather go to someone’s backyard.
Movie role made for you: Giuliette Masina in La Strada.
Why not New York: I like that I can take t slow and really focus on what I’m making without the panic.
What you’re doing this year: IdiosynCrazy Productions’ Private Places
What it’s about: A dance/theater piece that looks at the way presenting mechanisms change status and order amongst ourselves.
Your role: Director, performer, co-creator and choreographer.
What you’re looking forward to seeing: I want to check out the Pig Iron show. Shavon Norris, one of the directors of my company, is in it.
What you’re doing when not this: I daydream, procrastinate, teach dance at Swarthmore and browse YouTube.
Where you’ll decompress after the show: Silk City.
Movie role made for you: I could probably do The Amazing Spider-Man some justice.
Why not New York: I feel like I can craft out a more intentional life here.