2013 Fringe Festival Continues with Italian Theater, Visual Arts, 12-Hour Marathon and More thru 9/22
Following an opening weekend packed with local and international festival debuts, the 2013 Fringe Festival (Sept. 5-22, 2013), presented by FringeArts (formerly the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe), continues with a wide array of contemporary performances suited for everyone from families (Berlin-based troupe Y2D Productions' LEO) to experimental theater aficionados (Italian director Romeo Castellucci's On the Concept of the Face Regarding the Son of God).
Other week-two highlights include a 12-hour marathon performance (Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Life and Times: Episodes 1-5); an immersive piece set in a public library (Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells' The Quiet Volume); a world premiere by well-respected local theater-maker Geoff Sobelle (The Object Lesson); a percussive exploration of home and family (S? Percussion's Where (we) Are); and a trio of visual arts commissions made specifically for Philadelphia (Navin Rawanchaikul's This is Not a Theater, Mammalian Diving Reflex's All the Sex I've Ever Had, Liz Magic Laser's The Living Newspaper: On Location).
A platform for daring and innovative artists, the Fringe Festival brings leaders of the contemporary performing arts world to Philadelphia stages and gives local performers a chance to showcase their best work. Each year, the Festival draws tens of thousands of people who come to experience Philadelphia's thriving cultural scene and interact with hundreds of artists at thousands of performances. Festival tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 215-413-1318 or visiting fringearts.ticketleap.com.
Week two performances include, in chronological order:
[ LIBRARY PERFORMANCE ] An interactive performance by England's Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells, The Quiet Volume is a silent, self-generated work for two at a time (a performance medium known as "Autoteatro," wherein you are both the performer and the audience). At the Philadelphia Free Library, during regular hours, two audience members sit side-by-side with headphones on. Taking cues from words written and whispered, they burrow an unlikely path through a pile of books and come upon the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience. (Sept. 7-22, Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch, 1901 Vine St.)
[ LIFE-STORY MARATHON ] When New York's Nature Theater of Oklahoma asked one person to tell her life story, the company received 16 hours of raw material. The troupe has turned the transcript from this experiment into a serial musical extravaganza: Life and Times: Episodes 1-5, shown in installments and as a never-before-performed all-day marathon of all five episodes, tells the story of one subject, chosen not because her life is remarkable, but because her experiences are relatable. Each episode has its own genre, from period piece to mystery to Chorus Line-style musical. (Sept. 10-14, Wilma Theater, 265 Broad St.)
[ VISUAL ARTS COMMISSIONS ] Expanding its entry into visual arts and social practice, FringeArts presents three site-specific visual artist commissions: This is Not a Theater at Plays and Players Theatre, in which Navin Rawanchaikul will produce gigantic illustrative banners, a comic book and video portraits based on Plays and Players actors; directors and stagehands from the last 40 years; All The Sex I've Ever Had (Mammalian Diving Reflex), featuring autobiographical readings by senior citizens on the topics of sex, relationships and loss; and The Living Newspaper (Liz Magic Laser), in which live focus groups interpret local news coverage. (Sept. 11-14, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St.)
[ 2013 FRINGE FESTIVAL CENTERPIECE ] Created by internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Romeo Castellucci, On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God is a visually transfixing, emotionally harrowing, deeply felt work that has stunned audiences worldwide. As the story of a man caring for his aging father unfolds on stage, followed by the powerful, multi-sensory and visceral abstractions that characterize the most boundary-pushing theater, the work explores the nature of faith and our desire to be in the presence of God. (Sept. 12-14, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St.)
[ LIVE MUSIC ] Contemporary music and performance come together with Where (we) Live, a composition by S? Percussion (Bang on a Can Marathon, 2011) about experimentation, collaboration and how our homes influence our personalities. Dance, theater and video artists, as well as guest artisans - a violin maker, a metal worker, a brew master - join S? Percussion onstage where everything becomes a musical instrument, from artists' tools to floor lamps. (Sept. 12-14, Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St.)
[ WORLD PREMIERE ] Beloved Philadelphia theater artist Geoff Sobelle's The Object Lesson embraces and ridicules the act of collecting in a dig-site of futile fascination with the world of antiquity. Alone in an enormous pile of dirt and debris, a man reaches into the heap and finds the flotsam and jetsam of life. From these objects come inspired stories of imbecility, fabricated events of great consequence and betrayals of emotion, in this hilarious ode to what is lost and forgotten. (Sept. 12-21, Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.)
[ CIRCUS ARTS ] Continuing FringeArts' interest in showcasing international circus and theater arts for all ages, Berlin-based Y2D Productions' award-winning Leo uses exceptional gravity-defying acrobatics to tell the story of an ordinary man's world becoming unhinged. Limitless worlds are created out of confined spaces thanks to ingeniously projected video animations. (Sept. 12-22, Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St.)
Continuing performances include:
BrIan Sanders' JUNK: Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak (through Sept. 15, 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd St.)
Pig Iron Theatre Company: Pay Up (through Sept. 22, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.)
Swim Pony Performing Arts: The Ballad of Joe Hill (through Sept. 15, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave.)
Week three performances include:
Colin Dunne's Out of Time (Sept. 19-21, Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St.)
Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group's Moses(es) (Sept. 19-21, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St.)
The Festival Bar, home of the Late Nite Cabaret, will be located at Underground Arts (12th and Callowhill streets) and will be open at 10 p.m. every night of the Festival. Admission is free and 21+. Visit www.FringeArts.com for schedule of performers.
The fourth annual FEASTIVAL, a benefit for FringeArts, will be held on Thursday, September 12, 6-9 p.m. (VIP hour, 5 p.m.) at a waterfront warehouse located on Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Blvd., in Philadelphia. The 2013 event will feature a culinary feast from dozens of the city's top chefs, hosted by Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and Audrey Claire Taichman, with live performances by Festival artists and silent and live auctions. For more information, visit www.phillyfeastival.com.
PNC Arts Alive is the 2013 Presenting Sponsor of the 17th annual Fringe Festival.
Pictured: Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Life and Times: Episodes 1-5