New Paradise Laboratories Debuts THE ADULTS as Part of 2014 Philadelphia Fringe, Now thru 9/14
As summer vacations end, New Paradise Laboratories (NPL), one of Philadelphia's most uncompromising experimental ensembles, brings vacation to the stage, by returning to the 2014 Philadelphia Fringe Festival in the World Premiere of The Adults, presented by FringeArts. This new piece contemplates adults behaving badly when the rules relax. It runs today, September 3-14 at the Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street. NPL creates innovative theatre works in a variety of media. The Adults is performed by new and original members of the NPL Ensemble. Tickets cost $15-$29 and are available online at www.fringearts.com and at the Fringe Arts Box Office 140 N. Columbus Blvd.
By a mysterious lake in the mountains, two families gather at a vacation house to let loose and prod each other with intimate cruelty. Outside, the natural world festers with dangers beyond human control; inside, human nature resides and adults behave badly. Influenced by Chekhov and the paintings of Eric Fischl, and set to experimental music by Bhob Rainey, the highly physical and choreographed NPL ensemble treads a path between natural beauty and adult frustration gone spectacularly awry.
The Adults combines members of NPL's original ensemble with its new members. Veterans Matt Saunders (NPL Associate Artistic Director) and Jeb Kreager merge with the new generation: Kevin Meehan, Julia Frey, Matteo Scammell, and Emilie Krause. Kate Czajkowski, who earned acclaim for her appearance in the Wilma Theater's Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq, makes her NPL debut. Bhob Rainey, a well-known avant-garde composer and recent Pew Fellow, will create and perform the musical environment. NPL Founding Artistic Director Whit MacLaughlin directs The Adults. Matt Saunders, who has long served also as NPL's production designer will design the setting. Rosemarie McKelvey will design costumes, Thom Weaver will design light. Harry Philbrick, the Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Academy Museum at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts will serve as Visual Art Consultant. Sam Tower is the Assistant Director.
The Adults takes place in an American Vacationland, but one that is wild in ways that are outside the boundaries of normal human experience. These adults are unpredictable; their desires out in the open. The NPL 'adults-on-vacation' are like an art exhibit installed into the animalistic "gallery" of the natural world.
The ensemble used the paintings of Eric Fischl as a starting point to develop The Adults. Fischl is an internationally acclaimed American painter and sculptor. His upbringing led him to paint canvasses filled with images that seethed beneath a calm suburban exterior. His early work focused on the rift between what was experienced and what could not be said. His first New York City solo show was at Edward Thorp Gallery in 1979, during a time when suburbia was not considered a legitimate genre for art. He first received critical attention for depicting the dark, disturbing undercurrents of mainstream American life. His images have helped to set the tone for NPL's new work.
"We have always relied on visual art as a starting place to develop our material - instead of relying on a script. In a very real way, paintings, sculptures, and installations become the diving boards that we jump from to launch a work. Hopefully, there's water in the pool," said MacLaughlin.
The Adults has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, National Endowment for the Arts, Independence Foundation New Theatre Works Initiative, and the Wyncote Foundation. The Adults was developed, in part, with the support of The Orchard Project, a program of The Exchange (2013) and the White Pines Resident Ensemble Program (2013).