PUSH Returns to Fringe With GENERIC MALE

Performances run September 17-24.

By: Aug. 08, 2022
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PUSH Returns to Fringe With GENERIC MALE

Rochester's internationally renowned PUSH Physical Theatre will bring its award-winning, two-person Generic Male: Just What We Need, Another Show About Men to the 11th annual Rochester Fringe Festival for three performances in Hart Theatre at the JCC: Saturday, September 17 at 7 PM; Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 PM (ASL-interpreted); and Saturday, September 24 at 8:15 PM. The 60-minute show is recommended for ages 13 and over*. General admission tickets are $20 ($15 for students with ID), and are available via the Fringe website here.

The official show description reads: "Explosive, athletic, visceral physical theatre ruined by a tragic lack of understanding! Three "Best of Fest" awards, "Critics' Choice Best Show" at Orlando Fringe plus "Outstanding Production" at Ottawa Fringe have made PUSH Physical Theatre's masculinity satire an international sensation. Two well-meaning fools begin a serious journey with a comically absurd premise: men apologizing for the show you're about to see. Hilarious hijinks ensue as they examine assumptions that go unquestioned until spoken aloud."

Before scooping up armfuls of awards for the show during their whirlwind summer tour of fringe festivals that included Orlando, Ottawa, and Winnipeg Fringes - with Edmonton Fringe coming up this week - PUSH Founding Artistic Co-Director Darren Stevenson and Creative Director Ashley Jones debuted the work at last year's 10th annual Rochester Fringe. The sold-out performances garnered great reviews from audience members as well as from WXXI's Arts & Life Editor Jeff Spevak: "Generic Male is loaded with comedy...yet strong messages begin creeping into the loose narrative...The Generic Male has been shattered. To a standing ovation."

But Stevenson and Jones credit Rochester input for allowing them to polish the show to its current, award-winning state - both before and after its debut. Like all of PUSH's work, Generic Male began as an improvisation and progressed through years of refinement and audience input, much of it from very non-generic males.

"Getting feedback from audiences is a very important part of our creative process," explains Jones, who - like Stevenson - hails from the U.K., where physical theatre is much more prevalent. "Our entire process is collaborative rather than the more common practice of a choreographer "setting" their work "on" a company."

For their honest and insightful interviews starting in 2019 when this project was a mere idea, PUSH would like to thank: Thomas Warfield, Vicki Duval, MacClurg Vivian, Desire Stevenson, Frank Staropoli, Mike Bucher, Dr. Fahad Saeed, Penny Sterling, Gerald Coleman, Linda Chaudron, Katie Davis, Hassiem Muhammad, Dominic Moore-Dunson, Bill Wade, Steven Jarose, Tanya Bakhmetyeva, and the University of Rochester Office of Diversity and Inclusion

"I'm very grateful for all the people who have helped in the evolution of this show," says Stevenson. "We're proud of what it has become and hope it will empower people to speak up and begin to have the conversation that our characters can't quite seem to engage in."

*From PUSH: "Can you bring kids? Probably. There are some swears and one awkward conversation about consent. If it were a movie, it would probably be a PG-13. The underlying message for boys and girls is positive and thoughtful. There will be lots to talk about on the ride home."