Tribe of Fools Returns to Philadelphia Theatre Week with World Premiere of YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING ON THAT LADDER!
Tribe of Fools tackles depression in a funny physical way in their 2020 Philadelphia Theatre Week Solo Show. The company presents the World Premiere of You Shouldn't Be Doing What Your Doing On Thant LADDER! February 5-22. This new work is performed by Tribe of Fools Company Member Peter Smith, who created the piece based on his personal experiences with depression. It is directed by Philadelphia theatre favorite Charlotte Northeast. All performances are at 200 Spring Garden Street, Unit C. Press Opening is Saturday, February 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15-$20 and are available online at www.tribeoffools.org or on the Philadelphia Theatre Week page on theatrephiladelphia.org."Depression is hilarious. I don't mean to that it is something to be taken lightly and it is a very serious illness," said Smith. "The way it can manipulate you view of the world and control your thoughts, it's as if you have a tyrannical tiny robot inside your brain that sometimes gets a hold of the controls and screws everything up. I'm not constantly battling with this disease. I cope with humor. And I'm not saying that works for everyone, but it works for me. The way we battle depression is so unique to everyone who suffers from it which adds to how isolating it can be. This show is showing those extremes, but reassuring that people are not alone."
Impossible tasks. The inability to get out of bed in the morning. The overwhelming feeling of "what's the point?" Peter Smith and Charlotte Northeast team up to create a show about what it's like living with depression that takes place on three very different sized ladders. Audiences will join Peter on top of the ladder to find the humor, the struggle and the complicated humanity of living with depression."I think this show is something truly special. Unlike a typical circus show where any given audience member is able to distance themselves from the apparatus or the technical training it takes. In this show, the average audience cannot distance themselves," said Smith. "Almost everyone has been on a ladder before which puts them closer and more intimate with the things that I should/ should not be doing." He adds, "When you boil it down. This is a clown show first. A clown with depression - but a clown, nonetheless. We have all seen the stereotypical sad clown trope. This is not that. Depression is a complicated, confusing, unpredictable, unstable illness with high highs and low lows. A topic just begging to be told on ladders! "
Northeast makes her Tribe of Fools debut directing and co-creating this piece with Smith. The piece is written by Smith, Northeast and TOF Artistic Director Terry Brennan. Company Member Kyle Yackowski is the Sound Designer. Robin Stamey returns to Tribe of Fools as the Lighting Designer.
"I have enjoyed every second of it so far," said Northeast of her experience with Tribe of Fools. "I'm used to telling stories with scripts (sometimes very old scripts) so working in a devised medium with elements of acrobatics, circus, and physical storytelling is thrilling and has given me new ways to create narrative. Plus, Peter and I have come up with some very ridiculous things which is utterly delightful. I am very grateful for the experience."
"I hope audiences take a journey with us by being delighted, saddened and awakened to just what it's like to live a life with depression," said Northeast. "Peter and I have had some incredible discussions about just how depression swoops in and can chart the course of your whole day. We wanted to explore what that is, and how to gain new understanding as to how to live with it. We don't profess a cure or a bleak outlook but rather the notion that every day can be tackled anew, and that hope can be found in the most unexpected of places. Even if you've never suffered from depression, I hope audiences will gain a new insight and empathy for those that do. For those that do have it, I hope we shed light on depression in a way that is compassionate and true"