Hill area performers showcase talents at Fringe Festival
The ever vibrant if infelicitously named Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe will run this year from Sept. 4 to 19 in venues throughout the city. The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe were originally founded in 1997 as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Today, the Live Arts Festival serves as a series of selected cutting-edge, boundary-breaking performing arts events, created by some of the most renowned contemporary artists from our region and around the world.
The Fringe serves as a collective home for artists bringing their work to audiences in every conceivable form — in traditional and untraditional venues — breaking rules or refining them. This year’s Live Arts Festival boasts premieres — eight world, three U.S. and three local.
The more experimental Fringe is organized without a selection filter, and will present 185 artists in 80 venues. At least 15 of the artists and producers are homegrown in the Northwest, so come meet your performing neighbors:
•‘Murder!’ at Chestnut Hill College: Dark Side Theatre Company will be committing a murder for their entry in the 2009 Philly Fringe Festival, or at least staging one during their world premiere production of local playwright and Chestnut Hill College alumna Jillian Taylor’s play, “Murder!” at Chestnut Hill College’s Gruber Theater, 9601 Germantown Ave., on Friday Sept. 4; Saturday, Sept. 5; Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 6, 3 p.m.
In Taylor’s play, charming, handsome actor Paul DeVille is found dead in the closet of newspaperman Woodrow Carlton’s lake house, and the killer must be one of his closest friends, the only six people on Woodrow’s Island. Is the killer womanizing Jackson? Cavalier Woodrow? Dramatic Dahlia? Scorned Martha? Seemingly-innocent Sheri? Or brooding Landen?
“The inspiration for the group of friends in ‘Murder!’ is the famous Algonquin Roundtable of the 1920s,” explained playwright and Dark Side Managing Director, Jillian Taylor. “The Roundtable was a group of writers, including Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, renowned for their wit and infamous for playing practical jokes on one another. It was so much fun to write a mystery involving characters who, because of their joking, can’t trust each other on a good day, let alone a night when one of them is found dead in a closet.”
$15 regular admission; $10 w/ valid student ID, purchase at the door or through the Live Arts and Philly Fringe Box Office. More info: 201-693-2754.
•Dave Burgess’ improv sketches build on the morning cup of WaWa coffee. Burgess and artistic director Kevin Jordan, both based in Roxborough, have produced a really local show with “correspondents” in the field. Partners in life and art, Burgess and Jordan have collaborated to combine comedy, video, live action and antics of all kinds on this marvelously silly, colorful multimedia show. “Wake Up Philadelphia” ($15/60 minutes) will be performed at Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave., on Sept. 5, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.; and
Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.
•Shawna Evans’ show, “In a Sense Nonsense,” has evolved over a decade. The 12 actors in the piece deliver an avant garde “word salad” with dance that explores how people treat each other, think what they do and change their minds. Co-written with Robert Anu-Hubbard, both of Mt. Airy, the show touches on perception vs. conformity, lies vs. truth and meaning vs. nonsense. Evans is on the faculty at Freedom Theatre, where she teaches acting. “In a Sense Nonsense” ($15/65 minutes) will be performed at Black Box at the New Freedom Theatre, 1346 N. Broad St., on Sept. 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 3 and 8 p.m.
•Jen Fellman recalls with affection how she admired the “older girls” at Henry School in Mt. Airy who sang the lead in school musicalsl. Eventually she landed lead roles herself at Masterman and Muhlenberg College. A mezzo soprano and clown, Jen went on to study French music, jazz standards, cabaret and musical theater in France. Here she looks to Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, her artistic touchstones and each the center of her own circus. Fellman will perform “A Singer’s Circus” ($15/70 minutes) at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut St., on Sept. 4, 10 and 11 at 7 p.m.; Sept. 5 and 12 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sept. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m.
•Ellen Gayda presents “Her Body Cannot Tell a Lie,” a sensual mixup of spoken word, dance, live music and slide show. Chestnut Hill psychotherapist Ellen Gayda and the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers will perform on Thursday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. at Rembrandt’s Restaurant, 741 N. 23rd St. in Fairmount. “Her Body Cannot Tell A Lie” ($15/50 minutes) exposes women’s relationship between their emotions and physical bodies. “Women are not represented very well in the performing arts in a way in which their vulnerability and intuitive emotional nature are positive,” said Gayda.
•Dave Smith performs “Cirque-ular” with a troupe of 8. A professional juggler and sideshow performer, Smith isn’t hard to find. He’s 6’6” and just as formidable on YouTube. (Look for his “America’s Got Talent” piece, for example.) Dave just made a jump from living in Germantown to Mt. Airy, which is nothing compared to lying on a bed of nails. Actually, in this show, that role has been passed to Melissa Forgione, a Germantown resident with a taste for swallowing nails. Dave also explores what he would call a reflection of his younger self (Kyle Driggs of Germantown) who is seeking to launch a professional career in the circus. “Cirque-ular” ($15/50 minutes) will be at Greene Street Studios, 6122 Greene St., on Sept. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m.
•Cara Blouin, of Mt. Airy, will perform “Super Heroes Who Are Super!” When a photo of Mr. Li — 116 years old, Chinese and pregnant — is published in the tabloid Weekly World Standard, halfway around the globe, Liza is challenged to bring her life into focus in this odd, surprising fairy tale about the snapshots we choose to frame. $15/90 minutes, at The Actors Center, 257 North 3rd St., on Sept. 10 and 17, 8 p.m.; and Sept. 12 and 19, 3 and 8 p.m.
•Delphine Dos Santos, of Chestnut Hill, and other dancers will perform “Afro-Brazilian Dances and Folktales.” Live music, storytelling and traditional Afro-Brazilian dances are just a taste of what the Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center has to offer. Audience participation encouraged! $15/60 minutes, at Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center, 756 South 11th St., on Sept 11 and 12, 8 p.m.
•Alex Dremann, of Chestnut Hill, will produce “4Play,” which are four plays about foreplay. Face licking? Check. Twisted obsession? Check. A noir about a vagina with all the answers? Check. A ‘50s musical about a guy with a kitchen appliance fetish? Obviously. Please come. $15/75 minutes, at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, on Sept. 10, 11, 18 and 19, 8 p.m.; and Sept. 12 and 13, 4 p.m.
•Judy Freed, formerly of Mt. Airy and now of Roxborough, will perform “Food Fight,” which she also wrote. This solo show, which was featured on WHYY, portrays the poignant reality of eating disorders through original music, monologue and movement. Freed, a psychotherapist, takes the audience on a journey of recovery with stories of struggle, strength and survival. $10/60 minutes, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 6900 Stenton Ave. (at Gorgas Lane).
•Greg Kennedy, an innovative juggler from Germantown, will perform “Spherus.” An international champion, Greg performs here with two mesmerizing aerial dancers and visual spectacles made from everyday objects as well as dazzling artistry on trapezes, silks and spinning hoops. $15/60 minutes, at Greene Street Studios, 6122 Greene St., on Sept. 4 at 8 p.m.; Sept. 5 and 6, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sept. 7 at 2pm.
•Hillary Rea, of Germantown, will perform “Big Fun,” which includes a rotating lineup of marching bands and dance troupes. Inspired by Riverdance, Janet Jackson, orchestras and New Year’s Day. $15/70 minutes, at The Barbary,?951 Frankford Ave., on Sept. 6, 4 p.m.; Sept 7, 14 and 15, 8 p.m.
For online tickets and information on any of the above, visit www.livearts-fringe.org or www.pafringe.com or call 215-413-1318.