2019 Fringe Festival Editorial Book

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SEPT 5-22

SOUND Site/Sound is a unique festival combining light and sound projections, new music, and a dynamic schedule of community programs. Together, we’ll celebrate and imagine the past, present, and future of Philadelphia’s Rail Park.

Featured Artists: Carolyn Healy John JH Phillips

Festival Dates: October 5– October 19, 2019

Erik Ruin Rosie Langabeer Nadia Hironaka & Matthew Suib Eugene Lew



Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation Thomas T. Phillips, Jr. Foundation, Inc



A NOTE FROM THE ARTISTIC PRODUCERS In a year where we’ve launched two brand new festival platforms with Blue Heaven and High Pressure Fire Service, returning to the Fringe Festival feels like turning down the street you grew up on. We have a kind of muscle memory with regard to the culture that grows around the festival: 170-ish shows happening in your backyards, in wrestling arenas, in found space, and in your DMs. We take risks, we invite our friends, and we look forward to a month filled with dynamic, challenging, and pleasurable experiences. We are thrilled to be presenting ten curated performances along with late-night parties, visual art installations, and additional companion programming. In our 23rd year of the Fringe Festival we’re excited to welcome both artists who have been here in years past—like Pig Iron (from the very first Fringe Festival in 1997) and Nature Theater of Oklahoma, among others—and artists who are coming to Fringe for the very first time–including Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers and Mariana Arteaga. Throughout September you can experience works that exemplify the collaborative, diverse practices of artists today that continually reorient our understanding of dance, theater, music, cabaret, opera, comedy, and circus. While the works that are ultimately presented do not share a singular theme, they each struck us as singular, powerful pieces that challenged our convictions, shared new contexts, and incited us to see and move through the world differently. They also resonate with conversations we’ve had with our families, friends, colleagues, and the artist community here in Philadelphia. These dialogues range widely and include questions such as: What (seemingly) invisible systems undergird our lives? How can we best work together to effect change? What does it mean to be “American” in a continually shifting landscape? It is an ever-evolving conversation, and one that we often dive into further on our podcast Happy Hour on the Fringe (Check out season 3, episode 11 for more). While we encourage you to Fringe your way, we do want to highlight a few specific opportunities for deeper engagement with the artists and programs that make up this festival. Since last Fringe, our neighborhood has been enriched by the opening of Cherry Street Pier, managed by our longtime collaborators at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. Together with Cherry Street Pier and Head House Books, we’re so happy to announce the return of the Fringe Festival Bookstore, featuring a selection of books selected by our 2019 Fringe Festival curated artists. The bookstore itself will also offer artist talks, community conversations, live podcast recordings, and special giveaways for Fringe Festival members. While you’re at the Pier, we encourage you to check out Section, Void, a public installation that serves as a companion work of visual art in support of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Superterrenean. While viewing this primal architectural experience, we hope you’ll grab a scoop of Section, Void ice cream from Little Baby’s Ice Cream. You can also view Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas, a project by Puentes de Salud, presented in conjunctnion with Cartography. The work, created by Latinx artists across Philadelphia, takes the form of a series of life-sized self-portraits embodying Mexican iconography and kinetic self-realization. The sculptures are placed throughout Cherry Street Pier, FringeArts, and Christ Church Neighborhood House. Because we know that some of your most memorable Fringe conversations take place under a disco ball, we’re also planning three dynamic dance parties at FringeArts (140 N Columbus Blvd) featuring The Illustrious Blacks, DJ HVNLEE, and Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket. Otherwise we’ll be at Late Night Snacks, a 30-show cabaret series produced in collaboration with The Bearded Ladies. The 2019 Fringe Festival has been years in the making, and we are so excited it’s finally here! A big shout out to our colleagues, community partners, families, and the entire city of Philadelphia for their help in realizing a festival of this size, scope, and depth. We will see you around the Fringe Festival—whether at a performance, a party, or a quieter moment at the bookstore. This publication is an invitation for you to consider and engage with the art—we look forward to being in conversation with you!


GO DEEPER WITH FRINGEARTS FRINGE FESTIVAL BOOKSTORE Delve deeper into the themes of this year’s festival with books and publications selected by the curated artists. Presented in partnership with local bookseller Head House Books, this pop-up bookstore will host a series of free intimate conversations and live podcast recordings with the artists and community partners behind the productions.

S E P T 5 –2 2 | T H U R S DAYS + F R I DAYS : 4 – 8 P M | SAT U R DAYS : 1 0 A M – 8 P M | S U N DAYS : N O O N – 8 P M


EVENT SCHEDULE Friday, Sept 6 at 4pm Let Me Die: Artist Talk Joseph Keckler and Sarah Williams (Opera Philadelphia) moderated by Dr. Laura Protano-Biggs (University of Pennsylvania) Saturday, Sept 7 at 3pm The B-Side: Artist Talk Eric Berryman and Kate Valk (The Wooster Group) moderated by Raina Searles (FringeArts) Sunday, Sept 8 at 4pm Úumbal: Community Conversation Mariana Arteaga and Philadelphia Úumbal participants moderated by Tenara Calem (FringeArts) Friday, Sept 13 at 4pm Superterranean: Live Podcast Recording Dan Rothenberg (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Chelsea Murphy and Tony Torn, moderated by Peter Woodall (Hidden City Philadelphia)

HAPPY HOUR ON THE FRINGE Sit back, relax, grab a drink and learn about some of the most imaginative artists in the world. Rotating FringeArts podcast hosts Zach Blackwood, Raina Searles, Katy Dammers, and Tenara Calem sit down with artists, community leaders, and the people you need to know to talk about the amazing work happening here in Philly. This summer’s episodes feature conversations with Fringe Festival artists Blanka Zizka, Mimi Lien, Tina Satter, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Eric Thayer, Leah Stein, Asimina Chremos, Dana Suleymanova, and more! Streaming on Anchor, Apple, Google, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Stitcher, and Spotify.

DOWNLOAD THE FRINGEARTS APP Your Pocket-Sized Guide to FringeArts and the Fringe Festival

Saturday, Sept 14 at 4pm Cartography: Community Conversation Malaika Uwamahoro and Janice Amaya (Cartography cast) and Ari Gutierrez-Sanchez (Puentes de Salud), moderated by Ahmet Selim (CAIR PA) Sunday, Sept 15 at 2pm Is This A Room: Artist Talk Tina Satter (Half Straddle), moderated by Zach Blackwood (FringeArts) Friday, Sept 20 at 4pm Un Poyo Rojo: Live Podcast Recording Luciano Rosso and Nicolás Poggi (Un Poyo Rojo), moderated by Zach Blackwood (FringeArts) Saturday, Sept 21 at 4pm Pursuit of Happiness: Community Conversation Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper (Nature Theater of Oklahoma), Iztok Kovač (EN-KNAP Group), Cathryn Miller-Wilson (HIAS PA) and Yaroub Al-Obaidi (Penn Museum Global Guide), moderated by Tenara Calem (FringeArts) Sunday, Sept 22 at 4pm Late Night Snacks: Artist Talk Performers and curators from The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, John Jarboe, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Zack Blackwood and FringeArts, moderated by Katy Dammers (FringeArts)

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The Wooster Group FRINGEARTS.COM/9015

“We didn’t ride to work, we walked or ran. Slowly trot. Mostly run. Have shotguns on the horses as well as pistols. You get worked to death or beat to death. That’s why we sang so many of these songs. We would work together and help ourselves as well as help out our fellow man. Try to keep the officials we was working under pacified and we’d make it possible to make a day. Be tired sometimes, be nearly too tired to eat sometimes, but we would make a day like that.” Excerpt from Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues

Eric Berryman, Jasper McGruder and Philip Moore of The Wooster Group perform a record album interpretation of Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons, channeling the a inmates’ voices from the record via in-ear receivers and transmiting the full album live. In between tracks, Berryman provides context from the book Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues by Bruce Jackson, the folklorist who recorded the album. The voices of the live performers blend with and complement the voices on the record, creating a moving and intense performance.

Festival Star Producers: Arthur M. Kaplan & R. Duane Perry Festival Producers: Carol & Tom Beam Festival Co-Producers: Chris Deephouse & Donna Hunt; Cat, Annie & Steven Bohnenberger; Lynne & Bert Strieb The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation has been made possible in part by support from the Independence Foundation.




Mariana Arteaga FRINGEARTS.COM/9030

An ambulatory dance performance wholly created by the people of this city and enacted by residents representing its diverse population. Follow fifty dancers through the streets, parks, and sidewalks of South Philly in a wandering celebration that has been developed over five months by local choreographers and Philadelphians. After-party in Mifflin Square!


Check out the full playlist for Úumbal on Spotify (search “Úumbal 2019”) or follow the link from FringeArts.com/Uumbal.

Festival Executive Producers: Salem Shuchman & Barbara Klock Festival Co-Producer: Jane G. Pepper Major support for Úumbal: Nomadic Choreography for Inhabitants has been provided by The William Penn Foundation.




Pig Iron Theatre Company – Mimi Lien

Infrastructure surrounds us at all scales. It is immersive and omnipresent, often to the ironic point of invisibility; like an optical illusion or perceptual trick, infrastructure can be so large it cannot be seen. We ride infrastructure to work, drink freshwater not from lakes and streams but pumped from vast valves and tunnels, and rely on tangled networks of cables and wires to bring us light and energy at every hour, night and day. Yet infrastructure often escapes notice, its utilitarian systems deliberately hidden from view or designed without traditional aesthetic cues. This suggests that infrastructure is not something to be looked at or contemplated. We might even say that infrastructure is what our brains edit out from the scenes around us—that featureless wall beside the freeway, those distant chimneys beyond the trees, that droning sound beneath a bridge while we’re simply trying to make a phone call. Almost by definition, infrastructure is what we’ve been trained to ignore. Look away, we are told. There is nothing to see here.

Superterranean, a collaboration between multiple-award-winning set designer Mimi Lien and Pig Iron Theatre Company, explores the effect that vast artificial constructions have on our bodies and lives, our dreams and anxieties, our capacities for ecstasy and pain. Superterranean looks at—rather than away from—what infrastructure does to us, the behaviors it suggests or enforces, its looming emotional presence in the background of the city. The hashtag #superterranean is just one further way to mark and explore this territory, allowing us to pool our social media posts and photos, to see infrastructure through the eyes of others. #superterranean is an emerging guide to urban blind spots—the eerie and the picturesque, the sublime and the terrifying, the otherworldly and the mundane—in cities and towns around the world. Geoff Manaugh, Superterranean dramaturg

Stop by Cherry Street Pier this September to experience Section, Void, a public artwork and installation that serves as a companion work of visual art to Superterranean. More at FringeArts.com/9021. Photos: John Chandler Hawthorne

Festival Star Producers: Al & Nancy Hirsig Festival Co-Producers: Libby Harwitz & Burton Blender Support for Superterranean has been provided to Pig Iron Theatre Company by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.





Based on There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other by Etel Adnan. Visual arts pioneer Rosa Barba and Wilma’s innovative artistic director Blanka Zizka collaborate to bring this seminal work of contemporary poetry to the stage. Mining English phrases for the essential thoughts from which language was born, Etel Adnan’s book-length meditation on conflict and identity makes an ideal vehicle for the critically acclaimed Wilma HotHouse Company. And as Wilma HotHouse’s interpretation reveals, when we seek to discover ourselves (a search which is inherently also a consideration of other people) what we are really embarking upon is a quest for love. Featuring original music by Alex Dowling.

INTERVIEW WITH BLANKA ZIZKA BLANKA ZIZKA: [Etel Adnan] is 93 years old. Her father was a Syrian Muslim working for the Ottoman Empire, speaking Turkish at home. Her mother was an Orthodox Greek and they had to move out of Turkey, because Turkey became too nationalistic for mixed marriages. They moved to Lebanon, where she was born in 1925. So that informed her sense of belonging. CHRISTOPHER MUNDEN: Was Lebanon a country then? A French mandate? BLANKA ZIZKA: Right, a French mandate. It was a country, but it was new, very new. She was brought up in a mix of languages, she went to French school and then she moved to the United States and started to write in English. She writes all her works in English because she found the rhythms of English more closer to what she feels her voice is. With my actors I’m trying to find how you go from printed text to that essential place out of which the language was born. And Etel talks about the same thing with her paintings and writing, that she’s trying to find that source before the words were born in her art, and communicate that.

Stage Director/Co-creator |

Blanka Zizka Rosa Barba

Visual Artist/Co-creator |

CHRISTOPHER MUNDEN: And our experience of poetry… BLANKA ZIZKA: It’s very private. And I thought with this poem, I wanted to hear it with many people in the room, and have it resonate in a space, and I want to give that original purpose of poetry to this poem. CHRISTOPHER MUNDEN: It lends itself to that because it’s personal, it’s talking about self, but it uses “we” and “you” a lot, as if it’s inviting others to hear it. BLANKA ZIZKA: But also there are all these different voices within one person all the time, and the poem explores this. It’s a constant dialectic. There’s a thought expressed and then a thought comes in opposition. And so I’m playing with this idea that my actors are the voices inside of this one person. So one could say “Where are we? where?” another “There is a where,” another “because we are stubbornly.”... Campbell [O’Hare] said after we worked on it, “I’m like a different person after the workshops, spending all this time with this text.” I don’t know that we change people through theater, but what I am doing myself is spending a little bit of time listening more to my inner voice. It asks you to listen to yourself again, ask yourself questions on a daily basis, and if you’re going to bed, start to think about nice moments that happened during the day. I’m not talking about meditation, but just paying attention more, paying attention to your life. Full Interview available on the FringeArts Blog

CHRISTOPHER MUNDEN: What kind of conversations about the poem are you having in workshops and rehearsals? BLANKA ZIZKA: We are playing with a lot of different ideas about how to approach the poem, because it isn’t meant to be theater. But one of the reasons why I love the poem is in the past, poems were always an oral expression. With printing we have become readers instead of listeners.

Festival Executive Producers: David & Linda Glickstein Festival Co-Producers: Peggy & Richard Greenawalt Support for T ​ here: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other​has been provided to The Wilma Theater by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.





Tina Satter / Half Straddle

June 3, 2017. A 25-year-old former Air Force linguist named Reality Winner is surprised at her home by FBI agents. As the verbal dance between knife-sharp Reality and the FBI agents unfolds in Reality’s home and her autonomy shrinks before her eyes, a simmering real-life thriller emerges—with consequences that extend from the most personal to the totally political. Arrested and charged with leaking evidence of Russian interference in our election, Reality currently sits in jail serving a record-breaking sentence. “RW: No, it was just. Yeah, just that–that day–that week, it was just too much and just sit back and watch it and think, why do I have this job if l’m just going to sit back and be helpless and, You know,just–it was just. [noises] Oops, sorry. Uhm, yeah. I just thought that that was the final Straw.” “You know, I–I want–I want to go out with our Special Forces. That’s why I got out of the Air Force. I mean, that’s why I’m here in Augusta. I wanted my clearance back so I could get a deployment, and it was just at a time when I wasn’t applying for deployments. I had, you know, seven, eight months left of a job that didn’t mean anything to me because it’s Iran, and I’m a Pashto linguist. Like, what am I doing translating Farsi? It just–it just – I felt really hopeless and, uhm, seeing that infonnation that had been contested back and forth, back and forth in the public domain for so long, trying to figure out, like, with everything else that keeps getting released and keeps getting leaked-why isn’t this getting why isn’t this out there? Why can’t this be public?”

“[Reality Winner] certainly should be held accountable for her actions, and she is. But other figures in the news today — those who actually played roles in the malfeasance surrounding the Trump campaign and transition — do not appear to be paying near the price that she and our family are paying. Reality was just 25 years old when she was charged with the unlawful disclosure of national defense information, a charge under the Espionage Act of 1917. She was denied bond by the judge, as her distinguished military experience, service to her community, and intelligence was used against her. The government painted her as a Taliban sympathizer and a threat to the U.S., even though her service and medal of commendation directly contradicted this. The government, arguing that she was a flight risk, used her savings of $30,000 against her. They used her one and only trip out of the country, a trip to Belize to honor her deceased father, against her. They used her language skills — taught to her during and used for her military service — against her. They used her social media posts and a single doodled joke, in one of her many journals, against her.” Billie Winner-Davis, Reality Winner’s Mother, The Intercept_Voices

Excerpts from Transcript

Festival Star Producers: Tobey & Mark Dichter Festival Executive: Producers Lisa Roberts & David Seltzer Festival Producers: Lawrence Spitz & Carol Klein

Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription premiered at The Kitchen, NYC, January 5, 2019. Developed in part at The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, New York Theatre Workshop’s Dartmouth Residency, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency in 2018


CARTOGRAPHY Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers


How do we navigate our worlds? We build maps of our histories, our memories, and our futures. In 2016, theater director Kaneza Schaal and award-winning author for young people Christopher Myers flew to Munich, Germany, as 30,000 people were arriving in the city each day in the largest migration in recorded history. Listening to the stories of young refugees, they pondered how to create an artwork that placed all of us within this historical moment. Combining simple storytelling with interactive video technology (audiences shape the onstage video projections with their own cell phones), Cartography maps the perilous physical journeys and the confusing interior journeys which brought four young refugees from their old homes to their new ones. Performed by a diverse company of actors from El Salvador, Syria, Lebanon, and Rwanda.



Puentes de Salud A COMPANION WORK TO CARTOGRAPHY Every migrant’s story is a beast all its own. Barbed wire to the touch, or marzipan tender. Wrought from brittle citizenship or building shelter in a place where the neighbors call them monster. In Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas, Latinx artists from across Philadelphia shed their favored mediums and reclaim the piñata as a common cultural construction. What emerges are life sized self portraits embodying Mexican iconography and kinetic self-realization.


Follow the QR code next to each sculpture to hear the stories of each artist portrayed.

Vidas Suspendidas is an exploration of the immigrant narrative set in liminal space. A restoration of latinidad as not only a politically charged identity, but a mystic existence. Together, the Vidas Suspendidas artists dissect their common obstacles, and celebrate their individuality through sculpture and story.

Cartography was made possible by a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation, and is a co-commission of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, and Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH, with additional development support provided by Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Canada and Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Developed as part of New Victory Lab Works at The New Victory Theater in New York City, and at The Performing Garage as part of The Performing Garage Presents Residency Program. This play was workshopped and presented as a rehearsed reading in April 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of New Visions/New Voices 2018.




Before she became an internationally acclaimed choreographer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker was a young Belgian student moving to New York City with a music cassette in her travel pack. The deceptively simple repetitive compositions by American minimalist Steve Reich became the soundtrack and inspiration for a breakthrough choreographic work—three duets and one solo credited with creating a new vocabulary of movement for contemporary dance. Having always danced Fase herself, De Keersmaeker now passes her first performance piece on to two new dancers.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas

the requirement for it literally to be given a divine ‘breath of life’. This is an element that is prone to disintegration, or to a temptation of mechanicality. The right amount of energy should be invested in this piece. The Greatest Step of Them All’: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker Passes On her Fase to the Next Generation, Full interview at Rosas.be/en/news/

INTERVIEW WITH ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAEKER Together with Rosas danst Rosas, Fase is the performance that has been on stage the most of all pieces, and has remained on the program all this time. Now, the time to pass on the choreography to a new generation of dancers seems to have come. Would you mind explaining why Fase is so important to you and to Rosas? Strictly speaking, Fase is not my first choreography – before that there was Ash (1980) – but it really was a seminal work, showing the first traces of a composition style I was later to make my own. Ash still was an exploration, an attempt to spy out the land. Fase is about the art of choreography, the art of composing movements that I wanted to master so badly as an autodidact. Violin Phase was the starting point for that exercise. When I left for New York to study at the Tisch School of the Arts in 1980, I kept a recording of Steve Reich in my travel sack. During the first months of my studies, I was bent on creating my own dance. I continued to consider this solo as ‘my’ own piece of dance, mainly since it contained all the elements that defined the (now 36-year) road that tracked the tight relationship between dance and music, and the concept of choreography as the art of organizing movements in time and space, where the music determines the time format and the space is divided based on an underlying geometry. Finally, it also speaks to a strongly ‘focal’ use of energy. The vocabulary of movements deployed is highly minimalistic, almost mundane. Turning, jumping, swinging arms... it somewhat resembles the way a child dances. Yet in opposition to the simplicity of movements stands the outspoken energy of its execution. It is that tension I explored further in Rosas danst Rosas. Do you feel that with the passing of time the retaking of a repertoire gets easier, or do you experience it like wholly new process every time? We now have a core group of dancers who have performed five different pieces in the repertoire: Rain, A Love Supreme, Rosas danst Rosas, Zeitigung and Achterland. Fase is the sixth project. I myself do notice that these dancers have an accumulated history with the work, that they have quite literally incorporated my ‘language’, and that this language gains depth every time it’s taken up again. One begins to share a common ground with those dancers and that is immensely important. But Fase does confront a dancer with specific challenges inherent to the piece itself. The choreography verges on the extreme with its combination of great physical intensity and strict formality, together with

There may be a continuity between De Keersmaeker’s early and her recent works, but there also is a difference: the way in which the individual parts in Fase end. Abruptly. Or like an audience member once described it: “It goes on and on, and suddenly it stops.” The four movements of Fase suggest a never-ending present, and that may have something to do with the never-ending ‘now’ that characterizes adolescence, the rush of late youth. After all, De Keersmaeker was only twenty-one. Even though Reich’s ‘gradual process music’ focuses on the passage of time – the sand flowing through a turned hourglass – what the piece shows primarily is the permanence of a given moment. This ‘now’ in time, the moment that shows itself time and again, is so utterly absolute it appears to be in a state of complete stasis. Like high and low water, objects can move so fast as to appear almost motionless. The four movements in Fase are not slices of life, but slices of rescinded time, a state resembling infinity: it was there already before it began and it will not stop when it ends. However, that infinity is not yet transcendent, it does not yet summon the counterpart of our finite and therefore mortal nature. When you are twenty-one, the horizon of death is not only beyond reach, it is out of sight. Time still feels like ‘forever now’. Flipping the Hourglas, Full essay at Rosas.be/en/news Festival Co-Producers: Bill & Joyce Kunkle; Lynne and Bert Strieb; Judith Tannenbaum

Rosas is supported by the Flemish Community and by the BNP Paribas Foundation.


PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Nature Theater of Oklahoma / EN-KNAP Group FRINGEARTS.COM/9080

“America, as a social and political organization, is committed to a cheerful view of life. It could not be otherwise… Modern equalitarian societies… whether democratic or authoritarian in their political forms, always base themselves on the claim that they are making life happier… Happiness thus becomes the chief political issue – in a sense, the only political issue.” Robert Warshow, from “The Gangster As Tragic Hero”

“Kelly Copper: Well I think for this piece...it started out as more of a personal look at happiness and trying to find it... [W]e usually start with a meeting point and in this case it happened to be an old 1930’s book that somebody had given us called Cowboy Dances, which we kind of just took in our baggage, thinking that maybe a place to start is with dancers, with dance. And it’s these really hard to imagine descriptions of weird dances and we just kind of tried to wade our way through this language, but it happened to be with the dancers, and it happened to be somewhat western themed and I mean even the bar came from the fact that there was a ballet bar in the [rehearsal] room.” Excerpt from Happy Hour on the Fringe podcast interview Festival Executive Producers: Andy & Bryna Scott Festival Producers: Robert M. Dever; Edward & Anne Wagner Festival Co-Produce: Christie Hartwell Supported by the City of Ljubljana – Department of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.



Mining multiple expressive forms—dance, athletic competition, clowning, martial arts, acrobatics, body percussion, mime, cockfighting, and more—Un Poyo Rojo probes the boundaries of bodily and spiritual interaction between individuals. It’s a provocation, an invitation for us to laugh at ourselves and, at the same time, to accept ourselves entirely.

INTERVIEW WITH FRINGEARTS FRINGEARTS: How has the company and performance evolved over the years? HERMES GAIDO: It was created in 2008 and the premiere was in 2009. After two years of doing the show, Nicolas decided to move to another country, and we had to find a replacement. We saw Alfonso Barón on stage and decided to include him in the project.

continuous adjustments, which makes this a completely handmade work. At this moment we are working on a new creation and we are still inspired by the same things… working with friends. FRINGEARTS: How would you translate “Un Poyo Rojo” into English? Are there hidden meanings beyond the literal translation? HERMES GAIDO: The title literally translates as “a red rooster,” but it is also a play on the surnames of Rosso and Poggi, the first performers. After choosing the name, we incorporated cockfights into the piece. You’ll have to watch it to see the relationship between the name and the performance. Full interview available on the FringeArts Blog

The show has been running for ten years, with more than a thousand presentations, so it has undoubtedly evolved. The bodies, the physical possibilities, and the radio propose different things each time, and I’ve watched every performance from the first day until today and make Festival Star Producers Hank, Calder & Cole McNeil





Joseph Keckler

With the style of a rock star, the three-plus-octave voice of a classically trained bass-baritone, and a keen comic sensibility, Joseph Keckler brings his rich voice and one-of-a-kind vision to an absurd yet affecting world premiere. Combining death sequences drawn from the canon of classic opera with original narratives and music, this ensemble performance collage is at once a festive meditation, a strange ritual, and a morbid medley of epic proportions.

ESSAY BY JOSEPH KECKLER “Are there deaths are in Kashchey the Deathless?” I asked madly, like someone talking in his sleep. “And how many?” “It’s complicated,” replied my collaborator Matthew, holding an excerpt of Rimsky-Korsakov’s one-act in his hand. “Kashchey the deathless dies. His daughter is transformed into a weeping willow.” “At least two, good-- we’re short on immortals,” I nodded. “Hmmm, another consumptive sure would round things out.” Sheet music surrounded us, scattered like the shed feathers of a huge traumatized bird. For weeks Matthew and I had rifled through 400-page scores, scavenging only death sequences we might weave into our morbid collage. In the face of the mess, Matthew insisted we make a spreadsheet that catalogued each extracted scene, specifying its originating opera, composer, language, the unfortunate character to whom the demise belonged, and of course an autopsy report: stabbed, self-immolated, poisoned, wasted, starved, drowned, buried alive, crushed in temple collapse, supernatural and (rarely) natural causes. We rated and remarked upon each moment’s sonic beauty. I was inspired to do this show for the following reasons: 1. Death is the beating heart of tragic opera. 2. Death hovers around conversations about the form itself. “Opera is alive and well,” and so on. 3. Copyright law allows us to do whatever we want in the present with material of a distant enough past, designated “public domain.” I wanted to celebrate this freedom. 4. I usually write all my own material and imagined (wrongly) it would be faster and easier to feast on the corpuses of dead geniuses. 5. These death scenes illuminate a paradox: depicting bodily failure, they’re often the most athletic vocal displays. 6. When I started singing a voice teacher handed me an aria called “Lasciatemi Morire” or “Let Me Die,” a fragment of a lost opera. Is learning to sing learning to die? What if only the deaths survived? Festival Producers: Larry & Ann Rosen Spector Festival Co-Producers: Tony Forte & Ryan Hummel; Shelley Green & Michael Golden; Sissie & Herb Lipton

Pictured: Natalie Levin, William Kim, Joseph Keckler, & Veronica Chapman-Smith. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier

At the time of writing this, I don’t know what the cumulative effect of the collage will be. And moment to moment, will the deaths be deadened? Or made newly alive? Will the spectacle seem absurd, and how freshly so? Climax upon climax, how do you sustain a work that is constantly ending? Will it tip into ecstasy, catharsis, trouble, or exhaustion? We might treat it like a sporting event where each loss is a win. What do you want the audience to walk away with? I have been asked. How about nothing? I think. I’m certain you’re carrying enough and I’d rather you leave something behind.

Presented in partnership with Opera Philadelphia as part of the 019 Festival

Let Me Die is a project of Creative Capital. It was developed in part during a Roman J. Witt Artist Residency at The University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, with a work-in-progress preview at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Let Me Die was also developed in part during a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY. It was developed, in part, with assistance from the Orchard Project, Ari Edelson, Artistic Director. And by Camp Fringe 2017 at FringeArts, Philadelphia. The project also benefited from residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell. Support for Let Me Die has been provided to Opera Philadelphia by the William Penn Foundation.


LATE NIGHT SNACKS The Bearded Ladies Cabaret


Heyyyyy, u up? Looking for a post-Fringe nightcap? A consensual art hookup? A sugar high to ride into the wee hours? Cabaret connoisseurs the Bearded Ladies return with another platter of deliciously dangerous, sensationally sweet, and provocatively pleasurable Late Night Snacks. Running throughout the Fringe Festival in a refitted East Passyunk industrial space, these after-hours performances feature different artists every night—from opera singers to drag queens, cabaret stars to art clowns, and everything in between. Come for one show, come for many shows, or just stop by for a cocktail and to mingle with Fringe artists and audiences. Part performance installation, part fever dream, part neighborhood jawn, Late Night Snacks is a festival after-party guaranteed to satisfy your hunger.

SEPT 7 AT 9:30PM Mx Justin Vivian Bond with Jenn Kidwell hosted by John Jarboe THEN AT 11:30PM Nath Ann Carrera and Moor Mother hosted by Jenn Kidwell SEPT 8 AT 5PM Family Cabaret: Drag Story Hour with John Jarboe and Cherdonna Shinatra SEPT 8 AT 9:30PM Mx Justin Vivian Bond's House of Whimsy SEPT 10 AT 9:30PM Cherdonna Shinatra and Glitter & Garbage hosted by Adrienne Truscott SEPT 11 AT 9:30PM Adrienne Truscott and Krishna Istha hosted by Jess Conda SEPT 12 AT 9:30PM Joseph Keckler and Jonathan Delgado-Melendez hosted by Jenn Kidwell SEPT 13 AT 9:30PM Daniel de Jesús and Be Steadwell hosted by US (Anthony Martinez-Briggs) SEPT 13 AT 11:30PM Miguel Gutierrez’s SADONNA and the moon baby hosted by hosted by US (Anthony Martinez-Briggs)

SEPT 14 AT 9:30PM Stephanie Blythe is Blyhtely Oratonio with Be Steadwell hosted by John Jarboe SEPT 14 AT 11:30PM A Chorus Whine: Opera Chorus Tells All, hosted by Cookie Diorio with an appearance by Stephanie Blythe as Blythely Oratonio SEPT 15 AT 5:00PM Family Cabaret: Gay B Cs Drag Story Hour with Eric Jaffe and Sapphira Cristàl SEPT 15 AT 9:30PM Stephanie Blythe is Blyhtely Oratonio with Sapphira Cristal hosted by Cookie Diorio SEPT 17 AT 9:30PM Cynthia Hopkins and Wit Lopez hosted by Eric Jaffe SEPT 18 AT 9:30PM BB Basura, Space Prince X (Malachi Lily), Topsy Pendejo (Eppchez) and Sabrina Pantal, hosted by Cookie Diorio SEPT 19 AT 9:30PM Liz Filios with Eric Jaffe and Friends, hosted by John Jarboe SEPT 20 AT 9:30PM Ashley Robillard, Pilar Salt, and Darlinda Just Darlinda hosted by Anthony Martinez-Briggs

SEPT 20 AT 11:30PM Anthony Roth Costanza with Jeannie Brooks hosted by John Jarboe SEPT 21 AT 9:30PM Jasmine Rice Labeija and Dane Terry hosted by Jess Conda SEPT 21 AT 11:30PM Miss Martha Graham Cracker, with appearances by Dane Terry and Jasmine Rice Labeija, hosted by John Jarboe

SEPT 27 AT 9:30PM Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and Philadelphia Women*s Slavic Ensemble hosted by John Jarboe SEPT 27 AT 11:30PM Polyseme: A night of Queer Poets Theatre, hosted by John Jarboe SEPT 28 AT 9:30PM Monique Brooks Roberts and Emily Bate hosted by Jess Conda

SEPT 22 AT 5:00PM Family Cabaret: Green Eggs and A Graham Cracker

SEPT 28 AT 11:30PM Cheo Bourne and Patricia! (Brett Ashley Robinson) hosted by Jess Conda

SEPT 22 AT 9:30PM Emyne and Applied Mechanics’ The Bandits hosted by Jess Conda

SEPT 29 AT 9:30PM The Host Show with Jess Conda, Cookie Diorio, Eric Jaffe, and John Jarboe

SEPT 24 AT 9:30PM Rotten Fruit, featuring cast members from Love for Three Oranges hosted by Eric Jaffe

Followed by a Closing Night Party!

SEPT 25 AT 9:30PM Will Liverman with Dottie Riot and Messapotamia Lefae, hosted by Cookie Diorio SEPT 26 AT 9:30PM US with ILL DOOTS and Pax Ressler hosted by Jess Conda

Followed by NSFW: A dance party for queers and others

Festival Co-Producers: Richard E. & Diane Dalto Woosnam Bearded Ladies Honorary Producers: David & Linda Glickstein Presented in partnership with Opera Philadelphia, Vox Populi, Hidden City Philadelphia, Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, and the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

TICKETING HOW DO I GET MY TICKETS? AT FRINGEARTS.COM Add tickets for multiple shows to your shopping cart and purchase with a credit card. FringeArts Members, be sure to log in first to receive your discount! CALL 215.413.1318 Our box office staff is happy to process your ticket order over the phone with a credit card weekdays 11am–5pm, and daily during Fringe Festival Box Office hours. AT THE FRINGE FESTIVAL BOX OFFICE: Purchase tickets with cash or credit card at the official Fringe Festival Box Office (see box). Tickets to FringeArts Curated shows are sold until one hour before performance time. Tickets to all other Fringe shows are sold until two hours before performance time. AT THE PERFORMANCE VENUE: Tickets are available at the venue one hour before performances for FringeArts Curated shows, and 30 minutes before performances for all other Fringe shows. Most independently produced Fringe shows are cash only. TICKET DELIVERY After purchase, you receive an email confirmation with your tickets attached as a PDF. Print or display tickets on your electronic device for admission at the venue. Tickets purchased at the Fringe Festival Box Office can be printed there. REFUNDS & EXCHANGES FringeArts does not offer refunds, but you may exchange your tickets for a different performance of the same show by phone or at the Fringe Festival Box Office. Exchanges are free for FringeArts members and Producers Circle members, and $2 per ticket for non-members. Exchanges can be made up to two hours before the ticketed performance. SEATING POLICY Seating for most shows is on a first-come, first-served basis. Latecomers are seated at the discretion of the house manager. Some shows do not allow late seating, so arrive early!

HOW CAN I SAVE ON MY TICKETS? FringeArts Members Members receive 20%+ off tickets to Fringe Festival shows and FringeArts events throughout the year, along with free ticket exchanges, advance access to tickets and seats, and numerous other benefits. Visit FringeArts.com/Membership for more info. Students + 25-and-under All current students and anyone 25-and-under gets FringeArts Curated show tickets for just $15 and $5 off independently produced Fringe Festival show tickets if the original price is $20 or more. Valid I.D. required. Artist/Industry Rush Artists participating in the Fringe Festival receive $5 rush tickets to all Fringe Festival shows, at the door 30 minutes before showtime, subject to availability. Other artists and theater industry members can rush FringeArts Curated shows for $15. Proof of industry required. Groups Groups of 10+ save 25% on tickets. Email patronservices@FringeArts.com or call 215.413.1318 for group orders. FringeACCESS Pennsylvania ACCESS Card holders can receive up to four $2 tickets to all FringeArts Curated shows with a free FringeACCESS membership. Visit FringeArts.com/FringeACCESS for more info.

Fringe Festival Box Office 140 North Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106 215.413.1318 Pre-Festival Hours Aug 26–Sept 4: 11am–5pm Festival Hours Sept 5–22: 11am–8pm Make sure to also check out performances by our 150+ independent artists participating in the 2019 Fringe Festival. You can also experience the Fringe Festival from anywhere with our selection of one-of-a-kind Digital Fringe shows, all living on the world wide web. See the full lineup at FringeArts.com/Shows.

ABOUT FRINGEARTS FringeArts is Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performance, presenting progressive, world-class art that expands the imagination and boldly defies expectations. Our programming exposes audiences to genre-defying dance, theater, and music performances by accomplished and emerging innovators who push the boundaries of art-making and redefine the artistic landscape worldwide. The Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts, is a three-week, city-wide celebration of innovation and creativity in contemporary performance. Each September, the Festival explodes into every nook and cranny in neighborhoods across Philadelphia with more than 1,000 artistically daring performances, including national and international performances curated by FringeArts, and works that are produced by independent artists and promoted by FringeArts. The party continues late night, every night, with music, food and drink at the FringeArts center on the Delaware River waterfront. This vast assemblage of curated and self-produced innovators offers an unparalleled opportunity to see a cross section of the world’s greatest experimenters at one time, in one city.

GET INVOLVED Love the Fringe Festival and FringeArts? Get involved on a deeper level as a FringeArts volunteer or ambassador. FringeArts is always looking for volunteers, during the Fringe Festival and throughout the year. Usher a dance performance, collect tokens at a circus festival, or distribute programs at a play. The opportunities are endless; the art is spectacular! There is no minimum commitment and we welcome arts lovers ages 14-and-up. For more information, email volunteer@FringeArts.com or call 267.612.4903. The FringeArts Ambassador Program is a cohort of volunteers, artistic participants, long-time fans of FringeArts, and community stakeholders who work to connect new audiences with FringeArts and get an inside look at upcoming events throughout the year. To learn more about the program and how to participate, visit FringeArts.com/Ambassadors.

COMING UP AT FRINGEARTS Martha Graham Cracker’s String Quartet Spectacular Oct 24 at 8pm

Martha Graham Cracker’s Choral Extravaganza Dec 19 at 8pm

Martha Graham Cracker with Johnny Showcase Oct 25 at 8pm

Martha Graham Cracker’s Last Show of 2019 Dec 20 at 8pm

Halloqweens DJ Dame Luz Oct 26 at 9pm

New Year’s Funkin’ Eve Dec 31 at 10pm

November Scratch Night Hosted by Daniel Park and Cat Ramirez Works-in-progress by local artists Nov 7 at 7pm Get Pegged Cabaret feat. Morgan Bassichis & Girl Poop The Bearded Ladies Cabaret Nov 15 at 10:30pm December Scratch Night Hosted by Sam Tower and Nia Benjamin Works-in-progress by local artists Dec 2 at 7pm

And let your excitement build for… Blue Heaven A FringeArts comedy festival Feb 6–8, 2020 High Pressure Fire Service New works by local performers Feb 17–May 21, 2020 Hand to Hand A FringeArts circus festival May 30–June 14, 2020


BE A MEMBER! Save money, get priority access to tickets and seats, and enjoy VIP treatment! 12-month membership includes exclusive benefits at FringeArts throughout the year, including the Fringe Festival, Blue Heaven Comedy Festival, High Pressure Fire Service (a presentation series for Philadelphia artists), and Hand to Hand Circus Festival.

DO MORE, SPEND LESS • 20% off FringeArts shows* • Complimentary drink tickets to La Peg at FringeArts (4 at $100 level; 2 at $65 level) • Complimentary “Bring A Friend” guest passes (2 at $100 level; 1 at $65 level)

BE FIRST • Buy tickets before the general public • Get exclusive advance email notification of upcoming events • Be the first to enter select shows at the FringeArts theater, during the 2019 Fringe Festival and beyond

BE A VIP • • • •

Invitations to members-only dress rehearsals and works-in-progress showings Pick up your FringeArts Tote Bag at the FringeArts Bookstore at Cherry Street Pier Free ticket exchanges Member ID card

$65 for one 20%-off ticket per show membership $100 for two 20%-off tickets per show $500 and up to join the Producers Circle - all membership benefits plus exclusive access to behind-the-scenes events, VIP artist experiences, special recognition, and more. Visit FringeArts.com/producers to learn more! *Purchase your tickets in a separate order after buying a membership to make sure that you get your discount! You will receive discount instructions in an email after buying a membership. Membership cannot be combined with any other discounts, including early bird specials and multi-show day passes.* Visit FringeArts.com/membership or call 215.413.1318 to join NOW.

BE PART OF THE STORY Make your gift today to help FringeArts present world-class performing arts that challenge convention and inspire new ways of thinking. FringeArts aims to make Philadelphia a place where anyone can experience bold performance with the potential to stimulate, challenge, and change perspectives. With our 25th anniversary approaching, we’re climbing to new heights of relevance, accessibility, and creative exploration. We rely on the support of audience members like you to make encounters with art accessible to all Philadelphians. We hope you will join us with a gift of any size to make this vision a reality. Visit FringeArts.com/support or contact Rachel Swartz Robinson, Director of Development, at 267.612.4902 or Rachel@FringeArts.com to learn more.




Chair Richard Vague Vice Chair/Secretary Jennifer Bohnenberger Treasurer Lisa P. Young – Emily L. Bittenbender Mark Dichter Denise DiSimone Anthony P. Forte David Grasso David R. Hoffman Kevin Kleinschmidt Kathy Lentini David Lipson Tom Lussenhop Clement D. Pappas Salem Shuchman Michael Solomonov Stephen Starr Nick Stuccio Audrey Claire Taichman Max Tuttleman Paul Wright

Festival Box Office Manager Marissa Both Front of House Coordinator Rebecca Hartman Venue Manager Sydney Justice, Superterranean Venue Manager Jacks Katz, Cartography, Un Poyo Rojo Festival Volunteer Coordinator Megan Schumacher Venue Manager Row Walters, Pursuit of Happiness Festival Head of Audio Eddie Smith Festival Technical Director Kevin Hoover


Executive Chef Mike Maronski Proprietor Pete Woolsey Chef de Cuisine Patrick Limanni General Manager Liz Boleslavsky

Graphic Design Sean Andrade Leo Fahringer Marketing Valerie Bailey Guide Seth Boyce Development Carolyn Carrier Madena Kusi Kelly Maurer Programming Greer Cohen Liana Cohen Sophie Don Faith Flynn Jacqueline Pothier Emma Rogers Patron Services Charisse De Los Santos Communications Lexi DiFilippo Venue and Patron Services Rebecca Hartman Finance Jordan Landy Kyran Somar Jack Yang Marketing and Communications Bria Lee Laura Licanzo Marketing | Programming Calder McNeil Marketing Cole McNeil Production Noelani Montas Ellie Moonan Corinne Mastrella Presti Podcast Stephanie Seymour

President + Producing Director Nick Stuccio Senior Adviser Operations Carolyn Schlecker General Manager Amy Kurzban Artistic Producer Zach Blackwood Director of Finance Melissa Bridge Finance Associate Katherine Borden Audience Engagement Coordinator Tenara Calem Artistic Producer Katy Dammers Institutional Giving Coordinator Patrick Derrickson Director of Marketing + Communications Claire Frisbie Director of Production Keighty McLallen Client Services Manager Mary Menchel Office Manager + HR Assistant Porsche Murray Information Manager + Guide Editor Christopher Munden Associate Production Manager Kelly Orenshaw Director of Development Rachel Swartz Robinson Fringe Festival Coordinator April Rose Technical Director Georgia Schlessman Marketing Manager Raina Searles Development Manager Jennifer Shorstein Master Electrician Evelyn Swift Shuker


Project Assistant Sabrina Carter Senior Director of Development Joanne Marder L A P E G S TA F F








The Durst Organization is proud to support




September 18–29 The Suzanne Roberts Theatre Part of Festival O19 WORLD PREMIERE

Following in the tradition of such acclaimed new works as Breaking the Waves (2016 Best New Opera Award) and We Shall Not Be Moved (one of The New York Times’ Best Classical Music Performances of 2017), Opera Philadelphia brings you its next daring world premiere: Denis & Katya. Composer Philip Venables and librettist/director Ted Huffman—the duo behind the award-winning opera 4.48 Psychosis—examine the vast public response to the story of two doomed Russian teenagers whose final moments played out live on social media.


ESPERANZA ARTS CENTER 2019/2020 Heart of Latin Arts & Culture in Philadelphia

Music, Theater, Dance, Cinema Plena Libre Pennsylvania Ballet Lolita Decade of Fire AMLA Philadanco Orchestra 2001 Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers Sofia Viola *BalletX at Teatro Esperanza


MUSIC DANCE THEATRE TICKETS START AT $29 // SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE 35% AnnenbergCenter.org // 215.898.3900 // 3680 Walnut Street




Jennifer O’Mara, MLA ‘17

PA State Representative, District 165 At Penn, Jennifer discovered how writing can be used as cognitive behavioral therapy. Our flexible master’s program allowed her to find her voice—and prepared her to tell her story on the campaign trail. Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts is a customizable graduate program offering daytime, evening, and online classes to fit your schedule.


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