Sunday, July 25, 2010

What We'd Be Seeing in Philadelphia...

...if Catherine and I were going to the Live Arts Festival this year. Unfortunately, it's not looking good for us right now. Nevertheless, I've decided go ahead and pick out the shows that we'd probably attend if we went down the first weekend—September 3-5. It may seem a little like a pointless and ultimately frustrating task but this year's festival looks especially good and I really enjoy the planning of this trip. And, of course, if our financial situation changes, we'll actually have a plan ready to implement.

Friday, September 3
7:00 pm: Cankerblossom by Pig Iron Theatre Company
10:00 pm: Freedom Club by New Paradise Laboratories and The Riot Group
This, for Catherine and me, is the quintessential Philadelphia theater night: two of our favorite companies that we first discovered in the Live Arts Festival almost a decade ago and that we rarely get to see outside of Philly (we've been to a couple of Pig Iron shows here in NYC). A great way to start the festival!

Saturday, September 4
4:00 pm: Sanctuary by Brian Sanders/JUNK. We really liked last year's Urban Scuba, which was performed in an abandoned swimming pool; this time around, the stage is a 14 x 120 foot wall... how could we possibly miss that?

Then we have a dilemma:
7:00 pm: Chicken by Charlotte Ford is directed by our friend, Geoff Sobelle (he and Charlotte also appeared in Pig Iron's excellent Welcome to Yuba City in 2009). I have no doubt that it's going to be a fantastic performance. However...
7:00 pm: Peter Weiss' ...Marat/Sade..." by EgoPo is being performed at The Rotunda—one of the most interesting spaces in Philadelphia and a great location for this play—and I've heard many wonderful things about the company. Plus, while I've never seen the play, Catherine was in a transformative production in Dallas shortly before she moved to New York so I know she'd love to see how this one is done.

But wait: there are two more conflicts!
9:00 pm: TAKES by Nichole Canuso Dance Company. I've never seen the company but the description of this dance/video installation/film production—it's viewable from 360ยบ and the audience is invited to wander about during the performance—makes me really want to see it.
10:00 pm: Portmanteau by Applied Mechanics. While the description of the piece doesn't really excite me (it sounds a little improvisatory, which can be either excellent or deadly... more often, I find it's deadly), the novelty of a show that's in a different space for every performance is intriguing. If it just started 30 minutes later, I'd probably take a chance on it; as it is, I'd probably lean toward TAKES instead.

Sunday, September 5
11:00 am: AFOOT!:Northern Liberties by Brothers Cromie. There's a lot of opportunity in the walking tour production... and a lot of opportunity for disaster (if it's tightly scripted and rehearsed, it can be amazing; if it's too improvised it can just be a mess). I'd give this one a try...
12:00-2:30 pm: TAKES Daytime Installation. This one is negotiable for me: it would probably depend on whether or not we liked the show the night before.
3:00 pm: Samuel Beckett's First Love performed by Gare St Lazare Players/Conor Lovett. I don't know that I need to explain much about this one: it just sounds like a fantastic production and performance.

Sadly, there are several performances that we'd still be missing. Lucinda Childs' Dance is only the second weekend, as is Nature Theater of Oklahoma's take on Romeo and Juliet, which Catherine and I missed here in NYC. Elevator Repair Service's The Sun Also Rises (The Select) based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway is only the final weekend but that will be coming to New York Theatre Workshop some time in the future, so I'll have another shot at that one; I'll also have more opportunities to see Stew and the Negro Problem with Heidi Rodewald. Judith/Dresses/Joe by Parade Ground Unit is an intriguing idea that I'd probably see if was playing the first weekend; I think I'm probably as drawn to Depravity Productions' Fugue State by the fact that it's in The Rotunda as by its description but I might give it a try if I got better information; and Insectinside by Grounded Aerial also looks like great fun.

Here's a map for the shows above:

View Philly Fringe 2010 in a larger map

Now if only we can just save up our pennies over the next month.... Time will tell...

2 comments:

Catherine said...

Lucidity Suitcase's new show is the 2nd weekend, too,and that'd be cool. And Tell Tale Heart is at the Mutter Museum, which would be cool (although I know the Mutter grosses you out)...

Ellen said...

"Thanks!" from the Live Arts / Fringe blog staff!!
(we linked to your picks here)
http://www.livearts-fringe.org/blog/index.cfm/2010/7/26/Barry-Rowells-Festival-Picks