monstrosmadreMark

Just plain weirdness: Coming Soon! Mark Mackner talks about the low-budget film scene in Philadelphia

Mark Mackner has been making supernatural thrillers in the underground Philly scene for almost 20 years now. His short film STUMP GRINDER has just been released online. He chats with Phindie about his latest release, the Philly independent film scene and his future goals.

The Walnut opened as a circus theater in 1809.

The Walnut Street Theatre: Part 1, The People’s Playhouse

Philadelphia’s oldest theater is also by far it’s most popular and financially secure. In a time when other large theaters are struggling to stay afloat, the Walnut Street Theatre maintains the largest subscriber base in the country. In the first section three-part series, Kathryn Behrman sits down with Walnut artistic director Bernard Havard and other local theater folk to consider the playhouse’s commitment to popular entertainment.

Deanna Gibson plays one of three witches in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s MACBETH (Photo credit: Lee A. Butz)

MACBETH (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): A Minimalist Vision

Director Patrick Mulcahy takes a modernist approach to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of MACBETH, with a 20th-century minimalist aesthetic that compels the audience to focus on the emotions and actions of the characters and the power of the playwright’s language. It’s stark and intense, and also, at times, oddly anachronistic and comical, performed in attire that suggests a peculiar mash-up of wartime Berlin and dance club chic, military and punk.

The cast of ANDY: A POPERA elevating Sean Lally, who stars as Warhol “expert” Dr. Peter Never (Photo credit: Kate Raines Plate 3 Photography)

ANDY: A POPERA (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret): The Enigma of Warhol

A post-modern fusion of Pop art with opera, ANDY: A POPERA, a work-in-progress by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, explores the enormous fame and legacy of Andy Warhol, with elements of both tragic opera and opera buffa. The synthesis reflects in part the ambiance of Warhol’s Factory in the Sixties.

Mary Tuomanen and Aimé Donna Kelly in WE ARE BANDITS. Image courtesy of Applied Mechanics.

WE ARE BANDITS (Applied Mechanics): People like us don’t meet

With WE ARE BANDITS, director Rebecca Wright and Applied Mechanics are working against a brutal opponent: American cynicism.

They’ve turned the third-floor space of Asian Arts Initiative into what looks like a sprawling, minimalist installation piece. Tables, chairs, and little else delineate various spaces throughout the basketball-court-sized venue, including a city square, the apartments of various characters, a rooftop, and a church.

Promotional image for ANDY: A POPERA by The Bearded Ladies Cabaret (Photo credit: Design by Flying Hand Studio, photo by Kate Raines Plate 3 Photography, Make-Up by Rebecca Kanach)

15 Questions in 15 Minutes with John Jarboe

The Bearded Ladies extend their proverbial 15 minutes of fame this week with the opening of their cabaret residency of ANDY: A POPERA in the lobby of the Wilma Theater,…

Clio (Erica Nicole Rothman, center) with her sister Muses in Mazeppa Productions’ XANADU (Photo credit: Kelly Anne Pipe Photography)

XANADU (Mazeppa Productions): A campy, aMUSEing musical

Zeus has decreed that Muses from Mount Olympus are not allowed to fall in love with mortals – that includes the Muse Clio and a boy from Venice Beach. Therein lies a story of forbidden love, gumption, and sly swipes at certain Hollywood movies — especially XANADU (Universal Pictures, 1980).

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Sebastian Cummings talks about LIFE ON THE FRINGE

Sebastian Cummings has always been a little edgy. A military brat, a black man in the white suburbs, a Jamaican American in African American black society, a gay actor in a straight-role world—throughout…

Danny Gardner as Johann Martin Steindorff in BACH AT LEIPZIG at People’s Light (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

BACH AT LEIPZIG (People’s Light): 60-second review

People’s Light & Theatre Company pairs Itamar Moses’s uber-witty historical farce BACH AT LEIPZIG with the zaniness of director Pete Pryor in a hilarious, intelligent production.

The Bearded Ladies and Opera Philadelphia present Stage 2 in the development of Warhol-inspired ANDY: A Popera

Wednesday, July 16th, The Bearded Ladies and Opera Philadelphia will lay down stakes in the lobby of the Wilma Theatre, and, for two short weeks, perform an hour-long cabaret inspired by the outrageously influential life of Andy Warhol. Featuring original music by Heath Allen.

Herringbone at Flashpoint Theatre Company

HERRINGBONE (Flashpoint Theatre Company): A remarkably strange solo musical, about a boy … with a problem

This mighty peculiar story opens with a grown up George looking back at 1929 and singing, “Did ya ever have one of those years?” His parents have one foot in the poorhouse, as their only prosperous relative has just stinted them in his will. When eight-year-old George has the chance to take performance lessons from the surviving member of an old vaudeville act, he shows inexplicable ability beyond his years. Parental hopes for financial resurrection ride on little George singing and dancing his way to Hollywood.

Clio (Erica Nicole Rothman, center) with her sister Muses in Mazeppa Productions’ XANADU (Photo credit: Kelly Anne Pipe Photography)

XANADU (Mazeppa Productions): A Flop of a Film, but a Smash of a Show!

Greek mythology meets roller-disco in XANADU, a spirited send-up of American pop culture circa 1980, based on the preposterous movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John. Mazeppa’s exuberant production of the award-winning musical-comedy (book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar) delivers an uproarious parody of both disco culture and the cult-classic film.

The ensemble of Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s HAMLET (Photo credit: Alessandra Nicole)

HAMLET (Delaware Shakespeare Festival): “’Fore God, my lord, well spoken . . .”

While “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” something is wonderful in the state of Delaware! With its unsurpassed examination of the human condition, profound emotions, and exquisitely beautiful language, HAMLET is considered by many (myself among them) to be the world’s greatest play by the world’s greatest playwright.

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Sustainability and the Artist

Lately I’ve been thinking about that “worthwhile strategy” in regards to making a living as a theatre artist. Too many of my colleagues can’t afford to get sick, and certainly can’t afford to start a family. An interview with Charlotte Ford (revealing she’s stepping away from theater to go back to school for speech pathology) seems to have sparked a vigorous public debate about how difficult it is to make a living as an artist, and what can be done about it.

The Who Tommy New Cavern

See Me, Feel Me: New guys New Cavern rock out THE WHO’S TOMMY

The Who’s 1969 concept album TOMMY kicks ass. It’s a real rockists rock album, from the golden age of British rock. The 1975 movie and 1993 Broadway adaptation capture the dramatic…

Jane Gotch's Let It Fall, a duet for Leo Gayden and Juliet Remmers. Photo by Mike Strong.

Cool Dancing in Warm Spaces: Jane Gotch and Myra Bazell at the Iron Factory

Myra Bazell, a much-loved teacher of dance, and Jane Gotch first met fifteen years ago when Gotch had to scratch together enough change to take Bazell’s popular modern class. The good-vibe feeling between these two choreographers was evident as Bazell explained to the audience of about thirty on a (thankfully) not-too-hot June evening that the Iron Factory was a positive venue for this reunion.

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SINema After Hours: One Year Anniversary Show

Campy fun abounds at SINema After Hours. Shoshanna Green reviews a night of sin and scares at Walking Fish Theatre.

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): Fickle Love and an Irresistible Canine

Contrasting the giddy inconstancy of youthful passion with the unconditional love for and the stolid fidelity of a pet dog, THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA—one of the Bard’s earliest works—is a delightful rom-com/bromance (descended from the medieval genre of male friendship literature) that offers the perfect entertainment for a summer audience. And the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production, as directed by the ever-masterful Matt Pfeiffer, strikes the perfect balance between the comedy’s irrepressible fun and playfulness and its more serious message about regret, repentance, forgiveness, and camaraderie.

DEATHTRAP (Bucks County Playhouse): A 60-Second Review

One of the most successful plays in Broadway history makes its way to the iconic Bucks County Playhouse. DEATHTRAP is a mystery/thriller (brimming with bleak humor) by Ira Levin (“Rosemary’s Baby). DEATHTRAP is the story of a once-famous playwright Sidney Bruhl (Saxon Palmer) with an enormous case of writer’s block living with his beautiful wife Myra (Angela Pierce) in Connecticut.

Colin Quinn

Arrogantly profiling American history: An interview with Colin Quinn, starring at the Philadelphia Theatre Company

Let me say it up front: Unconstitutional, running through July 6th at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, is a tour de force stronger than the Tour de France.

The famous Quinn, familiar to Saturday Night Live fans, presents his observations on the quirks of life in the U.S. at such a neck-breaking pace that I thought I was participating as a bidder at an auction, where the auctioneer speaks at world record speed so that I, as one of his “bidders,” was unsure at times if I was buying or not. So as not to miss his many powerful insights, wrapped in highly addictive humor, I was forced to listen carefully. And listen I did.