Check Your Privilege: (re)FOCUS Fest

refocus-festLaunching tonight and running through April 10, 2016, (re)FOCUS Fest brings together four theater ensembles—Kaleid TheatrePower Street Theatre Company[redacted] Theater Company, and TS Hawkins to explore the concept of privilege and to celebrate diversity through shared performance.

“Privilege is notoriously difficult to talk about because it is hard to define, or even see,” says Sarah Mitteldorf, artistic director of Kaleid Theatre. By presenting work by four companies from different parts of the city, (re)FOCUS hopes audiences and artist to see privilege through a process of shared perspectives. It’s described as “a chance to (re)focus on themes that are all around us, but difficult to see, explore, and discuss. It is a celebration of our ability to confront ourselves, learn from each other, and rejoice in the myriad of experiences that make us who we are.” [The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street] April 7-10, 2016; refocusfest.org.

(RE)FOCUS FEST SCHEDULE
April 7 at 7:30 pm Out of Orbit (Power Street) and The Art of Wasting Time ([redacted])
April 8 at 7:30 pm Take/Sacrifice (Kaleid Theatre) and The Secret Life of Wonder (TS Hawkins)
April 9 at 3:00 pm Take/Sacrifice (Kaleid Theatre) and The Secret Life of Wonder (TS Hawkins)
April 9 at 7:30 pm Out of Orbit (Power Street) and The Art of Wasting Time
April 10 at 3:00 pm Out of Orbit (Power Street) and The Art of Wasting Time
April 10 at 7:30 pm Take/Sacrifice (Kaleid Theatre) and The Secret Life of Wonder (TS Hawkins)

TS-RF-fb-cover-jpegTake/Sacrifice by Kaleid Theatre
In history and in myth, we sacrifice humans to win battles, mitigate crop failure, or maintain peace. Iphigenia was sacrificed for wind to take her father’s army to Troy and Jephthah offered his own daughter in exchange for victory in battle. We trade human lives to shape the world and ask for cosmic favors. Take/Sacrifice, explores this space of desire, a landscape littered with those we have sacrificed to secure the things we want. Surrounded by iconic figures and archaeological mysteries, our wishes become reflections of ourselves – what we want from the world, how we want the world to behave, and the lengths we are willing to go to make it so. What do we cling to? What do we want so much that we’ll destroy each other for it?

The ensemble includes director Sarah Mitteldorf with performers Pratima Agrawal, Jessica Jacob, Samia Merritt, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, and composer Adrian Bridges. Take/Sacrifice was originally developed as a work-in-progress for Mz. Fest 2015 at Plays and Players. kaleidtheatre.org.

unnamed (1)Out of Orbit by Power Street
Power is a difficult thing to give up, and privilege even harder. The imbalances of these dynamics in our society have isolated us like a planet out of Orbit. We have lost the ties that bind us, and until we can learn to work together we will continue floating through space. Lost. We all know it, especially those in power, that equality is non-existent in our society. Told through three generations of stories, poetry, and dance, Power Street Theatre Company’s new work tackles what it really means to be on top, and why so many are afraid to fall. powerstreettheatre.com.

TAOWTThe Art of Wasting Time by [redacted] Theater Company
The seconds pass. The tasks pile. The sludge gets heavier and heavier and we just can’t get out of bed today. Or tomorrow. But then we do, and we work faster and faster and grow blinder and blinder. But then we cast away our myopia and realize it’s too late. How can we spend our time well before we waste away?

Directed by Joshua McLucas and created by Madeline Charne, Paloma Irizarry, Naia Poyer, Vanessa Ogbuehi, and Swift Shuker, The Art of Wasting Time is an audio-driven project designed to be experienced in private or public, wherever and whenever one chooses. redactedtheater.org.

The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G written by TS Hawkins & directed by Cheyenne Barboza
The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G highlights the embryonic spark of when all girls gather; soothing one’s aches, sorting each one’s puzzles and sharing one’s triumphs with her chosen collective and explores the spark of womanhood while asking the question, “do our societal truths alter how we embrace ourselves?” Using poetics dialogue, these seven girls journey through their assigned genders and discover how their differences bring them together. tspoetics.com

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.