Fringe preview: Motherhood, race, and fairy tales

Nea“I wanted to write about being a white mom to a mixed-race kid,”  says playwright and director
Monica Flory of Brown-Eyed Rapunzel, a 2019 Fringe Festival show at South Philadelphia performance garage Philly PACK. “There is so much uncertainty and it feels like little in popular culture was built for your family,”.

For Brown-Eyed Rapunzel, Flory rewrote classic fairy tales to feature confident mixed-race princesses and flawed white queens. This 75-minute immersive experience features site-specific theater, contemporary dance, shadow puppets, and three young artists making their professional debuts. 

“Her pages are so deeply personal,” choreographer and dancer Jessica Noel says of Flory’s script. “She
hangs all her guts and vulnerabilities in the writing, and in turn the audience finds themselves in the work.”

Puppet designer and puppeteer Kat Caro got involved after seeing a reading of the play at the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival last August. “It is timeless and timely and intimate and difficult and funny and once I listened to a reading of it (and stopped crying), I was so hopelessly inspired I whispered in Monica’s ear that it would be lovely to add shadow puppets. At the same time, Jess whispered in her *other* ear that it would be lovely to add dance. So, now it has both. I am so excited to create and perform the puppets as Monica shares her (literal and figurative) baby with us.”

Flory’s own children, Kya (age 10) and Lynnea Prunty (age 7), will dance in the piece, along with Alice Summers (age 11). All three have been involved in PACK’s educational program since age 4. Kish Bolden will play the grown version of the daughter, Rinnie, and Elizabeth Rubin will take on Karen, her mother.

Performances are Friday September 6 and Saturday September 7, 2019, at 7pm at Philly PACK [233 Federal Street]  fringearts.com/event/Brown-Eyed-Rapunzel

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