Revolutions, wars, and the violence that goes with it, resulted in millions of refugees from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America seeking a safe haven in Europe and the United States during the last few years and making horrifying headlines to this day.
Unfortunately, many of those desperate refugees ended up behind American bars or were deported, often with their children being taken away and kept in separate ill-fitted prisons to warn other refugees not to dare trekking across one country after another.
During the Third Reich, Britain and Shanghai were two of the few places on earth that actually accepted Jewish refugees, unlike the United States—unless those refugees were famous like Albert Einstein, or extremely wealthy or well connected.
The Philadelphia Fringe has opened its doors to many theater people who are showing the struggles and upheavals in this country and the world. However, the Fringe also has created hundreds of opportunities to see life in new ways by showing us what is happening around the globe—and in one’s own neighborhood, one’s own life.
Since ancient times, one of the roles of theater has often been to hold up a mirror so that we can see ourselves, even though we may not always like what we observe. At times, we may even get shocked to the core of our existence.
No one theater can achieve what a carefully curated and organized Fringe Festival like the Philly Fringe can: presenting hundreds of shows and courageous performers from all over the U.S., and many countries abroad—within a three-week span.
As in all years passed—2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018—Phindie, Drama Around the Globe, and FringeArts have cooperated in showing shifts and changes and the tremendous energy that the Philly Fringe brings to our theaters, church halls, synagogues, colleges, museums, art galleries, industrial halls, Philadelphia streets, and even bars and restaurants.
As in all the years before, we like to greet the playwrights from abroad whose works are being featured and the international actors, directors, and other theater artists who hold up that ancient theater mirror for all of us to not only enjoy what we see but also to see part of ourselves reflected in the refractions that we observe on stage.
Finally, the most international production which showcases more actors and creative staff from many countries coming to Philadelphia than any other show this year is Pursuit of Happiness, featuring actors and creative members from Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Sweden—in a coproduction with Théâtre de la Ville and Austria’s steirischer herbst theater, supported by the City of Ljubljana and the Department of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
And now, in spite of our troubled times, here and abroad, CURTAIN UP and WELCOME to this year’s International Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
1. Ancestral Movements
Karibu & Welcome, Breanna Moore and everyone involved in your Ancestral Movements. FringeArts.com/9301. Highlighting traditional African dance forms and modern dance forms of the African diaspora, Ancestral Movements expresses the dance experiences of the enslaved who were forced to dance on the decks of slave ships and on the auction block, and explores how they used dance as a source of spiritual strength.
2. Another Agatha: a myth of perception
Benvenuta/Benvenuto, Bienvenida/Bienvenido & Welcome all of you with your Migration Theory. FringeArts.com/9401. A mother and a daughter imagine each other’s lives in this immersive, subversive prayer from Migration Theory. Their stories loop, collide, morph, and transform in this dance meditation on perception, survival, and unbridgeable distances. Accompanied by music, dark humor, and dessert.
3. Immigrant Concierge Services.
Bienvenido, באַגריסונג & bagrisung,Brian Shapiro, Seth Reichgott, Nicholas Panasevich, and Michael Brenner. FringeArts.com/9407. What happened when a conservative billionaire had a freak accident in the Mexican desert and was rescued by a group of migrants? A mutually profitable business partnership, of course! In a tale told with live music, hear how they disrupted the current immigration system to offer a novel pathway toward the American dream.
4. Mapping the Refugee Experience: Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers on Cartography
Herzlich willkommen, Bienvenida/Bienvenido, أهلابك, ‘ahlaan bik, Bienvenu/e, Welkom & Murakaza neza from around the world. How do we track where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going, especially when we must flee our homes? Cartography, by Christopher Myers and Kaneza Schaal seeks to answer this question. Inspired by conversations with young refugees in Munich, Germany, Myers and Schaal co-created a piece of theater that puts these migrants on stage and tells their stories.
5. Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas
Bienvenida/Bienvenido& Welcome, Puentes de Salud. FringeArts.com/9311. Recent Mexican immigrants and the children of immigrants created life-size self-portrait sculptures to interpret their identities and transborder lives and to describe their memories, emotions, and fears related to migration (see page TK for more information).
View these sculptures at the Fringe Festival Bookstore at Cherry Street Pier, FringeArts, and Christ Church Neighborhood House (where you can also see the companion Curated Fringe show Cartography, see page TK). Use the QR codes which accompany the physical sculptures to visit the accompanying webpages and hear the artists share their stories in their own words.
NATIVE AMERICAN & CROSS-CULTURAL:
Bonvenon & Welcome, Miryam Coppersmith. FringeArts.com/9302. ArtDates attempts to stop the cycle of meeting potential collaborators, talking about performing together, and then never being able to make it happen. Collaborators meet for just a few hours on one day and make something from scratch, creating a digital artifact to mark the collaboration’s completion.
2. ¡Que Ridículo!
Bienvenida/o& Welcome, ¿Qué? / Philly Improv Theater, FringeArts.com/9107. Comedy that will make you say “How Ridiculous!” This cross-cultural comedy show was constructed through the lens of the immigrant experience. Featuring sketch and improv by ¿Qué?—an all-Spanish-speaking group (except for one white dude)—this show is meant to be enjoyed by English speakers as well as Spanish speakers.
3. Shimmy your Fringe!
Yáʼátʼééh & Welcome, State Street Tribal. FringeArts.com/9215. Dance performance with a short workshop featuring American Tribal Style® made famous by FatChanceBellyDance®. We will show you some fun tribal belly dance steps, then invite you up on the dance floor to GET YOUR FRINGE MOVING! Come for the show and stay for the fun!
4. There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other
Vítejte, Benvenuta/o,أهلابك, ‘ahlaan bik, Bienvenu/e & Welcome, Blanka Zizka and Rosa Barba with the Wilma HotHouse. Based on There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other by Etel Adnan. World Premiere!
5. This Art Moves
Bonvenon & Welcome, DynamicDisplays / Projector Guy. FringeArts.com/9802. Dynamic displays of moving digital imagery set to the beat of eastern philosophy and computing theory. Never still, always evolving, always dynamic, and always sensual with embedded art images. Chill out at Jerry’s Bar courtyard for drinks and award-winning food and sit back and enjoy the show. Runs for the duration of the Fringe Festival.
Un Poyo Rojo
Bienvenido & Welcome, Hermes Gaido, Alfonso Barón, Luciano Rosso, Nicolás Poggi, Jonathan Zak, and Maxime Seuge. Sport. Sexuality. Humor. Charismatic Argentinian duo Un Poyo Pojo explores the range of possible relationships among men.
Fase, Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich
Welkom, Bienvenu/e & Welcome, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jennifer Everhard, Michèle Anne De Mey, Laura Bachman, Soa Ratsifandrihana, Steve Reich, Mark Schwentner, Remon Fromont, and Martine André. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas. Every journey begins with a single step—or a single swing of an arm.
You Are Not a Shining Star
Bem vinda &Welcome, Mark “Metal” Wong and Vince Johnson. UMA presents: Mark “Metal” Wong and Vince Johnson. FringeArts.com/9225. Have you ever thought about your legacy? I mean, what makes you SPECIAL? What does it mean to be YOU? Are you the experiences you’ve accumulated? Are you the thoughts in your brain? If you’ve never pondered this, don’t worry. We’re here to help. Shining Star is a movement-based performance that is weird but not boring. This work supports and is supported by Urban Movement Arts (UMA), where we both work and teach. Come dance with us! UMA welcomes adults of all ages and experience levels.
Bienvenida&Welcome, Elba Hevia y Vaca and Belen Maya. Elba Hevia y Vaca / Pasión y Arte. FringeArts.com/9211. This autobiographical one-woman performance work by Pasión y Arte artistic director Elba Hevia y Vaca explores her story as a Bolivian immigrant and mother. La Bolivianita delves into her almost lifelong journey with Flamenco and how that has continued to evolve as she ages. The piece will culminate in an interactive dialogue with the audience. Directed by world-renowned Flamenco artist Belen Maya. World Premiere.
1. Alternative Theater Festival 2019.
Welcome, iNtuitons Experimental Theatre. FringeArts.com/9605. The Alternative Theater Festival is an annual festival celebrating weird, unconventional plays—all written, directed, and produced by students. This year, we bring you experiments in subjects ranging from British spies to dentists. iNtuitons is the University of Pennsylvania’s one and only experimental theater group.
2. Cambridge Footlights: Look Alive!
Welcome, Cambridge Footlights / Philly Improv Theater members. FringeArts.com/9101. Don’t miss your chance to see the latest from the group that launched many of the greatest names in British comedy, including Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, and others! Forget everything you think you know and learn it all again in this spectacular, sketch-shaped trip through the kinks and quirks of life on Earth!
3. H5¹, a one-man adaptation of Shakespeare’s HENRY V
Welcome, Ann Ciccolella and Paul Parente. Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company. FringeArts.com/9636. A bare-bones staging of Shakespeare’s Henry V in a one-man performance highlighting the necessity for authentic, compelling, and selfless leadership. Directed by Ann Ciccolella. Featuring Paul Parente.
4. Rat Ruse
Welcome, Shelli Pentimell, Justin Caiazzo, Josh Blakesley, Traci Connaughton, Cubby Altobelli, Kellie Cooper, Blaze Murray, and Emma Howard. Without a Cue Productions. FringeArts.com/9109. Mystery, intrigue, comedy, death, and plenty of twists! Laugh and be surprised by Without a Cue Productions’ parody of the longest-running stage show in history, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Find yourself squarely in the middle of the action, as you ask: Whodunit? We kill, you laugh.
5. Richard III
Welcome, Hannah Wolff and the entire cast of the Hestia Theatre Company. FringeArts.com/9673. Three Richards. Six women. Ninety minutes. This infamous play will be performed in one of the city’s most historic sites. Hestia Theatre Company teams up with Christ Church Burial Ground’s 300th anniversary. Whether you are new to Shakespeare or a well-seasoned lover of verse, this all-female production has something for you.
6. Shirley Valentine
Welcome, Michelle Pauls, Claire Golden Drake, and Willy Russell. FringeArts.com/9679. Shirley Valentine is a working-class Liverpool housewife. As she stands in her dingy kitchen making egg and chips, she dreams about life beyond the wall, and the possibility of “drinking wine in a country where the grape is grown.” Eat and drink British pub grub as you enjoy this award-winning comedy by Willy Russell.
7. The Sea Voyage
Welcome, John Fletcher & Philip Massinger, Dan Hodge, and Linnea Bond, Andrew Criss, Cameron DelGrosso, Nathan Foley, Joel Guerrero, Stephanie Hodge, Eli Lynn, Eric Mills, Kimie Muroya, Yajaira Paredes, and Natajia Sconiers, as well as Eli Lynn, and Elizabeth Miesenzahl. The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective. FringeArts.com/9676. A war of love and duty breaks out when a band of privateers find themselves stranded on a seemingly uninhabited island. A true maritime romp of the Jacobean era: raw, bold and devilishly funny by The PAC (The Sea Plays, 2013; Fair Maid of the West, 2015; Iphigenia at Aulis, 2017).
Mythical Chinese Dragon
歡迎, Huānyíng &Welcome, Hua Hua Zhang of Visual Expressions. FringeArts.com/9806. The Chinese dragon symbolizes good luck, unity, and strength. Guided by her curiosity, Hua Hua Zhang experiments with Chinese ink, calligraphy, and objects to create an experimental work that shares her interpretation of Chinese dragons. Exhibition runs through October 4.
Dobrodošli &Welcome, Evan Kassof and Aleksandar Hut Kono of the ENAensemble. FringeArts.com/9502. Each show features a new opera and a band. The first half: a binge-staging of The 2019 Serial Opera Project (shows II and III) or the world premiere of the sci-fi opera Pornography (I and IV) by Evan Kassof and Aleksandar Hut Kono. The second half: sets from Brother Martin (I and IV), The Cheddar Boys (II), or Lee Mo (III).
In America, That is to Say No Where
Bienvenu/e &Welcome, Melanie Stewart, Brian Grace-Duff, Michael Buck, Liz Culver, Faith Lynn Diccion, Nick Flagg, Mike Grubb, Jessica Harzer, Caroline Herrick, Tyler Jacobs, Maggie O’Connor, Robin Purtell, Adriana Santilli, and Mackenzie Trush.Rowan Theatre. FringeArts.com/9644. A devised movement-driven theater piece inspired by Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry, In America, That Is To Say No Where takes a shocking and exaggerated look at the turmoil created by a gluttonous, childlike political figure as he comes to power and wreaks havoc.
1. Mother Courage and Her Children
Willkommen &Welcome, Bertolt Brecht, Margarete Steffin, Eric Bentley, Brittney Anderson, and all the performers from the University of the Arts and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts. FringeArts.com/9656. Mother Courage drags her cart across the battlefields of the Thirty Years War, profiteering from a conflict that destroys her children, one by one. It isn’t easy, starting a war, but nothing worthwhile is easy. Although some may pray for peace, Mother Courage knows war is like love, it always finds a way. Written by Bertolt Brecht and Margarete Steffin, translated by Eric Bentley, directed by Brittney Anderson (’19).
2. Operatic Addictions
Willkommen, Bienvenu &Welcome, J.S. Bach, David Brown, Alize Rozsnyai,Irene Moretto, Kaitlyn Waterson, and Aaron Stewart.Alter Ego Chamber Opera. FringeArts.com/9504. A fully staged operatic double-bill about two of our most major addictions—coffee and smartphones—with a new adaptation of J.S. Bach’s The Coffee Cantata and Phony, a premiere micro-opera by David Brown and Alize Rozsnyai. Accompanied by a reorchestrated chamber ensemble that includes electric guitar, bass guitar, and saxophone.
3. Since They Left: A Pied Piper Musical
Willkommen &Welcome, Sarah Hough, Nick Hatcher, Jem Rubin, Colin Sass, Hannah Sattazhan, Becca Thomas, Courtney Bird, Anna Caccavaro, Paige Galdieri, Dana Grossman, Camryn Harrigan, Hannah Hobson, Sam Kaufman, Linc Millard, Miranda Pilato, Kashmir Reed, and Mae Waldron. FringeArts.com/9682. Featuring a cast of women and nonbinary performers, this musically diverse adaptation of the Pied Piper story explores the oppression by their own society of women, people with disabilities, freelance artists, and children. Mystery to myth, myth to story, story to poem, and all pain fades. Childcare for parents in audience and open captioning for all performances available by request.
1. An Iliad
καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ, kalos IRTHATE &Welcome, Jason Greenfield, Lisa Peterson, Denis O’Hare. FringeArts.com/9607. This new adaptation by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare based on Robert Fagles’s translation of The Iliad telescopes Homer’s Trojan War epic into a gripping monologue which captures both the heroism and horror of war. Crafted around the stories of Achilles and Hector, in language that is by turns poetic and conversational, An Iliad brilliantly refreshes this world classic. Directed and performed by Jason Greenfield.
καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ, kalos IRTHATE &Welcome, Michael Stahler, Alice Hakvaag, Kayla Cleary, JB Dolan, Jessica Stahl, plus Alice Hakvaag and John Cambridge. Wings of Paper. FringeArts.com/9609. How does the Greek goddess Athena deal with a headache? Can Leon remember what happened to him, and why he deserves to be in the prison he woke up in? A double bill of new works, Atrytone/Fixed asks what happens when people are pushed to their physical limit, and how their decisions ricochet to those around them.
3. Eurydice by Radio Eris.
καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ, kalos IRTHATE &Welcome, Dan Baker, Lora Bloom, Kenny Brown, Dearg Lomnocht, Matt Stevenson, and Drummer X ofRadio Eris. FringeArts.com/9629. Discordian rock band Radio Eris tells the lost tale of Eurydice in this psychedelic rock opera, a mythological journey through the underworld and dimensions beyond time with the goddess Eris as a guide. “Daring players … making gorgeously melodic rock with irresistibly odd storylines … [an] always epic song-story” (A.D. Amorosi, City Paper).
4. Lysistrata, Cross Your Legs Sister!
καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ, kalos IRTHATE &Welcome to the director, the cast, and the creative team of the Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective. FringeArts.com/9652. The women withhold sexual privileges and occupy the main bank building to force the men to make peace and end the war. This musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata explores the timeless message “make love not war.”
5. Medusa Volution
καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ, kalos IRTHATE, GRATISSIMUM, Bienvenu/e, Bienvenida, Bienvenido &Welcome, Sophie Amieva, Susu Bagert, Wednesday Derrico, Katerina Marcelja, Sarah Lurie, Liz Stanton Butoh, Vangeline, Chandler Eliah Eason, Kayla Juntilla, and Irina Varina of theSamieva Theater. FringeArts.com/9654. A true story of sex, power, and monsters. “Feel of an ancient epic” (Plays To See). “Deliciously sticky … unexpected rapid fire of emotions“ (BKReader). “Conceptually ambitious” (Culture Catch). Medusa Volution takes a darkly comedic look at what is really going on with Medusa and her sister archetypes, intertwining their stories with those of modern womanhood.
Úumbal: Nomadic Choreography for Inhabitants
Kíimak ‘oolal, Bienvenida, Bienvenido &Welcome, Mariana Arteaga, Sarah Gladwin Camp, Katrina Atkin, Clyde Evans, Meg Foley, Rhonda Moore, Sophiann Moore, Jumatatu Poe, and all the dancers. Philadelphia is the choreographer. Its streets the setting. Its people the dancers. U.S. Premiere!
My Last Revolution.
Welkom &Welcome, Gerhardus and Jerry Mayall. FringeArts.com/9659. A peace-loving, card-carrying social democratic, passionate environmentalist, bicycle advocate, full-time stay-at home dad, playwright, and Dutch transplant in the American heartland takes up Kendo with local “men” and is challenged to the fight of his life. This and other stories of battles and self-discovery.
A Literal Doll House
Velkommen &Welcome to everyone involved in this version of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House byMACHO GOAT. FringeArts.com/9602. This deconstruction of Ibsen’s Victorian classic A Doll House features the entire play acted out by a girl playing with literal dolls. Do not be fooled: There is more to this show than meets the eye. A struggle that rings true throughout the ages. This is not a one-woman show. Come and find out why.
желанный, Zhelannyy &Welcome to everyone involved in this production of the EveryLibrary and Love Drunk Life company. FringeArts.com/9606. The world has ended. Vodka is now made from seashells and the only music to have survived the apocalypse is Tchaikovsky and Britney Spears. The survivors must begin to build a new world. Step one: build a library? The reading of this new play is sponsored by EveryLibrary and presented by Love Drunk Life.
Добродошли, Dobrodošli &Welcome to everyone involved in this production by The Franklin Institute. FringeArts.com/9687. Visually stunning ensemble storytelling fuses with elaborate video and sound design to tell the story of Nikola Tesla’s 1893 visit to The Franklin Institute. Was Tesla mad or a prophetic visionary? Join us as we plunge into the nightmares and daydreams of history’ s most enigmatic inventor. Ages 9–99.
Pursuit of Happiness
Vitajte, Üdvözöljük, Välkommen, Dobrodošli, Benvenuta, Benvenuto &Welcome to Pavol Liska, Kelly Copper, Bence Mezei (Hungary), Ida Hellsten (Sweden), Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia), Tamás Tuza (Hungary), Giorgia Belotti (Italy), Radoslav Piovarči (Slovakia), and Iztok Kovač, Nohemi Barriuso, Luka Curk, Katarina Škaper, Atelje d.o.o., Leon Curk, Gal Škrjanec Skaberne, Špela Škulj, plus Karmen Keržar, Nina Smerkol, and Marjeta Lavrič. Nature Theater of Oklahoma / EN-KNAP Group. What is happiness? To what wild frontiers will we pursue it? To what surprising and unseemly Hollywood ending?
Bienvenida/Bienvenido & Welcome to Sasha Wolfe, Ellen Zahniser, Gem Rosenberg, and Molly Hastings. FringeArts.com/9671. A formal presentation on the Divine Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila. Forgive the lecturer for being out of sorts, it’s a weirdly stressful subject. Please consider in advance: What makes something sacred? Do you think hallucinations make you feel more lonely or less? Can divine figures be sexy?! There may be a pop quiz!
Xush kelibsiz & Welcome to Dana Suleymanova. FringeArts.com/9503. Viewers are invited to seek love advice from qupid at this interactive performance situated near the LOVE sculpture. Part awkward school play, part shoddy lemonade stand, this is a combination of advice columns, dating shows, themes around romance, and the divine in a strange whimsical experience.