Theater

The best source for independent coverage of Philadelphia theater.

FANDO Y LIS (Emily Schuman): Fringe Review 81

Fernando Arrabal’s FANDO Y LIS stands as an exemplar of mid-20th century modernism, alongside other practitioners of the Theater of the Absurd.

IN THE PONY PALACE/ FOOTBALL (Half Saddle): Fringe Review 80

With dialogue like “I thought this player was a golden unicorn in the last game” the presentation is recognizable, but slightly askew, and ten times more fun

SKIN IN THE GAME (Foreverlore): Fringe Review 70

Past mistakes haunt the promising futures of three underprivileged high school seniors when a strange benefactoroffers a full scholarship for the winner of a unspecified competition on a remote island.

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK (Silver Stage Company): Fringe Review 69

As a culture, we are fascinated by celebrities’ elusive personal lives. Silver Stage Company’s BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK questions the responsibility we bestow on Hollywood stars, especially actors…

LIVING IN EXILE: A RETELLING OF THE ILIAD (Philadelphia Experimental Theatre Ensemble): Fringe Review 68

LIVING IN EXILE presents a compelling reinterpretation of the Trojan War; playwright Jon Lipsky’s script draws directly upon the Homeric tradition of oral recitation.

WHITE RABBIT, RED RABBIT (Nassim Soleimanpour, performed by Jennifer Lynn): Fringe Review 31.2

Driving to work one morning, I’d heard WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn mention she’d be hosting the performance of WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT. I experienced an immediate “I wonder what this disembodied voice will look like in real life” moment.

PASSPORT (IshowNY Productions & Yajaira Paredes): Fringe Review 67

PASSPORT shows how not being understood can turn a person into a non-person, who can therefore be subjected to inhumane abuse.

PETER PAN IS DEAD (Brandon Monokian): Fringe Review 65

The enthusiasm of this production is infectious; Fringe exists for productions just like it.

BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (Temple Theaters): Fringe Review 61.2

Throughout, the play is ridden with fearful moments, guilty consciences, and serious reflections of what life may be like for creatures being surrounded by uneasiness and pain.

Aaron Cromie with puppets in Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen’s THE BODY LAUTREC (Photo credit: www.plate3photography.com)

THE BODY LAUTREC (Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen): Fringe Review 53.2

Aaron Cromie’s good-natured portrayal reflects the real Lautrec, who retained his artist’s eye and famed geniality even as he joined his friends in their sad retreat into alcoholism and the dementia of syphilis.

THE YELLOW WALLPAPER (Wild Plum Productions): Fringe Review 63

Wild Plum Productions’ abridged staging of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER succeeds in capturing the chills and insight of the original work.

BY YOU THAT MADE ME, FRANKENSTEIN (Philadelphia Opera Collective): 2014 Fringe Review 51.2

This is an opera about monsters—the Frankenstein of the title, a monster we know well from films if not from literature, and the ways in which people become monsters.

BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (Temple Theaters): Fringe Review 61.1

Everything about BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO asserts the production as one of the best works in this year’s Fringe.

SISTERS OF ELLERY HOLLOW BY STEPHEN SPOTSWOOD (RHolt Productions): Fringe Review 60

The show, which is all about loss and violence in a dark corner of the world, is too bright – it has no real darkness to it at all

Give the rhinos a chance: Interview with the actors of Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS

I asked cast members of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC), Philadelphia’s absurdist theatre (since 2006), founded by artistic director Tina Brock, what Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS brought up for them as actors and as people. The range of responses is as astounding as this production. A big thank you to everyone who participated in this Phindie interview.

(L-R) Bob Schmidt, Michael Dura, Tina Brock (front), Tomas Dura and David Stanger in Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros. Photo Credit: Johanna Austin (www.austinart.org)

On becoming a RHINOCEROS: Interview with director Tina Brock 

Tina Brock, writer, actor, founder and producing artistic director of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC) since 2006—Philadelphia’s only absurdist theatre company—holds degrees from the University of Maryland and West Chester University, works as a Standardized Patient Trainer at the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, and makes the impossible possible, year after year, with some of the most thought provoking and unusual productions.

Kate Raines in THE BODY LAUTREC © Jacques-Jean Tiziou / www.jjtiziou.net”

Nudity or Crudity: a conversation with Mary Tuomanen about THE BODY LAUTREC

I asked Tuomanen, who directed the piece, to talk about The Body Lautrec. On extremely short notice, she agreed (“Aaron called me, said someone was upset about Lautrec and you wanted to ask me some questions.”) We talk about filth, exploitation, agency, and other uplifting stuff.

THE ORGASM CHRONICLES (OneTaste Philly): Fringe Review 59

Dramatic narrators voice acutely detailed stories of sexual exploits, dating disasters/successes, and intimate gatherings.

Leah waits with me outside of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's RHINOCEROS. Phindie's Official Fringe Bike Tour

Fringe Bike Tour Was Awesome: Three shows, twelve bikes, dinner, and some rides

“Your little ducks,” Leah says, as we look over our shoulders at the line of weaving their way south on 21st, “they’re all in a row.”

BROKEN WING (Pantea Productions): Fringe Review 29.2

The timely BROKEN WING, offered to the FringeArts festival in an beautifully executed performance by Pantea Productions, tells the story of a brash American photographer (Bob Stineman) who, while traveling in Iran, sleeps with his host’s young wife Arezoo.