International Fringe 2016: A welcome to theater from around the world, including refugees

Anyone who says that the City of Brotherly Love is a little place squeezed between New York City and Washington, D.C., isolated from the world, clearly hasn’t attended the annual Philadelphia Fringe Festival, which has grown to include artists from 28 different countries, almost rivaling the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Here’s the latest sampling of shows, performances, playwrights, and artists from around the world. Phindie writer Henrik Eger bids all of them a hearty WELCOME to Philadelphia in their own language.

In addition to 24 countries, we followed the new Olympic tradition of including an “international refugees” section. And to honor Native Americans, we added a section for the Lakota people, as well as a section for Palestinians and Yiddish culture—opening the parade of countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

gennadi-novash_msu-dress-rehearsal_0157-1200x799

Zimbabwe-born nora chipaumire brings PORTRAIT OF MYSELF AS MY FATHER to this year’s Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Gennadi Novash

INTERNATIONAL REFUGEES

A warm welcome to all displaced populations and refugees from troubled parts of the world. Check out d1ASpORA by the TangenT Art Collaborative, whose visual meditation on global population disruption originates with stories of refugees. For details on how to explore ideological and environmental causalities of mass disruptions on your own computer or cell phone, check out personal.psu.edu/wrc11/diaspora/D1aspora. Fringe catalog p. 113.

LAKOTA PEOPLE

Taŋyáŋ yahí. Welcome to Uncharted Territories by Ian Grant. Through corrupted video stills and commentary this program articulates that the Lakota culture is obscured in the space of broadcast media. However, brief snapshots of the reservations give the Lakota people a space in a new media gallery—a more empowered form of media. Ongoing and live. For more information, click Uncharted Territories and Uncharted Territories. Fringe catalog p. 115.

PALESTINE

أهلابك. Ahlaan bik. Welcome. Humble Mumbles by Rebecca Katherine Hirsch is a bumptious queer ‘n feminist podcast of a social-psychological nature. Currently mumbling about Palestine, oppressor mentalities and omni-accusation. Reporting live from the West Bank, sometimes. Humble Mumbles has been joking about adopting humility atop defensive arrogance since 2014. Liberation through accountability, etc. For more information, click Humble Mumbles and Humble Mumbles. Fringe catalog p. 114.

YIDDISH CULTURES

באַגריסן.Bagrisn.Welcome to Barry: Mamaloshen in dance!by Asya Zlatina and dancers, a show that celebrates life, the beauty of Yiddish culture, and “Mamaloshen” through the beloved music of the Barry Sisters, and the soundtrack of many families expressed in an evening of nostalgia and an iconic sound of the past. The decimated communities of the Holocaust are not forgotten and live forever in dance. L’Chaim! For more information, click Barry: Mamaloshen in dance! Fringe catalog p. 76.

ARGENTINA

Welcome. Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater presents VIBRATO: 3 Solo Dances, created and performed by national and international dance artists Silvana Cardell, Chloe Felesina, and Laina Fischbeck, choreographed by Mariano Pattin, with live guitar music composed and performed by Christophe Gateau. For more information, click Vibrato or Group Motion. Fringe catalog p. 105.

ARMENIA

Ողջույն. Voghjuyn. Welcome, Aram Aghazarian and the entire Team Sunshine Performance Corporation team in Sincerity Project (2016). The second iteration of an audacious 24-year performance experiment captures the passage of time and its impact on the bodies and psyches of a group of individuals. Every two years, the same seven-person ensemble reassembles, engaging in a long-term process of creating and recreating a presentation of performance art, physical theater, music, ritual, and dance.  Together they piece a quilt of their real lives, memories, predictions, ultimately celebrating the achievement of the unknown dream, or mourning the loss of an unrealized future. For more information, click Sincerity Project 2016. Fringe catalog pp. 36-37.

BELGIUM

Welgekomen & Bienvenu. Welcome,Fabrizio Cassol and the entire Macbeth teamwho are presenting one of the most unusual productions of the famous Verdi opera, co-presented with Opera Philadelphia.For more information, click Macbeth. Fringe catalog p. 29 and 59.

COLOMBIA

Bienvenido. Welcome, Gabriel García Márquez, creators Eliana Fabiyi and Tanaquil Márquez, and the entire I Only Came to Use the Phone team—a devised piece, based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Márquez which grapples with ways to empower the female protagonists, balancing the integrity of original text and the desire to expose modern discrimination. For more information, click Duende. Fringe catalog p. 85.

CONGO

Kuwakaribisha & Bienvenu. Welcome,Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Faustin Linyekula, and the entire Macbeth: Third World Bunfight team who are presenting one of the most unusual productions of the famous Verdi opera, co-presented with Opera Philadelphia. In a country of multinational double-dealings, ethnic conflict, ruthless militia, blood minerals, and glittering Chinese imports, a warlord, General Macbeth, and his ambitious wife murder the king and unleash atrocities on the crumbling province that they seize. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Macbeth uses the Verdi opera (condensed to 100 minutes and infused with African rhythms) to bring themes of greed, tyranny, and corruption in postcolonial Africa to the stage. For more information, click Macbeth. Fringe catalog pp. 29 and 59.

CUBA

BienvenidosWelcome to director Jose Aviles, playwright Iraisa Reilly, andthe One Day Old team. The true story of Operación Pedro Pan told through the lens of Neverland. A young woman in search of her Cuban roots meets a refugee boy from 1962 in a dream. A story of the Cuban exile experience that remains relevant in 2016. For more information, click One Day Old. Fringe catalog p. 94.

ECUADOR

Bienvenido. Welcome, Gabriel García Márquez, creators Eliana Fabiyi and Tanaquil Márquez, and the entire I Only Came to Use the Phone team—a devised piece, based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Márquez which grapples with ways to empower the female protagonists, balancing the integrity of original text and the desire to expose modern discrimination. For more information, click Duende. Fringe catalog p. 85.

ENGLAND

Welcome to the Drowning Ophelia team and the entire Ensemble Atria and EdgerRisk Theater. Jane doesn’t know what to do with the literary character who has taken up residence in her bathtub. She doesn’t want Ophelia interrupting the obsessive order of her life with obnoxious songs. Ophelia doesn’t care about what Jane wants, only what she needs. But, how do you move on when reconciliation is not an option? For more information, click Drowning Ophelia. Fringe catalog p. 82.

Welcome to the Omeletto: Like Hamlet, Only Scrambled team and the  Mask Ensemble. Told through the lens of commedia dell’arte, the story of Hamlet gets a deconstructed re-imagining that only Ombelico Mask Ensemble can deliver—with your favorite commedia characters’ (Arlecchino, Pantelone, Capitano, and the rest) taking on the Bard. Performed in English, Italian, and French. For more information, click Omeletto. Fringe catalog p. 85.

Welcome to the Bedlam: Shakespeare in Rehab team and the Manayunk Theatre Company. This performance takes everything you know about classic theater and turns it on its head. Shakespearean Heroines are ripped out of their respective stories and thrown into a haunting, run down institution. Characters and audience alike are immersed in a world of mental health. For more information, click Bedlam. Fringe catalog p. 89.

Welcome to John Schultz and the Let’s Fuck Around With Hamlet team. For more information, click Let’s Fuck Around With Hamlet. Fringe catalog p. 93. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show will no longer be performed in the 2016 Fringe Festival.

Welcome to King John, director Dan Kern, actors Kevin Bergen, Mitchell Bloom, Carlo Campbell, Jared Michael Delaney, Adrienne Hertler, Matt Lorenz, Merci Lyons-Cox, David Pica, James A. Reilly, Raina Searles, Cathy Simpson, Sarah Stryker, Jahzeer Terrell, and Hannah Van Sciver, lighting designer Andrew Cowles, costume designer Natalia de la Torre, scenic designer Andrew Cowles, and sound composer Christopher Colucci, and Revolution Shakespeare, founded by Griffin Stanton-Ameisen.

Expect: Intrigue. Murder. War. This King John is set in a future after the collapse of civilization. A corrupt ruling class, after seizing power, finds itself embroiled in a vicious struggle for total dominance. With political relevancy that mirrors our own time, King John asks “Where do you stand?” For more information, click King John. Fringe catalog p. 100.

Welcome to the Margo Jones Syndicate in Shakespeare @ the Bar: The Taming of the Shrew. Be prepared for great plays, serious drinking, and inspiring theater. Fire up your Tinder profile (seriously) and get ready for Shakespeare @ the Bar, a no‐holds‐barred experience of Shakespeare like no other in Philadelphia! Grab a beer at City Tap House (3925 Walnut St.) and drink in The Taming of the Shrew! This lightly rehearsed production of the Bard’s most irreverent romantic comedy exposes one man’s lusty, raucous scheme to “take one for the team” and get filthy rich in the process! For more information, click Shakespeare @ the Bar. Fringe catalog p. 107.

Welcome to Benjamin Smallen in So Soon Forsaken: An R&J Story. Two households, both alike in dignity, where Friar and Nurse in love do intervene. Two lives their arbitration brings to end, but grudge and strife this loss does help to mend. What if love’s greatest tragedy was not entirely tragic? Who and what drive Romeo and Juliet’s story? For more information, click So Soon Forsaken. Fringe catalog p. 114. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show will no longer be performed in the 2016 Fringe Festival.

ETHIOPIA

እንኳንደህናመጣህ. Welcome Gizachew Habtemariam, Jace Clayton, Ben Lee, Emily Manzo, and Rocio Salcede of Prellezo,and the entire Room 21 team, including an ensemble of more than a dozen musicians, and the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, curated by Lee Tusman in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop.

Room 21 is an inspired musical response to the artworks of Room 21 at the Barnes Foundation and Albert Barnes’ extensive record collection. The actual Room 21 displays an eclectic mix of Pennsylvania German furniture, Modigliani’s painting Reclining Nude from the Back, African masks, religious works, and paintings by Barnes students. Carefully choreographed, Clayton’s concert rewards roaming through the performance, much like visitors roam through the art collection. For more information, clickRoom 21. Fringe catalog p. 35.

FRANCE

Bienvenu. Welcome, Boris Charmatz, Lois Welk, Simon Dove, Ana Jonevski, Marie Barded, Erica Battle, and the entire Explore Levée des conflits team. Presented in conjunction with the Knowing Dance More Series, The University of the Arts choreographer Boris Charmatz is heralded for his innovative and provocative post-modern choreographic work. Lois Welk, the former executive director of Dance/UP, engages Charmatz in a public conversation about artistic practice, public participation, and the evolution of a new vision for dance as a time-based visual art. For more information, click Explore Levee des conflits. Fringe catalog pp. 28, 32-33.

Bienvenu. Welcome, Jérôme Beland the entire Philadelphia Gala team. A spectacle where the act of dancing, or the act of trying to dance, is celebrated, Gala showcases the desire to dance without complexes. Twenty dancers take the stage, from professional dancers to first timers—including children, teenagers, pensioners, and people with disabilities. Interpreting a series of dances across a range of eras, their performances reveal each person’s desire to move, to strive for joy, perfection, to transform with unabashed expression. With a simple framework, like an end of year assembly, audiences become deeply connected to the individuals on stage, their dance revealing a world of their own imagination. For more information, click Gala. Fringe catalog p. 47.

Bienvenu. Welcome, Louise Bourgeois, Michelle Beshaw, Deborah Beshaw-Farrell, and the entire En Mer Avec Louise Bourgeois: A Thundering Notion puppet team. This work explores associations between Bourgeois’ biography and visual vernacular of the creator of this show. Playing with puppets, toys, and other objects, the piece will travel across time and space, moving from a small courtyard off Elfreths Alley, through the Alley to the Museum House. The piece is being developed and will be performed by sisters, Michelle Beshaw and Deborah Beshaw-Farrell. For more information, click En Mer Avec Louise Bourgeois. Fringe catalog p. 93.

Bienvenu. Welcome Silvana Cardell with choreographer Mariano Pattin and a live video stream from Buenos Aires, Chloe Felesina with poetry and live music (keyboard and voice), composed by Manfred Fischbeck. Laina Fischbeck with live music (guitar), composed and performed by Christophe Gateau, and the entire Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater Vibrato team. For more information, click Vibrato. Fringecatalog p. 105.  

Bienvenu. Welcome, Albert Camus’ The Just and the entire Übungsflugzeug Performance Art Theater. Behind the curtained window of a Moscow apartment, four terrorists plot to assassinate a tyrant. But can justice grow from the ashes of murder? Can hate be a weapon in the service of love? For more information, click The Just. Fringe catalog p. 106.  

GERMANY

Willkommen. Welcome, Herr Nietzsche, Brenna Geffers, and The Philadelphia Opera Collective in Shadow House: A man wants revenge. A woman needs answers. Two lovers meet and a divorcee hosts a garden party to discuss Nietzsche. Blurring timelines across 200 years, 11 characters’ mysteries become interlocked. The Philadelphia Opera Collective’s World Premiere uses opera and theater to craft an immersive space to explore. For more information, click Shadow House. Fringe catalog p. 94.  

Willkommen. Welcome, Der Vorfuhreffekt Theatre, Mr. Darwin, and the entire The 7-Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act cast: Charles Darwin goes out in search of the yeti. A bat tries to woo the electromagnetic spectrum. Smokey Robinson plays on the radio. For more information, click The 7-Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act. Fringe catalog p. 106.  

GREECE

Καλωσόρισμα. Kalosórisma. Welcome, Aeschylus and Eumenides; director Marcia Ferguson; costume and set designer plus choreographer Sebastienne Mundheim of White Box Theatre; and musician Patrick Lamborn performing amidst extraordinary ancient artifacts in the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: a story about mother-murder, the foundations of our juried justice system, and shifts in world order. For more information, click The Eumenides . Fringe catalog p. 106.  

IRAN

خوشآمدی. Khosh amadid. Welcome, Rumi (13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic), Leila, and all the puppets of the Pantea Production team in Silken Veils. Love, tragedy, and humor collide when Iranian émigré and bride-to-be, Darya, flees her wedding, while having flashbacks to her childhood during the Iranian Revolution, questioning: Is love worth the risk? For more information, click Silken Veils. Fringe catalog p. 101.

ITALY

Benvenuto. Welcome, Julius Caesar, Romeo Castellucci of Socíetas Raffaello Sanzio,Gianni Plazzi, Dalmazio Masini, Sergio Scarlatella, and all the ancient sculptures in Julius Caesar. Spared Parts.

In this reinvisioning of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, we meet a Julius Caesar who “speaks” only through gestures—an old Caesar, no longer possessing power, his gestures move the air and produce a sound. Mark Anthony’s funeral oration is delivered by a man without vocal chords, whose voice is produced solely from his stomach and esophagus. A third actor delivers a dialogue on the state of Rome, an endoscope inserted through his nostrils so the audience can see his vocal chords vibrating in real time. In life, in theater, what do words hide, where does their power emerge from? For more information, click Julius Caesar. Spared parts. Fringe catalog p. 55.

Benvenuto. Welcome, Paul Manganello, Filippo Mazzei, and the Fratellanza Theater Company in Zealous Whig, a show that is Italian and American, historical, hysterical, kinetic, subversive, fictional—and completely true. For more information, click Zealous Whig. Fringe catalog p. 94. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show will no longer be performed in the 2016 Fringe Festival.

JAPAN

ようこそ. Yōkoso. Welcome, Makoto Hirano and the entire Team Sunshine Performance Corporation in The Sincerity Project (2016). The second iteration of an audacious 24-year performance experiment captures the passage of time and its impact on the bodies and psyches of a group of individuals. Every two years, the same seven-person ensemble reassembles, engaging in a long-term process of creating and recreating a presentation of performance art, physical theater, music, ritual, and dance.  Together they piece a quilt of their real lives, memories, predictions, ultimately celebrating the achievement of the unknown dream, or mourning the loss of an unrealized future.For more information, click Sincerity Project. Fringe catalog pp. 36-37.

ようこそ. Yōkoso. Welcome,Ryuzo Fukuhara in RHIZOMAS, Improvisational Music and Movement, performing in the traditional style of Japanese Butoh, live improvisational musicians connect with the space and audience using concepts based on rhizomes, a subterranean stem system that grows shoots and roots at serendipitous intervals.For more information, click Rhizomas. Fringe catalog p. 99.

MEXICO

Bienvenido. Welcome, Matador and the Ethos Physical Theatre Company. A Mexican fairy tale about a fearsome Matador and his Godless bull. The show features an impressive display of physical bad-assery including static trapeze, nunchuck dance, and acrobatics inspired by Lucha Libre. This impossible story of romance, trust and belief proves that love really is the bloodiest sport of all. For more information, click Matador. Fringe catalog p. 114.

ROMANIA

Bine ati venit. Welcome, Eugène Ionesco, Tina Brock, Bob Schmidt, and Tomas Dura, in The Chairs by The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC), Philadelphia’s only surreal theater. Ionesco’s hilarious, controversial, absurdist classic features an elderly couple playing games in a lighthouse at the edge of a watery nighttime universe: painstaking theatrical preparations welcome imaginary guests, one delivering life’s enduring secret. For more information, click The Chairs. Fringe catalog p. 72. See Phindie review.

RUSSIA

добро пожаловать. Dobro pozhalovat. Welcome, Asya Zlatina in Barry: Mamaloshen in dance!—a show that celebrates life, the beauty of Yiddish culture and “Mamaloshen” through the beloved music of the Barry Sisters. The soundtrack of so many families expressed in an evening of nostalgia and an iconic sound of the past. The decimated communities of the Holocaust are not forgotten and live forever in dance. L’Chaim! For more information, click Barry: Mamaloshen in dance!. Fringe catalog p. 56.

SÉNÉGAL

Merhbe and Bienvenu. Welcome, Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye aka Kaolack and the entire Portrait Of Myself As My Father team. A deeply personal work, dancer-choreographer and Zimbabwe-native nora chipaumire lost her father as a child and was raised by women. With Portrait Of Myself As My Father, she celebrates and critiques masculinity: its presence, presentation, and representation. She considers the African male through the lens of cultural traditions, colonialism, Christianity, liberation struggles—and how these ideas impact the African family and society. For more information, click Portrait of Myself as My Father. Fringe catalog p. 53.

SERBIA

Добродошли. Dobrodošli. Welcomeconductor Premil Petrović and the entire Macbeth: Third World Bunfight team. For more information, click Macbeth. Fringe catalog p. 59.

SOUTH AFRICA

Welkom. Welcome, singer-actor Owen Metsileng, opera singer Nobulumko Mngxekeza, singer Otto Maidi, and the entire Macbeth: Third World Bunfight team who are presenting one of the most unusual productions of the famous Verdi opera, co-presented with Opera Philadelphia. In a country of multinational double-dealings, ethnic conflict, ruthless militia, blood minerals, and glittering Chinese imports, a warlord, General Macbeth, and his ambitious wife murder the king and unleash atrocities on the crumbling province that they seize. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Macbeth uses the Verdi opera (condensed to 100 minutes and infused with African rhythms) to bring themes of greed, tyranny, and corruption in post-colonial Africa to the stage. For more information, click Macbeth. Fringe catalog pp. 29 and 59.

SPAIN

Bienvenido. Welcome, fashion designer Rocio Salcedaand the entire Room 21 team, performing at the Barnes Foundation, conducted by Jace Clayton. This performance presents an inspired musical response to the artworks of Room 21 at the Barnes Foundation and Albert Barnes’ extensive record collection. The actual Room 21 displays an eclectic mix of Pennsylvania German furniture, Modigliani’s painting Reclining Nude from the Back, African masks, religious works, and paintings by Barnes students. Composer Jace Clayton (also known as DJ /rupture) plays on ideas of adjacency between vastly different artists and cultures. Carefully choreographed, Clayton’s concert rewards roaming through the performance, much like visitors roam through the art collection. For more information, click Room 21. Fringe catalog p. 35.  

Bienvenido. Welcome, Federico García Lorca and the entire Duende Cycle, in Bodas de Sangre (The Blood Wedding)—the classic tale retold in modern-day Miami: a bride escapes with her lover into the swamp on her wedding day (performed in Spanish and English). For more information, click Bodas de Sangre. Fringe catalog p. 85.

SWEDEN

Välkommen. Welcome, August Strindberg and the Wild Plum Productions team in Say No More, tweaking Strindberg’s The Stronger, the classic play of two women (the speaker and the listener) locked in battle over one man. Who is stronger? Speech or silence? For more information, click Say No More. Fringe catalog p. 100.

VENEZUELA

Bienvenido. Welcome, Federico García Lorca and the entire Duende Cycle, in Bodas de Sangre (The Blood Wedding)—the classic tale retold in modern day Miami: a bride escapes with her lover into the swamp on her wedding day (performed in Spanish and English). For more information, click Bodas de Sangre. Fringe catalog p. 85.

ZIMBABWE

Mauya. Welcome, nora chipaumire [sic] and the entire Portrait Of Myself As My Father team. She never knew her father, now she will invent him. Within a boxing ring, and surrounded by spectators, she will tether him to her, as he becomes all she wants him to be, all that she envisions a man to be, and she will pressure him to his breaking point. A deeply personal work, dancer-choreographer and Zimbabwe-native nora chipaumire lost her father as a child and was raised by women. She celebrates and critiques masculinity: its presence, presentation, and representation. She considers the African male through the lens of cultural traditions, colonialism, Christianity, liberation struggles—and how these ideas impact the African family and society.

Physically and emotionally tough, with humor, guile, fashion, and rage, chipaumire makes her subject a man who can embody all men, embody the ancestral as well as the modern—a man both strong and fragile, smart and beautiful, a man between worlds. For more information, click Portrait of Myself as my Father. Fringe catalog p. 53.

Dance, Features, Fringe Festival, Theater - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , - no comments

About the author

Henrik Eger

HENRIK EGER, editor of Drama Around the Globe. Bilingual playwright, author of Metronome Ticking. Born and raised in Germany. Ph.D. in English, University of Illinois, Chicago. German translator of Martin Luther King, Jr’s Nobel Peace Prize mail. Producer-director: Multilingual Shakespeare, London. Retired professor of English and Communication who taught in six countries on three continents, including four universities and one college in the U.S. Author of four college text books. Longtime Philadelphia theatre correspondent for AAJT, the world’s largest Jewish theatre website. Articles published in Classical Voice, Los Angeles; Kayhan International, Tehran, Iran; Indian Express, Mumbai, India; The Jewish Forward, New York; Philadelphia Jewish Voice, Phindie, and Broad Street Review, Philadelphia; The Mennonite, Tucson; and New Jersey Stage. Contact: HenrikEger@gmail.com