NO PLACE LIKE (Kaleid Theater): Fringe Review 21

Pre-production photo of Kaleid’s NO PLACE LIKE (Photo credit: Valerie Giacobbe)

Pre-production photo of Kaleid’s NO PLACE LIKE (Photo credit: Valerie Giacobbe)

Although it’s listed in the Theater section of the Neighborhood Fringe catalogue, Kaleid’s NO PLACE LIKE is more accurately an Interdisciplinary work, with the emerging company’s signature combination of movement, spoken word, projected text, and music. Part performance piece and part group therapy session, the self-devised offering is a soul-baring exposé of the growing pains of real people, in which an all-female ensemble of five creators/performers (Jess Brownell, Nina Giacobbe, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, Rae Bradley, and Samantha Rose Schwab) explores the concept of “home” through memorable events from their own personal backgrounds.

The changing moods of the individual and group vignettes range from nostalgic, to poetic, to painful, as they reminisce about the joys of international travel and religious holidays spent with the family, about the homelessness, eating disorders, and sexual abuse that scarred them, and about their optimism, future expectations, and healing through love and sound relationships. At nearly two hours with no intermission, and multiple stories presented by each of the women and en masse, the work—directed by Sarah Mitteldorf (who does not perform but whose memories are interpreted by her company-mates)—could benefit from some editing, to zero-in on their most compelling experiences. But Kaleid’s collective impulse to face life’s challenges with creativity resonated with the audience, as did the mutual support of these young artists, who clearly understand and relate to each other’s problems. [CHI Movement Art Center, 1316 S. 9th St.] September 5-6, 2014; http://fringearts.com/event/no-place-like-3/.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.