Scratch Night provides a preview of a family-friendly holiday special from Brian Sanders’ JUNK

brian-sanders-junk-holiday

FringeArts’ December Scratch Night, a smorgasbord of works-in-progress by local performing artists, included a sneak peek of two highlights from the 1.1 HOLIDAY REVUE SPECIAL, this year’s all-ages seasonal offering by Brian Sanders’ JUNK.

With flawless balance and control, JUNK’s perfectly toned superstars Tommy Schimmel and Teddy Fatscher presented short but astonishing solo pieces (“Swimmer” and “Rack”) from the troupe’s critically acclaimed Patio Plastico Plus. Both are included in JUNK’s premiere holiday retrospective of vignettes from its hits of the last twenty years, excerpts from its nationally touring children’s show SKINK (recently featured at the Education Institute of New York’s Lincoln Center), and samplings of newly developed works (including Strawberry, a five-person aerial spectacle on a fruit-shaped apparatus). If the preview is any indication of the full-scale production, the 1.1 HOLIDAY REVUE SPECIAL (which is designed to run for 66 minutes, or 1.1 hours) will be yet another smash for Sanders’ cutting-edge category-defying dance/gymnastic/physical theater company.

Teddy Fatscher (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Artist)

Teddy Fatscher 

In keeping with the holiday spirit, JUNK sparkles with exuberant, witty, tour-de-force performances and creative fast-paced choreography, in a refreshing show designed to inspire adults and children alike. “What better time of year to celebrate the joy of dance and theater?” asks Sanders. “Expect some surreal fun, clever costumes and props, fantastical acrobatics and dance, and a hearty dose of comedy.” You can also expect to see snippets from such JUNK classics as SNOWBALL and Dancing Dead (my personal favorite), along with a selection of Sanders’ works made famous by the internationally renowned MOMIX, with whom he choreographed and performed for a decade.

Tommy Schimmel

Tommy Schimmel

Principal dancers Schimmel and Fatscher (who’s been with JUNK for five years) agree that what they love most about working with Sanders is how collaborative he is. According to Fatscher, “Brian respects and values our opinions and lets us express our ideas; he gives us the opportunity to create as well as to perform. We come up with the words, and he puts them together in a sentence.” Schimmel, whose favorite segment in the revue is “Swimmer” (“Every time I get to do it–one of JUNK’s oldest pieces–there’s something new to discover, to investigate, to improve, and to perfect”), also appreciates “working with props and other bodies to create an image. Brian has an idea, and with his guidance, we work together to reach the same goal. It is very rewarding to develop a piece, but even more so because of all the interaction involved between Brian and his dancers.”

In addition to Fatscher and Schimmel, the ensemble for the 1.1 HOLIDAY REVUE SPECIAL consists of Peter Jones, Julia Higdon, and Kelly Trevlyn, all of whom appeared in JUNK’s 2014 FringeArts adults-only stunner Suspended. For the upcoming holiday show, you can bring the whole family to appreciate the unsurpassed skill, beauty, and humor of Sanders and his extraordinary group. [2040 Christian St.] December 12, 2014-January 3, 2015; BrianSandersJUNK.com.

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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.