FringeArts’ new venue on Delaware Ave was created to bring the kind of innovative dance and theater performances that are the hallmark of the annual Fringe Festival to Philadelphia audiences year-round. This weekend’s performance, ROCCO by ICKamsterdam, is ideally suited to the theatrical space.
Created by acclaimed Dutch choreographers Emio Greco and Pieter Scholten, ROCCO pits male dancer-fighters against one another in a suite of choreographed bouts, set to electronic music and the sound of boxing bells. Set in a stylized boxing ring with seating on three sides, the show promises to take us “to physical and psychological extremes of love and brutality”.
The creators were inspired by the 1960 Italian film Rocco and His Brothers, so the dancers in the ring are brothers and antagonists, struggling on both physical and spiritual planes. To Philadelphia audiences, the title will also be reminiscent Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky series, the seventh installment of which is now being filmed in the city. Boxing movies have won more academy awards than any other type of sports movie. As the Rocky series’ enduring appeal demonstrates, there is something captivating in the choreography of boxing.
“When you watch the footage of Muhammad Ali, it resembles the amorous game of attracting and rejecting one another,” says co-creator Pieter Scholten. “We wanted to investigate the aesthetics of beating the living daylights out of one another.”
To round out the experience, Peter Woolsey, executive chef of the onsite restaurant and bar La Peg, has created a special three-course menu “VS.”, available before or after the show.
VS. MENU AT LA PEG
Round 1: Tartiflette vs. Pasta Carbonara
Potatoes, onion, lardons, Reblochon vs. House-made pasta, bacon, parmesan, egg
Round 2: Salmon vs. Short Rib
Salmon, red wine sauce, seared Brussels sprouts vs. Red wine braised short rib, rosemary roasted potatoes
Round 3: Vanilla vs. Chocolate
Vanilla pot de drème, chocolate straw vs. Molten chocolate Cake, vanilla sauce
[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] February 27-28, 2015; fringearts.org.