Fringe preview: Darkness on the edge of acrobatics

the-edge-almanac“Being the primary caretaker for my life-partner starting at the age of 24 made it challenging to relate to those around me, especially when I didn’t see many other people my age going through serious life changes in that way” says Desirée Hall, co-lead artist of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre’s 2019 Fringe Festival show The Edge. “Sometimes it feels like cancer spreads onto me, but then I realize, I can’t allow that–I have a choice, she doesn’t.”

The Edge considers how we move on from trauma, even as it threatens to consume us? A brand new work lead by Hall and Mia Donata Rocchio, it features an ensemble of six acrobatic performers embodying physicality based on interviews with the loved ones of the lead artists dealing with cancer, Alzheimers, and more. 

The sticky unknown between life and death is an uncharted land of high extremes. These chaotic realities conjure acrobatic feats infused with horror and farcical comedy. Through video, acrobatic dance, and live music, brave characters unearth how sanity is found when stability tempts desertion. This original piece reveals relationships between sufferers of debilitating diseases and their caretakers. It’s a kinetic navigation of grief, the balance point between vitality and decay, and the slaphappy effect of unusual routines.

“Making this piece enabled me to empathize with [my partner] in a new, more objective way,” says Hall. “I was able to see the hope, growth and change of perspective within and underneath the pain and fear, and that moved me in a very special way. I have no doubt that it will affect the audience in the same way.”

After offering Fringe hits Exile 2588, Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, and Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn in the past three Fringe Festivals, The Edge is the first Almanac project lead by the company’s associate artists. It features performances from some of the region’s most exciting circus and theater artists, including associate artists Jessica Adams and Christine Morano. The piece will feature live, original music by Austin Blakely, who uses synthesizers and digital production techniques to create a sequence of rhythms through real time collaboration.

The piece  runs for eighteen performances August 27–September 12, 2019, at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia.

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