Mike Durkin’s 10 Fringe Picks: Fringe-tastic and great-image choices from The Renegade Company director

The Hunchback of Notre Dame…A Mute Play. Movement by Mason Rosenthal in collaboration with the ensemble, original composition by Joo Won Park and Adam Vidiksis. Incorporates visual elements created with Le Puppet Regime. Features Doug Greene, Dan Higbee, Shamus Hunter McCarty, Lee Minora, Eric Scotolati, Steve Wright, and Anna Zaida Szapiro. 6 pm, September 11-22 at First Presbyterian [21st and Walnut].
Phindie asked Mike Durkin to give his picks for the Fringe. Mike created last yea’s Fringe classic Bathtub Moby-Dick and…. well, we’ll let him tell it…

Hi…Hello…How are you? I am Mike Durkin, artistic director of The Renegade Company. I am also the creator and director of the Neighborhood Fringe Show, The Hunchback of Notre Dame…A Mute Play, which you should totally see. A description: What happens when we let obsession pulsate through our veins? Are we capable of denouncing our beliefs for the sake of lust? Inspired by the silent films of the 1920’s and told through the deafened and disfigured perspective of Quasimodo, Renegade will transform Victor Hugo’s novel into a nightmarish expressionist landscape begging the question, what does it mean to be a monster? [details]

We don’t see Fringe shows before we decide which ones to attend, so how do we choose? I break down my picks for the Neighborhood Fringe into two categories: Fringe-tastic, and Guide Image. Fringe-tastic are those that embrace the festival, try new ways to story-tell and create an exciting audience experience. The Guide Image picks are picked solely on their image in the guide, I did not read the description. It’s a great way to choose. Here they are in no particular order:


1. SLIDESHOW by Smokey Scout Productions. The premise seems really interesting, a call-back to those projector slideshows some of us grew up with. The fringe-iness factor, it is performed in multiple venues from dance studio, to an apartment, to the on the water exhibit-Wetland. fringearts.com/event/slideshow-2014-09-20.

Photo by Deb Crocker.
Photo by Deb Crocker.

2. Mirroring Sky- A Soundscape by InVersion Theatre. Wallace Stevens and Philadelphia. A perfect mash-up. Fringe-iness factor, either a guided tour, or experiencing the soundscape on your own through the streets of Philadelphia on your mobile device. fringearts.com/event/mirroring-sky-a-soundscape-09-13-14/


3. Would I Lie To You? by RealLivePeople. Admit it, we all lie. The dancers of RealLivePeople created a work about whether they feel their lives would be different if they were honest vs. lying. The fringe-iness factor, using lies audience members tell them to craft an improvised set of movements. fringearts.com/event/would-i-lie-to-you-09-10-14. For more information on their process, and to donate towards their IndieGoGo campaign: indiegogo.com/projects/would-i-lie-to-you#home.


4. Deep Blue Sleep by Found Theater Company. Dreams, lullabies, pirates, and the sea! Found gets a little naughty-cal this fringe and is cooking up a nice blend of their music-infused productions and a dream like landscape. Fringe-iness factor, a process-driven company with their innovative use of relationships to the audience and storytelling. fringearts.com/event/deep-blue-sleep-14.


5. Anna K by Chris Davis. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy contemporized in an apartment. Done and done. Plus it is being performed in the same apartment as last year’s Bathtub Moby-Dick that Renegade created. Fringe-iness factor, taking something as iconic as Anna Karenina and exploring it through a contemporary lens in an apartment. fringearts.com/event/anna-k.

Ama Bollinger stars in Chris Davis’s ANNA K (Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist)
Photo credit: Chris Davis.

Guide Image Picks

1. Hansel and Gretel by Children’s Opera Box. Something is rotten in the state of that stew. Old woman condemns younger girl. Younger girl grimaces. Maybe because the stew is so tough that she needs an overly large spoon to stir the pot is why the girl is upset. Let’s hope so. fringearts.com/event/hansel-and-gretel-2.

2. V by Butter and Serve. Stabbing a stick of butter may seem wasteful, but I imagine it to be a part of a dough to make pretzels. I hope this piece is about pretzel making, I hope they serve buttery pretzels. Soft pretzels, not those hard pretzels. fringearts.com/event/v-3.


3. Kim Cole’s…But Wait There’s More by Kim Coles. Hopefully it is really with Kim Coles. Remember Living Single? Remember In Living Color? Yes, yes I do. Sign me up. Hopefully the set is dressed in a purple curtain and Kim Coles enters through a cardboard TV set. fringearts.com/event/kim-coles-oh-but-wait-theres-more-3.


4. Resurrection Room by Gunnar Montana. I am an alien from the planet Pink. Or maybe I am a paint monster/cyborg that is invading the United States? fringearts.com/event/resurrection-room-25.

resurrection room

5. The Story of You by Brian Kelly. The guy looks like Willem Dafoe. I like Willem Dafoe. Sold. fringearts.com/event/the-story-of-you.


FringeArts’ 2014 Philadelphia Fringe Festival runs September 5-21, 2014; fringearts.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.