SAM TOWER + ENSEMBLE explore a haunted house inside the body of a woman with StrangeTenants, Sept 7-17

SAM TOWER + ENSEMBLE returns to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival with Strange Tenants, a psycho thriller for the stage, inspired by the cinematic style of Alfred Hitchcock. Evoking classic melodrama and absurd cult horror films such as Hausu (1977), this surreal feminist mystery probes our contemporary fears of living inside a reproductive body.

“Four estranged friends meet in hopes of a pleasant reunion, but are faced with a mysterious disappearance. Childhood secrets are guarded and promises are betrayed. Hitchcock is evoked. Hypnotizing movement and a blistering soundscape take the audience on a sinister adventure in this dance theatre psycho thriller.”

Strange Tenants was written by Jeremy Gable, based on material developed by the core co-devisors, Nia Benjamin, Merri Rashoyan, Bi Jean Ngo, and Tess Kunik. This core group of four performs the 90 minute production in a highly choreographed style, directed by Sam Tower. The audience can also expect to find additional appearances from Eliana Fabiyi and Katie Croyle nestled in the production’s creepiest corners. Composer Alec MacLaughlin’s scorching sound design heightens the cinematic atmosphere. Strange Tenants will transform the eerie basement of Power Plant Productions, the same venue where 2015 Festival hit, 901 Nowhere Street, was created. Kevin Meehan’s surreal set installation places audiences on all sides of the sprawling performance space and Sam Tower’s costume design transports the audience with all-too-resonant memories of mid-century Americana. Alyssandra Docherty lights this liminal lake house with cinematic scene shifts.

Darkly comedic horror meets tightly crafted physical composition to create this suspenseful psychological journey of four women whose lives are not their own. The structurally sparse, but sensory-rich performance space shifts effortlessly through flashbacks, hallucinations, and rhythmic disruptions as our heroines struggle to find purpose, fulfillment and passion in a world that relentless strips them of agency. Strange Tenants includes material and concepts created during its early workshop phase in 2016 by Katie Croyle, Anna Szapiro, Emilie Krause, Merri Rashoyan, and Nia Benjamin.

Sam Tower + Ensemble assembles to develop new performances on a project-by-project basis under the guidance and vision of physical theatre director, Sam Tower. We produce collaboratively generated world premiere plays and dances that amplify the voices of female performers. ST+E is dedicated to providing Philadelphia audiences with otherworldly, multisensory theatrical experiences that challenge imbalances in gender representation though adventurous and thrilling storytelling. We believe the theatre to be a social experience – a way to ask complicated questions of humanity and reconnect people with their senses. The performers in our ensemble take a front seat in the artistic process by creating original devised material and characters that are then written into a theatrical script by our resident playwright Jeremy Gable. Our style is athletic and surreal, utilizing physical storytelling, dance and musical elements to bring our narratives to life. Our work enthralls both mature and young adult audiences in the Philadelphia area and has been presented by FringeArts, Barn Arts Collective, and Bryn Mawr College. Additionally, our performances have been featured in FringeArts’ Scratch Night, Headlong’s First Friday, InHale Performance Series, 5×7 Space, Nice & Fresh, SoLow Festival, Collage Festival, 4 Weeks in January, PhillyMag’s ThinkFest, and others. In 2016, we joined Headlong Dance Theater’s Fiscally Sponsored Incubated Artist Program. Founded by Sam Tower in 2012, recent works include Particular Risk (Bryn Mawr College 2017), Nowhere Fast (BRAT Productions co-pro presented by FringeArts 2016), 901 Nowhere Street (Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2015).

Strange Tenants
SAM TOWER + ENSEMBLE
Thursday, 9/7 at 9pm
Friday, 9/8 at 9pm
Sunday, 9/10 at 7pm
Monday, 9/11 at 9pm
Tuesday, 9/12 at 9pm
Wednesday 9/13 at 9pm
Thursday 9/14 at 9pm
Friday 9/15 at 9pm
Sunday 9/17 at 7pm
Power Plant Productions Basement,233 North Bread Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
All Performances are $20
http://fringearts.com/event/strange-tenants-9/

 

CO-CREATORS/PERFORMERS
Nia Benjamin………………………….…….…….. Enid
Bi Jean Ngo*………….……………………….. Honey
Tess Kunik……………………………………….. Faye
Merri Rashoyan…………………..…… Shannon-Lee
Katie Croyle…………………..………………… Natalie
Eliana Fabiyi………………….……..….……….. Crow

CREATIVE TEAM
Director…………………….…………… Sam Tower
Playwright………………………….…. Jeremy Gable
Dramaturg………………………………. Katie Croyle
Original Music & Sound Design… Alec MacLaughlin
Set Design…………….….…………… Kevin Meehan
Lighting Design…..……….….. Alyssandra Docherty
Costume Design…………………………… Sam Tower
Production Stage Manager.……..….. Maya Neville
Assistant Stage Manager…………. Franny Mestrich
Associate Producer…………….….…. Eliana Fabiyi
Sound Engineer………………..……..… Sam Rosen

*appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association All material generated collaboratively with the ensemble.