Where shame and pleasure intersect – Chelsea & Magda at FringeArts

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Innovative Philadelphia-based performance duo Chelsea & Magda bring their newest performance The Shame Symposium to FringeArts June 9-12. This dance-theater exposé of our most private selves takes place at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.). Tickets cost between $15 and $29 and are available by phone at 215-413-1318 or online at FringeArts.com.

Chelsea & Magda embrace their shame to present whole, complicated, terrifying visions of themselves and their collaborators. Not a humiliating and self-hating shame pit, The Shame Symposium explores the pleasure that hides at the core of shame, and reveals what happens when people stop avoiding the less-than-ideal versions of themselves.

“We are interested in shame that is linked to pleasure and reveals something about the personality that culture condemns,” Magda San Millan told us. “Is there an aspect of your  identity that causes you pleasure and shame? Let’s look at that. Let’s celebrate that. Because when we do we are going to see your full flawed and complex self onstage. And we are going  to break the cycle of idealization to shame to idealization to shame.”

Chelsea and Magda collaborated with photographer Jaime Alvarez to investigate how shame and pleasure can be documented simultaneously. Eliciting the help of friends, family, and artistic colleagues, they have developed a series of “shame portraits,” which will be on display at FringeArts and will feature in the performance.

“We have the participants answer a series of writing prompts, asking them to list personality aspects about themselves that either they think are true, or others have said to them,” Chelsea Murphy said of creating the shame portraits. “Then we work with them to pick the aspect that gives them that shame/pleasure cake.”

This Philadelphia duo started collaborating in 2012, and has quickly become a Philadelphia favorite. FringeArts previously presented The Vulgar Early Works in February of 2015, which critic Julius Ferraro described as “smart comedy mixed with a deeply accomplished dance/movement sense; ironic, self-aware pontification; and a thick slather of fresh, crisp feminist sensibility.” The Shame Symposium is a world-premiere presentation.

Chelsea & Magda have been creating and performing together since 2012 while studying at the Headlong Performance Institute in Philadelphia. Their genre of work is described as “somewhere between TED Talk, modern dance, therapeutic seminar, stand up comedy, rock concert and abstract theater.”  More about Chelsea & Magda  can be found at their website http://www.everybodygetinthecar.com.