The 2017 Fringe Festival is the fourth headquartered in the FringeArts’ waterfront arts center. While FringeArts continues to evolve and expand its year-round presence in Philadelphia, the Fringe Festival remains a mainstay of the city’s arts and culture sector. The success of the first Fringe Festival in 1997 was made possible by the serendipitous convergence of adventurous and visionary artists: Pig Iron Theatre Company, New Paradise Laboratories, and Thaddeus Phillips, to name a few. Since then, these artists have traveled the world to develop their voices and refine their artistic sensibilities. But Philadelphia remains their home, and no event makes that more apparent than the 2017 Fringe Festival.
The 21st Fringe Festival is an affirmation of the artistic relationships FringeArts has cultivated since the organization’s’ inception. Thaddeus Phillips returns to Philadelphia from Colombia with his first show made for children and adults alike, replete with his signature sense of magical stagecraft, entitled A Billion Nights on Earth. The fearless Pig Iron Theatre Company premieres its largest show yet, the stage epic A Period of Animate Existence that contemplates climate change and extinction of our species. New Paradise Laboratories continues their journey with the Kissimmee Family in Hello Blackout! and Geoff Sobelle creates community with his newest (and most ambitious to date) work HOME.
“All these artists – myself included – ended up in Philly for a reason. We wanted to make work and service the community. It was a frontier, a city that had your back and stayed out of your way,” says FringeArts President and Producing Director. “It made it easy to make the kind of work that we wanted to make.”
The artists in this year’s Festival contemplate community and interconnectedness through their work in vastly different ways. For We Shall Not Be Moved, team of rock-star collaborators including Bill T. Jones, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Raphael Xavier dive into the legacy of Philadelphia’s troubled past in the wake of the 1985 MOVE bombing in West Philadelphia in a new opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia for their inaugural O17 Festival. Music-maker Michael Kiley, on the other hand, is exploring the power of choral voice and movement in Close Music for Bodies. In Ghost Rings, creator/director Tina Satter of Half Straddle tells a tale of friendship and the intricacies of family-making, while in 17c, Big Dance Theater mines the theatricality of the diary of Samuel Pepys, whose obsessive journaling serves as a startling precursor to our social media culture. Even the Rosas show A Love Supreme, choreographed by the legendary Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis, has hometown roots: it is set to the album of the same name by Philadelphia hero John Coltrane, a contemplation on divine love.
“These artists are asking big questions, about life and love and connection,” Stuccio continues. “Thaddeus, for instance, who was in our first Festival, he’s a father now. He’s making shows culled from reading his children bedtime stories.”
FringeArts Curated programming is central to the 2017 Fringe Festival, in which hundreds of artists fill Philadelphia’s public and private spaces with original art in the true spirit of the international “fringe” movement. This 17-day celebration of art-making offers an unparalleled opportunity to see a cross-section of the world’s greatest arts experimenters at one time, in one city. The Fringe Festival attracts tens of thousands of attendees each year, hungry for artistic experiences that break the mold, push boundaries, and advance the international conversation surrounding performance.
THIS YEAR’S CURATED DANCE & DANCE-THEATRE LINE-UP
A Love Supreme
Salva Sanchis & Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker/Rosas
Four dancers surrender themselves to Coltrane’s spiritual ode to divine love, his 1965 jazz masterpiece A Love Supreme (Sept 22-24) in the newest piece from the acclaimed Belgian dance company Rosas, led by famed choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. The album was revolutionary for its carefully balanced interplay between improvisation and structure, meticulous form and raw energy, and the powerful blend of styles expressed by its four soloists. More than ten years after its initial creation, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis reworked A Love Supreme into a full-evening program danced by four new, young dancers. Each dancer takes on the specific style of one musician and his instrument, creating a strikingly vital performance that moves to the energy and intricacies of the original ensemble. TICKETS
Big Dance Theater
An ensemble work of dance, theater, and music that dismantles the historical figure of Samuel Pepys, a 17th century man who sang, strummed, shopped, strove, bullied, and groped—and recorded all of it in his diary. Using his diaries, Margaret Cavendish’s 17th century radical feminist play The Convent of Pleasure, three centuries of marginalia, and the ongoing annotations of web-based devotees, the performance reveals the making and unmaking of our subjective past. TICKETS
Declassified Memory Fragment
Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project
FringeArts – Extended Festival
Declassified Memory Fragment by Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project (Oct 12-14) is a work of dance, live concert, and theater created as an open letter on African society: its lifestyles, cultures, beauty, complexities, and politics. Led by an all-male cast from Burkina Faso, with an electrifying live band that at times supports and at other times takes center stage with the dancers, Declassified Memory Fragment caustically and humorously stages a two-tier society where craving for power simultaneously creates and unravels friendships. The act of “declassifying” is a process of revealing, exposing what is hidden from view and obscured, not spoken. Declassified Memory Fragment responds to life in countries—specifically Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe—where everyday life is subjected to restrictions and cultural expectations of secrecy and privacy, even within the family. Like the unpredictable circulation of power and the resulting tension, mixed with the complexities of human beings living their lives, the performance ranges from tremendous energy to haunting quiet, from beauty to terror. TICKETS
- Ephemerality: Dances In Time – a showcase for dance works created by Muhlenberg College student and faculty choreographers, April 16-18. - April 11, 2021
- Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series presents nia love- UnderCurrents, April 3 - March 31, 2021
- The Annenberg Center Presents Rennie Harris Puremovement in a Livestreamed Performance, April 1 - March 22, 2021