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Swarthmore in Philly Fringe: A Guide to Upcoming Shows and Events

in Around Campus/Campus Journal by
        The Life Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is back! And just like every year, the theater, music, dance and general performance lovers around campus swear up and down that this year, they’re going to see everything.
Or if not everything, at least those five shows that they know someone is in or that they heard were really good.
Or if not those shows, then at least… something?
It’s easy for the Live Arts and Fringe to slip by. It’s also difficult to manage the huge list of available shows! For those who do want to flip through the magazine, titled, “Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe,” and featuring an adorable child standing beside a huge duck mascot head, the magazines are available across from the mailboxes in Parish. For everyone else, I’ve compiled a list of shows that Swarthmore students might, for a variety of reasons, find interesting.
The festival, which is a collection of new and established theater, dance, and music groups, runs from September 1 through September 23, and features plays, comedy, improv, dance, music, visual art and film, and all manner of combinations of those genres.
Tickets are usually cheap. Tickets for the Live Arts Festival shows are $18 for students or people under 25 years old. Tickets for Fringe shows tend to be $10-20, and students or people under 25 years old get a five dollar discount if the ticket price is $15 or more.
It is generally wise to purchase tickets in advance, online at www.livearts-fringe.orgor by calling the Box Office at 215-413-1318. If the show is not sold out, tickets can be bought at the door within 30 minutes of the show. Most venues only accept cash.What: “Zero Cost House.” The piece, which focuses on “3/11… the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima” and a man who declares himself Prime Minister of Japan, is a “time- and space-bending autobiographical production about drastic relocations, rereading “Walden,” remaking government, and the freedom and heaviness of that moment when what’s impossible becomes concrete.” (Livearts website).
Who: “Zero Cost House” is by the Pig Iron Theater Company and Toskhiki Okada. Pig Iron Theater Company was founded in 1995 by Swarthmore grads, and is one of the most astounding, innovative and hilarious groups in Philly today.
This show is directed by Dan Rothenberg ’95 and stars Alex Torra, who directed last year’s acting thesis, “American Buffalo,” and Dito van Reigersberg ’94 (van Reigersberg performed in Olde Club as Martha Graham-Cracker several years back).
Where: Arts Bank at The University of the Arts; 601 South Broad Street (at South Street).
When: September 13 and 14 at 7 pm; 15 at 2 and 9 pm; 16 at 2 pm; 18-20 at 7 pm; 21 at 9 pm; 22 at 2 and 9 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $18 for students. The show runs 120 minutes with intermission.

What: “Private Places.” This dance piece “plays with the stylized movement of the service industry and the high-powered approach of J-Sette, a dance culture developed in black gay clubs with roots in drill team and majorette events of Southern historically black universities.” (Livearts website)
Who: By IdiosynCrazy productions, under the direction of Swarthmore Professor of Dance Jumatatu Poe.
Where: Live Arts Studio; 919 North 5th Street (at Poplar).
When: September 15 at 8 pm; 16 at 4 pm; 18 at 8 pm; 19 at 9 pm; 20 at 8 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $18 for students. The show runs 75 minutes.

What: “27.” “Welcome to the afterlife,” says in their description on the Livearts website, “Where the laws of the universe are ignored. Where life is brilliant. Where victory means self-destruction in the most pleasurable way possible. And defeat means fading from view.” Or, put more succinctly by director Whit MacLaughlin, “If you don’t have a direction in life by the age of 27, you’ve got to wonder if maybe you’re screwed.”
“…There’s not much text,” said Webb in an interview. “It’s very physical… The performers are pretty amazing, and it’s not a very traditional play.”
Who: New Paradise Laboratories. This show is under the direction of Whit MacLaughlin, a wildly creative genius of devised work and performance ensemble. Swarthmore Professor Matt Saunders is the show’s set designer, and Swarthmore staff member and graduate Tara Webb ’94 is the costume designer.
Where: Plays &Players Theatre; 1714 Delancey Place
When: September 13 and 14 at 8 pm; 15 at 4 and 8 pm; 16 at 4 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $18 for students. The show runs 75 minutes.

What: “Hoist” is a site-specific dance piece that “integrates voice into this compelling new work.” (Livearts magazine)
Who: Leah Stein Dance Company. The show is choreographed by Swarthmore Associate in Performance Leah Stein.
Where: Maas Building; 1325 Randolph Street.
When: September 19 at 6 pm; 21 -22 at 6:30 pm; 23 at 4 and 6:30 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $15 for students. The show runs 60 minutes.

What: “Nichole Canuso Dance Company at the APS Museum.” This company produces genre-bending work, incorporating elements of video, acting, and dance. This show should be thought-provoking and beautiful.
Who:  Nichole Canuso Dance Company and the APS Museum.
Where: Jefferson Garden and Philosophical Hall; American Philosophical Society; 104 South 5th Street.
When: September 19 and 21 at 6 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $12. The show runs 45 minutes.

What: “Ivona, Princess of Burgundia” by Witold Gombrowicz. This play was produced last spring by the Department of Theater. It is an absurdist play about a fairy-tale world that is rocked by the addition of someone who is so different that everyone wants to kill her.
Who: The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium. Theater Department Professor Allen Kuharski is the show’s dramaturg.
Where: Walnut Street Theater Studio 5; 825 Walnut Street.
When: 13- 23; Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30, and Sundays at 2:30.
Price and Length: Tickets are $10-15 for students. The show runs 105 minutes.

What: “Othello, Desdemona and Iago Walk Into a Bar” is what happens “when you mix Shakespeare, sex, a whiskey go-go bar, and your soul.” (Livearts magazine)
Who: Ad hoc theatre project. The show features Haverford grad Emily Letts, who majored in theater at Swarthmore.
Where: The Trestle Inn; 339 North 11th Street.
When: September 13- 23 at 6 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $10 for students. The show runs 60 minutes.

What: “The Funeral of Enerio López” is an interactive solo performance piece in which “Magical realism meets Miami as you are taken deep into the inner lives of Cuban-American women left to their own devices” (Livearts magazine). The show, which premiered at Swarthmore as Lori Barkin ’12’s solo performance thesis, is stupendous, and Barkin’s physical transformations throughout are fascinating.
Who: The solo performer (the writer and actor) of the piece is Swarthmore graduate Lori Felipe-Barkin ’12.
Where: Maas Building; 1325 Randolph Street.
When: September 14 and 15 at 10 pm; 20 at 8 pm; 22 at 10 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $10 for students. The show runs about one hour.

What: “Seek and Hide” is a children’s play about someone who lost her imagination. “While I definitely think it is enjoyable for adults, it was created specifically for kids ages 3-7. I totally love it (among other characters, I play a Triking, the playful, tricycle-riding cousin of the Vikings) and think it’s really smart and progressive kids programming, but it may not be what your average Swattie would check out on the weekend!” said Isa St. Clair in an interview.
Who: Dragon’s Eye Theatre. The show features Swarthmore Alum Isa St. Clair ’11.
Where: Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse; Reservoir Drive; East Fairmount Park.
When: Every Saturday and Sunday through September 23rd at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $10. The show runs 45 minutes.

What: “You Don’t Say.” “Seven women gather for a dinner party that turns surreal when Tangle’s aerial acrobats climb the curtains, cartwheel across tables, spark new relationships, and resist the pull of gravity. A trapeze doubles as loveseat for a budding romance. Small talk between strangers turns into a gymnastic exploration of chairs, tables, and one another, while old friends work out their frustration and flirtation in a dance that traverses the room and reaches the ceiling,” explained founder Lauren Rile Smith ’08.
Who: Tangle. “I founded Tangle in 2010 with the goal of producing circus-dance-theater with feminist values,” said Smith in an interview. “There is so much trust involved in performing acrobatics together; it pushes you to be generous and good at communicating. I love that my friendships with these women can include knowing how to pick someone up by one hand, or when to grab someone’s foot just at the right time to keep her from falling.”
Need more convincing that this is a show to see? “I feel that, frequently in media, relationships between women aren’t highlighted or glamorized,” Smith said. “That’s the subtle feminist backbone of our show– we get to depict these deep friendships and romantic relationships between strong women.”
Where: Philadelphia Soundstages; 1600 North 5th Street.
When: September 13 and 14 at 8 pm; 15 at 3 and 8 pm.
Price and Length: Tickets are $10 for students. The show runs for 90 minutes.


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