The Philly Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts, is a highly anticipated event in Philadelphia that comes around every September. Running September 5-22 this year, audiences can, as always, expect a wide variety of work, exciting venues, and talent. What’s particularly notable about this year’s festival, however, is the large number of Temple Owls involved in all aspects of production. Over 30 Owls, both alumni and current students, are involved in at least nine shows playing this month!
Emergency Contact, created and directed by Ann Kreitman, is an immersive, traveling, audio-based experience for a solo audience member. Jenny, the voice that serves as the audience’s guide through this piece, is voiced by current Temple MFA Acting student, Parker Sera. The piece will run September 8-22 at the Good Karma Café at The Wilma Theatre.
Premiering at the Wings of Paper Theatre Company, Atrytone/Fixed is a double bill featuring the work and direction of two Temple alumni. Atrytone, written by Temple alumae Alice Hakvaag (’19) and directed by fellow alumnus Michael Stahler (’19), shows how pain can lead to drastic and dire actions by following the Greek goddess Athena as she struggles to find a cure to her headache. Fixed, written by Stahler and directed by Hakvaag, depicts a different perspective, as its central character Leon re-enacts his memories to discover why he’s been imprisoned with a mysterious girl. It is worth adding that both of these pieces premiered just last spring in the Temple Theaters Side Stage’s Nayyar Kapur New Play Festival. This performance features Temple alumna Kayla Cleary (’19), and current Temple students JB Dolan and Jessica Stahl in the starring roles. Stage managing the production is current student Maggie Brennan. The piece runs September 12-14.
12 Chairs will be playing at Buttonwood Studios September 19-29. As described in Philly Fringe materials: "Often funny, sometimes sad, and always engaging, the Barrymore-recommended 12 Chairs moves us through the lives of Louise and her mother Ann. As Louise empties Ann’s house after her funeral, we experience, chair by chair, and scene by scene, the moments – by turn tender and turbulent -- that are seared into memory. Philly favorites Marcia Ferguson and two-time Barrymore-Award winner Amanda Schoonover embody Ann and Louise, and ten more characters, as they tell the full life story within this most deep and complex of relationships." 12 Chairs is directed by esteemed Temple alumna Carly Bodnar. Bodnar’s director credits include the Barrymore Recommended Blithe Spirit at Hedgerow Theatre Company, Stephen Sondhiem's Company and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at La Salle University, the world premiere of Shelli Pentimall Bookler’s All the Dead Biddles, and Sarah Treem’s A Feminine Ending. Bodnar is also involved in Much to Do, Much to Fix, running at the Wings of Paper Theatre Company September 5-22. 12 Chairs also features current Temple student, Becca Neckritz, and Temple MFA Acting alumna, Marcia Ferguson, on its production team.
The After-Image is a new theater company founded in 2019 by Temple MFA alumni Kate St. John (’19) and Amy Shoshana Blumberg (’18), who earned their degrees in Scenic Design and Theater Directing, respectively, during their time at Temple. The After-Image “creates theatrical events for the passionately postmodern audience” and challenges the stories and forms that have been created and preserved by the status quo. Its Philly Fringe production, RE: SHE, a litany of adventures is a devised theater-dance piece that explores hatred and how it’s passed down from generation to generation by means of race, gender, and ability through the lens of the lost world genre narrative. Inspired by H. Rider Haggard’s story She: A History of Adventure, and running September 13-22, RE: SHE involves Temple Alumni and current students Marcus Barainyak (’18), Jess Money, Tariq Kanu (’20), Ash Tetreault (’18), and Jonah Reeder, with Kate St. John and Amy Shoshana Blumberg co-producing and directing.
* ASL interpretation for Friday, September 20 performance at 8:30pm.
Siren Songs will be playing at the Warehouse on Watts September 5-15. Created by Temple University alumni Angela Shaffern and Peter Loikits, Siren Songs focuses on the topic of addiction and substance abuse. Drawn from interviews conducted by Shaffern and Loikits, Siren Songs follows the journeys of seven individuals around the obstacles and challenges they faced on their way to recovery and ending the stigma surrounding addiction.
*Free Narcan workshops are available prior to performances on September 6, 10 & 13.
Period House takes place in the luxury hotel and spa of the same name. Its unique feature? Its amenities are exclusively for ladies at that time of the month! It follows Margaret, who isn’t the hotel’s typical guest, as she navigates and learns with the assistance of support of fellow guests and staff. Period House features current Temple student Megan Krause playing the role of Stephanie. This piece will be showing at the Inspire Art Space September 7-22.
Running September 3-22, Come Back, Little Sheba written by William Inge features Temple alumnus Carlos Forbes in its cast. From Fringe materials: “Precarious sobriety: poignant and potent with humor to spare, the quietness of quiet desperation explodes the claustrophobic lives of Lola and Doc. Inge’s 1950 classic comes alive amid outsider art in The Bethany Mission Gallery, illustrating how the pursuit of primal instincts derails and illuminates everyday lives.”
Between (ENAensemble) will premiere an impressive seven new operas over the course of three days under the direction of current Temple MFA Musical Theatre Collaboration student, Rose Freeman. Running September 19-21 at the Skinner Studio at Plays & Players Theatre, to say this production involves a lot of Owls would be an understatement! Anais Naharro-Murphy, Evan Kassof, Nicole Renna, Wesley Morgan, Megnot Toggia, Michael Shingo Crawford, Alyssa Resh, Chelsea Meynig, Leigh Brown, Daniel Espie, Maria Mirenzi, Renee Drezner, Risa Okina, Adelia Scheck, Alice Hakvaag, and Olivia Cleri will all be proudly representing their art and Temple University well.
Shakespeare’s infamous play Richard III is being presented with a fresh perspective by Hestia Theatre Company during this year’s Fringe Festival. An all-female production featuring six women and three Richards, this piece will be staged at the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia September 5-15. This production will feature Temple alumna Macy Jae Davis in its cast.
* Rain Dates: Tuesday September 10 & Monday September 16 at 7pm
A new collaboration by renowned visual artist Rosa Barba and the Wilma Theatre’s Artistic Director Blanka Zizka, There is a world premiere adaptation of the work of Lebanese poet Etel Adnan. Running September 11-22 at the Wilma Theatre, There features the performance talents of Temple MFA alumni Krista Apple and Ross Beschler.
Every September, without fail, The Philly Fringe Festival celebrates artists and their work by exposing numerous audiences to innovative, daring, contemporary, and authentic artistic experiences. Bringing both Philadelphia artists and audiences together to inspire and invoke new conversations and new ways of thinking. With so many Temple Owls well represented this year, it will certainly be just that: a celebration that you will most definitely want to be a part of!
UPDATES on this article added on 9/9**
Making its debut in the Fringe Festival, Red Lodge, Montana, is The Antidote’s tribute to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, with interactive twists and queer elements. From Fringe Arts material, “audience members will follow characters through the performance space as if they are walking through one of Lynch’s films.” The show is directed and co-created by Temple adjunct professor Michael Osinski, running September 7–9, 11–13 and 15.
Brent Black presents KHAN!!! The Musical!!!, a madcap Star Trek musical parody. Featuring Temple alum Donovan McDonald, Tiara Green, and Rita Castagna, the show is an experience “for Trekkies and musical theater fans alike.” Be sure to catch the live reading September 9, 10, and 13-15 before it heads off-Broadway! Support the project at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/khan-the-musical-star-trek-parody#/
Think you can save the world? Test your skills at SPIES!!: Even More Spying. Writer and creator Kat Hinkel makes a daring sequel to her Fringe debut, SPIES!, letting audiences navigate the world of secret intelligence through interactive texts and puzzles. Running September 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 26 and 28, SPIES!!: Even More Spying features current Temple student Rob Mora.
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