5 can’t-miss shows at the 2016 Fringe Festival

One of the highlights of this year’s Fringe Festival, Jace Clayton’s “Room 21,” was inspired by the Barnes Foundation’s eccentric arrangements of artwork. Even outside of the Barnes, however, surprising juxtapositions seem to be key to the curated performances. Past and present, virtual and physical, masculine and feminine — many of this year’s shows play with those dichotomies in intriguing and fascinating ways. Here are a few of the shows to catch in the 2016 Fringe Festival:

“The Sincerity Project”
Team Sunshine Performance Corp. returns for the second installment of their confessional project, planned to unfold at two-year intervals over the course of 24 years. The inaugural show found the cast revealing plenty about their hopes and fears for the future (along with their bodies, culminating with a naked dance-off through the FringeArt stands), so this will allow audiences their first check-in on those life goals. (Sept. 8-18, various times, $29, Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Plaza)

“Room 21”
Jace Clayton, aka DJ /rupture, chose a single room at the Barnes, along with items from Albert Barnes’ eclectic record collection, to create this show. “Room 21” contains an eclectic mix of Amish craftwork, a Modigliani painting, African masks, religious works and paintings by Barnes students, sparking a similarly eclectic performance piece from the New York-based artist, writer and performer. The hour-long concert will feature a blend of African and chamber musicians garbed in specially designed costumes. (Sept. 9, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., $10, Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.)

Two longtime Fringe favorites come together — sort of — in this multidisciplinary piece. Pig Iron company member Geoff Sobelle joins the Nichole Canuso Dance Company in a show that’s part dance performance, part rock concert, part experimental film, as two isolated people (Sobelle and Canuso) converge only on the screen of an abandoned drive-in movie screen somewhere in the Mojave Desert. (Sept. 14-17, 8 p.m. and Sept. 18, 3 p.m., $29, FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd.)

“Julius Caesar. Spared Parts”
Risk-taking director Romeo Castellucci has become a festival regular since 2013, when his study of end-of-life issues “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God” polarized audiences. Shakespeare would seem a shockingly tame subject for the Italian provocateur, though his approach to the Bard should prove no less controversial: Castellucci is smashing his own 1997 production of “Julius Caesar” into fragments, featuring a lead character who’s lost the use of his vocal chords and a monologue in which the actor has an endoscope inserted into his nostrils, allowing the audience to view the vibrations of his vocal chords in real time. (Sept. 22-24, 7 p.m, $38, The Navy Yard Building 694, 1701 Langley Ave..)

“Portrait of Myself as My Father”
One of three African-related shows in this year’s festival, “portrait” was conceived by Zimbabwe native Nora Chipaumire as an invented biography of the father she never knew. Set inside a boxing ring on the terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building, the piece allows the dancer-choreographer, raised by women, to conjure her own image of masculinity as she literally tethers herself to her imagined father figure. (Sept. 23-24, 7 p.m., $29, Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave.)

If You Go:
2016 Fringe Festival
Sept. 9-24
Box office: Haas Biergarten at Fringe Arts
140 N. Columbus Blvd., 215-413-1318

More from our Sister Sites