‘Memorial Day’ gets a poetic twist

One senses a restrained, polite UPenn audience isn’t exactly the crowd Cecilia Corrigan had in mind when she wrote “Memorial Day,” an outlandish poetical send-up of post-9/11 Americana.

But it seems Penn is embracing the DIY artist, bestowing two modest grants on the play. Corrigan left the school for nearly three years to pursue her own projects — including her 2008 Fringe show, “Moth In Love” — but is graduating this year with a long-awaited English major. “I just really got into the experience of seeing a live show, and the culture that comes out of that. You can feel people respond so physically,” she says of the break, sitting in Penn’s Houston Hall after her show.

The playwright/director should feel more at home this weekend as “Memorial Day” moves to West Philly’s Avant Gentlemen’s Lodge Friday, and a Fishtown motorcycle shop (that’s right) on Saturday.

Corrigan’s scripts are rough and purposely uneven, at times shocking, hilarious and awkward, with some surprisingly delicate moments to boot. There’s nothing slick about her productions either, but that’s part of the fun. “I want that immediate reaction. If it’s on the page or screen you can still be shocked, but there’s a distance there,” she says. “Theater is challenging and uncomfortable.”

‘Memorial Day’

Friday, 9 p.m.

Avant Gentlemen’s Lodge

4028 Filbert St.

Saturday, 9 p.m.

Cycle Studios

2212 Sepviva St.

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