When Fringe Arts’ president, producing director and founder Nick Stuccio says there is “no single arc” to his 2018 Fringe Festival of performance artists, experimental dancers, avant-garde theater practitioners and free flying musicians on various stages throughout the city, a sigh of relief is breathed. At a time when so much art is so singled out or winnowed down to the politically partisan, it’s great to let the freak flags fly. “There are strains of thought shared and like-minds at work, but this festival, at this time, needs to be open, and without constraints,” says Stuccio.
Starting Sept. 6 and running until Sept. 20, the Fringe Festival is, as always, divided into two groups. There are FringeArts curated pieces of epically devised work from around the globe and around the block, and there is the “Independently Produced” host of smaller, but no less crucial work. “This is the backbone of the Fringe, our roots,” says Stuccio of the indie-produced pieces.
A list of both divisions at the Fringe Festival can be found at fringearts.com, with tickets available next to each production. As there are hundreds of shows, large scale and small, to consider, here’s just a taste of what makes the 2018 Fringe Festival delicious.
2018 Fringe Festival Guide
“Fly Eagles Fly” from Tribe of Fools (Sept. 6-10, 13-17, and 20-22, Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks St. $15+)
Philly’s most athletic movement troupe (and its funniest) take on the truths, myths and mirth of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory parade with outrageous comic violence and lots of back flips.
“Caen Amour” from Trajal Harrell (Sept. 13-15, FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd., $15+)
Forever researching how the history of dance’s past is connected to the present day realness of black and LGBTQ issues, Harrell tackles a hoochie-coochie show for modern audiences.
The F Word from Radiant Bloom Productions (Sept. 15-18, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St., $20)
With #MeToo and #TimesUp a part of everyday dialogue, what is feminism now? Five women from diverse backgrounds use writer/director Irene Molloy’s script and their personal music to tell truths.
“The Accountant” by Trey Lyford (Sept. 6-9 Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American St., $15+)
Memory, despair and grief never had such an exploratory level of audience participation as will this rapier fast, action-packed and witty production. Expect to see origami, pratfalls, slapstick and what is promised as “kinetic set elements to create a piece that celebrates the beauty shuddering in the depth of the details and the poetic humor embedded at the epicenter of loss.”
“Do You Want A Cookie?” from Bearded Ladies Cabaret (Sept. 5-16, 448 North 10th St., $15)
Ladies man John Jarboe and his Bearded crew spent a year abroad studying cabaret and drag history and present a lasciviously seductive and achingly smart showcase that, at times looks like a cross between “The Great British Bake Off” and “Chicago.” Each night during the run, there’s a Late Night solo soiree with locals such as Mary Tuomanen and Dito van Reigersberg.
“Of Arms and the Man” from The Crossing (Sept 16., FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd., $15+)
Philly’s Granmy-winning new music chorus, The Crossing, only gets one shot at conductor Donald Nally’s take on socio-conscious composer Ted Hearne’s take on war, advocacy and nationalism. One shot is all you need. Be there.
Stifters Dinge from Heiner Goebbels, (Sept. 6-9, The Navy Yard, Building 611, 1120 Flagship Dr. $15) The German composer and director has created chamber music and installation works that test the limits of audience patience and push the boundaries of language and politics in music. With this production, the question is offered – what happens when the props and staging take over and the performer and player Is suddenly obsolete?