2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe: Five Must-See Shows

Bang  is a must-see show at the 2012 Live Arts Festival / Philly Fringe

The 2012 Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is currently running in Philadelphia, PA. The festival offers a wealth of weirdness regarding avant-garde theater and other-worldly musical performances along with experimental dance, movement and comic pieces.  This year there are nearly 200 performances to attend; here are five must-see shows to catch before the festival ends on September 22.

Arguendo by Elevator Repair Service
Arcadia Stage, Arden Theatre Company

40 North 2nd Street, Phila PA
The Elevator Repair Service theater group traffics in deconstructing myths and comedy what with having re-arranged and re-configured the ideas of the Marx Brothers, Ernest Hemingway and Andy Kaufmann. This time, the Brooklyn ensemble focus on  the legality of a 1991 First Amendment case involving the State of Indiana, its laws regarding public nudity, and performers at the Kitty Kat Lounge and the Glen Theatre who chose to remove their pasties and G-strings in public.

Bang by Charlotte Ford
Christ Church Neighborhood House

20 North American Street, Phila PA
Charlotte Ford, and three of this city’s most adventuresome performers and directors - Lee Etzold, Sarah Sanford, and Emmanuelle Delpech - explore individual rites of female empowerment with their naked bodies, strange dance moves as an expression of their liberation,  and Cheese Puffs as their primary fuel.

Food Court by Back to Back Theatre with The Necks
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad Street, Phila PA
Australia’s Back to Back Theatre isn’t just amazing because its actors and authors face developmental disabilities, it’s because their theatrical events look and sound like no other.  This year their production of Food Court is a revelation in its frank, portrayal of a woman’s struggle with body image portrayed as an improvisational dance with a live score by The Necks, an Australian indie-avant band. Company director Bruce Gladwin says, “As a director I love the tension between control and chaos. For me great theater work sits in neither camp but is poised between both poles. The music drives the actors and the actors drive the musicians, each spurring the other on.  The dialogue is minimal, it is economical but critical. Visually the work is like a painting that morphs in front of your eyes.”

Red Eye to Havre de Grace 
by Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental + Wilhelm Bros.
Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., Phila PA
Thaddeus Phillips’ Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental Company, in collaboration with musician-composers the Wilhelm Bros. take on the hallucinatory final days of Edgar Allen Poe. Consumed by the memory of his young dead wife (and cousin) Virginia, a drunken paranoid Poe (played by Ean Sheeny) travels on a lecture trip to Philadelphia, New York and his final destination of Baltimore, with a disturbing haze of shadowy darkness, bold strokes of white light, and abstract folk sounds around him. Brilliant and spooky.

Zero Cost House by Pig Iron Theatre Company
Arts Bank at the University of the Arts

601 S. Broad Street, Phila PA 
Pig Iron Theater, a harbinger of all that is good about the American theatrical avant-garde, premieres Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada’s English language debut in Philly with his autobiographical and colloquial tale about the joys and necessities of reading Thoreau’s Walden and its effect on him after Japan's triple tragedies in 2011: earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear threat. Quirky and humorous.

For schedule and ticket availability for all shows visit:

Photo ©Kathryn Raines

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 3:10 PM