Playwright promises raunchy, silly depth in ‘Plate and Shoe’

Playwright Josh McIlvain has a somewhat unusual writing process.  Credit: Deborah Crocker
Playwright Josh McIlvain has a somewhat unusual writing process.
Credit: Deborah Crocker

On any given day, playwright Josh McIlvain has a tad too many projects on his, well, plate. A father of two, McIlvain is the editor of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival Guide, as well as the local lit journal Philly Fiction. And that’s only when he isn’t running a theater company (SmokeyScout Productions) and a record label (Mellow Farmer Records). He also fronts an indie band on the side, the Generals of Sexcop.

His latest indie theater offering, “Return of Confessions of a Plate and Shoe,” hits Second Stage at the Adrienne this week. It’s comprised mostly of new shorts, with a few chestnuts from his New York days thrown in. And the structure of “Plate/Shoe” promises to be nearly as frenetic as his life: 14 surreal one-acts, none more than eight minutes long.

“I get such a charge out of writing a play in a day. I mean, you’re always going back and rewriting endlessly but, basically, you know you have something start-to-finish in one sitting. There’s a lot of power in that,” McIlvain says.

Like his past one-act compendiums, “Boat Hole” and “Dear Head,” this show promises big heaping, um, platefuls of raunchy comedy, but McIlvain’s brand of silliness is always searching for a deeper chord. And, like his previous Fringe shows, inanimate objects are sometimes infused with unwieldy personalities (read: one A-hole plate, and one milquetoast shoe.)

“It’s about giving myself a chance to throw out all the restrictions. I’m intentionally writing something that literally cannot be staged,” he says. “And suddenly that frees you up to use your imagination. Some people really get that. Others are like, ‘I don’t get how the hell a plate and a shoe could talk to each other.’”

Their loss.

‘Return of Confessions of a Plate and Shoe’
June 19–29
Second Stage at the Adrienne
2030 Sansom St.
$12–$15
www.smokeyscout.com


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