Adventures in travel in ’17 Border Crossings’ at FringeArts

ENTP_17BorderCrossing_1113
Thaddeus Phillips turns a minimalist set into a train, a chairlift and other modes of transport in “17 Border Crossings.”

In more than 20 years of traveling to research or perform his shows around the world, Thaddeus Phillips has racked up his share of stories. “Having officials plant cocaine in your suitcase in Colombia — I really liked that one,” Phillips says with a heavy dose of sarcasm. “Witnessing severe smuggling happen, stuff getting thrown out of trains. Cuba has all these internal borders, so trying to navigate those is an experience.”

Whether humorous at the time or only in retrospect, those scenes of mishap while crossing one border after another have piled up like outtakes from a film. With his latest piece, “17 Border Crossings,” Phillips compiles those stories into one piece that serves as a culmination of his work to date. The show comprises 17 short scenes, each one recounting a single incident with its own particular style.

“The Serbian scene will feel like an Emir Kusturica film,” Phillips says, citing the director of “Underground” and “Time of the Gypsies.” He continues, “The Cuba scene will feel like a Tropicana floor show. They each have their own color and flavor that suits the countries.”

For his latest one-man show Phillips is collaborating with his mentor, U.K. theater artist Patrick Kealy, as well as director Rebecca Wright of Philly theater company Applied Mechanics and Tony Award-winning sound designer Robert Kaplowitz. As always, Phillips creates multiple scenes and environments from extremely minimal elements – in this case, a desk and a fluorescent light bar, which become a train, a ferry or a chairlift at various moments.

“It starts off as a kind of classical solo monologue show where it’s just a dude — which is me — at a desk,” Phillips explains. “But then it quickly becomes something much more complicated. We end up having a lot without actually having anything, which is a cool metaphor for a border, since they don’t actually exist. We just make them up.”

That applies for psychological borders as well as physical ones, as the show draws out. While not being explicitly political, there are of course political implications to how each of these countries plays gatekeeper, with the specters of famous border transgressors like Edward Snowden hovering nearby.

“We’re playing with the fact that there are similarities between crossing all kinds of borders,” Phillips says. “There’s a sense of fear and guilt, even though you’re not guilty of anything. There’s also a similarity between the officials in all these different countries, while you can also learn a lot about how different places are based on how they deal with their borders. Some places are really lax and kind of goofy [while] other places are overly serious, so it’s a fun way to look into different countries.”

“17 Border Crossings”
Nov. 13-17
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Blvd.
$29, 215-413-1318
fringearts.ticketleap.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.