It started with a premise that any fifth grader on a field trip could understand: People from medieval times look funny.
Whether bad nutrition or bad portrait artists are to blame, the 14th century humans immortalized at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have bulbous noses, buggy eyes and pasty skin.
But because Jaime Maseda and Mark McCloughan are theater artists — they were in New York at the time working with Pig Iron — they didn’t just giggle and move on to the next gallery. Instead, the duo behind the Philadelphia-based No Face Performance Group created a series of shows centered around Sisters Sibyl and Sistine, two medieval nuns with a taste for the 21st century’s more deviant offerings.
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Debuting March 18 as part of FringeArts’ more intimate Studio Series, the first installment, “Abbot Adam: Evensong,” finds the sisters hosting a concert of sorts, complete with cabaret hymns and karaoke.
“We’re experimenting with the format of playing music at a concert, but also the way people interact at a concert, the way people tell stories at a concert, the way people move and interact at a concert,” says Maseda. “It’s a mix of a concert, banter and bad stand-up comedy.”
Despite being Dark Ages nuns with 5 o’clock shadow, Sibyl and Sistine navigate some fairly relatable territory in “Evensong.” Tiptoeing the very fine — and at times invisible — line between devotion and desire, they’re not all that different from their modern day audience.
“They’re investigating this idea of living a good life,” says McCloughan. “What exactly does that look like, and how does that plays out?”
“Abbot Adam: Evensong”
March 18, 8 p.m.
140 N. Columbus Blvd.