Among the dozens of offerings this weekend at the Philly Fringe, two separate productions will cast audiences as mourners in funeral ceremonies. On Saturday, Fringe-goers will have an opportunity to attend two pretend wakes in one day.
The macabre fun begins at 4 p.m. in South Philly with "The Last Mummer." Developed by local theater veterans Wally Zialcita and Rick Horner, the show is a sequel to their 2010 Fringe offering. This time, they've reimagined their main character as a ghost, haunting his own futuristic funeral. And, in this tale, the future does not fare well for Mummers, Philadelphians or the world at large.
"For us, it's about experimenting with a genre -- gothic and horror. By inhabiting this postapocalyptic funeral, we want to explore the elements of the genre even further: grief, fear, madness and some sort of release from all that," explains Zialcita.
By 10 p.m., the second wake, "The Funeral of Enerio Lopez," will kick off in North Philly. Written and performed by recent Swarthmore grad Lori Felipe-Barkin, this one-woman show looks at familial grief in a Cuban-American family. All the while, the audience is instructed to partake by crying, laughing and -- a common theme of every funeral -- impolite conversation.
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"I've always been fascinated by the amount of life and theatricality that happens at a funeral," says Barkin. "It's a natural breeding ground for all kinds of interesting behaviors."
If you go
'The Last Mummer'
Connie's Ric Rac
1132 S. Ninth St., free
'The Funeral of Enerio Lopez'
Friday through Sept. 22
1325 N. Randolph St., $15