When we last checked in with the Fringe Festival’s boss, Nick Stuccio this spring, the CEO of Philly’s staged avant-garde spectacular says that this year’s 17-day, city-wide celebration of innovation, inspiration and creativity in contemporary performance was dedicated to all things “home and family, a maturation process, of people drawing closer to each other. Now, with the Fringe mere weeks away – September 7 to 24 – the cats are out of the bags and the full list of curated events and neighborhood, artist-promoted showcases, is ready for anxious attendees looking to fly their freak (theater) flags. Here are our top event picks for the 2017 Fringe Festival in Philly.
A Love Supreme
Salva Sanchis & Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Rosas
Belgian choreographers Salva Sanchis, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and four members of the latter’s dance troupe, Rosas, capture the dynamics, structuralism and deeply meditative (but anxious) vibe of saxophonist-composer John Coltrane’s spiritual ode to divine love – 1965’s jazz epic, “A Love Supreme.”
FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd, Sept. 22-Sept. 24, 2 and 8 p.m.
This one-time Pig Iron member and a respected magical reality theater conceptualist returns to his old stomping grounds with a story that all but gives the Fest its feel: the lifecycle of a house with all of expectations, hopes, dreams and nightmares attached. With music by Elvis Perkins, sets by Steven Dufala and appearances by a Philly’s top performance art types, this home wears its welcome mat on its sleeve.
Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. Sept. 13-16, 2 and 8 p.m.
Big Dance Theater
Co-Directed and conceived by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar with a feminist edge, this time-shifting, genre-jumping, multimedia presentation follows the life of perversions of 17th Century creep Samuel Pepys, administrator of the British Navy and a Member of Parliament whose naughty diary is a roadmap for this hard-driving theatrical escapade.
FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd, Sept 7- Sept. 9, 2 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
There’s a lot to be said about how and who we choose to make friends and families with (especially when you’re dealing with sisters as playwright Tina Satter does here), and this overly dramatic, oddball live pop song cycle – with a serious feminist tilt to the proceedings – does it through sheer poetry and loud music.
Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. Sept 8-9, 8 p.m.
This live installation with building (or tearing apart) equipment and safety goggles is so interactive and self-driven, you could probably just do this at Home Depot if anyone there would answer questions.
Bok, 1901 South 9th St., Sept. 15-Sept. 18, 4 p.m. and 12 p.m.
A Billion Nights on Earth
Thaddeus Phillips + Steven Dufala
Philly’s Phillips has forever been a travelogue worthy director, one where a dozen places, real and imagined, drift by with each unpacking of his Lucidity Suitcase. With friend and local designer Steven Dufala, the new father creates a wild, all-ages alternative universe journey guided by a stuffed toy whale, kabuki dancers, real life father/son acting duo Michael and Winslow Fegley and a Colombian music soundtrack - one of Phillips’ grandest signatures.
FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd, Sept. 14 – Sept. 17, 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 7p.m., 8 p.m.
MEGAPOLIS Audio Festival
Xiu Xiu, Radio Atlas, Blevin Blectum, Mia Zabelka and a host of musicians and technicians stretch the borders of experimental sound with single events, installations and more.
Venues and performance times can be found at megapolisfestival.org/schedule.
A Period of Animate Existence
Pig Iron Theatre
Pig Iron has asked the big, existential questions in the past, often coming across (this is a good thing) like a frenetic episode of HBO’s “The Leftovers” while doing so. Only this symphonic look at racing toward a great beyond – with plants, mineral and animals as part of the equation – squooshes every life form together with an hallucinatory éclat before the Big Bang blows.
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts – Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. Sept 22-24, 2 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
Close Music for Bodies
First off, you the audience member is going to have to stand, walk and take off your shoes for this choral music party. But, Philadelphia sound installation artist and vocal/breathing teacher Michael Kiley makes even the smallest inhalation stirring and dramatic, so wear nice socks and deal with it.
Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American St., Sept 20-Sept 24, 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
You’ve supported all the weird live shows, now have a cocktail and some of the best couture cuisine from this Fringe-focused charitable event hosted by co-creators Nick Stuccio, Steven Starr, Michael Solomonov and new kid on the culinary block, Nicholas Elmi.
FringeArts, 140 North Columbus Blvd. Sept. 28, 7 p.m.