Final Fringe Preview at Plays and Players (III)

by Walter Bender

The following is the final article about “On Stage Philadelphia – Philly Fringe Previews” at Plays and Players in Philadelphia.

The third installment of the Philly Fringe Preview at the Plays and Players Theater once again showcased what is great about the Philly Fringe Festival…every discipline of the performing arts will be on display during the 2-week festival. We were treated to previews of comedy, drama, dance and music on this final Monday preview, beginning with the host theatre’s preview of “Superheroes Who Are Super.” The actual performances will be staged readings of classic comics. On this night we were treated to an original work, starring Superman! Stephen Lyons, Michael McEllroy and Daniel Student did a description of the show while doing a very entertaining performance.

DysFUNctional Theater did a cutting of “Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act,” a very powerful drama. From the program…”In a frightening dystopia that may be apartheid-era South Africa, a black man and a white woman risk the dangers of illegal love.” Warning to the more sensitive of theater-goers, this show has some nudity.

MM2 performed a piece of “Emergence” a dance cutting from their recital piece. Three dancers worked together to orchestrate a beautiful expression of nature’s emergence.

The Hella Fresh Theatre showcased “Cheap Guy HOF, Class of 2010.” This is a collection of humorous short plays that are commissioned for the coronation of the Cheap Guy HOF.” The humor is adult, fresh, and unbridled.

The final preview before intermission was the Duende Flamenco Fusion Band performing 3 numbers from “Rosa de la Alhambra.” The music is infectious and emotional, and we are told that there will be a “captivating mix of music, dance, and storytelling” in the full production.

“Titus Andronicus” opened the second half of this preview, also from the host theater. This is one of Shakespeare’s earliest (and bloodiest) plays, and it appears that Plays and Players is continuing their tradition of bringing the best of Shakespeare to the Philadelphia theater public.

Next ANJ Granieri did a cutting of her one-woman show, “Casual World/Intimate Heart.” Ms. Granieri is one of the youngest composers for the Oprah Show, and her talent was on display this evening. Her voice is very mellow and reminiscent of a young Judy Collins. She introduced her songs with stories and poetry. I hope to see more of this very talented performer.

Kapow Productions did a piece from “Tiny Dynamite” for the next preview. The preview was alternately funny and touching, showcasing a rare friendship between two men, one of whom is ill. I am intrigued in how the story progresses, as they cut just as a third character entered…I want to know more!

The Act Normal Theatre Company next brought us “Kid Out of Nowhere,” about a male gay couple who steal a baby, then entertain the couple from whom they stole the baby. We saw the early setup of the evening’s “entertainment”, with the awkwardness and double-entendres that would come from this situation. It appears to be a very funny show.

Finishing up the Fringe previews was an interesting offering by the Philadelphia Acting Studio, which did “Acting Class (The Play).” For those of you who have never been in hard-core acting classes, this will be of particular interest. Beginning with warmup exercises, moving to a scene study, the group brought us inside their class and let us see everything, good and bad. For some in the audience, it was déjà vu…for others, a real excursion into a part of the theatre they’ve never seen.

Overall, the 3 consecutive Mondays of the Philly Fringe Preview gave their audiences a real taste of what the Fringe is all about. The 28 shows we saw over 3 weeks had something for everyone. I encourage you all to check out the Fringe guide online at Go see the shows we previewed, or find something else that may suit your tastes. I guarantee you that there’s something you will enjoy and be very happy you took the time to see it.

2010 Phildelphia Fringe Preview
August 16, 23 and 30, 2010
Plays and Players Theatre
1714 Delancey Place
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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