Also returning to Philly is 7 Fingers, which will present “Sequence 8,” combining theater with the circus arts (think Cirque du Soleil with the same level of talent but less pomp).
The dance company Brian Sanders’ JUNK (no stranger to the Live Arts Fest) will reimagine their 2003 piece “The Gate,” with “The Gate Reopened.” Jumatatu Poe, another local choreographer, will present the premiere of “Private Places,” a show featuring a blend of modern dance and hip-hop choreography known as J-Setting.
In the theater portion of the festival, the Pig Iron Theatre Company will premiere “Minister of Mascots,” a new collaboration with Japanese playwright/director Toshiki Okada that looks at the effects of the 2011 tsunami on Okada’s family. Okada pulls double-duty this Live Arts; his company, chelfitsch, will present a humorous triptych of plays about office drones.
Two New York companies will offer shows on the always popular topic of nudity. In “Arguendo,” The Elevator Repair Service reenacts a U.S. Supreme Court case in which justices debated whether naked go-go dancing was protected under the First Amendment. Young Jean Lee Theater Company’s irreverent “Untitled Feminist Show,” meanwhile, offers up “a nude exploration of gender identity,” bringing together dancers, actors and burlesque performers.
Edgar Allan Poe’s last days are explored in a collaboration between Philly’s own Lucidity Suitcase International and Minneapolis’ Wilhelm Brothers for “Red-Eye to Havre de Grace.” Though the Poe was the subject of a surprisingly boring John Cusack movie recently, we have higher hopes for this take, which is directed by Philly superstar director Thaddeus Phillips.
The theater program is rounded out by Live Arts regulars. New Paradise Laboratories abandons previous topics, such as social media, for similarly daunting ones, like the afterlife, in its new show, “27.” Charlotte Ford’s piece “Bang,” featuring familiar names Lee Etzold and Sarah Sanford, looks at the idea of women and comedy.
Two festival projects will make Philadelphia a stage unto itself. Headlong Dance Theater will transform the private living rooms of four households around the city into theater spaces for “This Town is a Mystery.” Then there’s Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s “Open Air,” which will fly high above the Ben Franklin Parkway. Commissioned by the Association for Public Art, “Open Air” will allow passers-by to control 24 robotic spotlights along the Parkway via a free mobile app, voice commands and GPS to create a light sculpture above the city. While Live Arts has dealt in the visual arts before, no project has ever been this ambitious.
Tickets for the festival will go on sale in mid-June via www.livearts-fringe.org, or at the box office at 215-413-1318. n
Contact Molly Eichel at 215-854-5909 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @mollyeichel. Read her blog posts at www.philly.com/entertainment.