Can we assume we’ll have an incarnation of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts every two years from here on out? Or is it too soon to tell with only two festivals on the books? Either way, brace yourselves, Philadelphians. PIFA is coming.
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is back for its second biennial production, bringing with it a month chock full of music, theater, visual art, and special events. This year’s theme is Time Travel, which at first glance seems a bit odd for an arts festival. Each event portrays a specific event in history or the future and really shows how art can transport us to a different time and space if only for just a little while. I’m incredibly excited to see as many shows as I can fit into my tight schedule. For my own benefit as much as yours, I’ve compiled a list of some of the theater-related events I’m most excited for at PIFA 2013.
Flash of Time: A New Musical
This musical from up-and-coming musical theater writers Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk will receive its world premiere in the Kimmel’s lobby. The show makes use of the giant interactive time machine built specifically for the festival as well as puppetry, special effects and lots of awesome music. One of the songs from the show, “Flash of Time”, is now streaming on the PIFA website, and if this track is anything to go on this show is going to be super-fun. Best of all, admission is free, and with two shows a night there’s plenty of opportunities to check it out! Flash of Time runs Tuesday through Sunday at 7 PM and 10:30 PM from March 28 to April 27.
Vainglorious: The Epic Feats of Notable Persons in Europe After the Revolution – Applied Mechanics
With a 26-person cast of young local artists, Applied Mechanics tells the story of the rise of the Napoleonic Empire in Vainglorious. This is a truly immersive piece in which the audience can explore the set, witnessing private moments between actors. What I love about this style of theater is that each audience member’s experience is unique, and I think that this is a brilliantly ambitious approach to an important part of Western history. Vainglorious plays at the Christ Church Neighborhood House at 20 N. American Street. Student tickets are available for $10 at the box office.
Everyone and I – Azuka Theatre/The American Poetry Review
For their PIFA offering, Azuka partnered with the American Poetry Review to create a new play based on the poem “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara, penned to commemorate the death of legendary singer Billie Holiday. I’m a big fan of Billie, and I’m interested to see how this play will portray both artists. Everyone and I plays at the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Center from March 28 to April 7. Student tickets are available for $7 at the box office.
The Hand of Gaul – Inis Nua
Fulfilling their commitment to producing plays by Irish, British, Welsh, and Scottish writers, Inis Nua presents a play about the aftermath of the handball that knocked Ireland of the 2010 World Cup tournament. Now, I’m a theatre person who doesn’t know a great deal about sports, but The Hand of Gaul’s promise of “international intrigue, a rare Belgian beer, and the world’s most popular sport” makes this a show I’ll definitely be checking out. Plus, I’ve got a soft spot for writers from Ireland and the UK. The Hand of Gaul runs from April 9 to April 28 at the First Baptist Church (1636 Sansom Street). Tickets are available for $20.
For more information on all of these events, check out pifa.org. Happy PIFA-ing!
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