Don’t feel left out. Though it’s true that most of the shows in the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe (through Sept. 18) take place in Old City, this year several are taking up residence here in University City. So even if you don’t feel like trekking to the other side of town, here’s your chance to take in some cutting-edge performances right in Penn’s backyard.
Here’s a lineup of Fringe events taking place in the neighborhood. For tickets or a complete schedule, go to the festival’s web site: http://www.livearts-fringe.org or 215-413-1318.
Sept. 14 and 26
Sept. 17 and 18
The Festival also offers an opportunity to admire the creativity and talent of Penn co-workers taking center stage. Alexis Simpson, who works as a lab technician in the Neuroscience Graduate Group, will perform with her improvisational comedy troupe, Rare Bird Show. Teaming up with a second group, The Gramercy Riffs, Simpson and her fellow Rare Birds will perform “longform” improv comedy under the name Yes and Robot Factory. You can see them at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, on Sept. 9 and 15 at 9 p.m. and on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m.
In case you were wondering, longform refers to a style where players take a suggestion from the audience and run with comedy sketches around that theme for 25 minutes. “When it goes well, you’re like, ‘that was 25 minutes?’” she says. “As long as you can kind of forget that people are watching you and have fun—it’s one of the best feelings that you can achieve.”
It’s Simpson’s first fringe fest, and she says she would encourage anyone to get involved in future festivals. “It’s a good way to learn all the things [about] how to produce a show,” she says. “It’s one of the really great things about this city.”
Originally published on September 9, 2004