Tag Archives: fun

Welcome Spring with New Orleans style!

Join the B. Someday crew, friends and sponsors for the second annual annual Gala Celebration on Saturday, April 10, 2009, from 7pm to 11pm at The Angler Movement Arts Center, 1550 E Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125. We invite you to join us for an evening of music and magnolias, hosted by radio personality Eric Herr, dancing to music by New Orleans blues band New Pony, victuals, beverages and auction items from local artisans and businesses, all to benefit Fishtown/Kensington’s only resident non-profit theatre company.

You’ve put on your crisp spring semi-formal clothes, but you’re ready to take off your shoes to dance. You’ll enter through ancient gates to a courtyard with a sculpture installation of buoyant dancers. Your senses are piqued as the verdant garden gives way to the open doors of a warehouse-turned-studio, resplendent in colors of hyacinth and bougainvillea. The smell of smoked barbecue from Johnny Brenda’s arouses your appetite,  and the music of New Orleans blues band New Pony gets your heart racing.  Join us as we celebrate another year of great entertainment by Fishtown’s only resident theatre company.

Your host, Eric Herr, is a staple of radio throughout the Delaware Valley, including WHYY, WRTI and KYW. New Pony is known throughout the greater Philadelphia area as practitioners of classic southern blues music. Bid on gifts from area businesses and local artists.  Johnny Brenda’s prides themselves on using fresh ingredients from local farmers and patient cooking.  You’ll taste the difference. All this will take place at The Angler Movement Arts Center. It’s a perfect night to celebrate the return of Spring. All proceeds from this gala benefit the programs of Walking Fish Theatre and B. Someday Productions. This event is made possible through the generous support of Eagle One Federal Credit Union.

Tickets are $60 per individual and $90 per couple.  Dress is semi-formal. You can always purchase tickets for our events at www.walkingfishtheatre.com, or by calling 215-427-WALK. There’s never a handling fee.  Come celebrate with us!


Ten Questions for High Dramma’s D.C. Fisher!

As we’re making merry this holiday season, we’re interviewing various members of the Walking Fish/B. Someday family. D. C. Fisher of High Dramma answered ten questions for us during a break from preparing for the upcoming show, Stop! Dramma Time!  To find out what’s going on in the mind of one of the great mad geniuses of sketch comedy, read on…

High Dramma members, L-R: Jen jaynes, Zac Ross, Adam Cregoe, D.C. Fisher, Johnny Smith, and reclining, Jackie Wolfson.

For those of us new to you, what exactly is High Dramma?

HIGH DRAMMA is the most carefully written, precisely structured, comprehensively rehearsed and sublimely acted fart joke you’ve ever seen.

How was the troupe formed?

Johnny and Zac were in another sketch comedy group in Philly who I will not mention but they will with the fiery hatred of ten thousand suns, and felt that it wasn’t up to snuff. They decided to form their own group, and called me about being the head writer. With my only other option at that point being graduate school, I jumped at the chance.

What’s your creative process?

Over the years, I’ve slowly lost the ability to make sense of life outside of a humorous approach, so, at this point, all I have to do is let my mind wander and sketches start coming out.

How has High Dramma changed since you’ve been performing at Walking Fish?

It gives us kind of a home field advantage. It’s a place we’re very much used to and familiar with and that lets us plan out the lighting, staging, entrances, exits, and blocking much more precisely than if we were in a new location each show. Pretty much, it limits the number of things we have to worry about, coming into the theatre for each performance, and makes us more ready to start with the funny.

Chicken or beef?

Make the cow and the hen mate, (Tape that for me too, I know a dude who will pay top dollar for that kind of thing) then take that animal, kill it, and deep fry it. Delicious Beefken. Tastes great, and less filling.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had as a performer?

Pre-HIGH DRAMMA, it was selling out my 1200 seat high school auditorium for sketch comedy shows my sophomore and senior years, and performing our college sketch show at KCATFs.

During HIGH DRAMMA, probably having about fifteen people from my office, including two of the owners, attend a show and love it. Job security on two fronts. It’s nice.

What do you want audiences to come away with after seeing one of your shows?

I want to them to either love us or hate us. I don’t want anyone to go away thinking, “Meh, they were pretty good, I guess”. I’d prefer an audience with 25% of people who loved us, and 75% who hated us, because that 25% will come back every time.

What are you reading these days?

“Close Range”, a book of short stories by Annie Proulx, an anthology of Galway Kinnell’s poems, and “Apocalypse Culture” by Adam Parfrey, which is a book of essays concerning how art and agriculture are ruining humanity, a defense of necrophilia, poetry by schizophrenics, etc… pretty much the most absurd premises imaginable, argued at length with a totally misplaced passion and elegance.

What’s under your bed?

A smaller bed with a guy who looks exactly like me sleeping in it. I only looked once, however, because it freaked me out when I saw it. That guy makes a mess, though; he doesn’t take care of his lawn and he leaves his Christmas lights up till April. Jerk.

If you could have any three famous people, living or dead, over for lunch, who would you invite and what would you serve?

Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marx. We would go out to the nicest restaurant in Philly, I would buy them as many drinks as they wanted and I would sit back an enjoy what would most certainly happen.

High Dramma performs this coming weekend. The shows start at 9pm on Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19. Get your tickets at http://www.walkingfishtheatre.com, or at the door starting one hour prior to curtain. Bring a friend, bring an enemy, bring cookies!

Ten questions for Annie A-Bomb!

As we’re making merry this holiday season, we’re interviewing various members of the Walking Fish/B. Someday family. Anna Frangiosa, also known as Annie A-Bomb of Revival Burlesque, Cabaret Red Light and The Philadelphia School of Burlesque, answered ten questions for us during a break from preparing for the upcoming show, A Burlesque Carol. Take a look!

Clockwise from left: Randi Warhol, Melissa Bang Bang, Annie A-Bomb, Dina Colada and Cubby Altobelli take on the greed and dystopia of the for-profit theatre industry in Revival Burlesque's "A Burlesque Carol."

For those of us who might have been living under a rock for the past 150 years, what is burlesque and how does it differ from other performance art forms?

Many people still don’t know what burlesque is, or they think it is classic strip tease. It is classic strip tease, but traditionally it includes satire and other types of short acts and skits, from magicians to musical acts. If you wiki or google the word you’ll find that the definition is “making fun of high culture”, so it is a populist form of theater, often a cheap ticket, and a show satirizing the high brow entertainments of the day. There was big time and small time theater back before film became the entertainment of the day, there were big and small burlesque stars. Burlesque doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has always had defend itself from critics. People who say it is smut or has no place in the arts probably don’t know what it is, or are people with a repressed sense of fun.

What was your path to burlesque?

I studied anthropology and fashion design in college, and graduated from FIT and Temple. I came to burlesque in the late 1990’s when was an aspiring costume designer, and a retro head into all kinds of vintage stuff. I grew up watching old films and I knew what vaudeville and burelsque was from an early age.

This isn’t your only recurring burlesque gig. How does Revival Burlesque differ from Cabaret Red Light?

I like to describe Revival as like “Kids in the Hall with boobs”, or “SNL with boobs”. We make pop culture references and we run the gamate stylistically show by show. And Cabaret Red Light is run by bunch of commies who want to start a revolution. Cabaret Red Light has live, original music by the Blazing Cherries. CRL’s the Seven Deadly Sins takes place in hell and features various guest host “devils”.

You’re also the headmistress of The Philadelphia School of Burlesque. What’s the best benefit you get from that endeavor?

I get to meet a lot of women who are real characters. For some reason ladies interested in burlesque are creative and awesome! And I’m able to build the burlesque community in Philadelphia.

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had as a performer?

Either performing at the Union League in the hall were the President of the United States dines when he comes to Philly (I think they said that all of them have dined there!) He wasn’t there, it was a private Christmas Party. OR Riding with the Axis of Eve girls during the 2004 presidential election when they came to Philly to get out the vote. We were “Fairies for Kerry”!

A Christmas Carol has had every possible permutation of revision, adaptation and satire since its original publication in 1843. Why do you think its popularity has endured for so long?

I think A Christmas Carol is timeless because there will always be miserable, greedy people. We fantasize about how they could just, “wake up one morning and see the light”.  The Scrooge character does this, so we think, “Why not Rush Limbaugh?”

What do you want audiences to come away with after seeing one of your shows?

You’ll have to ask them.

What are you reading these days?

E.T.A Hoffman short stories which are for a upcoming project, Sexus by Henry Miller, and I’m always reading books about how to make stuff. Puppets and knitting are often the subject of these how -to books lately.

What’s under your bed?

Summer clothes, bed sheets, and my cats.

If you could have any three famous people, living or dead, over for lunch, who would you invite and what would you serve?

Sean Penn, George W. Bush, and Fidel Castro. If Fidel isn’t alive switch to Susan Sarandon instead.

Revival Burlesque’s next show, A Burlesque Carol, will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. It’s playing this weekend, Friday, December 11, Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13.  All performances start at 8pm. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit our website at www.walkingfishtheatre.com. Thanks!

Hear all about it with Rep Radio!

Darnelle Radford of Represented Theatre Company came over to visit us last week. He produces REP RADIO, a unique and insightful show about theatre production in the Greater Philadelphia Area.  Darnelle took some time to chat with Michelle about Walking Fish Theatre and our programming, and then with the cast about the puppets and the show.

Have a listen to our interview!

You still have a few chances left to see The Good Puppet of Szechwan. It will be playing on Wednesday, November 18 and  Thursday the 19th at 7pm, Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st at 8pm, and finally on Sunday the 22nd at 2pm.

Get your tickets now and save time at the box office! There’s never a handling fee.

Praise for The Good Puppet of Szechwan!

Howard Shapiro of The Philadelphia Inquirer saw The Good Puppet of Szechwan this past weekend and has plenty to say about every aspect of the show.

Good Puppet

Our heroine is a puppet

“Heleva, in his adaptation of the morality drama, went looking for a good person or, in this case, a good puppet. Somewhere on the way, he came up with a good puppet play, a complicated undertaking for the small theater, which brings it off so well.”

You can still see B. Someday’s reinvention of a classic this and next week at Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia PA.  Get your tickets now without a handling fee.

Thank you for your patronage and Salon support!

Our Salon benefit on October 10 was a tremendous success! Thanks to everyone who volunteered, attended, bought raffle tickets, or otherwise enjoyed our event. It’s not only the whole B. Someday crew that wants to thank you. We also managed to get a brief interview with our guest of honor, Bertholt Brecht, who was surprisingly enthusiastic for a man who’s been out of the theatre scene for the last 30 years.

Bertholt Brecht, our guest of honor, honoring his guests.

Bertholt Brecht, our guest of honor, honoring his guests.

WALKING FISH ONLINE: So, Herr Brecht, did you enjoy yourself this evening?

BERTHOLT BRECHT: Entschuldigen Sie, bitte, but you can call me Bertholt, and of course, I had a wonderful time.

WFO: What did you like best about it?

BB: Where to begin? I have to say that the Salon is not only the past but also the future of art. And this reizende Dame, this lovely lady Carol Smythe, who opens her

Carol Smythe and Dave Bodoff in her garden

Carol Smythe and Dave Bodoff in her garden

home to us, such a generous woman, and her home and garden are so elegant. In the old days the nobility would open their homes for the artists to come and perform for their friends, because you know, coal, it’s not cheap stuff keeping the place warm. So you have the salon in your home, and people are invited, they come and perform their music, their poetry, perhaps they read the plays, although the audiences, they

Excerpts from The Good Puppet of Szechuan were performed at the Salon.

Excerpts from The Good Puppet of Szechuan were performed at the Salon.

want to see the set, ja? So maybe not so much the plays performed at salons, although you certainly did very well with the reading here tonight, and the lovely music from Melissa Santangelo. Maybe the plays in the living rooms are they way to go- ask Vaclav Havel. It’s where art becomes more personal- do we keep theatre at a distance, on the stage, or do we invite it into our some? Something to think about.

WFO: What did you think of the refreshments?

BB: I was very surprised by that kind man Bob Murphy and his ice cream from The Music Fountain. I usually prefer to just, uh, settle down with some whiskey and

Bob Murphy of The Music Fountain Cafe serving up sweet treats to the guests.

Bob Murphy of The Music Fountain Cafe serving up sweet treats to the guests.

tobacco and a good book and I’m good for the night. But the ice cream was delicious. Also, it was fantastic to taste the wines of Germany again from the gentlemen from Moore Brothers. But this is what theatre should do, and back in my youth I was angry but now I’m optimistic, it’s a way for people to come together and share their resources, and so many places gave delicious desserts and refreshments. You got the whole

Greg Morre, right, of Moore Brothers, serving German specialties to our guests.

Greg Moore, right, of Moore Brothers, serving German specialties to our guests.

list, ja?

WFO: Oh, yes. We were generously helped by Hinge Café, Mercer Café, Ida Mae’s Bruncherie, Rembrandt’s, George’s Pizza, The Aramingo Diner, Brown Betty Dessert Boutique, Wegman’s, Darlings Café, and like you mentioned, Moore Brothers Wine, the Music Fountain Café, and Palm Beer.

BB: I’m glad you know all that, because even in my forties I had to write stuff down and put it in my pocket. But you know what I can’t forget, is seeing all my old friends again, my lovely wife Helene, my good friend, that young man, what’s his name, changed his name to Peter Lorre? I love him. And of course the good Kurt Weill, he stopped talking to me after he went to New York, it’s been over half a century, but that “Mack The Knife,” it’s still a catchy tune.

WFO: There were some other friends of yours there as well, weren’t there?

Bertholt Brecht has a weakness for witty women.

Bertholt Brecht has a weakness for witty women.

BB: Well, I hope Ruth forgives me my sins, or at least I hope she quit smoking. And Elisabeth, people should know how much of The Threepenny Opera she wrote, it’s true.  Now, new people, that I did not know before, I am enamored of that Liz Bradley and Kaki Burns who did so much to make everything perfect, and that T. J., he is a wunderkind. But that Senator Joseph McCarthy? How’d he get in the door?

WFO: He said he wanted to contribute, he was anxious to meet you.

BB: Well, he should meet somebody else. You know, actually, I’m glad he was there. People like him should see what freethinkers can do, what happens when you bring people together and they give generously and make

L-R: Michelle Pauls, Sarah Corlett of the NKCDC, Bob Murphy of The Music Funtain, and Stan Heleva.

L-R: Michelle Pauls, Sarah Corlett of the NKCDC, Bob Murphy of The Music Fountain, and Stan Heleva.

art. But maybe that’s something that Senator McCarthy doesn’t get. So, the point is, many good people, good friends, good ideas, all coming together. That’s why we make theatre in the first place. This Stan Heleva, building this theatre, adapting my play, he is an ubermensch. I like him very much. He told me the play opens on November 6, so that’s not too far away. I like this with the puppets very much, seeing them change over time in production, I think this is sehr gut. They start out puppetssimple, they get more and more complex.

WFO: So, in retrospect, after having said all this, let’s revisit the original question; what did you like most about the party?

BB: All right; the ladies. Always the ladies. I might have been a Marxist and a curmudgeon, but I could never resist their sprightly charms.

ladies in black

Production Blog #2: Heads and bodies

Zac Palladino and Leslie Rogers have been hard at work making the characters of The Good Puppet of Szechuan, and the individual personalities are starting to become clear.

Zac gets the head and shoulders together on one of Shen Teh's enemies.

Zac gets the head and shoulders together on one of Shen Teh's enemies.

If you look at the first production post, you can see a head being carved out of a block of foam, and the facial details carved and sanded. This puppet now has facial skin made out of paper mache and the beginnings of a torso made out of wire mesh. As work continued, Leslie sewed a soft, stretchy cloth liner into the inside of the wire mesh cage for the torso, attaching it to the base of the puppet head. This allows the puppeteer mobility with the puppet, while keeping the puppeteer’s hand invisible to the audience and safe from getting scratched on the wire.

The puppets’ skin on their faces appears completely smooth, and to the touch, it is. It’s actually thousands of tiny pieces of torn grocery bags, soaked lightly in glue and smoothed onto the surface. They’ll be painted later, after contruction is complete and the paper-mache skin has had adequate time to dry.

heads of GPSZHere we can see the heads of some of the most significant characters from The Good Puppet of Szechuan. I think it’ll be interesting to compare them to the finished heads in a few weeks, and then compare again after these puppets have been put through the full run of performances.

One of Leslie’s amazing skills is that of making entire human bodies out of soft sculpture. She’s capable of making a life-sized pillow person who can sit on your couch, detailed down to the fingernails and eyelids. Fortunately, for these puppets, we don’t need an entire human body, but we do need a lot of body. So, here we can see Leslie Leslie-pillowrepurposeing a pillow into a torso for another character. It does look like she’s giving it a hug, but she’s forming the channels under and between the pectoral muscles that give the chest and stomach shape. After this there’s a lot of sewing involved and moving around the stuffing inside. leslie-pillow 2The more this soft sculpture seems like a real person, the more its costume will hang correctly and the more easily the puppeteer can use it to mimic real movement.  Not all of the bodies are soft sculpture, some are wire cages. This picture shows Zac with a good example of a wire-cage torso. Zac building 2They’re not easy to photograph, because what you can’t see through reflects light, and the material is tricky to work with because it’s sharp. But, it allows air to circulate through the puppet, and it’s a reasonably lightweight yet durable material.

So it’s pretty clear that these puppets all have unique, distinct personalities, but what will they do with those personalities? And how? I called Zac to ask him how things were going as I wrote this and he assured me that the puppets are well past Arms and Armatures. Which means they are no longer ‘armless. Next week: Don’t call them dolls, dammit. Painting and costumes! Leslie-zac building 2

(All photos by Javier Pazos.)