Author Archive | Walter Bilderback

Mattie Hawkinson. Photo by Shawn May.

Review: ‘The Broken Heart’ at Quintessence Theatre Group

It’s unlikely you will be familiar with John Ford’s The Broken Heart. Like most early 17th century playwrights not named Shakespeare, Ford’s works are rarely performed: he’s known almost exclusively for ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. The Broken Heart was not performed between Ford’s time and 1962, when Laurence Olivier included it in the Chichester Festival’s season. […]

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Bradley Wrenn. Photo by Kate Raines.

Review: ‘It’s So Learning’ at FringeArts

It’s So Learning, written and performed by comedic mavericks The Berserker Residents, is a wild, immersive ride through the Berserkers’ vision of the K-12 system. Even people who avoid audience-participation theater like the plague – including yours truly – are likely to enjoy themselves here. The audience is ushered into a “classroom” (what is usually […]

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Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White, Felix Umansky, Jaime Amador, Arturo Stable. (Photo taken at the sound check.) Photo by Brian Buttler.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Harlem Quartet + Arturo Stable

Once again, LiveConnections Presents (“LCP”) curator Mary Wheelock Javian’s musical matchmaking has produced a lively evening of musical discovery. This time it was the pairing of the Harlem Quartet with percussionist and University of the Arts professor Arturo Stable. As usual with LCP’s offerings, the first set featured the invited string players. The Harlem Quartet’s […]

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Review: ‘Sans Everything’ by Lightning Rod Special + Strange Attractor at FringeArts

Sans Everything is a collaboration between the theater companies Lightning Rod Special (“LRS”) and Strange Attractor Theatre Co. (“SATC”). The title comes from Jaques’ famous “Seven ages of man” speech in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Describing the set up is difficult, although LRS’s Alice Yorke and Scott Sheppard, both of whom perform in the […]

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Review: LiveConnections Presents Nicholas Photinos + Florent Ghys at World Cafe Live

Nicholas Photinos’ and Florent Ghys’ evening of “string innovations” was another successful pairing for LiveConnections Presents’ ambitious curator Mary Wheelock Javian. Her 2016-17 season “is focused on pairing virtuosic string players with a musical partner who takes their music in a new direction.” An evening will combine performances of work from each artist’s repertoire with […]

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Review: ‘SYBARITE5 and Jakub Ciupinski’ at LiveConnection at World Cafe

LiveConnection Presents’ evening of Sybarite5 + Jakub Ciupinski treated its World Cafe audience to two exciting young exemplars of new music.  Sybarite5 is a string quintet that is rapidly gaining critical acclaim. The addition of a double bass (Louis Levitt) extends the expressive power of the quartet structure (the rest of the group is: Sami Merdinian […]

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Review: ‘Guards at the Taj’ at Theatre Exile

Guards at the Taj is the story of two young friends, Humayun (“Huma”) and Babur. The two are a sort of Indian vaudeville duo: Huma (Anthony Mustafa Adair) is the uptight straight man, Babur (Jenson Titus Lavallee) the disorganized, dreamy, logorrheic child-man clown. The opening scene finds Babur arriving late at their post outside the […]

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2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Macbeth’ at Third World Bunfight

I’ve long felt that if someone is going to cut down a Shakespeare text, they should take the responsibility of claiming co-authorship, since any editing becomes interpretation. This year’s Fringe concludes with two international works that accept the responsibility and succeed in creating new works, although in very different fashion. Romeo Castelluci’s Julius Caesar, Spared […]

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2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Julius Caesar, Spared Parts’

A playwright friend recently recalled something the Russian director Dimitry Krymov said: “I want to be interested beyond my understanding. My understanding can catch up later…. The best compliment you will ever get is: I didn’t understand anything, but I found it so interesting.” Although I think I “understood” quite a bit of Romeo Castelluci’s […]

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