2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Pangaea: A Folk Opera’ at The Hum’n’Bards

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“I am not prepared to be isolated” ~ Anna Michael, Lead Artist

The Hum’n’Bards, directed by the talented Jasmine Kojouri, in association with Van.Martin Productions, have produced a charming, and alarming, post-apocalyptic, neo-beatnik folk opera which explores the human need for connectivity. The term “pangaea” refers to a long ago time when all of the continents on our planet were linked, before separation occurred.

Through energizing song and movement, Pangaea: A Folk Opera engages the audience to follow five folks endeavoring to connect again after the fall-out of having been disconnected and isolated by the refracturing of the continents. One survivor of the great shift suffers serious Domino’s pizza withdrawal, others miss video games, work and such, and even Facebook is adversely affected in this fantastic serio-comedic Fringe debut. But, is there hope?

Jeremy Adam, Anna Michael, Kathy La and Travis George Braue-Fischbach. Photo by Michael Marotta.
Christina Higgins, Jeremy Adam, Anna Michael, Kathy La, and Travis George Braue-Fischbach. Photo by Michael Marotta.

Past, present, and possible future are enchantingly combined in song, story and movement in this cleverly conceived collaboration, written and performed by ensemble cast members, Anna Michael – Lead Artist, Jeremy Adam, Christina Higgins, Kathy La, and Travis Braue-Fischbach. Using assorted instruments including keyboards, guitar, bongo and floor drum, violin and voice, the story is told through terrific original tunes such as “Learning How to Spend My Time,” “Ocean Tide,” “Home and Wholly Undead,” the fun “Don’t Say (Break),” the somewhat severe “Be Afraid,” the haunting “Do You Hear Me,” and the sadly serene finale “Our Dying Song,” just to name a few. At times the lyrics might be a little hard to discern, due to the occasional overpowering volume of musical instruments, but even so, the overall feeling wrought by the music is thoroughly conveyed, and most enjoyable.

Lighting, designed by Will Jonez, enhances the vibrant stage performance with many multiple colored, variously angled light arrangements, including a glorious black light scheme.

Emily R. Johnson’s superb scenic design is reflected in an awesome angular set, with several large cubes at the center, strung up string instruments, and glow tape, as well as in her complementary costume design. Ashley Fisher Tannenbaum’s make-up and hair artistry augment the show’s over-arching theme.

There is hope… that lots of people will have the opportunity to take in Pangaea: A Folk Opera.

Note: The later shows offer glowsticks, and free iced coffee provided by ReAnimator Coffee.

Running Time: 75 minutes, with no intermission.

Jeremy Adam and Lead Artist, Anna Michael. Photo courtesy of FringeArts.
Jeremy Adam and Lead Artist, Anna Michael. Photo by Michael Marotta.

Pangaea: A Folk Opera plays through September 16th, 2016 at The The Hum’n’bards performing at Swing at MacGuffin at the Adrienne – 2030 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor, in Philadelphia, PA. For tickets, purchase them at the door, or online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1547.gif

BEST OF THE 2016 PHILADELPHIA FRINGE FESTIVAL

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi! I’m Christina Higgins, a Pangaea cast member. Love this review! Would you mind crediting me in the group photo? I’m at the top of the mountain leaning on Kathy’s shoulder. Much appreciated!

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