The Philadelphia Artist Collective’s “Timon of Athens”
Through April 20, Broad Street Ministry. thephiladelphiartistscollective.org
Overall vibe: The actors of Philadelphia Artist Collective tiptoed through the opening night of the rarely performed 400-year-old Timon of Athens like self-conscious archivists in Washington’s Library of Congress. It doesn’t help that out of a cast of 14, six are fresh-faced apprentices just delighted to be on the PAC stage for the first time alongside consummate professionals like the brilliant Charlotte Northeast. The apprentice’s enthusiasm is understandable, but a novice’s youthful optimism, in Timon’s beastly ambitious Athenian society, would last as long as raw, bloody meat in a lion’s den.
Most memorable moment: Chris Coucill, as Timon, could easily be any one of the 76 million aging baby boomers whose homes fell into foreclosure after financial crooks crashed Wall Street in 2008. Director Dan Hodge is so very right to have Coucill tear off all—and I mean all—his clothing while he spits out a bile-filled aria of rage against humanity—“Nothing I’ll bear thee but nakedness, thou detestable town!”—although the words have little effect on the technically naked actor speaking. Discard reason along with your clothing, Mr. Coucill. Suit your actions to the Bard’s words: “Let confusion live!”
Scene stealer: The PAC is a company of actor-managers bubbling with impeccable instincts that need to be physically realized, and yes, theatrical productions are expensive to produce. But when approaching a problem play like Timon, hinged entirely upon environment, a strong scenic designer is key. Timon’s cave in the Grecian wilderness safely tucked on top of a platform in the Broad Street Ministry would make an excellent display in the Natural History Museum. (Jessica Foley)
Indie Sketch Comedy: ManiPedi + The Hold Up
Thurs., April 4, Philly Improv Theater. phillyimprovtheater.com
Overall vibe: Just a solid night of sketch comedy from two talented local troupes: Delco duo The Hold Up and the lovely quintet of Philly’s own ManiPedi.
Most memorable moment: Though remarkably, not a single sketch fell flat the entire night, ManiPedi’s closing bit definitely takes the cake—literally, the whole freakin’ cake.
Scene stealer: ManiPedi’s knack for physical comedy was captured perfectly by Briana Kelly, who opened the group’s set donning a mermaid get-up, then spent the next few minutes flapping her legless body across the stage. (Nicole Finkbiner)
Gallery ML/Arch Enemy Arts’ First Friday Openings
Fri., April 5, Gallery ML/Arch Enemy Arts. archenemyarts.com
Overall vibe: Two-for-one First Friday madness. To celebrate the opening of Let It Bleed, a body-paint installation featuring the works of world-renowned body-painter Craig Tracy, Gallery ML hosted a special, one-night-only event in which models were “painted alive” on site throughout the evening. Meanwhile, next door, Arch Enemy Arts unveiled its juried group show, No Place For Cucumber Trees, an artists’ tribute to the films of director Terry Gilliam.
Most memorable moment: The second you caught a glance of one of Tracy’s models roaming through the conjoined gallery space mingling, startling and posing for photos with guests.
Scene stealer: Each and every one of the featured artists. They all managed to capture the audiences’ attention and imagination. (N.F.)
PW's Weekend Picks
In Memoriam: Amiri Baraka