Participating in Renaissance fairs is what brought teacher Ken Nichols and student Ann Nicholson together in Nichols' current class through the Mount Airy Learning Tree, "Swashbuckling for Stage and Screen." At fairs around the country, Nichols would focus on swordplay, jousting and choreographing. He eventually earned certification in stage-fighting and now teaches the art at colleges and choreographs fights for theater productions. At the medieval fairs, Nicholson, alternatively focused on the dramatic portrayals and now hopes to add combat skills to her repertoire. Your correspondent signed up for the course fancying it might be fun to flourish a sabre like Errol Flynn. In class, we are learning and practicing an array of thrusts, slashes and parries with our blunt edged and tipped swords along with some footwork. We are working our way toward performing a convincing sword-fight scene and, with proper cuing, not getting hurt! Video of class stage-fighting with swords for theater and movies
Performing and visual artist Karla Milugo from Brooklyn and beyond is taking an artist hiatus in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. In the month she is planning to spend here, Milugo is doing art and exploring the Philly environs. Your interviewer encountered her wearing a large, crafted camera apparatus at the Germantown Kitchen Garden urban farm oasis where a potluck picnic and concert was taking place. The camera is also a balloon pumping station and Milugo entertains kids by blowing up balloons and drawing their likeness on them. Milugo also spoke of her Preacher Faith Faucet person and her book divination projects and she indulged your interviewer by demonstrating her whistling prowess and singer creds. As the sun was setting the lively salsa band Combo Melaza rocked the crowd including Milugo who videoed while she salsa-ed.
Sarah Mitteldorf's physical theater ensemble, Kaleid ("As in Kaleidoscope. As in Collide") had a work in progress last fall and then, as she tells it, "November 8th happened" and they had to scrap the piece. In response to the nasty and violent rhetoric directed against women, people of color, and the LGBT community that led up to President Trump's election and in response to what Mitteldorf calls a developing "national narrative" of disconnect and exclusion, they are using the tools available to them as creative artists. In her director role, Mitteldorf asks her actors to express the emotions that the current social climate triggers, such as disbelief and anger, through layered text and movement. Kaleid Theater will perform "Scape-ing" at the First United Church of Germantown on April 27, 28 and 29. Watch video interview here.
When Tiffany Gaal is not selling popcorn or sweeping up spilled popcorn at the 100 year-old, one screen Hiway [Movie] Theater in Jenkintown, Pa., she’s auditioning for or appearing in musical theater. After the early evening screening of “Jersey Boys,” the story of singer Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, your correspondent cajoled Gaal into singing while she was restocking the snack stand. She chose “Come with me” from the epilogue of Les Miz, the musical she is most desirous of performing in. For good measure, I got her to sing some of Valli’s hit song, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
In the accompanying video, Andrew Heller, Gaal’s work partner at the Hiway, appears in a non-singing role.
Watch video interview here At the next to last performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde at the Stagecrafters Theater in Chestnut Hill, 78 year old __________ fondly recalled how, as a child, she used to chased chickens, play hide and seek and jump rope with her many cousins in the theater auditorium back when it was her grandparents’ barn. (Aiman family)
In Bethlehem, because there was no room at the inn, in a barn Mary had just given birth to a baby boy named Jesus, weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces. Wise men guided by the north star brought gifts of gold incense and myrrh. Baby Jesus was wrapped in white linen and in this reenactment of the nativity scene by members of the Conshohocken PA Methodist Church, wore earmuffs because of the cold. Watch video here.
“Nayus, son of Hamuka. You wish me to talk into your box, yes? There’s a man in there. He captures the moment as though it was real for all the world to see. He comes to the festival to partake in such beautiful festivities. Look at the lovely, lovely lasses as they play their music. Nayus likes to do such… Nayus is actually from a place called Tamriel. Yes, for you see he was transported here. Oh yes, my name is Nayus, apologies yes. Nayus, son of Hamuka is my name. I am from a place called Tamriel. A lot of people don’t understand what Tamriel is. Maybe you have actually heard of Skyrim, yes? No, you have not heard of Skyrim? It is a place really popular among these people, they understand. Nayus, on his last trip, he encountered, how you say, the dragon priest, yes. And the battle raged on for hours on end. And finally, Nayus finally got the upper hand on the dragon priest and the dragon priest got weak and tired and ripped open a portal and sent Nayus through the portal and here is in this realm amongst all the lovely young women and lasses and lads. And now I am here but I really wish to return to my home even though, like I said, the lasses are truly beautiful. Yes, that is who- Nayus…” Nayus, son of Hamuka, of Tamriel of Skyrim, in the realm of the Japanese Sakura Festival, Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.