Fresh Ink Shorts presents theater in a different way

Fresh Ink Shorts
The cast of Fresh Ink Shorts.
Provided/R.T. Bowersox

Premiering this weekend at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ offers a new way to indulge in a show experience—with a series of shorts ranging in genres, talents and creativity.

From writer R. T. “Bob” Bowersox (who some may also recognize as the popular face of QVC’s ‘In the Kitchen with Bob’), this new endeavor comes from Theater XP, and will run Sept. 8 – 18 at The Skinner Studio Theatre at Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey Place.

The idea for the show came from Bowersox and his friends, all of whom who have been writing for quite some time.

“We share our work, sending constructive comments back and forth on our longer works. But we’ve all written for the short form as well. I’d been producing my own full-length plays through TheatreXP for over a decade, and figured, why not do an evening of original shorts? So I asked my colleagues for their best new shorts,” Bowersox explains.

With the works being fresh, “so the ink’s still wet,” Bowersox planned the evening to flow together seamlessly like any other show would.

“I wanted the evening to move, uninterrupted, unlike other short play shows that do a play, break, reset, and move to another,” Bowersox continues. “I wanted the evening to feel like a single, whole piece, but made up of 11 very different plays, moving in what would appear to be a seamless journey. I think we’ve achieved that.”

Fresh Ink Shorts
R.T. “Bob” BowersoxMichael Marrero

‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ is also meant to feel like an enveloping experience in a way where even when you’re not up on stage, you feel part of the production.

“I’m hoping the audience will feel immersed into the experience. The way we’re producing ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ —using rhythmic drum sequences and lighting to draw them from one play into the next seamlessly —I think we’ll provide that for them,” explains Bowersox. “I hope they’ll feel like they’ve tasted a varied menu of plays, from one-minute amuse-bouches to longer, more elaborate courses that embrace the comic, the poignant, and the wondrous strange.”

As a release states, each “amuse-bouche” and “course” will run from one minute to 25 minutes, and will be performed by an ensemble of professional actors. The plays cover comedy, drama, fantasy, and everything in-between: From AI reaching singularity in a supermarket checkout lane, to a blistering single-word indictment of government, to two guys musing on whether they are actually Gods.

And it’s the eclectic symmetry of the different plays within ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ that helps this particular production stand out.

“I think it’s the way we move you through the evening —one play to the next, seamlessly, using the rhythmic drum sequences and lighting to bridge between one play [to another.] And then there are 11 very different moments in time that sometimes pose questions (“Is it possible we’re all Gods?”) or make left-field predictions (“What will happen if a supermarket check-out computer suddenly goes sentient?”) or take you into a north woods bar to tell you a wondrous strange tale that actually happened to the father of one of our writers. The writing is excellent, the acting superb. It’s a great evening of theater,” Bowersox explains.

The writer also wanted the home of the show to be at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, because of its no-holds barred structure.

“The Fringe Festival not only allows playwrights and producers to reach farther than you sometimes can, and try things you might not get away with in a more traditional production, but it actually encourages it,” he explains. “We chose the plays in ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ for those reasons—to try things you normally wouldn’t, or to create a different way of presentation. I think we fit right into that concept.”

Philadelphians who are interested in purchasing tickets for ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ can head to fringearts.com/66315. They will also be available at the door via Venmo, credit card, or cash the nights of performances. General admission is set on a “$5-20 Pay What You Wish” basis.

“I hope [audiences] enjoy the tales we tell, and the way we present them. And as the writer of a number of the plays, I hope I’ll give them something to think about, or to talk about over a drink after the show,” Bowersox finishes. “If we can encourage someone to look at a situation through different eyes— to maybe think: I’ve never thought of that in that way before, or to come away having been touched by one of the poignant moments in one of the plays, then we’ll have been successful.”

For information on ‘Fresh Ink Shorts’ visit theatrexp.org

 

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