The annual, improvisation-rich SoLow Fest – now celebrating its 12th year —is returning to the City of Brotherly Love from June 17 to 27. The close-to-the-ground, low overhead, and always raw theater events that fill SoLow Fest make it one of the most independent productions of its kind on the East Coast.
Founded in 2010 by local performance artists Thomas Choinacky and Amanda Grove looking to present their own solo work with minimal expense, the floating leadership of SoLow now lands, squarely, on the heads of Philadelphia theater creators Chris Davis, Bella Capelli, Hallie Malina, Alex Werthauer, and Kaitlyn Zion – most of whom have work in the 2022 iteration.
“SoLow has the same ethics as before, totally open festival, no screening or selection process, everyone is accepted,” Davis said. “In some ways, the festival has changed a lot, but in many ways, it’s totally the same. SoLow shows are always quirky, weird, and interesting.”
Philly performing artists can enter for free, and audiences can usually Pay What You Can as part of each production’s suggested donation fees.
With SoLow Fest’s 2022’s theme as “Reinvention,” its curatorial brain trust is looking, this year, to see how local artists are handling a budding, new and ever-changing, strange world – what is art in a time of social justice questions, the teardown of Roe V Wade, high gun violence and war?
To that, SoLow Fest offers a few great examples of what intimately-fashioned, tiny theater-made-big can offer with shows such as:
‘Testing Site’, a white box dramedy focusing on phobias, created by Daniel Burgess and performed by Mike Anthony. “Let’s see him suffer, shall we?,” states the press legend of a show running June 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Or author Alan Moore and physical theater artist Nick Gillette’s “cabalistic” take on the board game traditionalism of ‘Snakes and Ladders’, moving from “the Big Bang, to DNA’s accidental emergence,” that occurs at Pig Iron Studios on N. 2nd Street, June 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.
With hundreds of shows to speak of, this Philadelphia theater festival might be low to the ground, but it is high in aesthetic value and interactive, improvisational and immersive interplay between artist and audiences.
What Chris Davis said in 2020, is true today, and always: “Our hope is that SoLow Fest continues its aesthetic of DIY theater, embracing the independence and creativity of the artist, and present their work in this challenging time.”
For information on SoLow Fest times, locations and descriptions, visit solowfest.squarespace.com