Artist Profiles

Annie Wilson, Photo by Erin Desmond

Annie Wilson is a Philly-based dance performer and creator. A UArts and Headlong Performance Institute grad, she co-founded Pink Hair Affair and is now a member of the Mascher Space Cooperative.  Artists she has worked with include Lucinda Childs, <fidget> (Process Project), New Paradise Laboratories, and Headlong Dance Theater. “Annie Wilson’s Lovertits . . . skillfully blend[s] the sensibilities of both modern dance and burlesque . . . a raucously mocking lampoon of what happens when a woman serves herself up as a dish.” –Broad Street Review

graceful frsutrated expletive created & performed by Annie Wilson. This solo piece—part dance, part first person narrative, part anything goes—details Annie’s move from collaborative group work to solo work. The show details in humorous, poignant, and beautiful ways, the experience of getting what you want, only to be left waiting for an idea and suddenly feeling very alone.

Q: Why do a dance piece amongst two plays?
Annie: In Philadelphia there is a great deal of dialogue and interaction between dance and theater, although I think it rarely takes the form that it will for the show. Usually you have theater shows that maybe have a piece that’s more along the lines of physical theater, or a dance show where there is a dance-theater piece. I like that this show shares elements of both while resisting classification.

Q: How did you come about creating this piece?
Annie: I started making the solo last year, after having spent a very intense summer improvising with fourteen other people. I wanted to touch on the influence of other collaborators, teachers, and even life experiences by being alone in a studio and seeing how those ideas bounced around in my brain. There are certain things you can only explore when you are completely alone in a studio, or completely alone onstage.

Q: Why is this piece intriguing for you to perform?
Annie: This piece deals with different ways of relating to the audience. I love being very closely connected to the audience, to connected with the space, to connected to my body, and the movement between those spaces is challenging and fascinating.

Q: What is it about storytelling and movement that makes you so attracted to it?
Annie: It feels a bit taboo for dancers to explore linear or narrative work, but the urge kept coming up, so it felt like a thing that I needed to accept and explore. And it’s helped me appreciate what more narrative work can do, and what abstract work can do, and how different work lies along that spectrum.

John Rosenberg, Photo by Erin Desmond.

John Rosenberg co-founded award-winning Sleepwalkers Theater in San Francisco. In 2009 he founded Hella Fresh Theater and last year he moved to Philadelphia and into the Papermill Theater as the resident company. For his inaugural season he wrote and directed Cheap Guy HOF: Class of 2010, California Redemption Value, and Queen of All Weapons. “An impetuous playwright [who] takes a radical approach to independent Philly theater.” –Bruce Walsh, Philadelphia City Paper

Automated Fault Isolation by John Rosenberg. Performed by Anna Flynn-Meketon & John Rosenberg. This dark romance is set in 1950s Arkansas about a high school girl and a soldier waiting to murder a black teenager she has lured to a motel room.

Q: How did you come about creating this piece?
John: Earlier this year I worked with an actress named Anna Flynn-Meketon who is outstanding (the Philly Inquirer described her as “the future of independent theater”). I like writing specific pieces around actors and I really wanted to write something where she was this wonderful, beautiful young woman who also happened to be super fucking racist and attempting to kill a black boy.

Q: Why is this piece intriguing for you to create?
John: I guess I don’t like shit where the good people aren’t racist and the bad people are. I still worship Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War 2, but I am sure he was racist as fuck. I also am into working on stuff I don’t know much about, and I don’t know anything about the South.

Q: How will you use the space?
John: I am thinking of trying to create a small hotel room so that the audience feels they are in the room.

Q: What kind of experience do you think the audience will get from watching all the pieces together?
John: I am hoping they have no idea what is in store and walk about really impressed by three completely different works tied together.

Josh McIlvain, Photo by Erin Desmond

Josh McIlvain lives in Philly with his wife Deborah Crocker and son Jasper. He has had more than 100 productions of 65 plays, including 35 NYC productions. In 2008, Josh and Deborah started their own theater company SmokeyScout Productions. Their 2011 Philly Fringe show DEER HEAD was hailed by Philadelphia City Paper as off the wall. It’s also highly recommended if you’re into well-crafted short-form comedic theater. Director Josh McIlvain has a gift for creating improbable situations that keep getting more absurd.”

Waiting For The Boss by Josh McIlvain. Performed by James C. Tolbert and Josh McIlvain. This play is a comedic drama about two day-laborers waiting for their boss, and the their very different philosophies about life that have nevertheless left them in the same place.

Q: Waiting for the Boss seems a departure from your short comedy. What catches your imagination about the play?
Josh: I think theater is the perfect art form for a close up examination of the way people live, and the dramas that occupy their everyday lives—and to do so in very theatrical ways. It’s been a long time since American theater (I know no other) has looked at the world we live in—and I don’t mean by making plays about the internet.

Q: What’s your directorial approach to what’s essentially a straight-reality based play?
Josh: I need to generate great performances. This sounds obvious, but the actors need to be so alive that audiences think they are sharing the same space as characters in the play.  Realism is tricky.

Q: What mystery to the show still exists for you in the script?
Josh: Whatever will be revealed from the actors, mostly in creating real depth, and making the characters their own. Since I am acting in my play this is a challenge because I must find a way to go beyond my own words—on the other hand, James C. Tolbert’s part carries the emotional weight of the piece so playing off of James gives me the opportunity to explore beyond who I think my character is as a writer.

Q: What do you like about theater?
Josh: I like the tension of a live performance and I like to exploit that no matter what the material.

James Tolbert plays Melvin in Waiting For The Boss

James Tolbert (Melvin, Waiting For The Boss) is a native Philadelphian and one o of our city’s most compelling actors. Prior credits include Queen of All Weapons (Hella Fresh Theater), Tango Macbeth, JOBBED the Musical, HELLO AMERICA-MY NAME IS JIMMY BALDWIN, The Repast, Roost, and has done international tours of Starlight Express, Hair, and Five Guys Named Moe. He will next be performing in Plays & Players Joe Turner’s Come And Gone by August Wilson. He can be seen regionally in the PSA “Quit Now” for the PA Dept. of Health. He is a Peer Educator and 21-year survivor living with HIV.

Anna Flynn Meketon of Automatic Fault Isolation

Anna Flynn-Meketon (Automatic Fault Isolation) is a sophomore theater major at Temple University.  She last worked with John Rosenberg earlier this year, starring in his play California Redemption Value.  She has just performed Urinetown on Temple University’s main stage, and has performed with MacGuffin Theater and Film Company, Vagabond Acting Troupe, The Centre Theater, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

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