Tribe of Fools partakes in this year’s Fringe Festival with the timely Fly Eagles Fly. A perfect show for the Philly fan, especially with the season just kicking off. Even as a non-sports fan, I was feeling the Philly pride written by Caitlin Corkery.
Designer Peter Smith transforms the black box at Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake into a crisp corporate style office setting the stage space alley style with audiences on two sides. Motivational posters adorn the walls, a snack station with a Keurig predominantly featured on one corner. Both items play directly into the storyline of Human Resources Coordinator Gwen Souponski’s (Taiwo Sokan) quest for the employees of the corporation to like her. While taking an employee satisfaction survey, Gwen was rated poorly. She attempts to figure out who’s summaries statements are whose and how she can get them participate in her weekly lunch meetings. Co-worker Bruce Floglogger loves the Eagles as does Copy Mike (Kyle Yackoski) and Lara Pinch (Janice Rowland), or does she? Gwen is determined to invest her time in following the team to the betterment and detriment of her employees. Fly Eagles Fly spans last year’s championship season as office workers obsess and re-enact joyous moments of victory.
As a virgin to Tribe of Fools I didn’t quite know what to expect other than choreographed acrobatics. Thankfully, they summarize themselves quite well in the program:
Tribe of Fools is dedicated to creating hilarious and satirical new plays that blur the lines between theatre, dance, acrobatics and other highly visual and kinetic storytelling techniques.
Directed by Joseph Ahmed and Terry Brennan with choreography by Zachary Chiero (who I just reviewed last week as an actor in Act II’s Biloxi Blues) was cleverly conceived and well executed. I would have enjoyed a night of scenes that was just physical re-enactments of fan reactions to each game of the season as these specific moments in the show were field goals. Acrobatic trick, one after the other, we all were in awe. The book itself was a bit grainy and about 20 minutes to long but the over-the-top endings and beginnings to each scene were made memorable. See for yourself, but Tom Brady puppetry could have its own YouTube channel. I think props designer Alexandra Curth could start one!
A huge standout is performer Jacinta Yelland who plays Intern Alex Hupple. She has a robust education in performance which includes several awards for her work from Australia where she heralds to the USA. She is a small sprite with giant ability. Her character was the most in tune to Tribe of Fools description. The audience most enjoyed her antics and spirited acting chops, as well as the directors’ very clever ways of having her surprise you with entrances.
Fly Eagles Fly is absolutely fringe-worthy. Tribe of Fools keeps their fringe flowing year-round as their works are all from the ground up. The attention they give to young artists is note-worthy and to be commended. Fly Eagles Fly runs through Sept 22nd at “the Drake”.