Deep underground, underneath the subways, there lives a woman named Dolores. And Dolores has done some very, very bad things. Forced to survive in a pitiless New York City after 13 years in prison on a trumped-up drug charge, Dolores tells us the story of how she began to work for her friend Luis at his empanada shop, Empanada Loca. When developers threaten to close down the Empanada Loca, Dolores makes a snap decision that turns deadly. The next day at Luis’ empanada shop there is a new empanada on the menu. And it’s selling like hotcakes.
Empanada Loca invites audiences to experience Aaron Mark’s gruesome and hilarious one-woman grand guignol that shines a light on a contemporary society where the have-nots struggle to survive in a class disparity not all that far removed from the Gothic poverty of Victorian England that spawned the play’s inspiration, The Legend of Sweeney Todd. Our guide is the unforgettable character of Dolores, a Washington Heights native who is at once resourceful and heartbroken, desperate and seductive, tender and deadly. Her memorable journey through a rapidly gentrifying New York City reflects the anger of the displaced, the dreams of the outsiders, and the desperate measures that must be taken in the name of survival.
Empanada Loca will be performed evenings only at Panorama Philly, 5213 Grays Avenue, the warehouse where the collective intention is to support artistic and creative activity in the Gray’s Ferry neighborhood. Exercising a core dedication to social and economic justice and an interest in where those things intersect, the warehouse atmosphere is a perfect complement to the physical and psychological subterranean atmosphere where Dolores shares her dark story.
Dolores will be performed by Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez. Rachel is a Philadelphia based actor, spoken word artist, teacher, and occasional human. Rachel has spent the past decade focusing on acting in the Philadelphia area, working with a variety of companies such as Power Street Theatre Company, the Wilma Theater, Theatre Exile, and the Arden Theatre. In the past year Rachel has committed herself to return to her own personal practice of poetry and storytelling. Since that time she performs monthly open mics, and has been a featured poet for Thirty West Publishing House and Chimera: A Celebration of Womxn Artists. Rachel is in two Fringe shows this year which means you can catch her in Empanada Loca or with the Hum’nbards at the Old Swedes Cemetery for Fear Itself.
Headed by Mike MacGowan, Empanada Loca marks the inaugural production of Recondite Tourist Activities. We hope to produce visceral, dynamic, and character-driven narrative plays both written and devised that explore the fringes of life with empathy and craft. We live as a company somewhere between a B-movie and a broken heart.
Aaron Mark is a playwright and director whose plays include Empanada Loca (Labyrinth Theater Company; 3 Drama Desk noms, OCC nom), Squeamish (All For One at Theatre Row; OCC nom; audioplay forthcoming), Another Medea (All For One at the Cherry Lane and Wild Project; audioplay forthcoming), and Deer.
The Fringe Festival is a 16-day-long performing arts celebration that takes over Philadelphia every September, boasting hundreds of performances by international, national and Philadelphia-based artists, presented by FringeArts. The city’s public and private spaces are brought to life with a curated series of world-class performance and artists independently producing their own work in the true spirit of the international “fringe” movement. The party continues every night with FringeArts Late Night programming in its beautiful venue on the Delaware waterfront – which houses the La Peg restaurant and bar, as well as an outdoor beer garden with a spectacular view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. This signature event hosts an unparalleled opportunity to see a cross section of the world’s greatest arts
experimenters at one time, in one city.
FringeArts is Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performing arts, showcasing arts innovators from around the globe and cultivating world-class Philadelphia-based artists. FringeArts plays a vital role in Philadelphia’s vibrant artistic community by presenting a year-round programming series of cutting-edge dance, theater and music performances presented at its striking venue on the Delaware waterfront; the annual Fringe Festival which takes over Philadelphia with hundreds of artistically daring and socially engaging performances; and by providing opportunities for Philadelphia artists to develop and showcase new work. FringeArts believes in art making that tests boundaries—inspiring new ideas, passionate discussion and conceptual thinking, all essential for a healthy and vibrant society.

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