Over the past few months, the PHILADELPHIA JOKE INITIATIVE has presented a number of single night showcases, including the Mike Connor Travelogues and a fundraiser featuring music from the Hopper Brothers. Beginning tonight, this small production company launches its largest endeavor to date, and plans to do so with a little Victorian class.
CECILY & GWENDOLYN’S FANTASTICAL BALLOON RIDE opens tonight and runs through January 31st at the Latvian Society in Northern Liberties.
The show, featuring KELLY JENNINGS and KAREN GETZ in the eponymous roles of Cecily and Gwendolyn, is a fully improvised imagining of two slightly mad Victorian ladies who fancy themselves anthropologists. When all is said and done and chronometers have been synced, each evening explores the notion that these time traveling ladies find themselves 175 years through space and time via their hot air balloon in present day Philadelphia – where each night’s audience will serve as lab rats of sorts… from whom they’ll extract their conclusions about the “modern” society in which we live.
I was fortunate enough to attend a private performance this past weekend, and can honestly say that I’ve never been quite so excited to see how audiences will react to a show. Karen and Kelly (as pictured L to R above) have taken the idea of audience participation, and replaced it with complete audience immersion. The entire show is an evening that we’re all invited to take part in. Everything from the set to the seating, the costumes to the conversation, all welcome the audience member in, begging to be engaged, hoping to engross. Sitting there with only a handful of people, I’ve never felt so unconscious of my contribution. Getz and Jennings do a remarkable job of captivating with ease. Something that while I know from talking to them has taken years to develop, comes across as simple and organic.
As you can tell, I’m really excited about how it all drew me in and am excited to hear how audiences respond to this level of participatory immersion.
If you’re interested in reading more about the show, more can be found in this recent writeup in the CityPaper. You can also get to know these ladies by watching their YouTube videos or by joining them on Facebook.
During its three week run (Thursdays through Sundays, excepting tonight’s opening) the show will play host to a myriad of comedy guests, including local talent the likes of Chip Chantry, Cubed, Rare Bird Show, BWP, Leo Callahan, the N Crowd, Real Housewives of Philadelphia and ComedySportz Improvised Shakespeare as well as Hello Laser from the Magnet Theater in NYC.
CECILY & GWENDOLYN’S FANTASTICAL BALLOON RIDE
THE LATVIAN SOCIETY | 531 N 7TH ST
JANUARY 13-31, 2010 | 7PM
PRESENTED BY PJI WITH SUPPORT FROM FREEFALL PRODUCTIONS