Almanac’s The Edge’ enters Fringe with an explo­ration of trauma

2 minute read
'The Edge' is led by Desirée Hall and Mia Donata Rocchio. (Photo by Maurice Jones)
'The Edge' is led by Desirée Hall and Mia Donata Rocchio. (Photo by Maurice Jones)

Trauma is a difficult thing to talk about, and it’s something many of us dance around. Finding the right words to articulate it is only the half of it. The things that happen to us in trauma find their way into our bodies and they nestle into our being. They can sleep for years—decades—without us knowing how they’re impacting us in our daily lives. Recognizing trauma, confronting it, and expressing it is a journey, and Almanac’s The Edge takes us on that journey during this year’s Fringe Festival.

The Edge is a brand-new work produced by lead associate artists Desirée Hall and Mia Donata Rocchio that casts an ensemble of six acrobatic performers to embody physicality based on interviews with the loved ones of the lead artists, dealing with cancer, Alzheimer’s, and more. Almanac, the Barrymore Award-winning dance-circus-theater company, is poised to deliver a deeply personal, physical way of navigating through trauma.

A body of work

“We stack bodies on top of ideas,” Lauren Johns, Almanac company member, says.

When it comes to our own experiences, we don’t always have information on how to cope. The artists learned how to cope and explore through others. The Edge converses with the audience: hearing about trauma outside of yourself can help make it less abstract.

“Through physical storytelling, we are able to communicate the experience of living with permanent, long term diseases in a pungent and vivid way,” Rocchio says.

Conversations helped navigate the development of 'The Edge.' (Photo by Maurice Jones.)
Conversations helped navigate the development of 'The Edge.' (Photo by Maurice Jones.)

“The exploration of this project has afforded me the opportunity to hear my experience spoken aloud by other voices, helping me find a better understanding of my own experience,” Hall says. “The process has generated comfortable conversations, and an expression of myself I’ve dug for so long to find.”

Taking the lead

Leaping off the heels of Exile 2588, Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, and Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn in the past three Fringe Fests, as well as this past spring’s xoxo moongirl, The Edge is led by the associate artists in the company.

“Almanac is nonhierarchical in our creation process, and it shows in our work,” Johns adds. “This is possible because of the artists that make up Almanac, each artist bringing with them a world of experience as well as technique and a commitment to deep investigation of themselves and the ensemble.”

Almanac’s The Edge, a performance about “exploring the space between vitality and decay,” debuts Thursday, August 29, 2019, with performances running through Thursday, September 12, at the Community Education Center Meeting House Theatre, 3500 Lancaster Avenue. Tickets and showtimes are available online.

For access, the theater is located on the Mezzanine floor. Two small flights of stairs with a landing between. Restrooms are on the ground floor, and while they don’t meet ADA standards, they are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Priority seating is available upon request.

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