The Elephant in the Room, What Is Destined, and Siluetas open the month

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, November 2-8, 2023

4 minute read
A woman reads from paper. Three people look over her shoulder, in movement, showing concern. Musicians in the background
'Siluetas' from the 2022 NMTC Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. (Photo by Emi-Lei Styers Zysk.)

November is here, and the week starts off with a hearty serving of performances. The Arden asks What the Constitution Means to Me, while Priyanka Shetty shows us The Elephant in the Room. And Erlina Ortiz brings a powerful story to the stage with music in Siluetas. Be sure to catch a new exhibit at Twelve Gates, swing by the Olney Youth Arts Festival, and catch a performance by the world-renowned Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra.

What the Constitution Means to Me
Through December 10, 2023
Arden Theatre, 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

The Arden brings Heidi Schreck to the stage as a 15-year-old who has earned her college tuition by winning debate competitions around the country using her love of the Constitution. Directed by Jennifer Childs and written by Schreck herself, the “hopeful, heartfelt, and endearingly funny play” reimagines how the Constitution affected her past and how it will shape the next generations of Americans.

The Elephant in the Room
November 1-12, 2023
Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia

After making the bold move to defy her family by quitting her IT job and moving to the US to pursue an acting career, things don’t quite turn out how Priyanka Shetty imagined. Starring Shetty herself and directed by Suli Holum, the Azuka Theatre production promises a “funny, tumultuous ride through immiscible cultures, unforgettable love, irreparable loss, and the desperation of not belonging anywhere.” The Philadelphia premiere officially opens on Saturday, November 4, at 7pm.

What Is Destined: Stories of Resistance and Memory
November 3 through January 13, 2024
Twelve Gates Gallery, 106 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia

Twelve Gates Arts presents this new group exhibition that explores how systems of power seek to control land and movement through space via avenues of occupation, apartheid, militarization, violence, and caste. The multimedia/interdisciplinary exhibition uses digital animations to evoke patterns from textiles designed by artist Kiki Salem’s ancestors in Palestine; paintings by Shabir Baloch that use bright colors of daily sights against vacant space to address the violence of occupation, gender disparity, poverty, and illiteracy; works by Ameer Hamza that use the metaphor of vacancy to portray how lives are lost in conflict using sculptures as inspiration; illustrations by Shrujana Niranjani Shridhar who works with historical documents to weave narratives of empowerment into her work; and small paintings by Mohd. Intiyaz that reflect on the essence of protest and resistance, including drawing from contemporary real-world experiences and historic protest movements in India from almost 200 years ago.

Craft Works Symposium
Friday, November 3, 9:30am-4pm
Moore College of Art & Design, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia
Streaming virtually on Zoom

CraftNOW’s 2023 symposium will provide a platform for critical discourse in contemporary craft as scholars, artists, and other speakers explore diverse and changing ideas around work that permeate every aspect of the craft landscape. This will be one of the first events coming as part of CraftNOW’s annual CraftMONTH, where enthusiasts can look forward to works by internationally renowned artists displayed in galleries and museums across the city. The symposium is free, and be sure to check out everything else CraftNOW has in store for this year’s CraftMONTH.

Tickets for the symposium are free and open to the public, though they are low on stock as of this posting. A virtual feed will also be available on Zoom if you prefer or can’t make it out.

November 3-4, 2023
Theatre Horizon, 401 DeKalb Street, Norristown

Power Street Theatre brings the world premiere of the musical Siluetas, written by playwright and Power Street Theatre founder Erlina Ortiz and Broadway performer and composer Robi Hager. Inspired by the art of Ana Mendieta, this weekend is a concert presentation warming up for the late spring world premiere coming in 2024. Siluetas tells the stories of conservative ex-housewife Dinora and activist-artist Khalilah as they move in together amidst a charged 2016 US presidential campaign, the loosening of the Cuban embargo, and the escalation of the Syrian Civil War. Together, they learn about the importance of community, friendship, and forgiveness—with a little guidance from their ancestors.

Olney Youth Arts Festival
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, 5120 North 6th Street, Philadelphia

Olney Culture Lab’s signature event makes its first appearance since the start of the pandemic this weekend. The multicultural celebration of youth creativity focuses on dance and movement—expect to see breaking, hip-hop, salsa, capoeira, ballet, modern dance, praise, and more.

Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra
Wednesday, November 8, 7:30pm
2223 Fish, 2223 East Dauphin Street, Philadelphia

The contemporary live art sound project Nakatani Gong Orchestra, led by Tatsuya Nakatani as composer and conductor, has toured all over North and Central America and is making a stop right here in Fishtown. Hosted by the Fire Museum, multiple layers of bowed gongs will be “simply magic to anyone,” and the performers themselves have all been selected by a local curator.

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