An operatic Verzuz, plays for West Philly and Germantown, and Street Movies all over town

The Weekly Roundup, August 26-September 1

4 minute read
Michael Spyres and Lawrence Brownlee stand next to and face each other, slight laughing smiles, wearing suits.
Michael Spyres (left) and Lawrence Brownlee (right) face off this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Opera Philadelphia)

This week has a lot of love for theater and community going around. Pericles shows up for Germantown while Theatre in the X reps West Philly and its residents. Then, Scribe Video Center offers screenings and performances from community artists and filmmakers, and Opera Philadelphia shows the value in a friendly rivalry over at the Mann.

It’s great seeing the city show up for itself.

An Evening of Vocal Fireworks
Thursday, August 26, 7pm
Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue

Sure, we’re a few weeks removed from the devastating Verzuz where The LOX made Dipset look like amateurs, and this Opera Philadelphia joint may not have exactly the same vibe, but it’s all in the name of friendly rivalries. An Evening of Vocal Fireworks is a night of music, picnics, and fireworks on the lawn at the Mann Center as tenors Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres face off in “a friendly rivalry backed by the full [orchestra] conducted by Maestro Corrado Rovaris.”

The dueling tenors’ performance serves as the pre-season concert and draws from their 2020 album Amici e Rivali. Yup, that translates to friends and rivals. Where I come from, your friends are your best rivals. They make you better during friendly competition, so this face-off sounds like it’ll be a spirited event.

Tickets start at $25.

Germantown Plays Pericles
August 28-29, Pre-show fair at 5:30pm, Performance at 7pm
Vernon Park, 5800 Germantown Avenue

I missed the chance to catch Pericles in Clark Park a few weeks ago. If you’re like me, you now have a second chance, with this edition giving a unique spin! This weekend, Shakespeare in Clark Park will present Germantown Plays Pericles at Vernon Park. Each evening begins with a fair that will include interactive art installations, games, resource tables, a mutual aid station, reunion photo booth, drumming, and more. The fair kicks off at 5:30pm. The performance is slated for 7pm and runs for 30 minutes. The event is free and open to the public. The fair is for all ages.

This imagining of Shakespeare’s Pericles is through the lens of Black Germantown and the community’s fight against gentrification. Ang Bey penned the play, collaborating with co-creators in the community itself. In the release, Bey noted that one of the community co-creators said “Shakespeare is hip-hop, and so is our Pericles,” and that might be the first time in my near-decade of working in journalism that a quote in a press release resonated with me. Regardless if you’re a Shakespeare stan or not, if you like hip-hop, Pericles is for you and yours.

And to segue into the next pick here, check out this monologue from Ang Bey, posted by Theatre in the X in collaboration with Staying Power, a project hosted by Village of Arts & Humanities and curated with Monument Lab.

Please watch it. It’s absolutely breathtaking and I’ve been thinking about it all week.

The West Philly Meeting
August 28-29, 5pm
Malcolm X Park, 5100 Pine Street

While a community play is happening over in Germantown, West Philly is getting its own with The West Philly Meeting from Theatre in the X. The community-created piece brings the audience and characters together to find a solution to heal what ails them.

The piece is two years in the making, having been postponed from last year. RSVP for the free show ahead of time. Masks are encouraged and are required if interacting with interacting with any member of the cast or crew. Make a donation online before the show to limit contact.

Street Movies
Various dates and locations this weekend, and through September 10, 2021
Also streaming virtually

Scribe Video Center kicked off its 24th-annual Street Movies while we were on hiatus at BSR, but the series continues through mid-September with a handful of performances and screenings this week.

On Wednesday, Street Movies will pop up at the Church of the Advocate in North Philly with performer Monnette Sudler. Then, see CAGE on Friday at the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association in South Philly, PME Drumline on Saturday at Southwest Philly’s Cobbs Creek Library, and Max Swan on Sunday at Hawthorne Park.

In addition to the performances, Scribe will screen animation, fiction, documentary, and experimental works that were submitted to Scribe by filmmakers themselves this past spring.

Check the website for locations, dates, and times.

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