Opening with a couple in contention, 3AM Theatre’s Eventide, one of the headlining performances at this year’s FringeArts Hand to Hand Circus Festival, which ran June 3 through 13, explores the lovers’ past, present, and future in one long evening. This one-of-a-kind, multidisciplinary circus performance, codirected by Mark Lonergan alongside 3AM founders Andrea Murillo and Kyle Driggs, unfolded through modern dance, acrobatics, and more.
Murillo and Driggs play the couple, displaying a troubling dialogue through expressive movement and manipulation of objects. As the night moves along, their various forms of expression—in addition to their memories—provide the setup for clarity and reconciliation.
Purpose and chemistry
Every good story starts with a good setting. 3AM’s elegant set enhances each segment of Eventide, working in the place of spoken dialogue to guide the audience through the couple’s journey, welcoming us into their world—first their home and then their vivid memories. Everything from the kitchen table to the treadmill serves a purpose, both visually and practically. These sets are not merely backgrounds, but part of the acts as well—like when Murillo swings from the chandelier or Driggs juggles the umbrellas that aren't there, merely to represent the dark, gloomy day.
3AM’s first company member, Circadium School of Contemporary Circus grad Luna Deasy, joins Murillo and Driggs onstage. This third character further represents the main characters’ inner worlds. Jumping and bending in different directions, she personifies the confusion and unrest we experience in our minds during the latest hours of the night. Deasy stuns the audience with her talents as an acrobat and contortionist.
Driggs and Murillo each stand on their own as polished contemporary dancers, yet form a powerful partnership when they come together. Their chemistry shines through, beautifully complementing each other's grace and flexibility, making a unique and engaging performance.
The 2021 Hand to Hand Festival marked one of the city’s first returns to indoor, in-person performance after more than a year of outdoor and digital programming. Eventide was the perfect show to welcome us back. The immediacy of the extraordinary movement and the engaging sets would not have been the same on a screen. With a mask requirement and distancing between audience members, the show was able to go on. I look forward to seeing what Lonergan and 3AM have in store for us next.
Image description: A scene from Eventide. Performers Andrea Murillo and Kyle Driggs stand back-to-back on a stage backdrop of giant intricately drawn flower designs. They’re each juggling three red umbrellas.
What, When, Where
Eventide. By 3AM Theatre. Codirected by Andrea Murillo, Kyle Driggs, and Mark Lonergan. Through June 13, 2021, at FringeArts,140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. (215) 413-1318 or fringearts.com.
FringeArts requires face masks for all patrons over the age of 2, whether indoors or out (FringeArts can provide masks to guests who need one). Seating, spaced for indoor events, is reserved and assigned in advance.