Ever watch a play and wish you could change the plot line? It’s possible, on Sunday, if you are the highest bidder in an auction at Glen Foerd, the historic estate on the Delaware River in Northeast Philadelphia. The higher the bid, the more outlandish the plot change from Cirque du Nuit, the immersive theater and circus troupe offering the auction as part of its fund-raising Midsummer Gala.
The gala will draw guests into an fanciful world in Glen Foerd’s gardens where they’ll meet monsters, faeries, Puck, Oberon, Titania, and of course, cocktails, all part of a sophisticated Art Nouveau twist on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Audience participation is encouraged, although not on the 27-foot-high mechanical rigging. That can be left to the professionals such as founder Kaitlin Chin, an aerialist who has performed around the world and at Superbowl XLIX. Guests are asked to dress to impress — and if they really want to impress, they can rent costumes for the occasion on site.
Sunday, Aug. 22, 3 p.m. Masks or proof of vaccination required. Tickets are $15 ($5 for students with ID). Or reserve a VIP table for $1,000. Details at cirquedunuit.com.
Bat Out of Doylestown
Doylestown native Andrew Polec, star of the international show Bat Out of Hell and son of former 6ABC reporter Don Polec, is in San Diego playing Berger in Hair at The Old Globe.
If you missed his Legacy of Love concert filmed before a live audience at the Bucks County Playhouse earlier this year, you can catch it streaming at home through Aug. 28.
Backed by the Michael Bond Quartet, Polec performs a mix of musical theater standards and rock and roll.
Part of the proceeds of the streaming concert will benefit the New Hope playhouse and the Actors Fund of America, a charitable organization that supports performers and behind-the-scenes workers.
Streaming tickets $25 via bcptheater.org.
What Wilma has in store
Three family stories — the first two based on Anton Chekov’s work — comprise Wilma Theater’s 2021-22 season.
“After a very long time of isolation, we are entering into the homes of several different families and watching those homes explode out into the world,” said Philly playwright and director James Ijames, Wilma’s artistic director for the season.
All are scheduled to play live on stage at the theater, with streaming options for some.
Up first, in October, is Minor Character: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time followed by The Cherry Orchard in April and, in June, Fairview, the Pulitzer-Prize winning drama by Jackie Sibblies Drury.
Season details at wilmatheater.org.
Drama from ‘regular stories’
“I feel like regular Black stories aren’t being told enough,” says Blair Victoria, playwright and director of Impact, a regular story about a young Black professional female graphic designer who should be happy with her good-paying job, only…
Only, she wonders if she’s selling out because she’s not pursuing her art.
Only, she wonders if she should ditch her boyfriend, describing their relationship as a situationship.
And how should she handle it when her jobless, homeless (yet brilliant) twin brother shows up on her doorstep? What about those awkward white coworkers who make everyone uncomfortable?
Impact plays Friday through Sunday at the Community Education Center on Lancaster Avenue in West Philly.
Systemic racism informs all the characters’ situations, but it isn’t the focus, Victoria said. “We don’t have a hero or a villain … We have these organic conversations that we don’t know how to solve.” Every relationship in the play makes an impact, hence the title.
Performances at 7 p.m. Aug. 20-22, Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Ave. Indoors, masks required. Tickets via theatrephiladelphia.org/whats-on-stage/impact.
Goldfinger’s workbook for playwrights
When the pandemic struck, Philadelphia playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger’s quirky work, Babel, about couples trying to conceive, had just finished its run at Theatre Exile. The play, which features a talking stork, had been set for productions around the country, but everything was canceled.
Not good, but it gave Goldfinger time to finish a book, Playwriting with Purpose: A Guide and Workbook for New Playwrights, released Aug. 17 by Routledge, a British publisher of textbooks with offices in Philadelphia.
“The main goal is to update the way that we teach and understand the process of playwriting,” Goldfinger said in an email, explaining later that her book incorporates both classic story development and newer techniques used globally in English-language playwriting.
“My goal is to update and expand how we teach playwriting by combining age-old wisdom with new practices,” she said.
The cover photo? Philly actors Amanda Schoonover and Anita Holland from the Babel production at Theatre Exile.