Artistic directors, performers, and writers from around the country have converged on the Near Southside for Spark Fest. The annual month-long celebration of creativity has returned to Amphibian Stage (120 S Main St, Fort Worth, 817-923-3012) for 2021. Festivalgoers can peek behind the curtain as theatre is made and experience comedy, contests, staged readings of new plays, workshops, and more thru Sat, Jul 31. Here are the late-July offerings.
First Look Readings
Enjoy first-look readings of plays that are in the earliest stages of development, including Stranded by Renee Philippi (blending puppetry, humor, and a stark understanding of our profound collective reality during the pandemic), Through a Glass Darkly by Erin Malone Turner (about a group of summer camp counselors in 1980s Louisiana who discover alternate dimensions within the campground’s forest), and The Amazing, Fabulous, and Specatular Untruths of Don Juan Garcia, translated/adapted by Kathleen Culebro (from Juan Ruiz de Alarcon’s La Verdad Sospechosa).
Music & Comedy Performances
Thu-Sun, join comic Amy Shanker as she works on new material during her residency. North Texas comedic favorites will be joining her each night, including Scott Crisp (Thu and Fri), Hannah Howard (Thu and Sat), and Alvin Newsome (Fri and Sat). At 6:30pm Sat, see a set of new music and covers by Middle Eye the 5 and T.H.A. B.A.N.D. The group’s name is an acronym that stands for Taking Human Action Because We All Need Deliverance. (T.H.A. B.A.N.D. made its debut appearance in This Is My Story, an Amphibian Stage film project.)
For those who want to stay home and feel artsy, there are two performances you can stream for free at AmphibianStrage.com. This Is My Story presents the stories of three Black men from Fort Worth who were asked the question, “When have you been silenced?” Odes for a World in Search of Joy was inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odes to Common Things. Amphibian commissioned Texas artists of all disciplines to create performance works that celebrate simple, human-made objects and made a film in the process. Both movies are now available online.
During the festival, there are a variety of classes for kids and adults of all experience levels. Adult courses include Auditions: Peek Behind the Casting Table, Musical Theatre: Peek Behind the Curtain (a master class in action), Doodle & Draw: Peek Inside Your Creativity, puppetry for adults (Puppetry Dramaturgy & Puppet Plays and Puppet Building & Manipulation), and Theatre Games: Peek Into the Rehearsal Room (for actors and non-actors). Childrens’ classes include Puppetry & Puppeteering (for ages 9+) and Creating Comedic Characters (for ages 9-14).
Amphibian Stage 2021 members may attend the festival for free — annual memberships are $100 — but reservations are required. Individual non-member tickets are on a pay-what-you-can basis per event. For more information and the full schedule, including exact performance dates and times, visit AmphibianStage.com.