Northeast Times

Flying high at Philly Fringe

Dir­ec­ted by a North­ern Liber­ties wo­man, WAMB (wind at my back), is just one of the many per­form­ances show­cased in this year's Philly Fringe per­form­ing arts fest­iv­al. WAMB shows again this week­end.

The 2012 Philly Fringe fest­iv­al is in full swing, with unique per­form­ances tak­ing place throughout the River Wards.

One is tak­ing place midair.

“WAMB (wind at my back),” dir­ec­ted by North­ern Liber­ties res­id­ent Sarah Muehl­bauer with her col­lect­ive Sna­keEat­Tail, fea­tures aer­i­al ac­ro­bat­ics, video, sculp­ture and sound to ex­press what she says is “an ex­per­i­ence lived and felt.”

With a bach­el­or’s de­gree in paint­ing from the Uni­versity of Wis­con­sin-Madis­on, and an MFA from Temple Uni­versity’s Tyler School of Art, Muehl­bauer fan­cies her­self a per­form­ance artist, paint­er, yoga en­thu­si­ast and writer. These art forms, as well as the un­der­ly­ing theme of memor­ies, come to­geth­er to tell the stor­ies in “WAMB.”

“It is a pretty spec­tac­u­lar visu­al pro­duc­tion,” Muehl­bauer, a Mid­w­est nat­ive, said.

“WAMB” will show at the Broken Ar­row Work­shop at the Hatchat­ory, 2628 Martha St., this Fri­day and Sat­urday, Sept. 14 and 15.

After pack­ing up and mov­ing to the city in 2008 and at­tend­ing the Tyler School, Muehl­bauer took a class at the Phil­adelphia School of Cir­cus Arts. She said she was hooked.

“I was al­ways in­ter­ested in aer­i­al arts, “ Muehl­bauer said.  “Aer­i­al arts is the nat­ur­al form of art and move­ment.”

One par­tic­u­lar ex­per­i­ence at the school, she said, sparked the idea for “WAMB.”

Her course in­struct­or, Niff Nich­olls, chal­lenged stu­dents to use im­ages to in­voke past memor­ies. Muehl­bauer began to use her own re­col­lec­tions to cre­ate stor­ies. 

Nich­olls be­came a ment­or and an in­teg­ral part of Muehl­bauer’s work, which paved the way for WAMB.

As­pects of the per­form­ance, as well as some of Muehl­bauer’s in­terest in yoga, are a res­ult of her struggle with Crohn’s dis­ease.

“WAMB,” she said, is all about ex­per­i­ences. 

Along with Nich­olls, Muehl­bauer’s cast in­cludes artists Rose Bonjo, Meg Skill, Jack­ie Za­lewski and Peter Smith.

The band that cre­ates WAMB’s aur­al ex­per­i­ence, Gem­ini Wolf — mem­bers are Megan Cauley and Mi­chael Mc­Der­mott — has its own mu­sic la­bel, earSnake, and has per­formed all over the world from New York to Ber­lin.

All ele­ments of the per­form­ance con­sidered, Muehl­bauer has a very defin­it­ive goal.

“I want jaws to drop and to have them leave speech­less,” she said.

WAMB’s Fri­day per­form­ance starts at 7:30 p.m.; Sat­urday has shows at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

For more in­form­a­tion and tick­ets vis­it ht­tp://livearts-fringe.tick­etleap.com/wamb.

Also check out www.livearts-fringe.org for a list of oth­er per­form­ances.

Re­port­er Cindy Fer­raino can be reached at cindes­s11@com­cast.net

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