Miniball Brings Fringe Festival Energy to Philadelphia

Circus News

Miniball Brings Fringe Festival Energy to Philadelphia

Almanac Dance Circus Theater’s Cannonball Festival is bringing back Fringe Favorites, showcasing new works in the return of the condensed version of the popular festival.

After an incredibly successful and massive month-long run during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Cannonball Festival is returning with its small and mighty off-shoot, Miniball, a 10-day smaller version of Cannonball. Running from December 8-18 at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, this eclectic performance festival will feature returning audience favorites from this year’s Cannonball Festival alongside brand-new performances and touring works. 12 extraordinary shows from risk-taking independent artists run the gamut from contemporary circus, tour de force dance theater, and auto-theater to clowning and immersive works. Some festival shows are appropriate for audiences of all ages. Repertory-style performance schedules allow audiences to see up to three and sometimes five back-to-back performances. Each show will have multiple performances. Ticket prices are $20, with $50 supporter-level tickets and pay-what-you-can levels. $35 Blind Date tickets are available for all shows, where audiences can be paired with a stranger to experience a performance and share drinks and conversation. More information can be found at the festival’s website

Miniball is a micro-version of the Cannonball Festival featuring encores of previous Cannonball shows, as well as other works not featured in the festival before, to keep the spirit of Cannonball sailing strong throughout the year.  Miniball presents back-to-back performances of genre-defying, risk-taking shows. Twelve award-winning, audience-acclaimed works will take the stage at Christ Church Neighborhood House. In between shows, audiences can enjoy delicious food and beverages from pop-up vendors, discover interactive “Idle Hands” installations, and cheer for the upcoming new year at the bar in our Great Hall lounge. Miniball has everything audiences need to heat up chilly winter evenings!

Cannonball audience favorites Rose Luardo, Linnea Bond, skullsdotcom, and Shavon Norris return to the festival after their sold-out shows at Cannonball in September. Festival producer Almanac Theater will also present three performances of I HEAR YOU AND I’D LIKE TO RESPOND after its shortened run during Cannonball. New programming includes Philadelphia juggler Zak McAllister’s TRICK MACHINE, a deeply personal showcase of his incredible skills, and Chicago-based Juan Carlos Claudio’s MEMORABILIA, an acclaimed clown show from the Puerto Rican American artist. Almanac co-founder Adam Kerbel will premiere MOTION SICKNESS, a solo dance piece that invites audience improvisation. Audiences can see evenings of short works curated by Annie Wilson, Megan Abdel-Moniem, and more in the VISIONS series, while brand-new pairings of some of Philly’s hottest artists will SMASH together for an exciting new performance experiment.

Miniball Line-Up

Zak McAllister
Trick Machine
Thursday, Dec 8 @ 6:00 PM
Thursday, Dec 15 @ 6:00 PM

Appropriate for all ages

Utilizing copious coordination, McAllister will impress you with both his skills and his clever thinking. You’ve never seen juggling like this. TRICK MACHINE is an eruptive showcase of juggling! Surrounded by piles of wood, power tools, & cables, tw0-time world champion juggler Zak McAllister will demonstrate what juggling has meant to him over the last 15 years. He hopes to show you a new way to think about juggling & its infinite potential.

Jean Carlos Claudio
Thursday, Dec 8 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 @ 2:30 PM
Sunday, Dec 11 @ 6:00 PM

Appropriate for all ages

In MEMORABILIA, Jean Carlos Claudio tells the story of Salvador, a clown who invents an apparatus to preserve his most beloved memories, and maybe… to face the reality of the darker ones. With courage and foolishness, Salvador will walk you through his days of chaos, memories, and wonder.

Linnea Bond
Heart Ripped Out Twice And So Can You
Friday, Dec 9 @ 5:30 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 @ 4:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 11 @ 7:30 PM

Appropriate for ages 13+
Blind Date Experience Available!

Ever recover from open heart surgery only to get hit with a devastating breakup? Well, you’re invited to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–a limited-time offer you won’t want to miss! Dazzling sensations and incredible memories await you… ACT NOW OR LOSE YOUR CHANCE FOREVER!!! (Just don’t forget to read the fine print.) From the writer of 2021’s sold-out New World Rising! comes this 2022 Fringe favorite, a (mostly) comedy about pain. Drawing from her own real-life experiences, Linnea Bond wonders: is it worth it?

Content considerations: Includes medical descriptions and sexual references

Shavon Norris
Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a One Bedroom apartment in the Bronx
Friday, Dec 9 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 11 @ 4:00 PM

Appropriate for ages 18+

ME AND JESUS AND PRINCE AND CAPTAIN JEAN-LUC PICARD IN A ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT IN THE BRONX is a solo performance from choreographer, dancer, and facilitator Shavon Norris that explores the sounds, words, languages, doctrines, people(s), places, and objects that flooded her developing mind, body, and spirit. It is a love letter and a challenge to the biological, cultural, and historical artifacts and fossils in her blood and in her vision.

Describing her inspiration for the show, Shavon says, “I grew up in a Black Sci-fi Christian home in the Bronx. My childhood was full of time travel, prayers, and the planet trying to recover from the apocalypse. There were Angels and aliens. There were Twilight Zone marathons, zombies, and Sunday morning pews. I am from the Bronx. I do not speak the King’s English. I speak Bronx English. My people have Caribbean and West Indian accents and tones. I speak Black Baptist church. Hymns and scriptures. I speak live long and prosper. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. I speak Prince. Sade. Luther Vandross. I speak the erotic and the sensual. The lusciousness and deliciousness of the body. Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Bronx. I’m gonna dance them. Talk them. Altar. Chant. Sing them. Art them. Medicine them. Miracle and magic them. Circle them and share them. Hold them upside down. And shake out what’s hiding in the pockets. Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Bronx. We gonna tussle and we gonna pray. Mourn and celebrate. A little protest. A little prophecy. Maybe make peace and invite pleasure. We’ve lived our lives together. This is what I have to show for it.”

Friday, Dec 9 @ 9:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 @ 5:30 PM & 9:00PM

Two artists. One prompt. Zero history. Four hours to devise a SMASH HIT. Cannonball loves playing matchmaker. Now we’re taking it to a new level. We reached out to the most innovative, provocative, inspiring, and risk-taking artists we know and asked them to SMASH!

Six pairs of artists who have never worked with each other before were tasked to create pieces together- with only FOUR HOURS of rehearsal- driven by our values: wild, experimental, loose, delicious, abundant. The results are sure to be a SMASH hit! Please note: The performances for each night of SMASH differ. Pairings, line-up, artist info, and act descriptions coming soon!

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre
Thursday, Dec 15 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, Dec 16 @ 6:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 17 @ 3:00 PM

Appropriate for ages 10+

Back after a curtailed run during the Philly Fringe, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre is presenting a circus of words, a flight to nowhere, a desperate attempt to make meaning in an unrelentingly confusing world. Their newest – and largest ever- ensemble acrobatic show explores the lengths we’ll go to change our language rather than change ourselves.

In I HEAR YOU AND I’D LIKE TO RESPOND, artists and audiences alike board a metaphysical flight, traveling together to a visionary place of collective imagining. A Professor and a Facilitator—both on the precipice of revelation—attempt, in their own ways, to explain the world around them, only to realize that what they are trying to communicate is nearly impossible for others to comprehend. But as the bodies of the passengers are thrown into an acrobatic flight, a certain truth is revealed: either we will put aside our differences and save each other, or we will fall.

Birthed from the detritus of discarded good ideas and progressively queerer impulses in the face of the daily torment of interlocking systems of oppression, I HEAR YOU AND I’D LIKE TO RESPOND features breathtaking ensemble and hand-to-hand acrobatics, captivating movement, earnest contemplations of how to do better, and a relentless soundtrack of words. The cast of devisor/performers features Almanac company members Lauren Johns, Nathan Alford Tate, Mae West, and Darren Rabinowitz alongside some of America’s most exciting contemporary circus artists in Kevin Flanagan, Sierra Rhoades Nicholls, and Liam Bradley, and Philly dance luminary Rhonda Moore.

What would we do if we had to do something? What does it feel like to decenter yourself from the narrative of your own life and still find meaning, if there is meaning to be found? How can we use our better selves in service of becoming more animal, less needy, more just, less selfish, more creative, less consumptive? Do you ever look around and just think, “there are too many things?” The writing is on the wall, friends; we’ve got to transform somehow.

Content Considerations: Brief strong language, graphic images, and themes of ecocide.

Thursday, Dec 15 @ 9:00 PM
Friday, Dec 16 @ 9:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 17 @ 4:30 PM

This short work series will present three mixed-bill evenings of performances from visionary artists. Cannonball invited these artists to curate one hour of multi-genre acts to showcase the creators they believe are and the future of risk-taking performance. In past renditions, VISIONS has showcased provocative playwrights, mastermind movers, and enthralling clown improvisations.

Please note: The performances for each night of VISIONS differ.  Line-up, artist info, and act descriptions coming soon!

Adam Kerbel
Motion Sickness
Friday, Dec 16 @ 7:30 PM

Saturday, Dec 17 @ 6:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 18 @ 7:30 PM

Appropriate for all ages

It’s an instant dance in progress… MOTION SICKNESS is a collision of audience improvisation, current music, and progressive American values, wrecked from the inside-out between Philadelphia and St. Louis for international audiences.

Oedipus in Seattle
Saturday, Dec 17 @ 7:30PM,  Suli Holum & Trey Lyford

Sunday, Dec 18 @ 4:30PM,  Anthony Martinez-Briggs & Brandon J. Pierce

Appropriate for ages 13+

Two actors who have never rehearsed or seen the script … OEDIPUS IN SEATTLE is an auto-theatre mash-up of Oedipus Rex and Sleepless in Seattle. In this unconventional adaptation, two different actors chosen at random will take the stage each night without having rehearsed or read the script, experiencing the show for the first time while performing it. Instructions from a voice in their headphones will guide them through the piece as they assume the roles of Oedipus, Jocasta, Meg Ryan, and Tom Hanks, with the casting decided by random chance. OEDIPUS IN SEATTLE is a show about destiny and the uncertainty of living a life without one.

Content Considerations: Since Oedipus Rex is a source text for this show, there is a brief implied mention of suicide. Oedipus will put his eyes out, but the only blood in this piece is represented by red cloth. We are not trying to make it gross.

Rose Luardo
Pedestrian Circus
Saturday, Dec 17 @ 9:00PM
Sunday, Dec 18 @ 6:00PM

Appropriate for ages 18+

Splish splash! Pull back the shower curtain and enter the realm of the shapeshifter in this kaleidoscopic bathtub. PEDESTRIAN CIRCUS is a one-human show spanning many discovery zones. Characters and self-perception are shaken and stirred. A fantastic voyage where we feast on a hot wet fantasy of personal pizza, insecurity, extra cheese, pepperoni, and ego death. The body is a stretched canvas just waiting for the scrumptious tidbits of humanity to get messy. Watch Rose Luardo and her radical performative costume changes as she flits from human skin to human skin. What is she like?

The show is a multi-character blitzkrieg bop with a business suit, bucket hat, face gems, and prosthetic pee-pees!  There will be video. There will be dance. There will be blood. This show contains brief suggestive language. This show is freaky. This show discusses and describes age, death, decay, and elder sexuality. This show might be so funny it destroys you.

Main Image: Almanac Dance Circus Theatre