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September 12

Concert Hour: Performance Lab (D10)


Public Moves theater creators Michael Mufson, John Polak, Christina Wenning  and Marcos Martinez bring their zany, absurdist production of the Remi de Vos play to the Concert Hour stage. A San Diego Union/Tribune Critic’s Pick in this summer’s Fringe Festival, the play spoofs obsessive nationalism and border paranoia. Live music by Joao Vincent Lewis. Scenography by Mark Adams. (Contains seduction, slapstick and genocide. Mature audiences only.)


Public Moves Ensemble Theatre presented the American premier of “Alpenstock” by French playwright Remi de Voss and translated by Gwynneth Dowling, as part of the San Diego Fringe Festival on July 5, 6 and 7 at the New School of Architecture and Design. “Alpenstock” is a hilarious provocation that boldly challenges us to confront a variety of national obsessions, and returns, September 12, to Concert Hour!

Fritz and Grete live an apparently idyllic conservative life . . . until Grete buy’s “foreign” detergent at The Cosmopolitan Market to clean their chalet. Suddenly a suave foreigner penetrates their defenses and disrupts their predictable world. This crisis leads to seduction, slapstick and genocide.

The circus of “Alpenstock” re-enacts the phenomena of nationalism, racism, sexism, immigration and violence. Although written in France and set within the context of Europe, ”Alpenstock” transcends its original context and speaks volumes to these phenomena as they exist in our own culture and community.

Marcos Martinez first saw a production of “Alpenstock” while teaching in Athens Greece. As he describes, “It was a French play translated into Greek, and even though I didn’t understand a word, the action was hilarious and very clear. I couldn’t wait to see it again the next night.”

Inspired by the Greek production, Martinez commissioned Gwynneth Dowling to translate the play from the original French into English. He shared the translation with director, Michael Mufson. “When I read the script I immediately grasped it’s potential to be an hysterical yet profound provocation to recognize some disturbing truths about our world while laughing our butts off.” When the first San Diego Fringe Theatre Festival was announced, Martinez and Mufson realized that the Fringe Frestival would provide the perfect context for presenting this innovative, international piece of theatre.

After Mufson and Martinez invited John Polak to play Fritz, they decided to create an umbrella organization to foster new theatre projects that engage communities, subjects, and forms that are ignored by the mainstream, commercially-oriented theatre. All three also share a background and passion for physical theatre. They set about to conceive a name and mission that would encompass these intentions and arrived at Public Moves Ensemble Theatre with the mission, “To create theatre for the public good.”

“This immediately raised the question of what is the public good,” said Mufson. “Rather than offering some set answer, we are interested in theatre that provokes this question and stimulates discussion of what is in the public good. According to Christina Wenning, who plays Grete and is the newest company member, “We are convinced that, in our current culture of apathy, partisan antipathy, technological disconnection, and pervasive violence, this is the most important question we can ask.”