The Olde Man and the Delaware River
Conceived and Directed by Mike Durkin
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's The Old man and the Sea
A Theatrical walking Tour in Kensington and the Riverwards
A Social Practice Performance Project created with and performed by residents of Kensington, Harrowgate, Port Richmond, and Somerset
In Partnership with Impact Services, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, and Prevention Point
In Ernest Hemingway's famous novel, 'The Old Man and the Sea,' the titular figure (named Santiago) says, "my big fish must be somewhere." Fisherman Santiago dedicates his life towards finding the fish that will change the tide of his life and career for the better. Santiago's story is one of fighting the odds, of maintaining perseverance in the face of extreme obstacles. The Renegade Company will use Hemingway's novel as a starting point to ask what is the “big fish” for the community? What are the greatest individual goals of community members? What is the larger goal of Kensington? How do we work towards achieving these goals while also understanding the obstacles in the way? The project is entitled The Olde Man and the Delaware River to reflect the rich neighborhood history and referencing neighborhoods like Olde Kensington, and Olde Richmond.
Renegade will be working with residents of the Riverwards communities (Port Richmond, Somerset, Harrowgate, and Kensington) to understand their stories and perspectives on issues of their neighborhoods, particularly with substance abuse and its effects on the community. Currently the neighborhood is represented by a narrative associated with opioid addiction, open-air drug trading, prostitution, and disrepair. We aim to go beyond this narrative by working with the community towards destigmatization of the neighborhood. Through this exploration with neighborhood residents, we hope to understand the cycle of addiction and create space to attack the root of the issue while striving to understand the perspectives of those observing the crisis through empathy rather than condemnation. Through partnerships with Impact Services, Porchlight, Harrowgate Civic Association, and Somerset Neighbors, the Department of Behavioral Health (DBHIDS), and Prevention Point, we aim to include neighborhood residents in the creation of the project and in the theatrical presentation. Our mission is to gather varying groups together to share their perspectives and create prompts/activities that foster engagement, challenge philosophies, and dissolve boundaries, while unpacking the present/past/and future. Through a community sharing rehearsal process, we will create a work with residents as well as with artists which will be performed in September 2018 during the FringeArts Festival as a walking tour throughout Kensington and the Riverwards.