In 1998 and 2007, Brat Productions' boss, director Madi Distefano, remade Eugene Ionesco's absurd non-sequitur-filled theatricale The Bald Soprano in accordance with his wishes. The script, first brought to life in 1950, contained stage instructions to start the performance over from the beginning, with the main players switching roles — a continuous loop of darkly humored existentialist wonk. Brat's 24-hour Bald Soprano became an avant-Philadelphia classic and an American anthem: a daylong effort wherein you could attend multiple performances and watch the city's best self-brutalizing actors throwing themselves into "physically and cerebrally grueling two dozen hourlong works of smelly brilliance." That's what I wrote after having sat up with them, both in '98 and '07, through many hours of Baldness.
Now, Brat's back — every hour, on the hour. Six actors, 24 performances. No breaks. No kidding. Beat that, Kiefer. Returning Soprano vets/gluttons-for-punishment Jess Conda and Nathan Holt will be joined by newbies Krista Apple, Jake Blouch, Bradley K. Wrenn and Victoria Frings in the slow-moving fracas. "Madi considers these new guys the 'next big thing' in Philly acting," says Brat producing artistic director Michael Alltop. "And of course Nate and Jess are no slouches, either. They're our go-to A team." Brat PR guru Scott Johnston will create a "fierce lobby culture" — a 'round-the-clock variety show cabaret and arts bazaar with free food and rotating casts, puppets and artists. "No two shows will be the same," Johnston says. I'd expect nothing less.
Fri., Jan. 22, 8 p.m., through Sat., Jan. 23, 8 p.m. Performances begin on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours; $25 (good for guaranteed seating to two shows and as-available seats for others), Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St., 215-898-3900, annenbergcenter.org.