Last year, John Cambridge attended 23 shows of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
Soon after the festival ended, Cambridge began writing his own show.
The end result was a play called Much to Do, Much to Fix, and the writing of it turned out to be the easy part.
Cambridge, CEO of the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion and artistic director of the year-old Wings of Paper theater company, has spent the last five months building the set in a giant, old warehouse at 5200 Unruh Ave., a stone’s throw from the Delaware River.
The show’s title is about the arduous process of getting the play ready.
Cambridge’s work is taking place on the fourth floor, and he is using exclusively recycled materials, such as church pews and military benches for seating.
“You name it, we have lots and lots and lots of partners,” he said.
The construction includes a seating area for about 100 people, who’ll be on a platform in the center of the space that moves slowly, at least four times around, throughout the 75-minute show. They’ll be surrounded by six sets representing the world of gods and humans.
For those who believe theater should move people, this show is for them.
“It’s a ride,” Cambridge says of the audience experience.
Cambridge directs a cast of 13 in a show that teaches people about electrical production and consumption in Philadelphia in 2019. The show has partnered with the Philadelphia Energy Authority, among others.
The shows features singing, dancing and a nod to Tacony history, though Cambridge isn’t offering any spoilers.
Work continues until Thursday’s opening.
“We have much to do, you might say,” Cambridge said.
Though the warehouse isn’t open anymore, people coming to the show will ride in an elevator to the fourth floor, and there is a parking lot, plenty of lighting and a temporary HVAC system.
There are 12 performances from Sept. 5-22. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 5-7, 16 and 19-21, 2 p.m. on Sept. 8 and 22 and 5 p.m. on Sept. 12-13 and 15.
Tickets are $15, and shows are BYOB.
For more information, visit https://fringearts.com/event/much-to-do-much-to-fix/ or https://wingsofpapertheatre.org/.
Meanwhile, Mayfair Black Box Theater, 6243 Frankford Ave., will host four performances of Atrytone/Fixed, written and directed by Michael Stahler and Alice Hakvaag.
The double bill of new works asks what happens when people are pushed to their limit, and how their decisions ricochet to those around them.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 12-13 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14. Tickets cost $10 online and $15 at the door. Go to wingsofpapertheatre.org. ••