A Moment with Kelly Nesbitt of PENNY: THE CONDUIT
Why did you choose PortFringe this year? PF21 keeps it real and they continue to put the artists first, unlike many other hustle and bustle Fringe Festivals.
How was your PortFringe show born? During a complex social time and as I experienced and mourned my father’s loss of life. I was grappling with performativity during the pandemic, for a myriad of existential reasons, all while struggling with burnout from working in the ICU during COVID. Penny was born just before COVID at the PLAYA Arts & Science Residency in Oregon and emerged in greater form throughout the pandemic. Penny also was born from the humor that my father passed down onto me.
During 2020, I had been talking with Mad Composer Lab (Portland, OR / Joshua Tree, CA) about collaborating together on film and music. Mad Composer Lab is an innovative and versatile composer whose imaginative music captures beauty, bursts of melodic and rhythmic energy. PF21 allowed us the opportunity to work together through the whimsy of Penny.
What about the world *right now* makes your show important? My film relates to the current times. Death during COVID, mourning, and healing are overt themes of the work, as exemplified by Penny’s awkward yet earnest commitment to meditation, nature worship, and conversations with a radically different kind of deity.
What have you learned as an artist during the last year of pandemic times? There are times to be performative and there are times not to be.
Why is FRINGE important? It celebrates the weird, edgey, and creates community. Things we desperately need to hang onto.
It’s PortFringe’s 10th Birthday! What do you remember or miss about being ten years old? Madonna’s Like A Virgin.
Have you checked out the other PF21 show listings? Pick one you’re excited to see or learn more about, and tell us why! I am excited about the 2 other films that I am grouped with. Inventing Trees’s Yippy Skippy taps into the dreamworld – which feels very fitting for the style of work I have been creating. I also have a puppet background like them. Narcissa Gold’s piece I SAY IT ALL CAN HAPPEN addresses the artistic struggle. That is something that most artists have been experiencing since the pandemic, in some form or another. I am also curious about seeing Dana Fadel’s American Altars! What could it be?
Write a haiku about your show!
my bones ache on me
for who the hell shall i be?
Penny will tell me