< PortFringe 2024

PF-21 ARTIST INTERVIEW: Phillip Low (of Maximum Verbosity)

A moment with Phillip Low (Company: Maximum Verbosity) of THE YIP OF CTHULHU


Why did you choose PortFringe this year? I didn’t — I initially applied in 2020, when I was living in Boston and Portland was a Concord Coach away. Then the apocalypse happened, I moved to Minneapolis, and Eric Yuan made teleproducing possible.

How was your PortFringe show born? I usually play this kind of thing pretty close to the chest, but I’ll be real — this show is straight-up autobiographical. I don’t want to spoil too much about what is essentially a one-joke story, but I’m a dude with both a nihilistic streak and a pet who has utterly declined to indulge it.

What about the world *right now* makes your show important? The closest thing to a relevant moral I could derive from this? If human stupidity insists that we destroy ourselves, human stupidity also makes us hilariously bad at destroying ourselves.

What have you learned as an artist during the last year of pandemic times? Well, I’ve had a year-long crash course in the various technologies surrounding livestreaming, which is a sufficiently left- and right-brained activity to activate my interest (i.e. both creative and tech-geeky). I’ve learned that it’s tough to entertain people in times of crisis, and that it’s incredibly invigorating to try. Perhaps above all, I’ve learned that I am really fucking dependent on live audience response.

Why is FRINGE important? I’ve been evangelical on this subject for decades, and remain so: unjuried art is everything. Social and cultural trends come and go, but it’s audiences who tell us what’s working for them. As we find ourselves once again being hemmed in by increasingly puritanical standards, this remains one of the few venues where we can truly share our ugliness.

It’s PortFringe’s 10th Birthday! What do you remember or miss about being ten years old? I have no memory specific to being ten years old, but Box Office Mojo tells me that Batman Returns was the top-selling movie that year. This was a Christmas classic released in June, because the universe has apparently always been Dadaist nonsense, but its defining quote: “Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it. But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it,” remains more profound than literally anything I have ever written, particularly when delivered by a woman in a leather catsuit.

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’m an Arthurian romance geek (enough to have honeymooned in England, dragging my wife to various sites related to the Matter of Britain), so “Arthur to Guinevere at Almesbury” piqued my interest. Eric Darrow Worthley, I have no idea who you are, but I’m watching you.

Write a haiku about your show!

elder gods, high-school

dropouts, happy puppies: there

are many monsters


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