A show about a famous farter? When the idea for Seth Rozin's new musical, A Passing Wind, first cropped up on the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's listserv last year, the rips about impropriety nearly outnumbered the toots of praise.
InterAct Theatre Co.'s founder and producing artistic director, Rozin — who has another new play, Two Jews Walk into a War, at his own theater through May 8 — travels around the corner to the Kimmel Center for A Passing Wind, which introduces the (mostly) true story of Frenchman Joseph Pujol (played by Damon Kirsche), aka Le Petomane or "The Fartiste," and his rise from humble baker to Moulin Rouge headliner in the early 1900s. Rozin's chamber musical is narrated by master interpreter of bodily functions Sigmund Freud (Tim Moyer). Other famous Pujol contemporaries — whom he out-grossed and grossed out — include composer Erik Satie (Jered McLenigan), painter Claude Monet (Peter Schmitz) and actress Sarah Bernhardt (Maureen Torsney-Weir).
A Passing Wind — which brews from Rozin's "lifelong inflatulation" with scatalogical humor — airs Pujol's story accurately, "with just a little poetic license to heighten dramatic and comedic opportunities," Rozin explains. He's enjoyed finding synonyms for fart and butt, and rhyming them — "truly a labor of love." The biggest challenge, though, has been re-creating Pujol's panoply of sounds — 66, at last count! — and figuring out how to have an actor shoot water from his anus. (I didn't ask.)
A Passing Wind, through April 17, $29, Kimmel Center, Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad St., 215-546-7432, pifa.org.