A collage of images from Being/With: Home.

2020 Fringe Season Round-up

The 2020 Philadelphia Fringe and Free Fringe festivals are in full swing, and Pig Iron School students, alums, faculty, and friends are creating and sharing work that responds to and meets the challenges of the current moment. Here's a round-up of some of the art they're making.

Being/With: Home - Nichole Canuso Dance Company
Pig Iron School faculty member Nichole Canuso presents this Zoom-adapted version of her forthcoming live work Being/With in the Fringe Festival. Alums Jennifer Kidwell ('13), Lillian Ransijn ('16), and Sarah Gardner ('17) are all involved.

Embark on a poetic encounter with a stranger, accompanied by a tender and mysterious audio guide. A guided performance experience that connects two solo audience members via Zoom, Being/With: Home is an embodied exploration of separation, connection, and the power of listening. Embracing the objects and memories that populate your own space, you’ll create something new, with someone unexpected.

This Is Where We Cross the Street - Mike Durkin
Mike Durkin ('17) has created a soundwalk that is being shared in the Free Fringe festival.

"We are going to go on a short trip together. Me and You. Me, being your guide. You...being you." 

Stopping. Pausing. Breathing. Going outside. Walking. Crossing the street. All tasks that have a vast amount of new circumstances. This Is Where We Cross The Street is a mobile soundwalk inviting listeners to stop, slow down, and consider these new circumstances. Inspired by slow movement and embracing a radically analog way of thinking. Every moment is important, every action has dire consequences, and how do we respond to these new circumstances?

Listeners will be provided a download/stream link and can be played anywhere that is convenient for the listener.  Listeners are asked to download or stream the track through a smartphone. 

The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 - David Gordon
Nick Schwasman ('17) and Jacinta Yelland ('19) perform in this dance film, streaming for the duration of the Fringe.

Celebrated choreographer/director/writer David Gordon premieres his first new screen work in two decades with a “virtual” performance company of 30+ Philadelphia artists working remotely to record video material on everything from iPhones to professional cameras. Gordon then dissected, assembled, and collaged this movement with visual scores and archival works in collaboration with video artist Jorge Cousineau. The Philadelphia Matter – 1972/2020 cast includes Wally Cardona and Pick Up Performance Co(s) members Karen Graham and Valda Setterfield.

The Bodice Ripper Project - Maren Montalbano
Vanessa Ogbuehi ('19) directs and serves as dramaturg for this live-streamed performance.

Maren Montalbano is an opera singer who loves romance novels so much she started writing salacious scenes backstage and reading them aloud to her castmates in the dressing room, and YOU are invited for a reading! But not all is as it seems; Maren’s stories have also garnered the interest of something dark that has been lurking in the dressing room, and now Maren must face the darkness armed only with romance novels. This performance will take place digitally and will rely on audience interaction to determine certain plot points in the show (like a choose-your-own-adventure novel).

Legal Tender - Kyle Dacuyan + Antigravity Performance Project
Francesca Montanile ('15) and Michael T. Williams ('15) direct this piece which also features performance contributions from Andalyn Young ('15).

Legal Tender is a live assemblage of multi-media performance, video, and text material drawing across a yearlong collaborative devising practice, its marginalia, and postscript.

Poet Kyle Dacuyan, in collaboration with Antigravity Performance Project (directors Michael T. Williams and Francesca Montanile) and artists Andalyn Young, Kate Liebman, and Michael Costagliola, present this new range of work in a collaboratively-designed digital studio, with a live program featuring poems, meditations, and movement oriented around pleasure, flux, and connection.

Originally conceived as an episodic duet of movement and poetry, a first performance work was created exploring the relationships between information, consumer culture, labor, and borders – drawing attention to our eroding news and media environments, and the places where fact, opinion, and falsehood settle unconsciously.

Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and inflected in new ways with our more fully digital and remote present tense, an expanded field of poetry reading, video pieces, movement, and sound work has been created, deepening these themes against the backdrop of shifting and uncertain time.

In addition to the two live digital salons, the public is encouraged to access a User-Navigated Digital Art Installation featuring poetry readings, movement, meditation, and sensory experiences. Join Antigravity on a digital-orbital adventure through work and pleasure.

fun with dick & jane: working title - Rhonda Moore and Ben Grinberg
Ben Grinberg ('13) co-created and performs in this multi-layered, non-linear piece of digital video art.

fun with dick & jane: working title is an energetic and physical encounter between two bodies and two artists, Ben Grinberg and Rhonda Moore. They’ve admired each other from afar, and are finally coming together to explore what the combination of their two bodies in space can say and do. In the context of COVID-19, they will create a series of improvisational scores which deal with the fraught-ness of human touch but the necessity of connection. Their desire is to film the entire process of this artistic encounter, capturing not just the way bodies move together but the way power is gained and ceded in the rehearsal room and the way energy is built through verbal communication. From this record of process and performance, the two will edit a multi-layered, non-linear piece of digital video art which will be live streamed with live elements.

xoxo moongirl - Almanac Dance Circus Theatre
Faculty member Nicole Burgio performs in this autobiographically-inspired circus fantasia, co-created with Ben Grinberg ('13).

xoxo moongirl blends physical theatre, live music, world-class circus, and aerial performance in a hilarious, heart-wrenching and breathtaking story of one woman processing a family life riddled with domestic abuse. This full-length solo show features Nicole Burgio and award-winning composer Melanie Hsu in a semi-autobiographical and acrobatic exploration of escaping the gravitational pull of trauma, navigating complicated relationships, and always believing you’ll end up on the moon.

portal perspective - Megan Mazarick
Jess Conda ('13 performed in this dance theater piece presented the first week of the Fringe.

portal perspective is a dance theater piece that grapples with personal pandemic experiences through movement, text, and video projection. A series of small interwoven solos take place in a gallery window while viewers watch from the outside. Working with the political, the personal, and the communal, the portal is a particular vantage point and an entrance to imagined futures. Can you join us in the vortex? Directed by Megan Mazarick and created in collaboration with Danielle Currica and Jess Conda. Projection design created by Les Rivera.