Compilation of photos for each production

2022 Fringe Season Round-Up

The 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival is here, and Pig Iron School is proud to see how many students, alums, faculty, and friends are involved this year, making and creating and sharing with us all of their hard work.

Dirt Trip - Alex Tatarsky
Alum Alex Tatarsky created and performs in this original production.

Linking American pop-culture angst over the evil clown in efforts to banish garbage and urban blight, Tatarsky examines our fears of figures and substances which suggest transitional, ambiguous, and disordered states. Contents include: the ballad of an unemployed court jester who desires to be a rotting vegetable; a lecture that decays into a heap of dirt.


Your Show - John Miller
Alums John Miller and Gabey Walburn collaborated to create this rock and roll performance.

The non-binary son of god tries to convince their dad to use their pronouns.

Warning: This show uses rock music and power points to blow your mind.


Green Card Project - Sohrab Haghverdi
Alum Sohrab Haghverdi is the creator and performer in this interactive performance.

An interactive installation theatre experience that takes the audience through the process of applying for a Visa as experienced by an Iranian Citizen, opening up questions about what is truly valuable to America and what sits at the core of today's immigration policies.


LEWIS LUVZ CLARK - Rebecca Posner
Come see the one-woman show, written and performed by alum Rebecca Posner.

Watch a horny attention-starved new mom navigate the probable-possible-maybe-made-up-but-probably-not love affair between Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.


Threnody - Kate Aarness, Dre'land Goar, Sasha Kostyrko, Nina Sharp, Brooke Shilling
Originally created for a Pig Iron School performance, alums Sasha Kostyrko, Nina Sharp, Kate Aarness, and Dre’land Goar have taken their production to Fringe Festival.

Threnody is an original theatrical performance that hopes to understand, dissect and undercut our society’s relationship to individual grief, collective grief, and the ways in which we can inspire and support one another through hard times.


I Hear You and I'd Like to Respond - Almanac Dance Circus Theatre
Alums Nathan Alford-Tate and Ben Grinberg are involved in this blend of circus, dance, and physical theatre.

In I Hear You and I'd Like to Respond, artists and audiences alike board a metaphysical flight, traveling together to a visionary place of collective imagining. A Professor and a Facilitator — both on the precipice of revelation — attempt, in their own ways, to explain the world around them, only to realize what they are trying to communicate is nearly impossible for others to comprehend. But as the bodies of the passengers are thrown in acrobatic flight, a certain truth is revealed: either we will put aside our differences and save each other, or we will fall.


Fair Trade - Jessica Creane & Yannick Trapman-O'Brien
Critically acclaimed Interactive Experience Maker and Alum Jessica Creane created and performs in this thought experiment turned philosophical swap-meet.

Is Trust given freely, or earned over time? Is Fairness judged on a geological timescale or in the span of a second? How much can you get in exchange that birthday present you got from your least favorite aunt?

Fair Trade is the first in a series of experiments from critically acclaimed Interactive Experience Makers Jessica Creane (Know Thyself, Chaos Theory, Schrödinger’s Cat) and Yannick Trapman-O’Brien (The Telelibrary, Undersigned), designed to invite participants to lean into these questions and discover what exactly we give and take when things change hands.

In this thought experiment turned philosophical swap-meet, you’ll bring 3 possible offerings to negotiate a trade with a stranger.

It may be a deeply personal exploration of how you do (or don’t) come to Trust the people you meet. It may be a perspective-smashing upheaval of how you decide the Value of things. It may short circuit your notions of how to find meaning and fulfillment. It may even be the Fairest trade you’ve ever made. It will definitely be a chance to discover your own definitions.

What might you bring — and what might you get in return?


Yes, We're Ready, We'll Split an Order of Fries for The Table—Does That Work for You?—Sure, One Check Is Fine - Mike Durkin and Nick Schwasman
Alums Mike Durkin and Nick Schwasman created and perform in a table-top show about diners and the people inhabiting those space.

Yes, we’re ready, we’ll split an order of fries for the table. Does that work for you? Sure, one check is fine. The clanking of the spoon against the ceramic mug, embossed with the diner’s logo. The flickering of the fluorescents in the kitchen. Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” cuts through the shuffling of feet. Meetings, comings, goings, and reunions. Blue plate specials, no substitutions, and gratuity added on parties over 8 fill the menu. A tabletop show about diners and the people inhabiting those spaces. Artists, Mike Durkin and Nick Schwasman will lead audiences between 1-3 through a series of conversations, and performances, all while splitting an order of fries either at the Melrose Street Diner or Broad Street Diner in South Philadelphia.


Song Bridge - Matthew Armstead
Matthew Armstead created and performs in this musical piece.

You get to forgive yourself. Matthew uses poetry, movement, and song to embody a chorus of voices within themself. With Blackness, queerness, and mental health, Song Bridge is a compassionate journey about learning to sing again. Travel across time together toward collective healing and liberation.


I Have to Pay My Rent - Sterling Melcher
Sterling Melcher wrote this theatrical installation taking place at JOE’S STEAK + SODA SHOP, with performances by Connor Hogan.

It is a theatrical where the audience orders off of two menus. One is the Joe's cheesesteak menu, and the other is a menu of Sterling Melcher's unfinished work. He had to make money instead. The show is free, but the steaks cost money.


and you'll know it's done when the oil stops bubbling - Mike Durkin
Mike Durkin works with the residents of the Kensington area to create a recipe book.

Food is community, food is power, food is legacy, food is memory, food is love, food is home, food is life. Food has the capacity of bringing folks from different backgrounds together. Food is personal history, oral history, and oral tradition. Multidisciplinary artist Mike Durkin plans to look at the role food and recipes play in the Kensington area. Whether it’s a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, or the recipe we’ve made because it makes us feel good, recipes hold special places in our lives. By tracing the past, present, and future stories around the food we can forge deeper relationships with our neighbors as well as the environment our food comes from. The story-sharing circles will culminate into constructing a recipe book as well as a presentation and participatory community meal.


Tragic Nostalgia - Jeanne Lyons
Alum Jeanne Lyons is the creator and performer in this musical piece.

An atmospheric sonic journey with ethereal vocal layers, manipulated field recordings, and synthesized tones. Accompanied by abstract black and white visual projections. Developed through a process rooted in improvisation and experimentation. Inspired by nature, grief, looking back and meandering forward.


SPEECH - A Lightning Rod Special Production
Alum Alice Yorke performs in this poisonous love letter to cancel culture.

Lightning Rod Special (The AppointmentUnderground Railroad Game) offers a satirical scrutiny of the free speech debate and the rapidly shifting terrain of civil discourse within our hyper-visible social-media-centered world. Characters careen through different microcosms of American culture in a searing look at how trepidation and performativity infect all aspects of our lives. 

Philadelphia-based performance company Lightning Rod Special specializes in raucous and contemplative works that scramble theatrical conventions and intellectual assumptions. SPEECH continues their investigations into lightning rod topics, exploding complex questions with precision and play.


The Case for Invagination #4 - Nicole Bindler
Mark Kennedy directs this one-woman show.

This performance is Part Four of a series in which Bindler’s scars speak candidly about trauma and desire. Imagine Mister Rogers had a scooter accident, a thyroidectomy, a brain injury… and the puppets in his neighborhood were the remnants of these calamities. Welcome to The Case For Invagination!

This collection of solos arose out of Bindler’s somatic Body-Mind Centering® research on the embryology of the genitalia from a nonbinary perspective. From these ideas she developed a series of interactive performances based on the practice of allowing space/situations/people to invite us in, rather than injecting ourselves into spaces. This practice has social and political implications around embodying consent culture and as an antidote to the ways many of us have internalized capitalism, colonialism, sexism, and ableism.

After the third version, performed at last year’s Cannonball/Fringe festivals, many audience members reported that Bindler’s brain scar was the most poignant for them. This was the newest addition to her chorus of scars, and seemed like the most compelling one for her to explore more deeply in the fourth version.

The brain scar is a personification of the remnants of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) she suffered in 2018. In their monologue, brain scar describes what it’s like to be a TBI, “Some people were so freaked out and disgusted by her inability to fulfill her professional commitments, they looked at her like she was a demented grandma.” Brain scar ponders their identity, “What is me? Am I brain? Am I a scar? Am I Nicole?”

For the past year Bindler and her director, Mark Kennedy, have delved into her experience of TBI through the voice of the brain itself. Like previous instalments, this edition includes tragicomic autobiography told through monologues and dancing with an underlying politics around feminism, decoloniality, and Disability Justice.

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