2023 FRINGE SEASON ROUND-UP
Congratulations to the movers and shakers in the Pig Iron community who are involved in this year's Fringe Festival! We are so proud to see our students, alums, faculty, and friends making and creating and sharing their art with the world.
Putting together your Fringe schedule? Take a look at this list.
Jacqueline Libby ('19) and Christine Shaw ('19)
Your 2021 Fringie winners are back - this time taking on the big one: the final farewell, the big adios, the kick of the bucket - DEATH! In Bite the Dust, inFLUX dives into the fascinations and fears that bubble to the surface as we confront life’s biggest unknown. Join Bill Morty, a friendly volunteer art docent, as he attempts to confront his impending death. As he struggles to cope, absurdity ensures - maggots will tango, deer will dance their way to cellular oblivion, and more. Bite the Dust takes audiences on a romp through the anxiety of slipping away into nothingness. Bite the Dust continues inFLUX’s mission to create meticulous and raucously uninhibited new works of live performance. inFLUX’s 2021 Fringie winner, The Choice, went on to a New York debut in 2022. They are back premiering Bite The Dust in Philly! Join them and have some fun with death!
Faysal Can Dakni ('23)
Two traditional male dancers (Kocek) have been dancing to Turkish Folk Music and entertaining the audiences to make a living in a Pavyon called Misket in Ankara, Turkey. However, the love they share has been a secret that they’ve had to conceal from the conservative society in Turkey for a long time. Now, after returning from their mandatory military service, it is time for them to address the unspoken and make a decision.
An immersive experience in a traditional nightclub where people drink, dance and witness the story of the impossible.
Sohrab Haghverdi ('20)
An experience curated and performed by the 9/11 man himself. All the way from no man's land, right in the middle of the east, he comes really hard, tonight, to the rescue. He was the one who "did it", and he is here to "do it" all over again. He was once hated and now back to be loved.
Nick Gillette ('13), Jasmine Jiang (Pig Iron Staff)
Improvised tragedy balanced on the edge of a knife. Each night, a freshly generated play centers upon a single unanswerable question: Did this widower see a ghost or is he going mad? Is the gossip about the new student true or slander? Drama so tense not even the cast knows how it will all end.
Jessica Creane ('16)
As a guest of this intimate tea party, you will be served tea of exceptional quality, play entirely civilized parlor games, and when the end comes, no need to panic, you won't be alone. Inspired by time in the Arctic Circle and time travel to the end of the world, TEA PARTY is a dark, joyous affair.
Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe ('20)
Man of the People: Luciano “Lucky” McCormick is a stand up guy; he shakes down his friends’ enemies, and holds doors for broads. He’s that guy you avoid in line at the Acme and he probably sold you your last Christmas tree if you live on Snyder Ave. When called "problematic", Lucky ain't too sure what to say besides, "You got a problem, pal?!". In Man of the People this sweet bum ponders how to be a good man when the world can't seem to agree on what that actually means.
Kathleen Taylor (’23)
Power Moulting disfigures and reconfigures behaviour so that it becomes impure, idiotic, and joyful. In an exploration of innocence and perversion, a hydra-headed series of characters merge with and separate from each other in ever-mutating ways.
Brian Bowyer (’23), Heather Hosford (’23), MK Korbisch (’23), Connor McAndrews (’23), Chelsea Thaler (’23), Rose Weiss (’23)
"We’ll take you to Funkokomo. That’s where we want to go. A new work that illuminates the absurdity of cruise ships, orange traffic cones, the falsities that we believe, and the false prophets we follow. An absurd, experimental performance of dance, theater, clown, bouffon, and all-organic calamity."
Jeff Evans (’18)
Why are we so brilliant in the bathroom? Sitting alone with our thoughts and our bodies, reaping consequences of the choices we made with our mouths and appetites, we are at our most human. The bathroom is a unifier between body and mind that allows us to think of things that we wouldn’t otherwise. It’s a place you can talk to yourself, have a breakthrough, re-compose yourself. It’s a place you can excuse yourself to when that date isn’t as fun as you thought it’d be. It’s a place you can hide when your first school dance knocks you into panic mode. It’s a haven. It’s a studio. But it’s so icky. This solo clown mess examines our disgust and interrogates the relationship between disgust and creativity, between the heatlth of our ideas and the health of our guts. How does life pass through us? How do we pass through it? Contents also include acoustic music loops of songs from 2012, found-footage audio of your old room-mates, and microbes seeking love.
Patrick Connor Burke (’23), Faysal Can Dakni ('23)
Catto’s life is a bit odd. He’s been deferring on his rent for 20 years, he has bulging muscles that only he can see, and his only friend is some guy named Shmike. Worse yet, Catto can’t remember anything about who he was before meeting Shmike. In a ridiculous and raucous journey of self discovery, two clowns attempt to retrace their steps from the pits of stupidity and figure out how they got to be so foolish. Will Catto and Shmike learn to appreciate living senselessly or will they reform to be law abiding citizens?
Sarah Owens ('23)
Messy Perfectionism: Ingredients - movement, visuals, poetry, truth, lies, emotions, and facades. Option to replace facades with smoke and mirrors. Can omit the truth entirely. Steps - 1. Blend 2. Consume. Best if shared.
Jess Conda (’13)
Despite receiving mixed reviews on release, David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy has become a highly influential and acclaimed body of work in the artist’s decades-spanning catalog. Originating from Bowie's move from Los Angeles to a divided Germany in 1976 to rid himself of worsening drug addiction, the Berlin Albums show Bowie at one of his most innovative, but also alienated periods of life.
From a purely musical perspective, Bowie’s catalog is a one-stop-shop in terms of genres, moods, modes, and approaches, all played by top-notch musicians. At this year’s Fringe Festival, Bowie’s famed catalog and blended ideals of pop and art will be celebrated and performed by students aged 10-18 from the Paul Green Rock Academy and some of Philly’s most virtuosic cabaret performers, including Jess Conda, Johnny Showcase, and the return of Red 40.
Francesca Montanile Lyons (’15, Pig Iron Staff)
Francesca Montanile Lyons brings you a kaleidoscopic solo performance that rides the line between pleasure and disgust, where clown and buffon hold a funhouse mirror to the artist’s self. Here, the laughter is tinged with nausea, and the nausea is tinged with relief. If you’ve ever hated yourself and/or everyone in the world, welcome.
Connor Hogan (’19)
Can two clowns improvise a meal? Dinner! Franny and Connor Wrote a Cookbook is an interactive cooking show live-directed by self-described food influencers with no prior knowledge of the ingredients, but a deep passion for food. High cuisine meets low class in this intimate Chopped-style experience!
Sarah Knittel (’16)
Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramović is a sloppy, sexy autopsy about the agony of starting over. Ouchies, Daddy! An ooey gooey clown show that is part therapy session, part stand up, and full ARTSY FARTSY PERFORMANCE ART WET DREAM. GQ's "Sexiest Clown of the Year" is back with a solo female clown show that will leave your horny ass upping your mood stabilizers. Beats provided by sugar rush pop sensation Child Princess (Rosalie Swana)
Jonah Godfrey (’23)
This is a pirate-y show about pirates! Specifically, one young pirate who realizes they want to pirate in their own pirate-y way. And so, they embark on their very own pirate adventure, filled with sea monsters, lost treasures, unbelievable tales, ludicrous hats, and pirate-y rock music. There will be people trying to love each other and just taking some time to learn how. It will be joyful and heartbreaking and uplifting and wonderfully stupid, all the while asking: what does it take to be a good (bad) pirate? Oh…and did we mention pirates?
Jess Conda (’13)
The Bearded Ladies Cabaret returns for our third annual LATE NIGHT SNACKS, the unapologetically queer performance art pop up that makes everyone a little bit gay. Featuring a wardrobe’s worth of artists from opera singers to drag queens, cabaret stars to art clowns, and everything in between, LATE NIGHT SNACKS is here to convert you. Whether you come once, come every night, or just stop by on your way to the corner store, you’ll leave with a mouthful of rainbows and glitter on your lips. Part subversion therapy, part luxury walk-in, LATE NIGHT SNACKS invites you to join us in The Closet, our custom-built cabaret, for seven minutes in queer heaven. Hosted by a rotating group of snaxx: Jess Conda, Cookie Diorio, Eric Jaffe, Jarbeaux, Sam Rise, Jackie Soro, & US (aka Anthony Martinez-Briggs).
See specific dates below for full lineup. / Important Nutritional Information: Important Nutritional Information Late Night Snacks ingredients may include artistic experimentation, adult content, consensual audience interaction, earworms, nudity, jubilation, and rampant queerness. Not every show will be for everyone so feel free to come and go as you please. When we can, we will provide detailed ingredients for each show ahead of time.
Martha Eies (’13)
FringeArts' favorites Red 40 and Johnny Showcase reunite to perform an electrifying variety show. Drawn together by their sibling rivalry and a deep love of harmonizing with each other, they'll sing a set list of their favorite duets for one-night-only.
Red 40, aka your toxic ex-boyfriend's worst nightmare, is returning to her home stage of FringeArts where she led the house band for two years. Named a "local legend" by Philadelphia Magazine, her feminist agenda and powerhouse pipes have been featured on NPR's Sound Opinions, at Ars Nova's ANT Fest, and on many a sold-out stage. Billy Penn named her a young creator of the "new Philadelphia sound."
Johnny Showcase is a sweaty, charismatic showman from Rhode Island who is equal parts Andy Kaufman and Prince. Carrying the torch of funk-rock pioneers like Funkadelic and Frank Zappa, he and his band the Mystic Ticket have gained a massive following and propelled Johnny to something of a funky Philly folk hero legend. He is more famous in the 4-9 year old market as his kid-centric act, Johnny Shortcake, and to the rest of the world from his confounding stint on America's Got Talent in 2021.
Arantxa Chavez (’24)
A veteran experimental theatre director takes to the stage with words, moves, and compulsive counting to expose his obsessive love affair with a poem that gives zero love in return.
Lillian Ransijn (’16)
Sadness is visiting and the great Trash Heap Oracle has wisdom to bestow, so Join us Sept 9th, 10th, 16th, and 17th as we journey Down into the Dumps. This clown dance theater performance is made for kids 4-10 to be enjoyed alongside their adults and younger siblings too. Kids and Big Kids—all are welcome to join us in this interactive story full of big feelings and silly, trashy transformational delight.
Mike Durkin (’17), Angela Trovato (’20)
Silence. Absolute silence. Finding commune with each other. The volume of the outside world turned completely down. Utter presence. Uncle Mike’s All-Day Apple Butter is a durational performance and installation. Mike begins by coring, peeling and chopping the apples, cooking them, and pureeing them. Then for 6 hours, Mike stands, in meditation, stirring the pot (so to speak but also literally) At 7pm, Mike seasons the apple butter and jars the butter before distributing it to the audience members for a shared experience. Audience members are invited to come and go during the full day installation, observing, contemplating, savoring, and witnessing Mike stirring. Inspired by Quaker traditions of solemn meditation, the seasonal explosion of fall, and the iconography of apples in religious and pop cultures. Mike in contemplation invites audiences to be utterly present. Maybe we will sing a song, maybe dance, maybe yell, or whatever comes to him in this meditation. Apple Butter looks at our associations and romanticization of Quaker traditions, slow-life cultures, and the simple life. We think about authenticity, earnestness, and objectification through the critiquing of these communities that occur in pop culture.
Aram Aghazarian (Pig Iron Faculty)
Cloistered C is an absurd meditation on moving through walls and changing locations.
Alyse James (’23)
Four clowns fool their way through some Shakespeare full of popcorn & sound effects for a radical participatory take on the Bard.
Matthew Armstead (’18)
Stop lingering in the lagoon, lulled by the shallows. 2023. Time to tell the truth. Through movement, story, music, and clown, this duo of anti-oppression facilitators, camp counselors & former athletes brings you on a warm and sobering deep dive. Do you trust us?
Magic Lagoon asks us what ancestral lineages and current conditions can we face and transform to lay foundations for more just + easeful futures? How can we keep joy at the center of our inner revolution? What healing is possible for ourselves and our communities in this lifetime, and what must be left behind for the next generation to take on?
Take your liberation seriously and see where it goes. Hold your transformation with levity, and see which direction it flows. Breathe through your mouth. Have fun. Follow the fantastic. The depths have shadows. The shadows hold truths. In truth there is freedom. Depths are portals to freedom. We are being called to step forward! We are scared. We are powerful. We are alive.
Jacinta Yelland (’19)
Part climate-catastrophe, part clown show—KOAL is a one-woman show for the end of the world. As wildfires tear through Australia, a baby koala, a coal miner and an Indigenous girl desperately strive to hold onto their homes before all burns and turns to ash.
Mel Krodman (’13)
Pete Pannn: BOYZ WILL BE BOYZ 4 LYFE is a trickster’s-manifesto from our fave little boy and mythic hero a**h*le: Pete Pannn. And his very best friend Tink. Pete’s been crushing it since 1902 and now - over 120 yrs after his first window creep Pete’s got 2023 goals: 1 Recruit a new crew of Lost Bros 2 Get into stand up 3 Meet some Wendys, score some Moms. 4 Fight Hook(s), that dick(s). 5 Respect Tink 6 Nail the moves ‘n’ tricks 7 Keep pretending toward manhood without actually 8 growing up to be a man. AND YO CHECK THIS: Pete’s BFF Tink’s got goals too: hold Pete accountable and other acts of friendship and love. AND YO YO REAL R-E-A-L TALK CHECK THIS: BOYZ WILL BE BOYZ 4 LYFE is also a memoir for the gestational being under Pete: changing at and against one’s will, laboring emotionally ‘n’ physically, phishing for visibility ‘n’ shadow sides, adventuring on toward accountability ‘n’ freedom through the (effed up) image of an enduring cultural icon. (Real R-e-a-L Talk: BOYZ WILL BE BOYZ 4 LYFE is made with spiritual, practical and logistical support from a R-E-A-L LYFE crew of Lost Bros aka individual members from the Masculinity Action Project)
Ben Grinberg (’13, Pig Iron Faculty)
An Egyptian Muslim dancer, an American Jewish acrobat, finding, loving, and using each other. Fix Me is a full-length dance theater piece that explores queer male impulses across disparate cultural contexts and sheds light on the precariousness of intimacy, free expression, and relationships. The duet uses dance, physical theatre and acrobatics to tackles a universal cause and concern, sharing their side of the struggle with one another and merging two individual stories into one. This project is part of "Egyptian Queer Uprising," a three-part performance and research project centering queer expression in Egypt. The piece had residency showings in Philadelphia in April, and Cairo in June. This is the world premiere performance run before it will return to Egypt in November, 2023. The piece will be available for tour starting in early 2024.
Leslie Miller ('18)
"You're not hardcore...unless you live hardcore."
Have truer words ever been spoken? We don't think so! Join Theatre Contra for the next step in their fan favorite movie reading series - DARE NIGHT.
We're taking the movie script of SCHOOL OF ROCK and doing it live. The twist? You're in control! We'll be taking audience dares throughout the show, meaning you get to determine how the show unfolds...for better or worse.
Terry Guerin (Pig Iron Board Member), Lillian Rashijn (’16), Laura Schmidt (’24), Tim Shu (’24), Molly Wright (’24)
Leslie Miller ('18)
What is your currency? Make Bank is a collision between visual and performing arts inside the former Manufacturer's National Bank in Old City. Join us for an immersive experience that plays with paper, value, money, and time, tellers, cash cows, and more.
Mitchell Nease (’23)
A ritual summoning by the Bouffon of the world's most beloved auth-, I mean the most powerful dark wiz-, I mean queen of the TERFs-, I mean the de facto leader of the "Gender Critical" Movement. Truly the Chosen One. Her powers have faded, but are quickly growing, and she needs your support before it's too late. You may know her as J.K. Rowling. Or maybe Robert Galbraith. But we just call her She Who Must Not Be Named. Coming out of their training at the Pig Iron School, She Who Must Not Be Named is the collision of Bouffon, the Grotesque, and the Mystère. It attempts to grapple with the profound harm that J.K. Rowling has done and continues to do to the Trans community, as well as the queer community at large. Harry Potter was a very large and important part of my childhood, and a big part of this work is reckoning with releasing the franchise from my life. Bouffon as a form allows us to reveal and explore hypocrisy through absolute mockery. It can take the biggest bastards of society and hold their feet to the fire. She claims that "this witch doesn't burn," but we'll see about that. I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good.
Katie Butler (’20), John Miller Giltner (’20), Connor Hogan ('19), Devin Preston (’17), Iris Seaman (’17), Jonathan Harper Schliemann (’20)
The sisters are weird and the politics are bloody. Enjoy Shakespeare's spookiest play in the madcap Shakespeare on Tap style, with a pint of pathos and a shot of kitschy fun. The actors talk to you, you can talk back, and drinking is encouraged (but no pressure, you know, you do you.)
Izzy Sazak (’18)
Tiny Witch is a one-witch adaptation of the old and much translated folktale, Bluebeard. Part cabaret, part fantasy fiction stand-up, Tiny Witch is a queer trans allegory, a ritual exorcism and just a damn silly time. Tiny Witch lives in a portal under your pillow. Every night they leave the 7th dimension and enter ours through this portal to battle away the nightmares that plague your subconscious with a broom they've made from your discarded eyelashes. Tiny Witch is very old and tired, and doesn't have time for your nonsense. They are here to give a lecture on how to be a good Tiny Witch, as per the request of the Interdimensional Academy for Fighting Evil. Most Tiny Witches don't know they're a tiny witch until they meet one. And Tiny Witch is here to help you know if you are in fact, a Tiny Witch like them. You might learn a lot from them, including how to talk to dragons, how to slay a Bluebeard in 28 days, and how to costruct a proper broom. You might even learn how to travel to the 12th dimension... If you're good. You will definitely learn a spider war song. That is non-negotiable. If you're really lucky, Tiny Witch might sing you a lullaby spell. And that will be very special indeed. Are you a Tiny Witch? Come to the 7th dimension and find out.
Brooke Shilling (’21)
During COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, I looked over at the kitchen sink in my studio apartment and thought, that could be a boat. From there, I dreamt up “Sinky The Stinky Pirate.” I made short, silly videos alone in my home and, all the while, dreamt of bringing the idea of Sinky not only to a little screen in your pocket but to a communal, collective, theatrical space where we can now examine what that means as we return to one another. In Sinky is the opportunity to grieve, to look at that loneliness under a microscope and challenge how we can collectively find strength in a(n almost) post-pandemic world. In this project, I’ve found what our minds, our hearts, our souls crave when we’re alone: connection, absurdity, freedom, and joy.
Sara Quagliata (’15)
The Pecking Order is a live performance event born out of grief and disbelief after the 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and inspired by the wife and daughters of the supreme court judge who penned the original opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun. This 70s-inspired tragicomedy highlights the absurdity of women's rights being thrust back in time in typically unpredictable Paper Dolls fashion, and asks provocative questions about unplanned pregnancy, family dynamics, and women's rights.
Brett Robinson (’16)
Are you a good little boy? A sweet baby girl? Patricia! Is rich, she’s white, and shes a Good Person. In the world of social justice, social media, callout culture and snowflakes, everyones looking and everyones good. But who is really good and who gets to decide? In this sharp and biting satire, Patricia! Will hold your nose, open your throat and give you the dose of goodness you deserve.
Alex Tatarsky (’16)
Alex Tatarsky collages narratives of artmaking and despair into a semi-autobiographical tour-de-farce, as told by a young Jewish woman who thinks she is a small German boy who thinks he is a tree. Equal parts sad clown, demented cabaret, and extended crisis of meaning, this unhinged solo takes place in the hellscape of the mind.