A Hard Time
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A Hard Time

Pig Iron Theatre Company

Part of High Pressure Fire Service


140 N Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA
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DescriptionAbout the ArtistsAbout High Pressure Fire Service

May 1—12, 2019

World Premiere

“I don’t like any female comedians… a woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
Jerry Lewis

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them … ”
Margaret Atwood

Welcome, esteemed colleagues. Find a seat. It has been said that laughter is an indication of relaxation, so please, relax.

The topic of today’s lecture: What’s So Funny?

Our guest lecturers this evening are Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman, who are here to give you A Hard Time.  They’ve provided this brief introduction to their performance:

“Time to whip it out, go balls to the wall and jam out with your clam out because the maestros of menstruation are here to strip down and suit up. We’re taking your jobs and breast-feeding in public for your delight and entertainment. Settle in, buckle up, and open wide.”

Ahem. Please give them a warm, collegial welcome.

Run Time: 80 minutes

HPFS Subscriptions:
$150 Six-Show Package / $120 for members*
15% off tickets to 3-5 performances / 30% off for members*
All subscribers receive free ticket exchanges and reduced fees.


Single Tickets:
$31 general / $21.70 members*
$15 students and 25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS members

Buy Tickets

*All member discounts applied automatically when logged in.

Feature Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

About the Artists

Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company is dedicated to the creation of new and exuberant performance works that defy easy categorization.

Jennifer Kidwell is a performing artist. Recent projects – Underground Railroad Game (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work), Home (Geoff Sobelle), Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (Dan Hurlin), I Understand Everything Better (David Neumann/advanced beginner group’s 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Antigone (The Wilma Theater), Fire Burns Hot: Little Reno!, I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Projects in development – A Hard Time (PITC), TABLE with Thomas Graves & the Rude Mechs and Nichole Canuso’s The Octopus and the Interview. Company member, PITC and Lightning Rod Special, Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and at hyperallergic.com.

2013 TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship (with PITC), 2015 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant, 2016 Pew Fellow, 2017 Independence Fellow, Jess Conda is a Philadelphia based performer, producer, teaching artist and cultural connector. From 2003-2017, Jess performed and produced with BRAT Productions, a former non profit theater company known for their influence on Philadelphia’s early alt performance scene. Regional Cabaret: The Peek A Boo Revue, Get Pegged!, Bearded Ladies, Martha Graham Cracker, Red 40 & the Last Groovement. Regional Theater: Arden Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, six seasons with Shakespeare in Clark Park. With Pig Iron: performer/creator on Pay Up and 99 Breakups. Jess is a two-time Barrymore nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play, and was one of Philadelphia Magazine‘s Best Stage Talents to See This Season, 2013. Jess works as a Teaching Artist at the Wilma Theatre. Training: Certificate: Pig Iron’s APT program. BFA: Arcadia University.

Mel Krodman is a performer and performance creator. Mel is a current company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company: A Hard Time (upcoming 2019), A Period of Animate Existence (2017), Swamp is On (2015), Gentlemen Volunteers (2015), and works frequently with others including Team Sunshine Performance Corporation: The Sincerity Project (iterations I, II, III), No Face Performance Group: The Top (2016), and Kelly Bond: Elephant (2010), Colony (2012), JEAN & TERRY: Your Guides Through Dark, Light and Nebulous (2016). Through their choreographic partnership, Kelly and Mel have held dance-focused, artistic residencies at fidget space in Philadelphia, The Work Room in Atlanta, and Breaking Ground at Emory University in Atlanta. Mel also currently performs as Pete Pan whose project BOYS WILL BE BOYS 4 LYFE premiered at ANT FEST 2018. Mel was a 2016 Theatre Communications Group On The Road grant recipient, and was a 2017 recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Performing Arts. Mel is a graduate of Boston University (2001) and the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training’s inaugural class of 2013. Previous to working in performance, Mel served as staff producer at the Discovery Channel Global Learning Alliance, producing educational documentaries for audiences around the world.

High Pressure Fire Service

A Presentation Series for Philadelphia Artists

High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS) takes its name from FringeArts’ historic building, the first high pressure pump house in the country. Opened in 1903, the station pumped water from the Delaware River to fire hydrants across Philadelphia, connecting the city and helping it grow and thrive. This history of creativity and connectivity is at the very heart of the High Pressure Fire Service festival. Addressing issues of representation, gender, accessibility, reproductive justice, and more through devised theater, comedy, and participatory play, these productions embody the vast range and exceptional talent of Philadelphia’s rich performing arts community.

Support for High Pressure Fire Service has been provided by the Wyncote Foundation.