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Events Packing and Cracking

Packing and Cracking

Rachel Gita Karp and Joseph Amodei

September 23-September 30

2020 Fringe Festival

80 minutes



Do we choose our politicians, or do our politicians choose us? Packing and Cracking is an interactive mapmaking event about gerrymandering: the pervasive practice of politicians choosing their voters rather than the other way around. Through digital drawing and map-drawing games, Packing and Cracking uses critical cartography, gerrymandering history, and interviews with politicians and reformers today to show how easy and disenfranchising gerrymandering can be and ask what, if anything, we should do about it.

While providing a national overview, Packing and Cracking focuses on redistricting and gerrymandering in one state at a time. The focus for the Philly Fringe is Pennsylvania, historically one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.

Packing and Cracking is created by Rachel Gita Karp and Joseph Amodei and is facilitated by Aubyn Heglie, Rory Kulz, Joshua Kery, and Jacob Russell. It has been presented in Pittsburgh and New York through LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The Wild Project, SFX Festival, and Carnegie Mellon University. Packing and Cracking received developmental support as part of the 2018 Artist Residency Program of The Drama League of New York. It received further development through Sokoloff Arts and Anonymous Ensemble and funding from the Network of Ensemble Theaters and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Upcoming performances will take place at MIT and UNC. The project was originally developed and presented in-person but Karp and Amodei have translated it into a participatory performance online. They first presented the online version at the very start of the pandemic and are thrilled to be premiering it in Pennsylvania through the Philly Fringe.

To participate in Packing and Cracking, a laptop or desktop computer that can stream video is required. The experience will not work fully if joined by phone or tablet. If you have any specific questions about system requirements, email

Artists will email ticket buyers with additional instructions immediately prior to performances. Recommended for ages 13+


Wednesday, Sept 23 at 7pm

Sunday, Sept 27 at 5pm

Wednesday, Sept 30 at 7pm



$5 General

Happy Hour on the Fringe

In this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe, Marketing Manager Raina Searles talks with Rachel Gita Karp and Joseph Amodei, the artist behind Packing and Cracking. The show combines critical cartography, gerrymandering history, and interviews with today’s politicians and reformers to reveal how easy and disenfranchising gerrymandering can be and to ask participants the critical question of “what, if anything, we should do about it?” Listen to Raina, Rachel, and Joseph discuss the making of Packing and Cracking, gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, and what you can expect as a participant.

About the Artists

Joseph Amodei is a new media artist, theater designer, and activist. Their work combines innovative technology, extensive research, and hope for alternate futures to invite audiences into a communal process of debriefing and re-learning. Joseph received a BFA in studio art from UNC-Chapel Hill and their MFA in video and media design from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. They are a newly-appointed Professor of Immersive Media at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. Recent work has explored voter suppression, mental health, the AIDS crisis, and attention’s relationship to technology and has been presented at HERE Arts Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University, UNC Process Series, Hidden Voices, and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

Rachel Gita Karp makes rigorously-researched performances about politics and public policy. She has developed and directed new performances in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and Kentucky, through The Drama League, the Center for Artistic Activism, Irondale, Mabou Mines, Ars Nova, Actors Theatre of Louisville, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The Wild Project, The Brick, The Flea, IRT, Dixon Place, Incubator Arts Project, Women Center Stage, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Barn Arts, Orchard Project, and Columbia University’s graduate and undergraduate schools. Rachel is currently the Beatrice Terry Resident Director at The Drama League, a Creative Fellow at Town Stages, an Affiliated Artist with New Georges, and she is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. She recently received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was awarded fellowships in theater and public policy.

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