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Postponed: [SIGN FELT] Sad Boys in Harpy Land

Alexandra Tatarsky

April 2-April 4

2020 High Pressure Fire Service

80 minutes

$15 – $24


Wheelchair Accessible

An ecstatic explosion of melancholy that embraces the insights of splintered thought. Hysterically hopeful.

In this new work, Alexandra Tatarsky collages narratives of art-making and despair into a deranged meditation on derangement. Drawing on sources from Goethe to Seinfeld, this unhinged solo piece from “one of the most exciting and hilarious performance artists around” (ArtSpace) both embraces and mocks the very idea of a one-woman show. Equal parts sad clown, demented cabaret, and extended crisis of meaning, with a sprinkling of drag, toy theater, and nonsense poetry, [SIGN FELT] Sad Boys in Harpy Land is a highly calibrated mess that journeys deep into the Dantean hellscape of the mind to ponder what might we learn from our own monstrosity. 

Created and performed by Alexandra Tatarsky, with direction by Eva Steinmetz, this performance comprises one moment in Tatarsky’s SIGN FELT series, a lifelong pseudo-autobiography about nothingness. It takes its title from Helen Adam’s feminist take on the Inferno in her humorous collage poem “In Harpy Land.”

There will be a post-show panel following the Friday, April 3rd performance of [SIGN FELT] Sad Boys in Harpy Land.

Performances include sounds of war and audience interaction. Content may reference self-harm/suicide, violence, blood, ableism, racism, sexism, classism, religious-based discrimination, and heterosexism.


This event has been postponed due to ongoing public health concerns.


$24 general
$15 students/25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS
Member discounts available

High Pressure Fire Service Subscriptions
$75 4-show package
$60 3-show package


[SIGN FELT] Sad Boys in Harpy Land was commissioned by Abrons Arts Center through the Jerome Foundation AIRspace Residency Program and was developed through the support of the Camp Fringe residency supported by Independence Foundation. Research and development made possible in part by The Jilline Ringle Solo Residency Program and the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts.

About the Artist

Alexandra Tatarsky (she/they) makes performances at the unfortunate in-between zone of dance, theater, comedy, and deluded rant — sometimes with songs. Venues include Vox Populi, Little Berlin, Space 1026, La Mama, Judson Church, MoMA PS1, Gibney Dance, Abrons Arts Center, The Kitchen and many bars and basements. Writings on spambot poetry, bootleg lyricism, and grotesque politics can be found in publications including The New Inquiry, Hypocrite Reader, ArtReview Asia, Garlands, Spike, Press & Fold, Weekday, and Folder. Her work seeks the logic of the clown as an antidote to despair and a model of one who keeps trying despite (repeated) failure.

Contextual Programming

Following the Friday, April 3rd performance, there will be a post-show panel conversation about Dante’s Inferno, the seventh circle of hell, sacred trees, and the mental health of forests. Panelists include:

Robyn Mello, owner of Edenspore Design and Dream, is an ecological designer, teacher, musician, food-grower, activist, organizer, herbalist, and more. She has a degree in Sociology and Africana Studies from The University of Delaware and received various Permaculture Design and Teacher Certifications in 2014. Robyn has worked with The Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP), helped start a dozen perennial edible gardens with a grassroots vacant lot organization she founded called Philly Food Forests; worked as Gardens Manager & Nature Educator for Historic Fair Hill in North Philadelphia; organized the Occupy Vacant Lots campaign with Occupy Philly members interested in growing food and community organizing; started a small organic vegetable and chicken farm in Upper Bucks County while living off-grid in a tiny house, and worked as an Environmental Justice Researcher with The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN).

Mario Sassi is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Romance Languages. He studied Italian Literature in Rome, focusing on the tradition of Hell in Medieval European Literature and Italian preaching texts. He has presented on Love theories in the French and Italian Middle Ages. He teaches Italian Language and Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy at the University of Pennsylvania, with special attention on later reception of the poem.

Simon Richter is the Class of 1942 Endowed Term Professor of German and environmental humanities  at the University of Pennsylvania. He is past president of the Goethe Society of North America and a faculty fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research.  Current research focuses on cultural and intercultural responses to sea level rise and flooding in coastal cities in the Netherlands, the United States, and Indonesia, with an emphasis on Dutch approaches. Simon is a climate activist on the Penn campus, intent on raising student, faculty, and administration awareness of the climate emergency. To that end, he orchestrated the Penn 1.5* Minute Climate Lectures. Recent articles and blogs include: “Polder Hermeneutics: On the Intercultural Translation of Water Management in the Netherlands and Indonesia”; “The Dutch International Water Sector Needs Storytellers”; and “Is Floating Architecture a Gimmick or a Legitimate Response to Sea Level Rise?”. As @poldergeist3, he tweets about climate adaptation and life below sea level in the Netherlands, the US, and Indonesia.

Happy Hour on the Fringe

On this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe, the artist and brain behind our upcoming [SIGN FELT]: Sad Boys in Harpy Land, Alexandra Tatarsky, sits down with University of Pennsylvania Professor and PhD candidate Mario Sassi. They talk about the running through-line of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedies in the show, and the contemporary relevance of Dante’s world view today. Listen below and check out the transcript here!

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