Superterranean, Pig Iron Theatre, Mimi Lien
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Superterranean

Pig Iron Theatre Company / Mimi Lien

Our structures are big. We’re small.

World Premiere!

Part of the 2019 Fringe Festival. 

Venue

2300 Arena
2300 South Swanson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148 United States
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DescriptionAbout the ArtistsVideo

September 5–15, 2019

Refineries, dams, and wastewater treatment plants tower over us and sprawl beneath us. These massive works of infrastructure seem almost anti-human in their complexity and scale—like machines that run themselves—but they are the beating hearts that allow a city to function.

A world premiere by acclaimed Fringe veterans Pig Iron Theatre Company (A Period of Animate Existence, Pay Up, Welcome to Yuba City) and award-winning designer Mimi Lien, Superterranean is a new work of visual theater driven by Lien’s fascinations with urban infrastructure acting in concert with the human body.

On the outskirts of an unknown city, massive structures emerge from the murk. Here, nine performers embody our hunger for permanence, our dreams of utopia, and the melancholy contemplation of our skin, our organs, and our deepest urges.

“When I see a huge refinery, with its vast and intricate system of metal pipes, tanks, catwalks, I feel inexplicably emotional. Why do these structures evoke in my body such a deep-seated feeling of pleasure and despair?” Mimi Lien

“One of the few companies taking theatre in new directions.” The New York Times

$39–$45 general
$15 students/25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS
Member discounts available
Buy Tickets

90 minutes

Scenic Designer / Creator Mimi Lien Director Dan Rothenberg Assistant Director Shayna Strype Performers Jenn Kidwell, Melissa Krodman, Dito Van Reigersberg, Tony Torn, Saori Tsukuda, Evelyn Chen, Chelsea Murphy, Isaac Calvin Dramaturg Geoff Manaugh Choreographer Rosie Herrera Lighting Designer Barbara Samuels Sound Designer Lea Bertucci Costume Designer Olivera Gajic Props Master Alicia Crosby Associate Scenic Designer Colin McIlvaine

Photos by Jauhien Sasnou / Picturebox Creative

Support for Superterranean has been provided to Pig Iron Theatre Company by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


About Mimi Lien

Mimi Lien is a designer of sets and environments for theater, dance, and opera.

Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She is a company member at Pig Iron Theatre Company, an artistic associate at the Civilians, resident designer at BalletTech, and co-founder of JACK, a performance/art space in Brooklyn. She was named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction.

Selected theater designs include Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Tony Award, Lortel Award, Hewes Design Award), An Octoroon (Drama Desk and Lortel nominations, Soho Rep/TFANA), Appropriate (LA Drama Critics Circle Award, Mark Taper Forum), John (Hewes Design Award, Signature Theatre), Preludes and The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Stop Hitting Yourself (Rude Mechs/LCT3), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave), and Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and A Period of Animate Existence (Pig Iron/FringeArts). Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan. Her installation/public art work includes Model Home, a commission for La Jolla Playhouse’s 2017 Without Walls Festival (WoW); 2×4 Tree, a kinetic sculpture created for the 2016 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), and Memory Palace, a participatory walk created for Elastic City inside the Pennsylvania Hotel.

Lien is a recipient of the Joan and Joseph F. Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincoln Center Theater, Lucille Lortel Award, American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, Barrymore Award, four Barrymore nominations, two Drama Desk nominations, Audelco Award nomination, Bay Area Critics Circle nomination, and a 2012 OBIE Award for sustained excellence. Mimi is the 2017 Tony recipient in scenic design.

About Dan Rothenberg

Dan Rothenberg is a Philadelphia-based director and creator of experimental performance. As co-founder and co-artistic director of Pig Iron Theatre Company, Dan has directed and co-created almost all of Pig Iron’s original performance works. Together with Quinn Bauriedel and Dito van Reigersberg, he received a Pew Fellowship in Performance Art (2002) and a USA Artists Knight Fellowship (2010). With Pig Iron, Rothenberg has directed and co-created more than 30 original works, including the OBIE-winning productions Hell Meets Henry Halfway (2005) and Chekhov Lizardbrain (2010).

At Pig Iron, Rothenberg engages in collaborations with visionary artists who push the ensemble in new directions. Collaborators have included: director Joseph Chaikin; playwright Toshiki Okada; designers Mimi Lien and Machine Dazzle; songwriter and performance artist Cynthia Hopkins; Daniel Rudholm of Stockholm’s Teater Slava; and choreographers Sam Pinkleton and David Brick.

Rothenberg’s work with Pig Iron has toured to 15 countries on four continents. Pig Iron has performed across Philadelphia and the company has been seen at the Public Theater, Abrons Art Center, Woolly Mammoth, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Humana Festival, among others. Pig Iron has been selected for creative residencies at Yale University, Temple University, Brown University, Drexel University, Swarthmore, Montclair State University, Dance Theater Workshop, the Public Theater, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Playmakers’ Rep, EMPAC, About Face Theater, the Orchard Project, and as part of the Atelier program at Princeton University.

Outside of Pig Iron, Dan has directed three critically-acclaimed English-language premieres of plays by Toshiki Okada for the Play Company in NYC, as well as a national tour for the Acting Company, with stops at the Guthrie, New Victory, and Lincoln Center. He designed sound for painter Alexandra Grant’s solo show at MOCA in LA, and directed the Berserker Residents’ Annihilation Point (Phila. Fringe & Abrons Arts Center).

About Pig Iron Theatre Company

The mission of Pig Iron Theatre Company is to expand what is possible in performance by creating rigorous, unusual, ensemble-devised works.

Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron has created over 30 original works and has toured to festivals and theatres in England, Scotland, Poland, Brazil, Ireland, Japan, Italy, Romania, Sweden and Germany, among others, with stops at the Under the Radar Festival, the Humana Festival, TR Warszawa, Woolly Mammoth, Dance Theater Workshop, and the Tokyo Performing Arts Market. The many creative residencies that have incubated the company’s work include Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Public, La Jolla Playhouse, the Orchard Project, EMPAC, and the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities.

Pig Iron has no “house style,” and the company has made a name for itself with creations that range from site-specific works to hybrid cabarets to works of clown-theater and of visual spectacle. Notable collaborators include legendary director Joseph Chaikin; composers Troy Herion and Cynthia Hopkins; playwrights Toshiki Okada and Will Eno; and ensembles such as the Crossing, Contemporaneous, Sweden’s Teater Slava, and the indie rock band Dr. Dog. Pig Iron’s current core company is Mimi Lien, Jenn Kidwell, Mel Krodman, Dan Rothenberg, Dito van Reigersberg.

The company has won two OBIE Awards, and has been nominated for 2 Helen Hayes awards and 39 Barrymore Awards, winning 10. Pig Iron’s staging of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (2011) was nominated for ten Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, winning four, and enjoyed sold-out performances at Philadelphia Theater Company and later at Abrons Art Center in NYC (2013). Pig Iron has been named Theatre Company of the Year by Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia City Paper.

In 2011, Pig Iron launched a 2-year graduate program in physical and devised theater at a new home in North Philadelphia. In 2015, the company partnered with University of the Arts to offer both a Graduate Certificate and an MFA in Devised Performance.


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