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    "Most Wonderful."

    Posted by pigiron, Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 2:24pm

    Wow. That was a blast.


    TWELFTH NIGHT meant a lot of firsts for us. Our first time sticking to an existing script. Our first show in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, with the largest audiences we've ever had at the Live Arts Festival. Our largest professional cast, populated with Pig Iron regulars and revelatory newcomers. Our first Gypsy band, with an incredible group of multi-instrumentalists led by composer Rosie Langabeer. Two hours and forty-five minutes of densely layered text, movement, lighting, and music, performed on Maiko Matsushima's much-lauded set.

    …and then there was you. Night after night, hundreds of you joined us at the show, and night after night, you joined the boisterous party of TWELFTH NIGHT, whooping, hollering, and sighing along with our cast of lovers, drunkards and fools. You came up to us in the lobby and said that this was the best TWELFTH NIGHT you'd ever seen, or the best Shakespeare you'd ever seen, or that it was the most fun you'd had in the theatre in years.

    And for that, we say thank you.

    As you can probably imagine, an enormous production like this, with 17 performers on stage (and more than 17 people working behind the scenes) took tremendous resources - time, creative energy, sweat, patience, and (coming around to the point) money.

    We hope you will consider supporting our work with a gift by donating here.

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  • GOOD NEWS!!!

    Posted by pigiron, Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 8:21pm

    We're so proud to announce a few tidbits of pretty-wonderful news for Pig Iron's future:

    Thanks to the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, a program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, we've received a $150,000 Catalyst grant to fund the launch of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, a new two-year program in physical and ensemble-created theatre based in Philadelphia.  More updates are coming on this huge moment in Pig Iron's always-interesting evolution, but suffice to say that we're extremely pleased.  A list of grant recipients is here.

    We've also received a grant from the Independence Foundation New Works Initiative to support developmental work on three (!) new lines of inquiry: our upcoming dark fairytale Cankerblossom; a collaboration with playwright Toshiki Okada (the author of Enjoy, which Pig Iron co-founder Dan Rothenberg directed in its English-language premiere this spring); and an exploration of the world of Douglas Sirk's '50s and '60s melodramas.  We're also so pleased that New Paradise, Philadelphia Live Arts/Philly Fringe Festivals, and People's Light all received grants; congrats to them all.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch: tickets are ON SALE to the aforementioned CankerblossomYou can buy them here.  Some fun Cankerblossom facts: 1) Pig Iron regulars Alex Torra and Hinako Arao are joined in this one by human Swiss Army knife Beth Nixon and David Sweeny (maybe you know him better as Johnny); 2) Christ Church Neighborhood House has air conditioning and an elevator now, so compared to past Pig Iron shows, we're basically living in the lap of luxury; and 3) we're developing this work in part with La Jolla Playhouse, who've been great to us throughout this project.

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  • Love Unpunished to be Featured in the Prague Quadrennial

    Posted by pigiron, Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 1:53pm

    We couldn't be more pleased to send along the news that Mimi Lien's gargantuan evacuation staircase installation for Pig Iron's Love Unpunished has been selected to be featured in the US platform at the Prague Quadrennial.  The Quadrennial is the principal international exhibition of scenic design, and inclusion is a major honor; we're so proud of Mimi, and are patting ourselves on the back a little for working with such cool designers.

    For those of you who missed Love Unpunished in 2006, a little about the show: co-led by Pig Iron co-founder Dan Rothenberg and David Brick, the Co-Artistic Director of Headlong Dance Theater, Love Unpunished was a meditative dance-theatre investigation of mourning and mortality, set on the evacuation staircase of the World Trade Center on September 11.  Mimi's design was the largest set build that we'd undertaken up to that point, highlighted by a spare, monumental two-story staircase installed into our performance space in the old Cinemagic movie theatre in University City.

    Mimi has gone on to become an Associate Artist with Pig Iron, and designed the mammoth 120-foot wide set for last September's Welcome to Yuba City and is working with us again on our upcoming Cankerblossom.  In Philadelphia, she's also worked extensively with the Wilma Theater, where she won a Barrymore for her work on Outrage in 2006.

    This is the second consecutive time a Pig Iron set design has been featured in the Prague Quadrennial; the site-specific performance bazaar that Anna Kiraly created for 2005's Pay Up was spotlighted in 2007.

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    Posted by pigiron, Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - 8:16pm

    —Being An Illustrated Compendium of Captions related to our Adventures into Cankerblossom

    Pig Iron's Workshop at La Jolla Playhouse, February 2010

    by Co-Artistic Director Dito van Reigersberg

    For two weeks in February 2010, Pig Iron workshopped a new play, a kind of playful echo of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream entitled CANKERBLOSSOM.  We were at La Jolla at the invitation of Associate Producer Dana Harrel (thanks to the timing of the workshop, we missed the Snowpocalypse).  At the center of our inquiry were three related investigations: stop-motion animation, interaction of live performers and video, and the cardboard world of artist-performer Beth Nixon.  Dan Rothenberg was the director of the workshop; Beth Nixon, Alex Torra, Dito van Reigersberg, and Hinako Arao were the performer-creators; and video designer Jeff Sugg and lighting designer James Clotfelter led us our technological explorations.  CANKERBLOSSOM will premiere at the 2010 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.

    Eureka! Alex Torra and Beth Nixon have devised a way to set the cardboard world into motion, and the first moment of the play CANKERBLOSSOM is born. In this picture they play a married couple that receives a mysterious package in the mail-a flat cardboard baby in an envelope.  From that moment a voyage into a flat world “unfolds”— if you'll pardon the pun.


    Alex Torra points at the sign for the rehearsal rooms at La Jolla Playhouse.   Three stop-motion animation stations, several tricked-out backpacks fitted with video projectors, loads of cardboard and staplers, art supplies, props and costumes on loan from La Jolla, and us — we all live in the blackbox theatre together for two weeks.




    This is Tareena Wimbish, our stage manager for the workshop (she's about to graduate from the UCSD stage management program, or maybe she has by now?).  She was very kind to us—she told us where to find the best fish tacos, tolerated our bad jokes, and took copious notes as our imaginations wandered.



    Beth Nixon in another one of the many wigs we tried out for her character.  Very 1980.






    Hinako Arao as her smarty-pants character, with Beth-Nixon-manufactured cardboard hair, backpack, and glasses.  A sort of A-plus student , the kind the teacher loves and all the other kids despise.  She had a little “No, no, no, no” song that she would sing in her superior way, as she walked along wagging her finger.






    A friendly face from home!  Miriam White of Philadelphia's Nice People Theatre Company (she's moved to San Diego recently) kindly shows me around Balboa Park on our day off.

















    A view of a true white wedding-cake of a building, the Mormon Church in La Jolla, as seen from the Whole Foods parking lot.






    Hinako Arao and Beth Nixon (as the Colonel) demonstrate the terror of the Flattening Machine in CANKERBLOSSOM.















    Rosie Langabeer, a fearless New Zealand-based musician and composer, happened to be in California during the workshop.  Together we wrote two songs complete with lyrics and she provided a lot of cool underscoring on accordion, piano, drum and thunder-sheet for our final showing.  Here she is with bearded director Dan Rothenberg and of course the flat baby.


    Alex Torra as the King of Latitude 22.9, with an insatiable appetite for turkey and a cardboard scepter and capelet. 





    Me as A-Knight-Like-This.  A very timid knight indeed, with a very wimpy sword, but full of puns.  And a cardboard horse!








    Alex Torra as the bird who swoops down and steals the cardboard baby, setting in motion a chase for the missing infant.









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