Superterranean by Mimi Lien
Philadelphia, PA – The world premiere of SUPERTERRANEAN by Tony Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Mimi Lien, and acclaimed Fringe veterans Pig Iron Theatre Company (A Period of Animate Existence, Pay Up, Welcome to Yuba City), directed by Dan Rothenberg, will run September 5 – 15, 2019 as part of the Philly Fringe Festival at 2300 Arena (2300 South Swanson Street).
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.
Mimi Lien says, “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?”
The cast includes Rolls Andre, Isaac Calvin, Evelyn Chen, Jenn Kidwell, Melissa Krodman, Chelsea Murphy, Tony Torn, Saori Tsukuda and Dito Van Reigersberg.
The production team includes Mimi Lien (Scenic Design), Barbara Samuels (Lighting Design), Lea Bertucci (Sound Design), Olivera Gajic (Costume Design), Rosie Herrera (Choreography), Shayna Strype (Puppet & Object Director), Noah Mease (Props Artisan), Colin McIlvaine (Associate Scenic Design), Geoff Manaugh (Dramaturg), Lisa Iacucci (Stage Manager) and Meiyin Wang (Creative Producer).
Performances are Thursday 9/5 at 7:30pm, Friday 9/6 at 7:30pm, Saturday 9/7 at 7:30pm, Sunday 9/8 at 2pm & 7:30pm, Tuesday 9/10 at 7:30pm, Wednesday 9/11 at 7:30pm, Thursday 9/12 at 7:30pm, Friday 9/13 at 7:30pm, Saturday 9/14 at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sunday 9/15 at 2pm & 7:30pm. Tickets are $35 (general) and $15 (students + 25-and-under). Membership discounts available. Purchase at fringearts.com/event/superterranean or by calling the FringeArts box office at 215-413-1318. Wheelchair accessible. Running time is 90 minutes.
Geoff Manaugh will be hosting a panel conversation with academics, civil workers, and artists about urban systems that inspire pride and horror on September 7 at 5:30pm at 2300 Arena.
Lien will design a public art installation, entitled SECTION, VOID, in conjunction with the creation of the proscenium theater work SUPERTERRANEAN. Created in dialogue with author and curator Geoff Manaugh, this navigable structure will also premiere in Philadelphia from September 5 – 25. This artwork, free and open to the public at the Cherry Street Pier (121 North Columbus Blvd.), will act as a companion to the staged work, inviting audiences into the experience of built environments dictating human behavior. While there, visit the Little Baby’s Ice Cream stand to try their new Tar flavored ice cream, created specifically for the installation.
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. (mimilien.com)
The mission of PIG IRON THEATRE COMPANY is to expand what is possible in performance by creating rigorous, unusual, ensemble-devised works. The New York Times says, “Pig Iron is one of the few companies taking theatre in new directions.”
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.
For more info visit PigIron.org, Like them on Facebook at /PigIronTheatreCo and follow on Twitter at @PigIronTheatre.
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).
Major support for this project has been provided to the Pig Iron Theatre Company by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.