Pig Iron Theater Company and Josephine Decker will create LE CHEMIN DES PINGLES OR LE CHEMIN DES AIGUILLES in September

Pig Iron Theater Company teams up with visionary writer and filmmaker Josephine Decker (Shirley, Madeline’s Madeline) for the premiere of The Path of the Pins or the Path of the Needles, a dark fairy tale about the terrors, joys and deep uncertainties of pregnancy. Inspired by Maria Tatar’s research into the history of fairy tales, this immersive performance explores the complex decisions that mothers, fictional and real, must make regarding the lives of their children. This new work, which will run from September 16 to October 2, brings Decker’s singular vision into dialogue with Pig Iron’s 25-year investigation with site-specific and immersive theater. Performances take place indoors and, on the grounds, around Rigby Mansion in Philadelphia PA as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2022. Tickets are now on sale online.

In The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles, each audience member becomes “The Pregnant Dreamer”, seeking to escape a curse on the child they bear by choosing their own path through Rigby Mansion and its grounds. Interactive stages – weaving together contemporary dance, physical theater and performance art – unveil secret knowledge and whispers of terror. All bodies are welcome; the public must be ready to walk around.

“While I love working in film, I miss the visceral, almost erotic feeling of sharing physical space with performers and audiences,” says writer Josephine Decker. “I think our piece probably draws a lot from this desire to physically connect with others. There are a lot of invitations to movement, to stillness, to connection, to silence. And invitations to dance, to sing, to to whisper, to bury, to be together in a communicating space about the dangerous and intimate complexities of pregnancy and parenthood.”

“At the heart of all of Josephine’s work is honesty and fierceness,” said co-director Dan Rothenberg. “It feels like such a risky and personal work to present to an audience in these first terrible months after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Working with Josephine on this piece, I hear the word ‘choice’ in a new way , against a backdrop of the titanic forces at work during pregnancy, forces that demand our respect and humility. I feel like Josephine’s story, and the stories she dug up for this work – those stories refocus our attention on the fear and grief and sometimes absurdity of the journey of pregnancy. The choices that parents and pregnant women make or are made for us. Without making room for this grief and complexity, how can we do we, as a society, expect to develop policies grounded in compassion?”

The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles features performances by Jessica Almasy, Sanchel Brown, Miranda Calderon, Ching-I Chang, Anisa George, John Maria Gutierrez, Courtney Henry, Meagan Kimberly Smith, Alex Tatarsky and Jacinta Yelland.

The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles creative team includes Josephine Decker (concept, direction and text in collaboration with the ensemble), Dan Rothenberg (co-director), Maiko Matsushima (stage design), Tuçe Yasak (design lighting design) Tina Hanae-Miller (sound design), Alicia J. Austin (costume design), Nicola Bullock (motion consultant), Vanessa Ogbuehi (associate director), and Sally Ollove (dramaturgy).

Representations of The Path of Pins or Path of Needles will take place September 16 – October 2, 2022 at the Rigby Mansion, located at 523 Church Lane in Philadelphia PA, as part of the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Critics welcome beginning Sunday, 18 September for a press opening on Wednesday 21 September. September 25-30 at 6.30 p.m.; and October 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. The operating time is 70 minutes. Jticketsi.e. $37 ($15 for students and those 25 and under), can be bought on line.

The Path of the Pins or the Path of the Needles contains references to domestic violence and termination of pregnancy. This show is not suitable for children. Much of the performance setup is outdoors on uneven ground. Some spectators will be asked to sit on grass or dirt. Audiences are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and clothing that can get dirty. Guests with reduced mobility can be accommodated; please call 215.413.1318 or email [email protected] for more information. If it rains lightly, the performances will still take place; please bring an umbrella in case of bad weather.

Pig Iron Theater Company cares about the safety of its audiences, staff and performers. Proof of vaccination is required to attend the Chemin des Pins or the Chemin des Aiguilles, and wearing a mask is compulsory for the duration of the performance. Spectators will be required to show proof of vaccination prior to the event. Both digital and physical proof of vaccination are accepted. Please plan accordingly.

Please visit www.pigiron.org for more information.

About the artists

Josephine Decker (concept/writer/co-director) is an award-winning writer, director and filmmaker whose work tends to bend the space between imagination and reality. Her feature film Shirley won the 2020 Sundance American Drama Special Jury Prize for auteur filmmaking. His feature film Madeline’s Madeline, scripted through a process designed with ten actors, played at Sundance, the Berlinale and numerous festivals around the world, was nominated for Best Picture at the IFP Gotham Awards and for two Independent Spirit Awards. She explores collaborative storytelling through television production, documentary filmmaking, performance art, virtual reality and teaching. His latest film The Sky is Everywhere (A24, Apple, released Spring 2022) was chosen by the New York Times Critics’ Pick.

Dan Rothenberg (co-director) is one of the founding artistic directors of Pig Iron Theater Company, where he sows artistic collisions and new approaches to performance. He works closely with ensembles of actor-creators who co-create (“design”) Pig Iron’s work. An OBIE and Barrymore award-winning director and writer, his work ranges from large-scale visual theater to hybrid clown plays and concerts. Outside of Pig Iron, he has managed Bowerbird, Play Company (NYC) and The Acting Company (national tour) and has received commissions from the Kimmel Center and Tiwary Entertainment Group. His recent collaborations include work with acclaimed Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada, Emmy-winning composer Troy Herion, and MacArthur “Genius” Mimi Lien. American Artists Fellow (2010); Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Artist in Residence (2017).

About Pig Iron Theater Company

Pig Iron Theater Company has been creating cross-disciplinary performance in Philadelphia since 1995. Now a national leader in the movement of alternative theater makers, the company has created more than 33 original works and toured festivals and theaters in 15 countries on four continents, with stops at the Humana Festival, Under the Radar Festival, TR Warzawa, La Jolla Playhouse and the Tokyo Performing Arts Market. The OBIE Award-winning company has been nominated for more than 35 Barrymore Awards, winning 10. During the pandemic, the company has turned to digital work with an acclaimed Zoom adaptation of its collaboration with Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada, Zero Cost House, and an interactive two-player iPhone app called Franklin’s Secret City. The company recently launched a Digital/Film/Interactive initiative, with support from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, to explore how their design methodology can be applied in the digital realm. Since 2015, Pig Iron has partnered with the University of the Arts to offer both a Graduate Certificate and Masters in Engineered Performance, training the next generation of adventurous hybrid performance creators. www.pigiron.org

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