Artists Reflect on Climate Change in New Boundary-Defying Work

News   Artists Reflect on Climate Change in New Boundary-Defying Work
A Period of Animate Existence is co-created by composer Troy Herion, Great Comet designer Mimi Lien, and director Dan Rothenberg.
Mimi Lien Monica Simoes

The Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company has announced the development of A Period of Animate Existence, a new work that contemplates our planet’s future in the age of climate change. Composer Troy Herion, Great Comet designer Mimi Lien, and director Dan Rothenberg co-conceived and are co-creating the piece with a team of theatre and music artists.

A Period of Animate Existence was inspired by the idea of a children’s choir scolding their grandparents about the destruction of the Earth. The show weaves the perspectives of children, the elderly, and machines, and mirrors the pacing of a 19th century symphony.

Herion, Lien and Rothenberg—with collaborators including playwrights Kate Tarker and Will Eno, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau, choreographer Beth Gill, chamber choir The Crossing, and chamber orchestra Contemporaneous—are working with actors and musicians to create a work that is part concert, part theatre production.

Following months of development and workshops, the show is set to have its world premiere in Philadelphia at the FringeArts Festival in September with a cast that will blend actors and choirs.

A Period of Animate Existence is currently being developed in New York during a residency at SUNY Purchase that began January 15 and continues through January 21. The ensemble of artists will return to SUNY Purchase for further developments in May following residencies at EMPAC in Troy, New York, and An Ecotopian Toolkit for the Anthropocene, a conference presented by the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania.

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