Philadelphia’s acclaimed Pig Iron Theatre Company will make its Boston-area debut with “Hell Meets Henry Halfway” at Loeb Drama Center’s Experimental Theatre on March 18 and 19. Co-presented by Learning From Performers, a program of Harvard’s Office for the Arts, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC), performances of the show will be held on March 18 at 7 p.m., and on March 19 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Described by the New York Times as “absurd, unbalancing and exhilarating … a Tilt-a-Whirl … that leaves you dizzy and means to,” the show – Adriano Shaplin’s adaptation of Witold Gombrowicz’s 1939 gothic mystery novel “Possessed” – is a tale of weak, unscrupulous people gathered in a forbidding castle.
Pig Iron co-artistic director Dan Rothenberg is staging the production, which will feature company members Dito van Reigersberg, Quinn Bauriedel, Sarah Sanford, Geoff Sobelle, Emmanuelle Delpech-Ramey, and James Sugg.
Pig Iron dramaturg Allen Kuharski, chairman of theater studies at Swarthmore College, will moderate a discussion with the cast and director after the 2 p.m. performance on March 19. During the week of March 14, members of Pig Iron, designated the 2004-05 Peter Ivers Visiting Artists at Harvard, will also conduct a series of workshops for undergraduates on movement technique.
Founded in 1995, the Pig Iron Theatre Company is dedicated to the creation of new performance works that defy easy categorization. The group calls itself a “dance-clown-theatre ensemble, with a focus that moves from character to space to contact with the audience.” The company has performed in a diverse and unusual array of venues as well as traditional theatres, and productions are developed over a long period of time in workshops, in conversations among the company members, and in rehearsal.
During the past 10 years Pig Iron has created over 15 original productions, including “Shut Eye,” a collaboration with the late, legendary director Joseph Chaikin. The company has toured throughout the United States and to festivals and theaters in England, Scotland, Poland, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Romania, and Germany.
Playwright Shaplin is a co-founder of the Riot Group, which has produced a string of original productions combining absurd comedy and powerful political satire with a unique, confrontational acting style.
The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OfA) supports student engagement in the arts and serves the University in its commitment to the arts. Through its programs and services, the OfA fosters student art-making, connects students to accomplished artists, integrates the arts into University life, and partners with local, national, and international constituencies. The OfA’s Learning from Performers program brings professional artists to Harvard to interact with students through a range of educational activities, many open to the public.
Founded in 1908, HRDC is the umbrella organization for all campus theater at Harvard, and a student production company dedicated to connecting the undergraduate community with the resources of the American Repertory Theatre. Each semester, in addition to sponsoring Common Casting and other events for the benefit of the Harvard community, HRDC produces two shows on the Loeb Drama Center’s main stage and a season of free theater in the Loeb Experimental Theatre.
Free tickets for “Hell Meets Henry Halfway” are available in person at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office. Call (617) 495-8676 or visit http://www.fas.harvard.edu/ofa for more information.