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Pig Iron Theatre Company

A Period of Animate Existence

Pig Iron Production

A Period of Animate Existence is a work of symphonic theater conceived by composer/filmmaker Troy Herion, scenic designer Mimi Lien, and director Dan Rothenberg ’95. Children, elders, and machines contemplate the future in a time of dire predictions and rapid technological change.

We find ourselves in a perilous time, the “Sixth Extinction,” an era in which we foresee the loss of 20 to 50 percent of all living species on Earth. The gravity of these issues has entered mainstream consciousness, affecting our politics, media, and individual beliefs about the trajectory of life. How do we contemplate the future in such a moment?

A Period of Animate Existence is an inquiry into this great disruption. Pig Iron brings together three generations of choirs, a chamber orchestra, and actors in an epic synthesis of music and theater. Performers include the Crossing, Philadelphia Boys Choir/Philadelphia Girls Choir, members of Philomusica, and Contemporaneous.

A Period of Animate Existence will premiere at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania during the 2017 Fringe Festival, following this semi-staged concert version, a “first look” for Swarthmore audiences.

Major support for A Period of Animate Existence has been provided by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Wyncote Foundation, Independence Foundation, and Swarthmore’s Cooper Series. This work was developed by Lien, Herion,
and Rothenberg as artists-in-residence at the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities.

Master class: “Visual-Music” with composer Troy Herion
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 4–6 p.m.
Lang Music Building, Lang Concert Hall

Semi-staged concert
Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.
Lang Performing Arts Center, Pearson–Hall Theatre

Master class: “Measures: Rhythm in Space for Theater-Devisors” with director Dan Rothenberg ’95 Saturday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.
Lang Performing Arts Center, Frear Ensemble Theater