From behind a row of giant concrete pipes, two hazmat-suit-clad figures approach a group of furry-robe-wearing sunbathers.
A large-scale work of visual theatre inspired by urban infrastructure and its effect on the human body.
“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?”—Mimi Lien
Refineries, dams, and wastewater treatment plants tower over us and sprawl beneath us. These massive works of infrastructure seem almost anti-human in their complexity and scale—like machines that run themselves—but they are the beating hearts that allow a city to function.
A world premiere by Pig Iron Theatre Company and award-winning designer Mimi Lien, Superterranean is a new work of visual theatre 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.
Superterranean will premiere September 5-15 in the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

Engage with the Ideas Behind Superterranean

Intimate Immensity: A Superterranean Conversation
September 7th, 5:30pm (prior to the 7:30pm performance of Superterranean)
2300 Arena | 2300 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia, PA 19148
Free to attend
Moderated by Geoff Manaugh, lauded author of A Burglar's Guide to the City.

Dive into the terrifying and awe-inspiring world of Superterranean by participating in this panel conversation with writers, artists, and architects. See the world around you in a whole new way as they discuss the invisible structures that dictate our daily behavior. Featuring Conrad Benner (founder and editor of the Streets Dept. blog), Annette Fierro (Associate Chair of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania), and Superterranean lead artist Mimi Lien.

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Concept/Scenario/Set Design Mimi Lien 
Scenario/Direction Dan Rothenberg 
Performers Jenn Kidwell, Melissa Krodman, Dito Van Reigersberg, Tony Torn, Saori Tsukuda, Evelyn Chen, Chelsea Murphy, Isaac Calvin, Rolls André
Original Music Lea Bertucci 
Lighting Design Barbara Samuels 
Sound Design Lea Bertucci 
Costume Design Olivera Gajic
Stage Manager Lisa Iacucci
Dramaturg Geoff Manaugh
Choreographic Consultant Rosie Herrera
Puppetry Consultant Shayna Strype
Movement Consultant Chelsea Murphy
Props Artisan Noah Mease
Sound Engineer Toby Petit 
Associate Scenic Designer Colin McIlvaine
Assistant Director Francesca Montanile
Assistant Lighting Designer Catherine Girardi 
Assistant Costume Designer Scott McMaster 
Assistant Sound Designer Justin Smith
Assistant Stage Manager Adam Swez
Technical Director Lauren Tracy and Joe Daniels, Flannel & Hammer 
Venue Manager/Master Electrician Sydney Justice 
Audio Engineer Amanda Hanna 
Master Carpenter Scott Halstead
Wardrobe Supervisor Seana Benz 
Dresser Kate Tenen 
Run Crew Sam Wall and Eli Marsh 
Production Assistants Gary Bowman, Emma Gordon, Kelly Hayes, and Nancy Merlin 
Mimi Lien is a designer of sets and environments for theatre, 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.

Superterranean has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Photos by Jauhien Sasnou.

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