The Iron Factory, which sits tucked away on a small, one way street near Norris Square in North Philly, has Fringe written all over it: crumbling exposed brick flanking the top floor studio, large rough hewn windows punctuating the façade, and a creaking floor strewn—in the case of Leah Stein—with rocks, iron instruments (in both the musical and mechanical sense of the word) and the odd wooden cog wheel. Preceding the performance, there’s even the fairly homogenous crowd of theater goers spilling absentmindedly into the street, part urban renewal, part gentrification—all completely oblivious to the fact that they’re blocking traffic and every once a while, a car does need to get through.
But Bellows Falls, the latest from the Philadelphia-based choreographer and director, offers a haven. It’s more meditation than dance, with clanking bits of iron reminding one of the bells run at the end of a yoga class, although why bother with these sort of taxonomies during the Fringe? Stein has become well known for her site specific work, and as collaborator Jungwoong Kim zooms out a window onto the building’s roof, it’s easy to see why. Stein makes you notice things about the Iron Factory that you would not have noticed before: the large pulley system at the back of the room, the seemingly ancient elevator, those pools of rectangular light on the floor that are taken for granted until Stein’s supine body transform them into coffins. Read the full review >> [The Iron Factory, 118 Fontain Street, 3rd Floor] September 16-19, 2015; fringearts.com/bellows-falls.