Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman Give You “A HARD TIME,” Coming to FringeArts’ High Pressure Fire Service.

This lacerating romp through the worlds of comedy and gender is the newest by Pig Iron Theatre company.

“I don’t like any female comedians… a woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
–Jerry Lewis


Long time FringeArts followers will recognize Pig Iron Theatre Company from many of their notable devised works that have been presented by Fringe.  However, their newest work, A HARD TIME, part of High Pressure Fire Service, is the first production by Pig Iron with female lead artists and with lead artists who are not one of the Artistic Directors of Pig Iron.  This lacerating romp through the worlds of comedy and gender runs May 1 through May 12 at FringeArts.


A HARD TIME is a bawdy alt-comedy cabaret and futurist meditation created by Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman. In this fast-paced variety show, three dynamic performers play old men, little girls, and everything in between, blowing farewell kisses to the patriarchy amid the absurdities and violence of gender expectations. Settle in, buckle up, and open wide.


Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman are no strangers to the FringeArts stage. Conda is a cabaret and performing artist who was mostly recently seen on the Fringe stage in the cabaret extravaganza, Do You Want A Cookie? by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret in the 2018 Fringe Festival.  She has also joined Fringe for Get Pegged Cabaret, 99 BREAKUPS (2014) and Pay Up (2013) with Pig Iron, and as a band member of the popular group Red 40 and the Last Groovement.


Kidwell has collaborated with a number of past Fringe artists and is notably not only a company member of Lightning Rod Special, but is also the lead artist on their work Underground Railroad Game, which won an Obie Award in 2017 for Best New American Theatre Work and was hailed as one of the 25 Best American Plays Since Angels in America. She was last seen on the FringeArts stage in Geoff Sobelle’s HOME in the 2017 Fringe Festival, and was also seen recently in Sans Everything with Lighting Rod Special and 99 BREAKUPS with Pig Iron.

Krodman was featured in THE TOP at FringeArts in 2017 from No Face Performance Group. As a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, Mel was also seen in A Period of Animate Existence (2017) and Swamp Is On (2015), and she has choreographed a number of works with collaborator Kelly Bond, appearing in the Independent Fringe Festival (Elephant (2010) and Colony (2012)) and our season programming as well (JEAN & TERRY: Your Guides Through Dark, Light and Nebulous (November 2016)). Mel is also in another High Pressure Fire Service show, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation’s The Sincerity Project #3.


Tickets to A HARD TIME are currently on sale by visiting In addition, FringeArts and Pig Iron Theatre Company have teamed up with The Attic Youth Center for a special post-show panel discussion featuring educators from the Center and other community stakeholders on Sunday, May 12th at 2:00pm.  To further this partnership, Pig Iron is providing the space for The Attic Youth Center to provide a gender and sexuality workshop to artists and residents of the South Kensington community.



FringeArts and Pig Iron Theatre Company present


Part of High Pressure Fire Service

May 1-12, 2019

Various times

$31; $15 for students

FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia

(Jess Conda and Jenn Kidwell in A HARD TIME. Photo by Jauhien Sasnou Picturebox Creative)

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