Garbage Jam is a neurotic clown-fantasia
about mental health.
In this Beckettian devised junkyard - Joseph, a depressed person struggles to leave their invisible kitchen, an AI assistant dreams of being a singer and a garbage gremlin drums on buckets and licks trash.
Despite their seemingly alien differences, the three find their realities metaphysically-linked through relics of Joseph’s past. Garbage Jam welcomes audiences to view themselves through a kaleidoscope covered in coffee grounds and ask what is the potential of that which we choose to discard?
The majority of set items, props and costume pieces are found, borrowed and recycled.
Under the absurdist chaos - this play is about the fragmentation of myself. Perhaps it is a glance through that kaleidoscope at my neurodiversity. How a psyche can compartmentalize as a defense mechanism; how our pasts haunt and season little dusty relics that end up on shelves witnessing our evolution or in old boxes and garbage cans - misunderstood; how memories move and shape with time and within all of the confusion of self-awareness and identity ... I wonder if all these fragments can piece together to form a cohesive sense of self or if it just a matter of attempting to organize a junkyard into a home.
My hope is that some audience members will feel seen and offer the idea that even if you will never be able to fully understand ... you can still have fun within the not-knowing. My other hope is that people will let us take them on a 40-minute journey they have never experienced before, and laugh along the way.
Garbage Jam was written and created by Michael Amendola and produced in collaboration with Graham Cook, Tyler Catanella and Aiden Ankli.
Special thanks to the Pig Iron School faculty and students for their support.
MICHAEL "DOLA" AMENDOLA
CREATOR | PERFORMER | PRODUCER
Michael is a Philadelphia & NYC-based performer, writer, and teacher with a clown ethos and a love for big choices. As a writer/deviser, he is interested in creating work that celebrates the absurdity of the human experience and reaching for what feels unreachable.
Michael performed Off-Broadway in the NYC production of Drunk Shakespeare for two-and-a-half years and 600 performances. He has performed at local and regional theaters in NYC, Austin, Philadelphia and Virginia and toured the US with the American Shakespeare Center.
Michael has a BFA in Acting from Texas State University. He has studied clown, bouffon and character work with Giovanni Fusetti, Aitor Basauri, Sophie Amieva, Eric Davis, Julia Proctor and Jon Davison. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Devised Performance at The Pig Iron School.
COLLABORATOR | PERFORMER
Aiden is an actor, singer, creator, dancer, performer extraordinaire hailing from Southwest Michigan. They’ve performed all over the country including New Hampshire, Utah, Michigan, and New York.
Aiden is passionate about creating new works, particularly works relating to our environment and climate crisis. When she is not in the studio, you will likely find her birdwatching and identifying bird calls on her Merlin ID app.
Aiden holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College and is currently an MFA student at the Pig Iron School. Many thanks to Dola & the Garbage Jam team for this experience!
COLLABORATOR | CO-SOUND DESIGNER
Tyler is a multi-disciplinary musician, movement and teaching artist that creates, facilitates, celebrates and holds space for artistic and intimate moments of human connection.
Tyler is the Co-Founder and former Artistic Director of Boston-based movement company ParadiseMoves, sharing stories through movement that inspire conversations around difficult topics.
As a musician, Tyler has produced and scored live performance under the name Peace Pilgrim for several years, and curated the collaborative composition of all ParadiseMoves’ original music.
Tyler received their BA in Theatre Education from Emerson College, where they subsequently taught in the Acting and Dance Departments for five years, and is currently receiving an MFA in Devised Performance from UArts/Pig Iron Theatre School.
Tyler’s mission is to cultivate compassion through kinesthetic learning experiences, hold space for any and all folx to accessibly and courageously self-express and discover deeper connection with both themselves and others, and to decolonize performing arts education in all of its learning spaces, both in and out of the studio.
COLLABORATOR | CO-SOUND DESIGNER
Graham is an actor/ theater-maker /sound designer/director/collaborator multi-hyphenate based in Philadelphia. He's drawn to work that excites the core lizard parts of your brain, and whisks you away to places you can't wait to come home from.
Graham has a BS in Theater with a concentration in acting from Skidmore College. He has previously studied acting at the MXAT, The Atlantic Acting School, and Shakespeare & Company. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Devised Performance at The Pig Iron School.
This is Graham's professional debut on the Philadelphia stage, and he is delighted and honored to take his first steps with such a brilliantly creative group of artists.