Dirt [contained] Theatre Company

In Association with Long Island City Artists Inc.


Crushing Baby Animals

A Semi-Autobiographical New Play Revealing Two Women’s Worst Nightmare

Created and Performed by Maria Swisher & Tana Sirois

Assistant Directed by Landon Alexander

July 5-21, 2019 (11 Performances)

Wednesdays and Fridays-Sundays at 8pm

(no Thursday performances)

Plaxall Gallery

5-25 46th Avenue

Long Island City, NY 11101 

Tickets are $25. 

For more information and tickets, visit

Runtime: Two Hours, plus one intermission 

Photography by Katelyn Kopenhaver, Poster Design by Marco Baratto

Photography by Katelyn Kopenhaver, Poster Design by Marco Baratto

Long Island City. 2019. In an ego-driven and narcissistic world, two women possess the distinct anxiety of calling themselves artists. In a last ditch effort before they throw in the proverbial towel and become accountants, the pair begin work on what they hope will be their magnum opus, an ambitious and hellish physical-theatre adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. Crushing Baby Animals follows two traumatized women growing up in the millennial age as they accidentally open a cosmic wormhole that sucks them through space, time and the human mind. This meta work takes us on an uncharted and timely adventure through parallel dimensions and personal hells, bringing us face to face with our own antagonistic Dopplegangers, the perils of the human psyche, and the absurd pitfalls of human identity. The play blends physical theatre, multimedia and a healthy dose of humor in a unique artistic experience.

“Crushing Baby Animals reflects our real shared experience as women making theatre in New York City, our real shared nightmare, and the discovery of what that coincidence could possibly mean,” states playwrights Tana Sirois and Maria Swisher. “Through a sci-fi theatrical device, we explore how to live, make art, and not go crazy in this mad world. It’s challenging to feel sane and/or connected to one another right now; we are trying to approach these topics with bravery, vulnerability, and humor, baring our souls and taming our egos.”

Coupling visual art and live theater, the play is performed amid a LIC Artists, Inc. fine art exhibition entitled “Welcome to the Multiverse,” themed specifically to coincide with the production. “Welcome to the Multiverse,” is curated by Janet Rutkowski and will be on view at the Plaxall Gallery from June 19th through July 21th. Gallery hours: Thursday from 6pm-10pm, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-6pm.

Tana Sirois (creator/performer) graduated from The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts, with a BA (1 class hons) in Acting. After university, she directed The Last Eden with Dirt [contained] Theatre Company. Other directing credits include Tomorrow In The Battle (An Ars Nova Fling), Alice In Wonderland (The Players’ Ring), The Yellow Wallpaper (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), co-director for The Chairs (The Players’ Ring), and Seascape With Sharks And Dancer (W.E.S.T. and CAP21). Acting credits include Jenny (Loyal Women), Nina (The Nina Variations), Froggy (Blackbird), Jill (Equus), Tracy (Seascape With Sharks And Dancer), Judy (Easy Laughter), Nina (Stupid F*cking Bird) and Lais in Garden Of Delights, which she also co-produced under Dirt [contained] Theatre Company at The Plaxall Gallery.  Tana is the Performing Arts Director for Long Island City Artists Inc., and can also be found touring the country raising money for Planned Parenthood and The ACLU with the musical sketch comedy group, Katie Goodman's Broad Comedy.

Maria Swisher (creator/performer) is an actor, writer and theatre-maker originally from Marshall, Missouri. Maria studied at New York University and Strasberg Studio for Theatre and Film. She then moved to the United Kingdom where she graduated with a first class degree from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. While at LIPA, she completed her dissertation on science fiction in the theatre, and wrote her first play, The Last Eden, which was produced with support from the Arts Council England under Dirt [contained] in 2011. While in England, she has trained with the RSC and Complicite. In London she co-produced and performed with Craft Theatre Company in devising a physical theatre rendition of Dante's Inferno. Her short play, The Trip, was produced at the Lyric Hammersmith and was shortlisted this year for the John Petherbridge Award for New Writing. In 2016 she had her New York directorial debut with Garden of Delights, also at the Plaxall Gallery with Dirt [contained], which was attended by the 88 year old author, Fernando Arrabal. Acting credits include Elizabeth (When the Rain Stops Falling), Semiramis (The Chairs), Freda Caplan (Dangerous Corner), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Lady (Orpheus Descending) and Estelle (No Exit, Fusion Theatre).

Maria Swisher and Tana Sirois first began forming their creative working relationship in 2008 during their University training at The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts in England, devising an experimental production of Pinocchio which explored with the political theatre methods of Augusto Boal.

Associate Producer: Andrew Martin-Weber; Assistant Director: Landon Alexander;Production Manager: Charlotte Meyers;  Stage Manager: Kristina Voznick; Composer: Marco Baratto; AV Designer: Taylor Edelle Stuart; Poster Photographer: Katelyn Kopenhaver; Poster Designer: Marco Baratto; Publicity Photos: Landon Alexander; Public Relations: Paul Siebold/Off Off PR.

Dirt [contained] makes work with a strong background in Grotwoski-inspired physical theatre. They utilize a truly experimental approach, focusing primarily on original work while using a variety of theatrical languages to engage modern audiences. They strive to explore the complex and important issues of our time with humor and truth.

LIC Artists, Inc. (LIC-A) is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts advocacy organization founded in 1986 by artists in Long Island City. In 2016, Plaxall, Inc. generously donated a waterfront warehouse space to serve as a fine art gallery, performing arts venue, and community center. LIC-A presents monthly art exhibitions, art classes, theatrical productions, dance and music performances and special events. (

This event is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.