Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Broken Bone Bathtub

Written by Siobhan O'Loughlin
Produced by Elephant Run District

Nominated for: Outstanding Original Short Script & Outstanding Solo Performance, Siobhan O'Loughlin; Outstanding performance Art Production

Mission: Elephant Run District is an NYC-based indie theater and film company devoted to developing the work of a core group of artists, challenging expectations, engaging our audiences, inspiring dialogue in the communities we serve, and creating long-lasting memories. ERD seeks to entertain its audiences while addressing issues that affect our society. The District is a place where traditions collide and new possibilities are explored in the hunt to create stories that are ultimately human.

Photo by Jason Speakman

About the Production

Elephant Run District
seeks to entertain audiences while addressing issues that affect our society. In
Siobhan O'Loughlin's one-woman play Broken Bone Bathtub they explore themes of suffering, healing, and the difficulty in asking for help. A incredibly personal and moving experience unfolds as the intimate audience of only 4 to 8 people per performance assists the artist in the actual ritual of taking a bath.

Writer and performer Siobhan O'Loughlin and producer Chris Harcum talk about presenting this unique, immersive, and thought provoking production.


What attracted you to this subject matter?

Siobhan: I wrote it after my bike accident. It's all genuine; I broke my hand, had a big cast on, and borrowed other peoples' bathtubs because I didn't have one on my own. I'd been waxing poetic on it so much, I wanted to do it in front of an audience. In a bathtub--it's my first experimental piece.

Chris: We thought it said something in a unique way about how we need others and what we go through as we heal. It would be presented in bathtubs for small audiences in the bathroom. It is immersive and interactive.

What did you want the audience to come away with after watching Broken Bone Bathtub?

Chris: Asking for help can be a scary, vulnerable experience for both the person asking and the person being asked. But we all need to do that and this show can help people get the bravery to do so.

What was your favorite part of this production?

Siobhan: Working with Elephant Run District was the first time I had a proper team producing me for an extended period of time. This company hustled my show for 50 baths over six weeks. They created a really fabulous framework for the operations of the show that changed the shape of how I do it in other cities now.

Chris: The interactions with the audiences and performers after the shows in the living rooms where the performances took place. The audiences bonded in deep ways and discussed a lot about healing after the shows.

What was the most challenging part of this production?

Siobhan: We have such limited space here in New York! So if people drop, we (and they!) miss out. It's also very in depth--the venue changes frequently to cover as much NYC ground as possible. This can be exhausting and overwhelming at times. I know I was also probably a lot of work for ERD--I'm really grateful to them.

Chris: The logistics of working in many different locations. Each space was different. Each apartment had slightly different "house rules." In the end, each was wonderful and generous to let us invade their homes with this project.

What was the weirdest thing that happened during this production?

Siobhan: I have to say it--we're odd, quirky, innovative and funny just in the description. An immersive and interactive solo performance in a bathtub, in a bathroom, in someone's actual home, for an audience of however many people can fit. BOOM.

Chris: The tub did drain a few times during the performance so we had to reset the bubble bath. The audiences were very good about stepping out and waiting to continue.

What was it like working with Elephant Run District?

Siobhan: Elephant Run District is made up of nine (like Lord of the Rings) extremely talented, hard working, and damn fine looking people. As a solo performer, I never felt like I had worked on a team before for my own productions. This was the first time I had a theatre family, because this gorgeous group of people committed heart and soul. I'm honored.

What was it like working with Siobhan?

Chris: How many performers do 52 performances dressed only in bubble bath and adjust the performance based on the interactions of the people just inches away?

You can follow these artists on Twitter
Elephant Run District - @brokenbonebath
Siobhan - @siobhan_solo

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