Broken Bone Bathtub: NYC Run
An Interview with Siobhan O'Loughlin
Indie Theater Now asked Siobhan O'Loughlin a few questions about this upcoming event.
Who were the key figures who made this production happen—could be other artists, people who inspired the story, producers/producing company, etc.
Here in New York City, I am so excited to be produced by the powers that are Elephant Run District. This is a fierce, awesome group of indie theatre makers who are spearheading Broken Bone Bathtub so beautifully. It's also my first time in ages, that I can think of, where I'm collaborating with a company to bring my work to a specific place. As solo artists, we are often completely on our own, creatively, and production-wise. This show happens in a bathtub, which is obviously strange, and it happens at peoples' homes, not at a particular theater space. That sounds more simple than doing a traditional production, and in the performance aspect, it is. I just do a performance. But there's a whole slew of other elements--who is staffing each show, how we get location information to audiences, communication and care of our bathtub hosts, and of course the promotion and press. All of this is an overload of work for one person. I'm so thankful to feel comfortable and confident in the hands of Elephant Run District.
Why is this a play, as opposed to a film or a web series or a novel (or anything else)? And what is it about live theater that attracts you most, that keeps you revved and jazzed to work in this form?
This piece is actually more of a performance than a play, and more of an experience than a performance. Broken Bone Bathtub is a re-creation of my personal experience after breaking my hand in a bike accident last year, and borrowing my friends' bathtubs so that I wouldn't ruin my cast. The audience acts as my friends, helping me with the bath itself. The live element of this piece is so important because it is about the very moment in our human experience in which we connect to each other.
Who taught you how to be a playwright? This could be specific teachers, or role models whose work you’ve seen or read, or of course any combination.
I studied theatre at Towson University in Baltimore and had two powerhouse guides who pushed me forward: Stephen Nunns and David White. These two gave me the courage to write (and the feedback. Lots and lots of feedback). I don't think that either of them knew that I'd be doing solo performance full time. Broken Bone Bathtub, however, has been workshopped and edited by my personal hero and favorite Baltimore poet, Andrew Daugherty. He's a genius. Hire him.
What have you learned about this play as it has evolved from first draft to the present version? And what has surprised you in this current production-what did you discover in the work that you didn’t realize was there?
I never knew how completely delightful the unknown would be. Every day, I do a completely different show; because it is so very interactive, the themes of the show are based on the audience. Also: I'm a lot more comfortable sitting naked in front of people than ever. Ever.
Without giving away any important surprises—what moment or moments do you most look forward to when you see this play being performed?
I am endlessly honored and moved by the honesty and vulnerability that I receive from audience members. I've never written or performed a piece that relied so very heavily on audience before. This has been a gift.
posted December 2, 2015