Image: Brooke O’Harra giving notes to Room for Cream performers at the club at La Mama E.T.C April 2008. Photo: Nina Hoffmann
Presented as part of “Brooke O’Harra: I am Bleeding All Over the Place: Studies in directing or nine encounters between me and you” (May 16–24) and the spring R&D Season: VOICE.
O’Harra’s “I am Bleeding All Over the Place…” is a protracted performance in the form of a series of studies on directing. The New Museum presents the first three of nine studies that comprise this two-year project. Each iteration takes a variety of forms: Some will be clearly scripted, scored, and rehearsed to perfection, while others will be developed or literally “written” in front of an audience. This examination of the director’s role through different encounters argues that bodies are never neutral. “I am Bleeding All Over the Place” proposes a kind of theater where each person operates as both reader and maker, and where the potency of a performance happens in the experiential, emotional, and phenomenological gaps produced by the encounter of bodies. Each study assumes the form of a public encounter.
A conversation on a few topics relevant to actors, playwrights, directors, and artists, including gender, the everyday, and the extraordinary problem of “conflict removed“*
In 1947, Tennessee Williams wrote in an essay, “The heart of man, his body and his brain, are forged in a white hot furnace for the purpose of conflict…and that with the conflict removed, the man is a sword cutting daisies….” Written in response to the legitimation and accolades that came with the explosive success of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams’s assertion points to the pervasive value of conflict: conflict as necessary for cultural production and conflict as a dramatic vehicle. O’Harra’s current project, “I am Bleeding All Over the Place: Studies in Directing, or Nine Encounters Between Me and You,” works in active resistance to such valorization. It offers, instead, an exploration of conflict that remains unannounced and, as such, creates new spaces or forms for the emotional, social, or political tension that exists in the so-called everyday or quotidian. This panel, made up of Sadie Benning, Erin Courtney, Moyra Davey, John Jesurun, and Kate Valk, and moderated by O’Harra, follows the first three studies of O’Harra’s project “I am Bleeding All Over the Place.” This group of artists comes together to address how their work (both solo and collaborative) engages tension inside of the everyday, the relationship of gender to the rendering of conflict, and the materialization of both conflict announced and unannounced in contemporary theater and art.
A complete list of programs organized as part of, or in conjunction with, “Brooke O’Harra: I am Bleeding All Over the Place: Studies in directing or nine encounters between me and you” includes:
ABOUT THE ARTIST/DIRECTOR
Brooke O’Harra is a freelance director. She is also Cofounder (with composer Brendan Connelly) of the Theater of a Two-headed Calf and has developed and directed all of their productions. Her most recent Two-headed Calf production, the opera project “You My Mother,” had two runs in NYC, one in 2012 at La Mama ETC and one in 2013 at the River to River Festival. O’Harra also directed, wrote for, and performed in the Dyke Division of Two-headed Calf’s live lesbian soap opera “ROOM FOR CREAM.” O’Harra is currently working on several projects: two performance projects with her partner Sharon Hayes—“Times Passes” (the Performing Garage, NYC) and “Act Two” (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam); a new musical with Lisa D’Amour and Connelly using Jack Spicer’s “Billy the Kid” poem; and “I am Bleeding All Over the Place: Studies in Directing, or Nine Encounters Between Me and You” at the New Museum. She is an Assistant Professor at Bates College.