Director: Brooke O’Harra
Writers: Brooke O’Harra and Casey Llewellyn, with Erin Courtney, Kristen Kosmas, and Heidi Schreck
Original Music: Brendan Connelly
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
The fourth in a series of nine workshops, I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: A Living History Tour by Brooke O’Harra winds its way through the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa. Exploring the nature of conflict and of theatre itself, the audience is guided along the tour by a talented, diverse, versatile cast.
There is real history at play here. O’Harra gives mention to her past work, in particular Room for Cream, a previous soap opera series at La MaMa. Childhood anecdotes interweave with snippets of overheard arguments and are a repeated refrain throughout the piece. Moments of intimacy between audience and performers juxtapose in brilliant contrast against performance art, which traverses expertly into a moment of musical revue. Genre, style, and intention weave together to explore the nature of relationships.
With I’m Bleeding All Over the Place, among the many questions O’Harra explores is the one of how the audience and the artist can create a symbiotic relationship. Though the piece is not participatory, it is not to be idly observed. This stellar cast makes use of a large and complex space, creating moments of truth, intimacy, and questioning that are incredibly compelling. One cannot help but assess one’s own visceral reactions to the experience. What types of conflict evoke what sorts of responses in both the entities involved and the observers? There is a sensory swirl that sweeps over the emotional tone of each moment that pulls, that tugs, that prods the audience to ask themselves questions. The performances are true and honest, except when they are intentionally not, and the performance work in this piece is a real example of phenomenal collaboration and ensemble building.
Though I’m Bleeding All Over the Place is one in a series of workshops, it stands alone, as well as as an integral piece of the larger puzzle. It is a visceral, thoughtful, compelling piece that works with the audience to create meaning. A stellar effort that is not to be missed.
Runs until 26 June 2016