Jim Carpenter, Kelli Simpkins & Silas Cooper to Lead Swine Palace's SPILL; Full Cast Announced

Swine Palace, in association with The Study Group, is pleased to announce casting for the world premiere of Leigh Fondakowski's SPILL in March 2014.

SPILL is a multimedia play inspired by the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The project is the co-creation of playwright/director Leigh Fondakowski and visual artist Reeva Wortel, and is based on interviews, photographs and court documents collected in the aftermath of the spill. Louisiana citizens, including fishermen, political figures, cleanup workers, scientists, and oil industry workers, as well as others interviewed for the project, are characters represented in the play. Leigh Fondakowski will direct the project with an ensemble cast, some of whom have collaborated on past projects with Fondakowski - including national theatre actors Jim Carpenter, Kelli Simpkins and Silas Cooper, as well as local actors, Anthony McMurray, Jenny Ballard, Ashley Adams, Amar Atkins and Tim Moriarty.

SPILL includes scenic design by Sarah Lambert, lighting design by James L. Murphy, sound and media design by Matt O'Hare and costume design by Jamie Grace-Duff.

The production of SPILL begins March 12, officially opens on March 14th and runs through March 30th at the Reilly Theatre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A staged reading of the play was presented December 10th at Ensemble Studio Theatre in Manhattan as part of the EST/Sloan First Light Festival. SPILL was developed in part with commissioning funds from The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology project.

SPILL tells the dramatic story of the 2010 explosion on board the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, and the devastating impact of the 87-day spill on the coastal communities and marine life of Louisiana.

Within months of the disaster, the artists began speaking with a broad array of Louisiana citizens, including fishermen, political figures, cleanup workers, scientists, oil industry workers, and the families of those lost in the explosion. As they collected over 200 hours of stories and interviews, Wortel painted portraits of each interviewee. The play will premiere in conjunction with an art installation of these portraits.

SPILL explores the rich culture of Louisiana and the resilient nature of its inhabitants in the face of natural destruction and tragedy. The stories of the individuals, families, and communities whose history and daily lives are inextricably tied to the Bayou and the oil industry come to life in ways never before seen on stage. Through these poignant and deeply personal stories, Louisiana becomes a mirror of where we are as a society and a global community as we face the most important environmental, economic, and energy policy decisions of our time. Expressing the fundamental story of man versus nature, at the core of SPILL is the question: What is the true human and environmental cost of oil?

James Carpenter has 30 years of performing experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a former Associate Artist with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, performing in over 30 shows there, as well as the Aurora Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, The Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Cutting Ball Theater and TheatreWorks. This will be his 12th year as an Associate Artist with the California Shakespeare Theatre. Regional credits include work at Yale Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre, the Intiman Theatre, The Old Globe, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was in Leigh Fondakowski's production of The People's Temple at Berkeley Rep. He is a recipient of the Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Continued Excellence in the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Awards and in 2010 was named a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. Film Credits: Metro, Nine At Night (Singing), Presque Isle, The Rainmaker, The Sunflower Boy. Television: "Nash Bridges".

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