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BWW Blog: Siobhan O'Loughlin - Broken Bone Bathtub: New York City Pilot Run 

Justin Cave, Elephant Run District

I have been an official New Yorker for six full years, and somehow, after traveling for 9 full months, I ended up back by December. When I had a moment, I stopped to stare at the Rockefeller tree and the Saks storefronts on 5th Avenue. Otherwise, I began a new kind of performing for Broken Bone Bathtub that I hadn't done since Tokyo: a collaboration with a theatre company.

In February of 2015, a few weeks before I left this city, I sat in Chris Harcum and Aimee Todoroff's bathroom in Harlem, talking about their theatre company, Elephant Run District, and the possibility of them producing the show and starting by performing it in their own bathroom. "I think we could do this." Aimee said casually, "So, let us know."

Last September, I was sitting in a beautiful sunlit bedroom (that belonged to Robin Higgins) overlooking the ocean on the Isle of Man, when I decided to write to Aimee and ask if January 2016 seemed like a good time to produce a show in a tub throughout the boroughs of New York. It was hard to imagine life without seeing Robin everyday, without adventuring with Toby and singing at the piano with him, but the course of my "no fixed address" lifestyle was moving forward. Aimee and Chris and I had a skype meeting the following week, (when I performed at the Scranton Fringe) and arranged for the pilot run of Broken Bone Bathtub's New York City haul to commence in December.

I was anxious about this. December? That's a rough month. That's also an INCREDIBLE month, but it's incredible because you get to sit at home and eat cookies. That's what I like to do in December. Or maybe you celebrate zero holidays but you just like the idea of the fact that you get to do less because everyone else has these ridiculous holidays. But at the very least: do people want to sit and eat sweets/do nothing in December, or do they want to go to theatre? Um. I don't know.

Turns out, they want to go to theatre. Or, at least, this time they did. The "pilot" run of Broken Bone Bathtub with Elephant Run District was brilliant. First of all: I am a solo performer. An independent one. I do everything alone. I book shows, produce them, cry myself to sleep (KIDDING), alone. And then, all of a sudden, Chris and Aimee assembled a TEAM. Of how many? I can take you through it. Aimee is the Artistic Director. Chris spearheaded anything and everything press. Other company members took on positions: Dominick DeGaetano production managed the whole thing, including organizing the hosts and locations(spanning throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx!), Justin Cave handled the Production Assistants for every show, Bethie Fowler took on the daunting task of Box Office Manager, Ciara Chuirc as our Social Media Rep. Guy Yedwab created our very own hotline for guests and patrons to call when they were lost or late, and Kristin Cantwell and Courtney Salvage took on more PA tasks for the rest of the run. Including me, that's a staff of ten. Ten people, for one solo show.


It turns out to be life-changing. As of December, I'd only performed in the homes of staff members: Aimee and Chris' in Harlem, and Dominick's in Park Slope. From now on, there will be one Front of House Manager as well as my own PA (Production Assistant? Personal Assistant?) Who helps look after me in the bathroom, with my cast, and helps to make the bath. (Later, in Ireland, we'd change this title to Froth Whisperer). Check out this gorgeous photo of one Gorgeous Justin Cave on his knees making me a bath. I know. Poor me, every day.

We did 12 shows. We sold out every show. Each show involved having a wonderful, generous, gracious audience, and was expertly organized and ran by this incredibly smart and professional staff. Feels like a gift.

We also had a variety of awesome white board reviews that audience members could write post-show. An idea of Ciara's.

And so, this is the story of how insanely efficient a show can be managed when you have an entire staff that is supporting you, that has your back, that believes in your project, that is gracious and kind. I was in very good hands, and ready to tackle January as well.

Elephant Run District, I love you. Now that this blog entry has covered who the Elephants are and what they do, we can move on next month to the HOW these performances actually went and felt. I didn't know yet for January, as this was a December post, but, SPOILER: we got three New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations.

The moral, the truth, the lesson of December for me, which is still a lesson that I must work towards constantly: surround yourself with good, caring, compassionate people. Trust them. Trust their work ethic. You deserve good partnerships and talented, beautiful people. You deserve a wink from Dominick. A hug from Aimee. And YOU are good enough and worthy of a bath made by Justin Cave.

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