New Play SPILL Added to Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival Slate, 7/22


Culture Project's Women Center Stage 2013 Festival (Allan Buchman, Founder & Artistic Director), off to an extremely successful start that began July 8, has added the staged reading of SPILL, a new play about the Deepwater Horizon / BP oil spill, written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski, and created in collaboration with visual artist Reeva Wortel, with dramaturgy by Sarah Lambert, Kelli Simpkins, and Ms. Wortel. The one-night only performance is scheduled for Monday, July 22, 2013 at 8:00pm at Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project (45 Bleecker Street).

Admission is FREE and open to the public. To make a reservation, please visit the website at:

SPILL is a play based on interviews with the people of the south coast of Louisiana in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon / BP oil spill, the largest environmental disaster in United States history. Playwright Leigh Fondakowski, and her collaborator, visual artist Reeva Wortel conducted interviews in the Gulf over the course of a year, talking with people across the political spectrum, from Tea Party Republicans to life-long environmental conservationists, families who lost loved ones in the explosion on the oil rig, oil-rig workers, clean-up workers, politicians, priests, scientists, community leaders, and members of the diverse fishing communities along the coast.

The result of their research is SPILL, a stage play created from the interviews, as well as an art installation of life-sized painted portraits of each of the interviewees. The play recounts the dramatic story of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the impact on the coastal communities and marine life of Louisiana. This production explores the rich culture of Louisiana and the resilient nature of its inhabitants in the face of natural destruction and tragedy. 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?

There will be a pre-show conversation with Leigh Fondakowski, hosted in partnership with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Lynn Redgrave Theater.

Leigh Fondakowski was the Head Writer of The Laramie Project and has been a member of Tectonic Theatre Project since 1995. She is an Emmy nominated co-screenwriter for the adaptation of The Laramie Project for HBO, and a co-writer of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. Her play, The People's Temple, has been performed under her direction at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Theater Company, and The Guthrie Theater, and received the Glickman Award for Best New Play in the Bay Area in 2005. Another original play, I Think I Like Girls, premiered at Encore Theater in San Francisco under her direction and was voted one of the top 10 plays of 2002 by The Advocate. Leigh is a 2007 recipient of the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights and a 2009 Macdowell Colony Fellow. She is a visiting artist and an Imagine Fund fellow at the University of Minnesota, and has recently written a new play about 19th-century American actress Charlotte Cushman.

Reeva Wortel is an interdisciplinary artist who creates narrative portrait-based projects that combine interview, social commentary, performance, and large-scale installation. Driven by a commitment to develop the technique of portraiture beyond its traditional limits, Wortel has worked in communities as a social justice advocate and artist honing a technique to narrate the individual stories of our time through her portraiture, a process that involves in-depth interviewing, photography, painting, and installation. Wortel has been the recipient of several grants as a muralist, choreographer, and installation artist. She has exhibited her work in Oregon, Colorado, California, New York, New Zealand and Amsterdam.

The Women Center Stage 2013 Festival continues through August 3, 2013. Check the website at for the latest schedule & ticketing information.

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