Theater in non-traditional settings is always a grabber. When a performer breaks the fourth wall, the invisible one between performer and audience, it adds yet
another element to the experience. Broken Bone Bathtub combines the two into an evening that’s quite remarkable. Brought to St. Louis by That Uppity Theatre Company and The Drama Club Stl, it’s performed by its author, Siobhan O’Loughlin. And she’s performing in a bathtub.
Yes, in a bathtub. She’s done this piece all over the world. Here in St. Louis, the primary venue is a fascinating and relatively large bathroom on the second floor of the Lemp Mansion, but Thursday performances are in private homes around the area, people who have volunteered to host.
But a venue is not enough to make art interesting, much less worthwhile. O’Loughlin received several fractures in a bike accident necessitating a cast and other interactions with health care systems, as well as passers-by during and after the accident. That’s the tale told here. She’s an engaging story-teller – and that’s what it feels like, rather than working from a memorized script. The bathroom at the Lemp Mansion gives her her largest audience ever in terms of numbers at a single performance, she says, and the people closest to the tub are asked to become physically involved in the goings-on. It’s an intimate evening, but, no, St. Louis, this isn’t about sex.
Part of that intimacy is that she asks questions of the audience, things like “Have you ever felt that way, too?” and the interaction becomes part of the evening. Nevertheless, it’s a relatively short performance, officially clocking in at 75 minutes. O’Loughlin, or at least the O’Loughlin that we see, is a warm person, relaxed enough that one leaves thinking that her experience and the stories about her family are true. One doesn’t need to know if it’s truth or artistic license, but it’s a worthwhile evening.
The Thursday evening performances at private homes have lower-priced tickets – you’ll get the address when you make arrangements for the tickets, sort of like house concerts. Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are at Lemp, and that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres beforehand and coffee and dessert afterwards, plus the chance to see the upstairs of the house, not usually open except to bed and breakfast customers.
Yes, this is the cultural high season for St. Louis, but this is something worth making time for.
Broken Bone Bathtub
through June 26, 2016
Thursday night tickets: email the date you’d like to go and a phone number to finalize arrangements to firstname.lastname@example.org; they’ll call you back.
Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon: