It’s been a long, strange, soap-suds covered international trip for Siobhan O’Loughlin.
But lucky us, because her notable, one-woman play Broken Bone Bathtub is back in our neck of the woods and coming to an apartment bathtub near you.
Brooklyn-based writer, performer, activist, and award-winning playwright O’Loughlin has been touring Broken Bone Bathtub internationally, and we’re looking forward to having it once again splash down into our borough. The show has graced the bathtubs of Japan, the U.K., as well as throughout the United States.
The hour-long production will be performing in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens now through February 26. And the play takes place inside a bathtub—in an actual home. Since seating is extremely limited per performance, we recommend you buying your tickets soon enough. The production has received critical praise every step of the way.
The play takes place after a young woman experiences a serious bike accident. She musters up the courage to ask for help, and shares her story in the search for healing. The story explores themes of trauma, suffering, human generosity and connection. Lies, truths, and gory details (literally) emerge as the audience assists the cast-clad artist in the actual ritual of taking a bath.
O’Loughlin has added Ireland and Australia to the show’s tour since she last performed it in Brooklyn. In addition to different continents, the show has played in mansions and outdoor gardens as well.
However what unites all the performances is an opportunity for audience members to engage in an extremely intimate piece of theater.
“This is an interactive play where the audience does more than simply give me a bath,” O’Loughlin told me last year when I interviewed her for Park Slope Stoop/BKLYNER. “Their stories contribute to the whole of the experience.”
But of course, a lot has changed in a year. And O’Loughlin readily admits that the political and social environment does inform performances.
“The play remains topical and flows with the energy of the climate,” she explains.
The creator tells us about a performance which took place the day President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on travel ban was enacted. “The audience consisted of a Mexican-American couple and an Iranian-American family of three.”
O’Loughlin says the conversation in the play changed at that moment. “I asked them how they were doing. I wanted to remind them that not everyone believes in this ban or the wall.”
And within the structure of Broken Bone Bathtub, a conversation was able to take place. “I’m so glad they felt comfortable talking to me,” she says. “A lot of it for me is about exploring our vulnerabilities. I’m curious what are the ways in which we create communities and find healing and approach healing.”
While Broken Bone Bathtub has been a focus of the last year, O’Loughlin’s indefatigable spirit allowed her to work on some other important projects.
In Greece she spent time in refugee camps with the program Carry The Future, teaching music to children from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
She also developed a new piece of theater called Colonize(d), a collaboration with Philippines-based artist Issa Lopez.
And in the U.S., she developed and performed Natural Novice, a solo performance about female body hair, body image, and body shaming.
For now, you can see her impressive piece over the next month. And O’Loughlin is looking forward to meeting new audiences throughout the city.
“At the end of the day, storytelling is never a solo act,” she says. “The listener is a cherished part.”
Broken Bone Bathtub, performed by Siobhan O’Loughlin.
Where: Apartments throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Once a ticket has been purchased for a performance, you will be notified of the exact address of the production. Each date lists the neighborhood.
When: Throughout February 26. Monday-Friday performance take place at 7pm and 9pm. Sunday performances take place at 2pm and 4pm.
Ticket Information: Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.