The NOCCA Institute invites you to
SPILL: A new work about life in Louisiana during the 87 days of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill
October 25 – 27 at 8pm + October 27 at 2pm
NOCCA, 2800 Chartres Street
Tickets: $15 students/seniors, $20 general admission
- SPILL is written by Leigh Fondakowski, who won raves as head writer for Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Project, and also landed an Emmy nomination for her adaptation of the work for HBO. The performance and art installation also features original artwork by Reeva Wortel.
- Fondakowski distilled hours of interviews with fishermen, engineers, BP officials, and others to create a thought-provoking, nuanced drama about the dramatic explosion aboard theDeepwater Horizon, the tragic death of eleven men, and the devastating 87-day oil spill that followed.
- Fondakowski and her colleagues have developed SPILL, in part, at NOCCA, while conducting workshops for faculty and students.
- Performances are in NOCCA’s Nims Black Box Theatre, 2800 Chartres Street, from Thursday, October 25 through Saturday, October 27. Shows are at 8pm, with an additional 2pm matinee on Saturday, October 27.
- Tickets to this workshop performance are $15 for students and seniors (65+), $20 general admission, and can be purchased at The NOCCA Institute’s online box office or by calling 504 940 2900.
Playwright Leigh Fondakowski (The Laramie Project, The People’s Temple) and visual artist Reeva Wortel conducted interviews in coastal Louisiana from March 2011 – April 2012, talking with people across the political spectrum, including life-long environmental conservationists, families who lost loved ones in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, oil-rig workers, clean-up workers, politicians, priests, and members of the diverse fishing communities along the coast. Utilizing these interviews, they have created a multi-media, cross-disciplinary event that artfully explores this tragedy and poses some of the most important environmental questions of our time.
SPILL not only recounts the dramatic story of the tragedy on board the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent impact of the oil spill on the estuary and marine life, but also takes a close look at the people, the history, the culture, and the environmental crisis of coastal erosion facing southern Louisiana. Louisiana is a bellwether of America’s environmental future: what happens along our coastline hints at what’s to come in the rest of the country. The economy of Louisiana — as well as our global economy — is inextricably linked to the oil and gas industry.
The performance aspect of SPILL recounts the dramatic explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, the tragic death of eleven men, and the devastating 87-day spill that followed. The art installation centers around a collection of life-sized painted portraits of the interviewees rendered on paper in oil pastel.
SPILL is performed with a central actor in the role of a narrator, video, visual imagery, audio clips of the interviewees, and an original sound score. The art installation is compromised of photographs, found objects, and life-sized portraits. SPILL uses the mediums of video, theater, and art installation to tell the story of the people impacted by the largest environmental disaster in United States history and to ask: what is the true human and environmental cost of oil?
The portrait collection and installation will be on public display following each performance, as a way of extending and expanding the life of the story beyond the final blackout in the performance space. The play and installation have been created and developed together and rely upon one another artistically. The experience of viewing the installation having just heard the stories of greed and devastation, resiliency and healing, is a powerful one.
SPILL is written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski. Set designer Sarah Lambert will design the performance space, visual artist Reeva Wortel will design the installation, and Kelli Simpkins will be the lead performer. The visual and audio components of the play and art installation have been created by Matt O’Hare.
Within the play, there is a 15-minute recounting of the disaster on board the Deepwater Horizon – a tragedy that impacted hundreds – brought to vivid life by one actor through the use of video and sound.
SPILL was originally commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University. Additional financial support comes from the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota, the Left Tilt Fund, The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bayou Playhouse, and a crowd-funding campaign on USA Projects.
Additional developmental support has been provided by The NOCCA Institute, Louisiana State University, and the artists collective The Study Group. Support also comes from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.