Artist Spotlight: Siobhan O’Loughlin
April 14, 2016
Meet Siobhan O’Loughlin, NYC-based theatre maker, and creator of the show Broken Bone Bathtub. Siobhan is bringing the show to Australia for the first time ever as part of You Are Here 2016.
We caught up with Siobhan to find out more:
Hi Siobhan! Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice:
Hello! I’m a NYC-based theatre maker in my late twenties. My practice delves mostly in solo performance and text-based narrative that focuses partly on my own experiences, and mostly on the stories of people around me.
What inspired you to create Broken Bone Bathtub
After my oh-so-traumatic/dramatic Brooklyn bike accident in the Fall of 2014, and upon donning a cast that covered up my entire left hand and arm, I started borrowing my friends’ bathtubs all around New York City, because my Bushwick warehouse apartment was a shower-only abode. I traveled to every single borough to bathe, and was met with kindness and affection by my friends who fed me, bought me wine or chocolate to go with the bath, new bubbles, and one friend who washed his warmest, best-est bathrobe for me to borrow. I was telling these tales to my good friend, writer/critic Michael Dale of “>Broadway World, over drinks at Don’t Tell Mama in the theatre district in Manhattan, when he said, “It’s like you’re going on a bathtub tour.”
But what if I really was?
And so, that’s what I’m doing. Thanks, Michael, for changing my life.
This is the first time the show will be shown in Australia, but in previous shows you have performed, how have audiences responded to the work?
This show has served as a great survey of a location and a community. From Tokyo to LA, to London, Belfast, and New York City, each audience has been so drastically different. I learn about how to interact with the people in that city. It’s such an honor, and I’ve been incredibly lucky that audiences have been generous with their energy and voices and stories in each place. There are differences, of course: in London, people were painfully shy, in Japan, there were hangups about physical interaction, in New York sometimes we went so over the show time because we couldn’t stop talking. I have loved all of them. Every one.
This show features an element of audience participation; can you tell us a little more about that?
I can, but I’d rather not. Basically: the conceit is that you are my good friend and I am at your house to take a bath because of my injury. You are going to help me with the bath. And you are my good friend. Take that as you will.
The show is based on your own experience of people generosity when you needed their help, how did this experience change your perspective? Do you think it’s made you a more generous person?
I think I explained the generous experience I received in previous answer, but as to whether I’ve become more generous: God, I hope so. I think I’m still very, very flawed. My empathy when it comes to injury has grown immensely, and I learned one serious thing that I’d like to share: if someone you know has an injury or a tragedy, don’t ask them what they need. The first two questions are: what are your dietary needs, and when can I come over and bring you dinner? After you bring food, when you are sitting with them, ask them what else you can do. They might then ask to borrow your bathtub. But in the heat of some serious trauma, I have found that many people don’t know what they want or need, or have a hard time articulating it. I was lucky that I was able to ask for bathtubs–and that I received them.
Tell us a fun fact – about anything!
The largest audience I have EVER had for Broken Bone Bathtub has been 10 people. We are bumping that up to 30 for You Are Here. You guys are GAME CHANGERS, so let’s see how that goes down.
What YAH 2016 events are you most looking forward to seeing?
So many! And they are adding up as the hours go by! I’ve got to highlight some female solo ladies, because they are my jam: Isabelle Martinez in EITHER of her shows, Relationship Anatomy or Appropriate Kissing for all Occasions (she’s the OTHER international artist too! Give her love!), and Bonnie Cowan’s Unravelling.