Elders in Residence Week 3

Split Britches have been hosting a three week residency on Governors Island, New York City, as part of our preparation for our new show, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) which is premiering at La MaMa theatre in October 2016. 

Week 3

Well, we have reached the final week of our residency, and our last week on Governors Island. Here’s how we spent our third and final week…

On Tuesday 20th we spent the day writing and workshopping the performance. It was a very productive day, we had Split Britches’ videographer Claire with us for the first time and she began work on some graphics for the performance. It was great to have some fresh energy with us for a new week on the island!

On Tuesday evening we had La MaMa Theatre’s 55th Year Celebration party. Lois introduced the evening’s events and Peggy did a monologue to open the evening of performances. It was fantastic to meet so many of the La MaMa family, some of whom we had met previously out on the island! We all wore our Elders in Residence t-shirts and really enjoyed the evening's performances. 


On Thursday we were introduced to Fran and Toby, who were friends of Sarie. Fran and Toby were great people to be with on the porch as they both had fascinating stories to tell and were really intrigued by the project. We held a Situation Room with Sarie, Fran and Toby where Lois experimented with the form of the Situation Room. Quickly we were realising just how different each performance of UXO would be, with each different audience. This is an exciting prospect, but also a little scary! 

It was the next couple of days that really showed us how different the performance would be each night. A busy weekend again - and one that really went out with a bang! On Friday, Lois was able to conduct a Situation Room with a full table and a range of ages and opinions....

Our luck continued on Saturday, when over forty people joined us on the island. This was an absolutely fantastic day which flew by with constant conversations taking place and people joining the team on the porch, in the activity room and in the Situation Room all at once! 

We were very fortunate to have British performance artist, Scottee, join us on Governors Island during his trip to New York. Scottee's current performance project links well with Split Britches' research with Unexploded Ordnances, as it explores the relationship between people from different backgrounds, and people of different ages. Scottee's work often explores these themes and his experience of research in these areas was beneficial to our Situation Room discussion. 

We very nearly ran out of chairs...

Sunday was our final day on the island and we all looked forward to spending it on the porch, with our final Porch Sitting scheduled.  The island was open to the public for the last day of this Summer, we expected it to be a bustling and busy day once again! And it certainly was!

The Porch Sitting was so popular, we had people continually coming up the steps to join us and the conversation. We had to introduce a system where we showed people around the activity room for a while until there were some empty chairs on the porch! 

And then it was time to celebrate the three weeks we'd had together on the island.

Reflecting on the people we had met, the conversations we had, and the times we had enjoyed on Governors Island was a perfect end to our time there. How calming it was to escape the city for a while each day and spend time with one another, to meet so many wonderful people and hear their stories. 

We were in a fantastic position to move forward with the performance and head to La MaMa Theatre feeling ready and refreshed!