Days Two & Three: Long Tables


Tuesday morning took Lois and Peggy to a rainbow-colored corner of LA: West Hollywood and the LGBT Center. We were joined at a Long Table by a glorious group of queer elders, who shared their buried desires, unexpressed tensions and homemade loveheart cookies - we'd almost forgot about Valentine's Day.

We spoke further about the activities happening at the Skirball Center, and invited anyone who was interested to drop in on us in the Getty Gallery. Lois was on the lookout for potential participants to assist with some parts of the performances on Friday and Saturday.

The Skirball's lovely Elena drove us back through West Hollywood (Hannah hung her head out the window, desperate to see the sign, and definitely caught at least 'LYWOOD').

Back in the Getty Gallery, we were joined by one of the docents from yesterday, Susan, who had dragged her husband Joel along also. We had a great chat about the show, carrying over some of the talking points from Monday's Long Table, and persuaded them both to be involved in the performance on Friday. The brief readthroughs suggested some real show-stealing potential!



Once again Jo took off early in the house-sized SUV, to continue making a museum gallery look like a war room (nearly there!). The rest of the team were picked up by the wonderful Debra Miller, a (decades??) old dear friend of Split Britches. She has also been busy setting up an LA Cabaret as a part of next Monday's #NotMyPresidentsDay performance events - an international network of resistive actions coordinated through Bad & Nasty. It's at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre and Lois and Peggy will be doing a turn - you can get tickets HERE.

We wandered around the Pixar picturesqueness of the UCLA campus, before being led upstairs by Prof Sylvan Oswald to this next Long Table space - a dance studio! The Marley flooring necessitated perhaps the first ever barefoot Long Table.

Attendees represented a mixed spread of students and faculty at the school, from undergraduates to professors. The session began by inviting anyone to ask questions of Lois and Peggy, who spoke about their practice and history as a company. They were also asked if in their 67 and 72 years respectiviely they had ever made work in a similar political climate - the rest of the session became couched in reflection upon the election and resistance to its 45th outcome. Following the conversation, Lois invited everyone to offer a 'We could...' creative imaginative response to the issues discussed.

Back at the Skirball for a few hours of trouble-shooting the show: little re-writes, cue changes, sourcing a pair of handcuffs (spoiler alert?). The lights are on, we're starting to feel at home.


Day One

Yesterday, the Split Britches team landed in LAX, jetting in from all corners of the globe (or of Milan, London and New York at least). Lois and Peggy still had NYC snow on their boots as they stepped into the LA sunshine.

Unexploded Ordnances might not be the lightest SB show, and our set of eight cases demanded the rental of a gargantuan SUV. We all enjoyed the sunny sights from the freeway, except Peggy, who was genially (but firmly) reminded to keep her eyes on the road!

After a night in our lovely bungalow off Mulholland Drive, we set out early for the Skirball Cultural Center and the 80(!) docents who were coming along for a presentation about the week ahead.

(The docents are sort of well-informed guides to the Center and its events and exhibits. The word comes from the Latin 'docere', meaning to teach. Hannah looked this up, no one asked her to.)

Having spoken a bit about the history of the company and the project UXO, Lois had the attendees contribute some of their own 'unexplored desires' anonymously, to be added to the accumulating piles of scrumpled paper used in the performance.

The presentation was followed by a fantastic Long Table on 'What Lies Beneath'; repressed thoughts, the history of the land the center was built on, the political tensions on which society is.

Designer Jo Palmer began work setting up the space in the 'Getty Gallery', a beautiful long white hall of aircraft hangar proportions. The circle of white tables recreated the striking image of the Dr. Strangelove-inspired Situation Room - then Lois came and looked and had them all moved slightly to the left.

The team clocked out to pick up dinner at "Ralph's" supermarket, and Hannah got a box of Reese's Puffs for the morning - another bright start to meet some more elders (and potential participants) at an LGBT center in West Hollywood.


**This week Split Britches will also be collaborating with designer Matt Delbridge, coming from yet another global corner - Melbourne!**