del Rosso Review: I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: A Living History Tour

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For me, the most exciting part of “I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: A Living History Tour” created and directed by Brooke O’ Harra at La Mama Experimental Theatre in Manhattan’s East Village, was that I stood next to downtown actress Kate Valk. If you have ever seen The Wooster Group’s phenomenal, avant-garde productions as I have, you will know founding member Valk’s work; from their interpretations of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Hairy Ape” and “The Emperor Jones” to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” she is, according to Hilton Als of The New Yorker, a “classical actress who performs in an experimental medium.” She is also chameleon-like from role to role, and electrifying onstage. It is no surprise Valk was at La Mama, supporting another great theater company.
I am a huge fan.
“I’m Bleeding…” is a traveling show; the audience is moved to different locations around the theater (which is how I came to be standing beside Valk) and though it is not interactive, the audience is ostensibly who the play is about. So prepare to have your space invaded, to be a participant as well as an viewer. It is a fascinating reversal.
Additionally, the living history tour deals with what we say and what we mean; repetitive phrases that begin as something innocuous and end as something entirely different; sexual and violent thoughts that are rarely said aloud but are said and confronted, including a song with the following chorus:

“I want to punch you in the face!
I want to punch you in the face!
Because I am a woman* and you are the Aud- ience
I want to punch you in the face!
I want to punch you in the face!
Because I am a Brooke and you are the audience I am an actor.”
All the performers excel at understated magnificence: Becca Blackwell, Jane Bradley, Hye Young Chyun, Sharon Hayes, Laryssa Husiak, Anna Kohler, Zavé Martohardjono, Greg Mehrten, Alexander Paris, Tanya Selvaratnam, with Nick Auer, Donna Barkman, and Dan Kuan Peeples. The inventive sets were by Andreea Mincic, lights by Sarah Johnston, costumes courtesy of Alice Tavener, sound Brendan Connelly and * original design concept Justin Townsend.
“I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: A Living History Tour” is the fourth component of a nine-part project titled “I’m Bleeding All Over the Place: studies in directing or nine encounters between me and you.” Given that, I would now like to see all of them. And hope Kate Valk also attends.