“Have you ever broken a bone?” actress Siobhan O’Loughlin, naked, asked the audience from inside a bathtub.
O’Loughlin’s one-woman show, Broken Bone Bathtub, is by no means ordinary, even by off-off-Broadway standards. Evolved from the true tale she shared at The Moth—she was in a serious (and hand-fracturing) biking accident after colliding with another cyclist one night in Brooklyn—Bathtub is an exploration of the courage it takes to reach out for help when you feel fragile and hopeless.
Performing the entire show while bathing in a tub (real water, real bubbles) could have played like a theatrical novelty trick, but O’Loughlin makes the premise a poignant metaphor for vulnerability. And it creates a breathless intimacy with the small audience—just five seats per performance—unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I have been to plenty of immersive productions, where audience engagement and interaction is the name of the game, but this is the most connected I’ve ever felt to a performer. If you want the utmost intimacy, O’Loughlin can also perform Bathtub in the privacy of your own home—which we can arrange for you.
As audience members, we were cast as O’Loughlin’s friends, listening to her story and even conversing with the actress. She asked me if I’ve ever taken a platonic shower with anyone (I haven’t, in case you were wondering), and forced us to come face-to-face with the humility and humanity of dealing with anxiety and searing pain alone.
Though I’ve never broken a bone, I did once suffer a serious head wound (during a performance, no less!). Now that I think of it, I could have used a friend to lend me her bathtub. Next time I’m injured, I’m giving O’Loughlin a call.
Broken Bone Bathtub
Secret location on the Lower East Side (whereabouts will be revealed shortly before attending)
Monday evenings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
$35 (wine included with ticket)
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