On a skeletal set webbed with video cameras, a family of characters and their hangers-on try to recall their given roles as inevitably the foundations of their dreams collapse, expelling them into the desert of their futures. Part comedy, part ritual, part love spell.

The Performance explores the process of construction, when that process becomes sharply interrupted by historical events, and dissolves into the shapelessness of an aftermath. Those processes that were “building” previous to the play’s beginning include a life, a family, architecture, or a system of beliefs, an economy of values, and the creation of the performance itself. But when events intervene— events like collapse, upheaval, disaster, abandonment, forgetting, fear, and strife— all the raw materials and the players themselves become deformed into a new formlessness, and enter a transitional state of potentiality. Like the pause loop in a video game, Broke House takes place in this marginal time zone.

Like all of Big Art Group’s works, Broke House offers our meditation on the current states of America, which we believe have been in flux for at least as long as our ensemble has been up and running. Beyond the symptoms of housing crises, credit crises, occupy movements, and extremist rhetoric, we suppose that the metaphorical heart of the country has been suffering, and perhaps has decided to rebuild the body that surrounds it.

“True to their name, Big Art Group’s performances are big in every possible way: prismatic visuals hurtle across a panoply of screens, dazzling with flashing colors; strange conjunctions of video imagery captured live by a battery of cameras and spliced together in real-time, ambush the eye; digital soundscapes thrum, groan, and roar at synesthesia-inducing volumes.” – Jacob Gallagher-Ross, The Drama Review

Press (pdfs):

Broke House by the Big Art Group: Queer Transgressions on the contemporary New York stage

Performance Addict

Theatre Journal, Vol. 64, No. 4

Created by Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson, Big Art Group
Direction and Scenography by Caden Manson
Sound by Jemma Nelson
Assistant Director Kathleen Amshoff and Bradley Kal Hagen
Performed by
David: Edward Stresen-Reuter
Manny: David Commander
RiRi: Heather Litteer
Jerry: Matthew Nasser
Virilius/Intern: Nicholas Gorham
Jennifer/Intern: Willie Mullins, Matthew Nasser
Lighting Design by Hillery Makatura
Assistant Lighting Design by Kryssy Wright
Production Manager Ana Mari de Quesada
Set by Caden Manson and Jeffrey Ralston
Special Day Glow Costumes and Masks: Caden Manson, Jeffery Ralston, Alice Pearson, David Commander, and Simone Serlanga
Video System Design by Caden Manson
Intern Simone Serlanga and Dries Vandrope

Broke House is produced by Big Art Group with support from King’s Fountain and NYSCA
Con il sostegno di Azienda Speciale Palaexpo – Mattatoio | Progetto Prender-si cura

Supported by James Davison, Desi Santiago, Ted Henigson, theARTcorps, Ryan Davis, Alan Cumming, joan Raspo, Drew Brody, William Lynn, Julie Tolentino, Hill Family, Ivan Gothner and Betsy Davison, Alyssa Fannick, Robert Litteer, Jen Parker-Starbuck, Sean Pierce and Lucy Pierce and Theo Kogan, paul gardner, John Issendorf, Grant Shaffer, Jill Emerson, Brian Bauman, Amy Sadao, Mambo Movers, Ryan Sorkin, Linsey Bostwick, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, Ilaria Mancia, Hillery Makatura, Justin Vivian Bond, Davis Freeman