written by neil labute
directed by judson jones

Awards, Nominations and Notoriety Reviews


CAST
Young Man Lowell Bartholomee
Sue Kelsey Kling
John B. Michael Rains
Woman Lee Eddy

Production Notes

I've come to the conclusion that one of the reasons why I do theatre is because I can't afford to go to therapy. I must stress that this is only one of the reasons; there are many clichéd other reasons: the high of being on stage, the ability to fall into a vacuum of one reality while you are witnessed in another reality by others, that moment right before and right after you make an audience react, etc., etc. But while doing Bash, I became completely aware of why theatre is a necessity in my life. It allows me to exercise demons and emotions that would otherwise remain contained inside my head and slowly curdle my soul.

While in the midst of rehearsing and performing Bash, I was going through one of the lowest points of my life. My 14-year-old baby brother was experiencing negative side affects from a bone marrow transplant that he had received 5 months prior to Bash's opening. Those 5 months I was not attached to the actual world.

Photos by
Charlie Fonville
Nothing held any weight besides the daily updates from him, his mother, his doctors, nurses. The news of gained body weight or positive blood counts would lift me for a day or two, but then would come crashing down when he would have a seizure or get yet another fever.

Jud called me during this 5-month period and said that he wanted me for Medea Redux- a 45 minute monologue about a young mother who murders her 14-year-old son and finds a sickening redemption and healing in the act.

Dark. Sad. Emotional. A lot of chain-smoking. Jesus, the sheer rawness of her words evoked my exact feelings of dealing with my own reality.

Right off the bat, I told Jud that this was going to be hard, not just the actual delving into the performance, but because I was in a state of limbo. All it would take was a phone call and I'd have to be by my brother's side. All it would take was some phrase in the text that would act as a catalyst for my ticking emotional time bomb, and I'd be a complete wreck for the rest of the rehearsal. Jud understood, but was willing to take that risk.

I am so glad he did. November rolled around and rehearsals began. After a day of sitting at my job, staring at my computer, wondering what my brother was feeling and thinking every other moment, coming to rehearsals was a time for me to get tethered to a present moment. Focusing on the text, the feelings of this character, the tug of war that a heart goes through when battling between what is right and what is justified...... and having Jud there the entire time, lending incredible knowledge, giving support when it was most needed and his ability to communicate so much in a simple phrase such as 'I like crackers.,' it was such an awesome experience. It grounded me.

When the show finally opened I found myself able to just be there. Not onstage. Not in a costume. Just there, with the character, her story, her feelings, her endless pack of smokes. Some days it was difficult to access that part of her that had imbedded herself in my mind... and other days it felt like I was exercising my own demons and frustrations and sadness through the text and puffs. It was so fucking healing.

Then, the last week of the show I got the phone call I had dreaded. My brother needed me. It was time for me to be by his side and with my family. I called Jud , packed my bags, and left Bash behind. The next three days were so incredible I won't even attempt to explain them. Bottom line: my brother died and I was there, with him. It was powerful. It was wonderful. It was so very very sad.

And there were still some threads that needed to be knotted before I could begin the next stage of grief. Going to his viewing, being a part of the funeral, of course. But I also had this need to finish the run of Bash. I returned to Austin the last day of the show and asked Jud if I could do the final performance. Jud was more than willing, but wanted to make sure that this was definitely something that I truly wanted to do; not something I felt obligated to. I explained that the Bash production had been an entire part of my dealing with my brother's death and, in order to feel good about the acting experience that had given me so much I needed to close the show.

Closure is the psychological term I believe is used to explain such a feeling. I needed closure.

As the last line was delivered, the final exhalation of a Camel Turkish Gold flittered through the beam of light that faded to black and it was over. It was all over.

And I cried. Cleansing, bittersweet tears because I didn't feel the same anger, frustration, and saddens of the character or of my own reality. Instead, I felt good. A strange, euphoric feeling that I had not felt for some time.

— Lee Eddy

REVIEWS

“flaccid and self-indulgent moments are nowhere to be found”
"They pull us in to them and engage us so thoroughly..."
"Abundant in emotional complexity..."
          Austin Chronicle -
Read the full review

"...the stories are made spellbinding in a flawless, uncluttered production..."
"Amoral perfection"
          Austin American Statesman

contact the dirigo group