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Sep 30, 2019 5:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bathtub Show Moved From House In East Hampton Village After Code Enforcement Pulls The Plug

The stage for
Oct 1, 2019 2:25 PM

A shingled 19th century residence owned by Guild Hall wasn’t zoned to host a one-woman performance in a bathtub.

This week, Siobhan O’Loughlin, the star of “Broken Bone Bathtub,” said she’d performed the show 500 times in the past five years and never been ordered to cancel her performances — as she had been in East Hampton Village.

“I had a huge knot in my stomach. I’ve never had anything like that happen,” she said.

An “immersive” theater project, the show is set in a bathtub in an actual home. While living in New York City, Ms. O’Loughlin was in a serious bike accident and broke her arm. Her apartment didn’t have a tub, so she would ask friends if she could use theirs, because it was difficult to shower wearing a cast.

The show explores themes of trauma, suffering, human generosity, vulnerability and connection while the audience takes on the role of Ms. O’Loughlin’s close friends, listening and sharing their experiences while assisting her in taking a bath.

“It’s a small social gathering that happens in someone’s house,” Ms. O’Loughlin said, adding that there are normally at most eight people in the audience, that no alcohol is served, and that the show is often finished by 10 p.m.

Ms. O’Loughlin kicked off the last leg of her five-year tour in September with two weeks of performances in the bathroom of what is called “the Guild House,” a 19th century house set just behind Guild Hall. After one week, she received a cease-and-desist order from East Hampton Village Code Enforcement, saying that the performance could no longer take place in the house.

Josh Gladstone, artistic director of the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, borrowed a tub from friends at Krupinski Builders and moved the show into Guild Hall itself. “The show must go on,” he said over the phone.

Mr. Gladstone said no one had called to complain about the show, but that the village was aware that it was being staged in a home.

Kent Howie, an East Hampton Village code enforcement officer, confirmed that on Monday, saying the performances were a commercial operation in a residential area. The house is not inspected for fire safety, as Guild Hall is, Mr. Howie explained, and it does not have access for the handicapped, as would be required.

Guild Hall apologized to the village, and Mr. Gladstone and Ms. O’Loughlin moved the Krupinski tub into the green room of Guild Hall, a large room with high ceilings near the John Drew Theater. Ms. O’Loughlin made sure the tub was wrapped so it wouldn’t flood the room.

For the second week of performances, she trekked back and forth to the bathroom, filling buckets with warm water and bubbles.

“This kind of performance is very new and unique. For everyone who came, I’m so grateful, because they didn’t give up on the show. They wanted to see something new,” said Ms. O’Loughlin, an artist in residence at Guild Hall in 2018.

By Monday morning she was already on her way to Philadelphia to share her bathtub saga.

“I’m super grateful to Guild Hall and everyone who came,” she said before hanging up the phone and continuing her drive.

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A+ headline
By Pacman (270), Southampton on Oct 2, 19 4:51 PM
. . . a draining experience I'd say . . .

By Nero (297), Sag Harbor on Oct 2, 19 5:23 PM
Burst my bubble, thought the NY Times or another new outlet [press corps] would have picked this up... Glad we're on top of the press leak.....
By knitter (1895), Southampton on Oct 3, 19 12:07 AM
Too bad the town got in the way of some good clean fun. At least the event wasn't a total wash!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8023), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 3, 19 9:34 AM
The real problem here is that there are freaks among us who think watching a stranger bathe is art
By even flow (985), East Hampton on Oct 8, 19 5:22 AM
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