Last Call: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project 2016
Directed by Bonnie Gabel and indee mitchell
Written by Shannelle Mills and Bear Hebert
ALLEGED LESBIAN ACTIVITIES is an immersive performance event staged in a smoky bar, a cabaret show run amok, a one night stand with a girl you might never see again. Merging the queer traditions of burlesque and drag kinging with contemporary dance and oral history interviews, ALLEGED LESBIAN ACTIVITIES looks closely at the vanishing legacy of lesbian spaces, and invites audiences into new ways of engaging with and complicating LGBTQ history.
"Alleged Lesbian Activities not only examines the economic and social reasons why the bars closed, but expresses how their demise undermined a sense of community among queer people that crossed generations and lines of race, class, generations and gender identity."
-Mary Rickard, Gambit
“Alleged Lesbian Activities is one of the best things I've ever seen in New Orleans. From the chemistry between the wonderful and multi-talented ensemble members, the beautiful scene work, the GORGEOUS design to the beautiful interplay between live action and recorded memory, this piece creates a desperately needed space in New Orleans.”
-Evan Speigleman, Performer and Lighting Designer
Photos by Melisa Cardona
Video by Foster Bear
Alleged Lesbian Activities is made from the support of MAP fund with funds from Creative Capital, Platforms Fund, the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans, Dancing Grounds, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and our community Junebug Productions is our fiscal sponsor.
Alleged Lesbian Activities
by Gabrielle Reisman
The Sheen Center as a part of Drama League Directorfest 2018
Performed by Drae Campbell, Pilar Witherspoon, and Cindy de la Cruz
Set by Reid Thompsan
Lights by Lois Cantazaro
Costumes by Lauren Gaston
Sound by Justin Propper
Night Light Collective/ PARSE Gallery 2012
Topos was an imagined word with a dark secret. Part dinner party, part installation, part myth; Topos was an ensemble generated immersive performance.
"Ambitious...Margot Walsh and Ricardo Barba’s multi-room installation at the Parse Gallery was a knock-out" -Brian Sands, Ambush Magazine
Photos by Melisa Carona
Lux et Umbra 2015
Written by Justin Maxwell
"Well-crafted performances, tight direction and cleverly devised, if macabre, script makes "Your Lithopodion" a killer show."
-Theodore P. Mahne, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Best Director, BroadwayWorld New Orleans 2015
Unforgettable Direction in a Smallish Space, Michael Martin 2015
A serial killer attempts to reform and becomes the founder of Serial Killers Anonymous, which totally wrecks his marriage.
It’s a dark, don’t-bring-your-kids comedy about boredom, dysfunction, community, murder and gazebos. It explores how individuals see themselves and how they hope to be seen. This play is all about veneer, and the chance to laugh at the basest impulses of American culture, as the killer and his equally unhinged wife search for the most questionable kinds of happiness. Like the couple themselves, there are profound problems just under the surface of the play, quickly revealed as the show jolts the audience along an unstable, fragmented narrative of dysfunction, family, and 12-step programs. This nontraditional work pretends towards psychological realism, just as the characters are pretending towards hum-drum domesticity.
Oxblood is a panoramic outdoor performance about land, labor, and home in the contemporary South. Estranged sisters Rose and Laurel reunite in rural Georgia after their centuries-old family home burns to the ground. While Rose’s husband Jacob loses himself in the scarred farmland, the two sisters grapple over its uncertain future. Oxblood unfolds in a fearless blend of dialogue, dance, and sweeping choral music. With rich, keening harmonies composed by Brendan Connelly, and deeply intimate, unflinching choreography by Angelle Hebert, Oxblood unearths the tangled histories buried deep in the land and asks what happens to us when we leave that land behind.
"Arceneaux, Cramer, and Gabel give fearless, committed performances that fully convey the complexity of their intertwined relationships. "
-Brian Sands, Ambush
"Through both movement and restraint, Gabel showed Rose's conflicted emotions and gave a powerful performance. "
-Tyler Gillespie, Gambit
photos by Bear Hebert
A Soldier's Tale
Night Light Collective/ New Resonance Orchestra 2013
The New Resonance Orchestra transposed Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” to contemporary America in a dance theater collaboration at The Marigny Opera House in New Orleans.
New Resonance tweaked the original script by poet C.F. Ramuz, adding material from David Finkel’s Iraq War chronicle, “The Good Soldiers.”
Photos by Bruce France
The Soldier's Tale
Cripple Creek Theater Company 2013
"Clever staging and light design turned the Truck Farm into an expansive theater space. The outdoor setting, with chirping crickets and cockroaches crawling on a stump near the action, was well-ssuited to the story. The menacing red-lit eyes of possums in the distance were a great element."
-Tyler Gillespie, Gambit
"If, like me, you dig artistic risk-taking, there’s plenty to like about this weird nocturnal performance. "
-Doug McCash, Nola.com
"The roles demand intensity of all of the actors, and director Bonnie Gabel excelled in ensuring that each member of the small cast is pulling their own weight -- and have weight to pull. "
-Stephen Babcock, Nola Defender
The world premiere of Andrew Vaught’s surreal tale “Possum Kingdom” in New Orleans, LA at the St Claude Truck Farm.
Inspired by the unfolding environmental ruination and societal crises in south Louisiana, the story takes place in a small community of swamp workers whose lives and livelihoods are uprooted when the whims of unseen "upriver" consumers and the degradation of their natural environs force them to sacrifice and discard their jobs, homes and memories. Possum Kingdom's team mixed politics, physicality, original music, and simple machines to create an enchanting outdoor theater experience with a heavy dose of magic.
Photos by Eric Gremillion
An Outopia for Pigeons
The Shadowbox Theater 2014
Written by Justin Maxwell
"Director Bonnie Gabel lets it all flow with a light, yet controlled touch that allows the audience to get lost in the play’s world, which sets its own rules and sticks to them. With an elegant sense of balance, Gabel never breaks the veneer of wonder created."
-David Lee Simmons, nola.com
Big Easy Nominated Best New Play 2014
Night Light Collective, 2010
Co-Directed by Bonnie Gabel and Carolyn Boucher
Alice was an immersive choose your own adventure performance based on Lewis Carrol's Alice and Wonderland devised by Night Light Collective and performed in a historic home in Richmond, Virginia
Night Light Collective 2011
"The show brings with it a noble intention: to ask the audience to look beyond the surface of things to find the beauty that lives inside each of us. A sweet piece played with generous spirit and genuine hearts." - Helen Jaksch, NOLA Defender
Marilyn was a solo journey through a woman's relationship with her own body, staged in the intimacy of a home.
Marilyn toured to the Alternate Roots Annual Meeting in 2012
Photos by Melisa Cardona
Director of student shorts
Play/Write is a project of Goat in the Road Productions. Students spend a year working with professional teaching artists to write one act plays and professional theater companies produce those plays. Each company directs two plays per year.
Directed by Stephanie McKee and developed by dancers Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton, poet Sunni Patterson and drummer Jawara Simon, Gomela takes us on a journey through time and space. Making evident the connection between Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, such as spoken word, hip-hop and jazz. Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home.
Gomela is based on hope, survival, courage and the resilience that exists in the face of oppression. It is about the heartbeat of a people that will never die, the culture and traditions that continue to evolve, grow and survive the test of time. It illuminates Place Matters—gentrification and the Right of Return of New Orleanians displaced after Katrina; and Black Lives Matter—the beauty and resilience of black people, past and present.
Lighting designer Evan Spigelman, sound designer Muthi Reed, projection designer Jason Foster, costume designer Ja’nese of Aya Designs and recorded music by trumpeter Troy Sawyer and singer Janet “Sula Spirit” Evans of Zion Trinity and additional writing by Ausettua Amor Amenkum, A Scribe Called Quess?, Frederick "Hollywood" Delahoussaye bring life to the sights and sounds of Gomela.
Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue is made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Gomela is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Carver Community Cultural Center in partnership with Carpetbag Theatre, Ignite/Arts Dallas @ SMU Meadows School of the Arts and NPN. For more information: www.npnweb.org. Additional support comes from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and from individual donors.
"Kiss Kiss Julie is an ensemble-generated performance that jumps off from August Strindberg's 1888 play Miss Julie to explore the subsequent decades' impact on sex, class and gender. We push our design-driven theater paradigm even further into a realm of visual art installation and interactive exhibit, as we explore this magical piece of New Orleans ground: former indigo plantation, bed and breakfast, restaurant, and reggae dance club.
Created by the ensemble and their collaborators. Performed by Rebecca Mwase, Lisa Shattuck, Ashley Sparks, and Nick Slie. Directed by Kathy Randels, text by Lisa D'Amour, sound by Sean LaRocca, design by Jeff Becker, costumes by Ellen Macomber, lighting by Hannah Adams, with assistant direction by Bonnie Gabel.
Kiss Kiss Julie was made possible by the generous support of the Joan Mitchell Center and Joan Mitchell Foundation; by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans; and by generous in-kind support from Whole Foods Market."
Last Call: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project 2015
Coming Out Stories is a contemporary multimedia dance performance interpreting oral history interviews of lesbian elders in New Orleans. For many interviewees, the dyke bar scene was inextricably linked to stories of family acceptance (or lack of), first sexual encounters, and navigating between being in and out of the closet . Performers move to original choreography to embody and interpret the soundscape of voices both painful, tender, and funny, with live drawing and projections setting the context. Original music underscores the choreography, and lighting comes from an old-fashioned overhead projector, which creates crisp shadows that mirror the movement. Prologue: Coming Out Stories was co-produced by Last Call and Patois Human Rights Film Festival in March 2015.