"The Real World" meets "No Exit." Habit is a cross between installation, performance, and theater, and it's never the same thing twice.
WE HAVE MET OUR MINIMUM GOAL in 17 short days, and we are extremely grateful to all the friends, family and absolute strangers who have made this possible. WE ARE STILL FUNDRAISING! We still have awesome prizes left, may be adding more, and still have a budget shortfall to cover as best we can. Good news is we have time, and EVERY DONATION STILL COUNTS a lot toward making this show happen.
HABIT according to the press
This September, provocateur David Levine brings his installation Habit to New York City's Essex Street Market. A unique experiment in art and theater hybridization, Habit will be presented by PS122 and the Crossing the Line Festival.
Within a four-walled, fully furnished and functional American ranch house (stocked refrigerator, working stove, plumbing, running water), three actors perform a 90-minute drama on a continuous loop for eight hours a day. Although the language never changes, they improvise the staging to suit their needs—when they’re hungry, they cook; when they’re dirty, they wash.
HABIT according to me
I thought of Habit in 2005, when I was shifting from theater-making to visual arts performance. As a theater director, I’d always struggled with a basic question of access: how do you make going to theater as easy as walking into a gallery?
The answer was simple. You make it sculptural. You loop it. You run it during daylight hours. You let audiences walk in and out as they please. And above all, you make it ABSOLUTELY FREE.
I asked experimental playwright Jason Grote to write me the most conventional slice of American Realism he could. Of course, it was set in a ranch house. Then I asked designer Marsha Ginsberg to design that ranch house for use in a gallery, and to make it fully functional, so that actors could really live out their roles.
The actors improvise the staging perpetually, so the play feels different every time. You'll never see the same thing twice: sometimes the big fight happens while one person’s watching TV and the other one's making a sandwich. Sometimes it happens while one person’s locked in the bathroom, weeping, and the other one's pounding on the door. The dialogue stays the same, but every moment feels completely different, depending on what window you're looking through.
WHY HELP: HABIT according to you
The key thing about Habit is that it's free. Habit will be open to the public from September 21-September 30, 8 hours a day for 10 full days. That means for 10 full days, you can watch this ever-evolving experiment at your convenience. Come for 5 hours or come for 15 minutes. Come for 15 minutes, leave, and come back later in the day. Come back 5 days from now and see how your favorite actors are doing (we use 2 casts).
But renting space as gorgeous, luminous, and accessible as the Essex Street Market in Manhattan is expensive. Paying actors a decent wage for an 8-hour marathon is hard on art budgets. Especially when there's no income from ticket sales.
We're almost there. But we need your help to make it happen. In exchange, we'll give you an absolutely unique and free experience for 10 full days: heroic feats of acting, tantalizing voyeurism, no tickets, no reservations, no seats. The show you see is the show you want to see, whenever you want to see it. Public theater meets public art.
And, of course, prizes! Many of which bring you right into the fabric of the show itself. Your name can get a shout-out, or your picture can be in the house. And some lucky donors will be invited to our opening night party with the cast, artist, crew and our presenters.
ALL PLEDGES $200 OR HIGHER WILL BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE THROUGH OUR CO-SPONSOR PS122.
SOME OF OUR PRIZES
Set Blueprint by Marsha Ginsberg
Ginsberg's work has been seen in galleries, theaters and opera houses around the world. Her set drawings for Toronto were so beautiful that everyone involved in HABIT begged her for a copy. She turned us down, but you can actually obtain one. Below is a sample from Toronto; yours can come from New York or Toronto.
A selection from "Actors at Work"
In January 2006, I started filing Actor’s Equity contracts for union actors to go to their day jobs. For the duration of each contract, the workplace legally became a theater, and job performance legally ‘a performance.’ It's like Habit, but out in the real world.
These 'job performances' were documented with a series of production stills, and paired with the Equity contracts. Actors at Work has been exhibited in Berlin and New York City, and is currently on view in Madrid.
Tote Bag with Logo Designed by Prem Krishnamurthy & Project Projects
Prem is a principal and founder of Project Projects, our neighbors on the Lower East Side, one of the most adventurous and acclaimed design firms working today. Prem has worked with the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, and Phaidon Books. And he could be designing your next tote bag.
The HABIT Team:
Created and Directed by David Levine
Environment and Clothes by Marsha Ginsberg
Text by Jason Grote
Produced by Maria Luisa Gambale
Production Manager – Chris Batstone
Assistant Directors – David Conison & Kristin Meyer
- This production is co-presented in NYC by French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)’s Crossing the Line Festival and Performance Space 122
- Premiered in Toronto's 2011 Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity
- Developed at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center and MASS MoCA
- The venue in NYC will be Essex Street Market, Building B at 130 Essex Street in the Lower East Side (run by NYC Economic Development Corporation)
Feel free to write us with any questions. Thank you for your support, and hope to see you at Essex Street Market!
P.S. We have put the bare minimum to keep the show free as our goal, but we’re people who like to pay actors and crew as well as we can for the work they do, particularly in this show; and right now to make this happen, a lot of people have offered to work for free or reduced rates. If we pass our goal and keep on going, then you will make us better employers. Thank you!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.