Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 18, 2012.

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"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 at Luminato, Summer 2011
Habit at Luminato, Summer 2011

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.

Habit at the Watermill Center, 2010
Habit at the Watermill Center, 2010

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.

HABIT at Mass MoCA, Winter 2011
HABIT at Mass MoCA, Winter 2011

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. 

Marsha Ginsberg's set plan for Luminato Festival, Summer 2011
Marsha Ginsberg's set plan for Luminato Festival, Summer 2011

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. 

Actors at Work: Bill Coelius in "Poster Distributor"
Actors at Work: Bill Coelius in "Poster Distributor"

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.

"Building for Brussels" exhibit design by Project Projects
"Building for Brussels" exhibit design by Project Projects

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

IMPORTANT INFO

Follow HABIT on Facebook and Twitter

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!

FAQ

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    35 backers

    We're grateful for every donation. So everyone gets a HABIT broadsheet signed by the artist.

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    3 backers All gone!

    NEW PRIZE FROM OUR CO-PRESENTER! First three donors at this level will get a prize from French Institute: Alliance Française, a pair of passes to FIAF'S Cinema Tuesdays program in NYC.

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    38 backers

    Mitch listens to indie. His brother Doug listens to cock-rock. Choose a playlist custom-selected by playwright Jason Grote based on one of the character's tastes. PLUS signed broadsheet.

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    31 backers

    And receive a HABIT tote bag, specially designed by Prem Krishnamurthy, our neighbor down at Project Projects (see bottom left for samples of their work). PLUS signed broadsheet + playlist. If pledging the minimum, please add $10 for shipment outside of U.S.

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    NEW PRIZE! Another generous contribution from FIAF: the first two donors at this level get a yearlong membership to the French Institute/Alliance Française. See movies! Hear lectures! Escape your white trash upbringing!

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    9 backers Limited (3 left of 12)

    Master Mixologist Eben Klemm, who's designed cocktails for Ginnys at Red Rooster Harlem, the Starr Restaurant Group, and BR Guest in New York City, is designing the Bad Habit for our opening night party. Have him design a cocktail recipe for you. First 10 donors at this level receive a personal, one-of-a-kind cocktail recipe (printed on a 3x5 card) for your next celebration of good (or bad) taste. PLUS signed broadsheet + playlist.

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    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    Be part of the show. Doug and Mitch are brothers living in their late aunt’s house. Send us a photo of yourself and you’ll become part of the family. We’ll place your prized pic in a genuine faux silver combo frame with the other prizewinners. Get your friends in on the action and your brood can colonize the entire family album. PLUS signed broadsheet + playlist.

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    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    And you and a friend will be invited to Habit's on-set opening night party. Hang out with the cast, artist, crew and the other major supporters. Master mixologist Eben Klemm will unveil a new cocktail recipe - the BAD HABIT - in honor of the show. PLUS signed broadsheet + playlist.

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    1 backer All gone!

    NEW PRIZE! A final gift from FIAF, one of our amazing co-presenters. First donor at this level gets treated to a French course of her or his choosing this fall or spring at the French Institute:Alliance Française. Classes available in New York and New Jersey.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Be part of the show. Have YOUR NAME invoked by one of New York's finest actors, either as Doug’s drug supplier, Mitch’s high school crush, or one of one of their high school tormentors. When they look back on those halcyon days, they could be talking about YOU. Or...surprise a friend?? INCLUDED: a framed copy of the script page with your name on it, signed by the artist and writer. PLUS two opening night party invites + signed broadsheet + playlist.

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    And receive a signed and numbered blueprint of the Habit set by designer and artist Marsha Ginsberg. Check out the beautiful example at the bottom of the Project Description. You can pick up at the show or we’ll mail to you. PLUS two opening night party invites + signed broadsheet + playlist. If pledging minimum, please add $15 for shipment outside of U.S.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    And receive a signed, framed, and numbered diptych from David Levine's series ACTORS AT WORK, currently on exhibit at Matadero Madrid (each is in an edition of five). Add in an Artist Talk with David to be scheduled at mutual convenience during the performance dates. PLUS two opening night party invites + signed broadsheet + playlist. If pledging minimum, please add $25 for international shipping.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    And receive a signed, framed, and numbered triptych from David Levine's series, ACTORS AT WORK, currently on exhibit in Madrid. Add in an Artist Talk with David to be scheduled at mutual convenience during the performance dates. PLUS two opening night party invites and all of the first four prizes. If pledging mnimum, please add $25 for international shipping.

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Funding period

- (25 days)