Bombs in the Ladies Room
Text by Megan Rodgers
Directed by Joanna Settle
Yello Gallery, Chicago
About the Text:
Created and adapted from personal accounts, Amnesty International documents, and original text written by Megan Rodgers, Bombs in the Ladies Room addressed sensory deprivation and other psychological experiments devised to “rehabilitate” women terrorists in the United States and Germany. Amnesty International defined these women as “political prisoners” because their release was conditional on renouncing political beliefs.
Bombs in the Ladies Room was a solo performance in which Rodgers portrayed several prominent, international terrorists. The script’s initial development was completed by Rodgers while she was a student at Mount Holyoke College.
About the Production:
The confines of Yello Gallery’s basement, a narrow space with a 6’6” ceiling, provided the right starting point for a work about unorthodox (and arguably inhuman) imprisonment.
Fluorescent lighting and a rear-projection screen, along with the faint smell of bleach, provided a suitably claustrophobic landscape. Rodgers moved cyclically through a alow maze of framed glass panels, faintly tinted green and laced with chicken wire. The depth of the playng space afforded her characters the opportunity to alternately loom and shrink in the eyes of the audience.
Sound designer Malcolm Nicholls created a continual soundscape that, in conjunction with Settle’s lights and their co-designed set and projection design, created a woven fabric of sensory experience that drove the 37-minute performance. Audience members often commented that they couldn’t be certain how long they had been in the white room.
Extra performances were scheduled to accommodate student groups and selections of Bombs in the Ladies Room were performed at the National Women in Theatre Conference. D13 found itself facilitating a public discourse on terrorism, as the run of Bombs in the Ladies Room coincided with trials for the Oklahoma City Bombings. The production, originally scheduled for a 6-week run, was extended to 10 weeks.
Bombs in the Ladies Room was the first production of Joanna Settle’s artistic directorship.
Sound Design: Malcolm Nicholls
Projections and Lighting Design: Joanna Settle
Set Design: Malcolm Nicholls and Joanna Settle
Performed by Megan Rodgers
Voice-overs: Anne DeAcetis, Malcolm Nicholls, Megan Rodgers, Joanna Settle, Rachel Sledd, Kameron Steele
Sound Operator: Mike Frank
Assistant Lighting Designer and Operator: Mario Bonassin
House Management: Anne DeAcetis and Katie Taber
July — September 1997