The Object Lesson OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Ian Douglas
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    November 5, 2014
    Closing:
    November 8, 2014

    Theater: BAM Fishman Space / 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217

    Synopsis: 

    Do you have what you need? Do you need what you have? Imagine every “thing” that ever passed through your hands—a massive, meaningful, meaningless pile of junk that describes in debris your tiny human history. With boxes stacked to the ceiling, physical theater artist Geoff Sobelle transforms the BAM Fisher into an epic storage facility of gargantuan proportion. The audience, free to roam and poke through the jumble, becomes immersed in this performance-installation that unpacks our relationship to everyday objects: breaking, buying, finding, fixing, trading, selling, stealing, storing, and becoming buried under a world of things. Hilarious and heartbreaking, The Object Lesson is a meditation on the stuff we cling to and the crap we leave behind.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Object Lesson

    In a Jungle of Boxes, Terrors of a Psychic Spring Cleaning

    Ben Brantley

    November 6, 2014: In their later years, my parents used to tease each other with the threat that whoever lived longer would be forced to deal with (ominous organ chords) the Attic. It was a fearsome prospect, for within the cramped upper level of their otherwise manageable house lurked the flotsam and jetsam of at least four generations of their family’s lives. To enter the Attic was to admit a flood of more accumulated memories than a single mind should ever have to deal with. After my parents died, I practically drowned in that Attic, since neither of them made good on their promise to tackle it. Now, to my great consternation, the Attic has been reassembled in Brooklyn. This very personal chamber of horrors — and it will probably feel just as personal to you — is the work of Geoff Sobelle, whose charming and sobering performance piece The Object Lesson opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Wednesday night. Mr. Sobelle is very fully occupying the Fishman Space there, which has been converted into a towering city of cardboard boxes. These boxes are mostly labeled with words that appear to have been printed in haste by felt tips. They include cryptic designations like “dark journals” and “acorn collection,” as well as the more expected references to bedding and dishes. Then there’s the card catalog, the size of a small school library’s, with alphabetically organized drawers, bearing labels like “bedside table,” “moss to mystic,” “Paris” and “red things.” “Moss to mystic”? What could that mean? You can find out. The audience is encouraged to roam this palace of clutter and to open drawers and boxes at will.

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