September 13–15, 2019
June 3, 2017. A 25-year-old former Air Force linguist named Reality Winner is surprised at her home by FBI agents.
As the verbal dance between knife-sharp Reality and the FBI agents unfolds in Reality’s home and her autonomy shrinks before her eyes, a simmering real-life thriller emerges—with consequences that extend from the most personal to the totally political.
Arrested and charged with leaking evidence of Russian interference in our election, Reality now sits in jail serving a record-breaking sentence. Reading about her fate, Tina Satter, artistic director of Obie-winning ensemble Half Straddle (In The Pony Palace/ FOOTBALL, 2014 Fringe Festival; Ghost Rings, 2017 Fringe Festival), followed a link to the FBI transcript of the interrogation and was struck by the young woman’s humor, self-assuredness, and predicament. Half Straddle’s staging of the verbatim transcript―tinged with the company’s signature surreal style yet frighteningly visceral in its realism―lays bare the power dynamics, natural drama, and relevancy of a true story, still unfolding.
With an original score by Sanae Yamada (Moon Duo, Vive la Void).
ASL interpretation on Saturday, September 14 at 2pm.
“A beautiful work—impassioned yet made with a cool hand; straight-faced yet often funny. It is also devastating because damn, the real world is a hell of a writer.” ARTFORUM
“I could totally relate to Reality’s dismay at living through America over the past two years, and her sort of pop response to it. This is such a patriot of right now.” Tina Satter
Member discounts available
Concept and Direction Tina Satter Score Sanae Yamada Costume Design Enver Chakartash Set Design Parker Lutz Lighting Design Thomas Dunn Sculptural Design Amanda Villalobos Production and Stage Management Randi Rivera Assistant Direction and Stage Management Mariana Catalina Performed by Becca Blackwell, Emily Davis, Pete Simpson, and T.L. Thompson
Photos by Paula Court, courtesy of The Kitchen
Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription premiered at The Kitchen, NYC, January 5, 2019. Developed in part at The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, New York Theatre Workshop’s Dartmouth Residency, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency in 2018.
Festival Star Producers Tobey & Mark Dichter
Festival Executive Producers Lisa Roberts & David Seltzer
Festival Producers Lawrence Spitz & Carol Klein
Sept 15 at 2pm at the Fringe Festival Bookstore at Cherry Street Pier
Tina Satter (Half Straddle), moderated by Zach Blackwood (FringeArts)
Happy Hour on the Fringe
For this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe, we phoned it in, but you wouldn’t know it as we talk with Half Straddle’s Artistic Director Tina Satter about Is This a Room and Satter’s inspirations, background on the piece, and the projects she is currently working on. Listen below or read the full transcript on the FringeArts Blog.
About Half Straddle
Half Straddle is an Obie-winning, Brooklyn-based ensemble of performers and designers that make plays, performances, videos, and music led by writer and director Tina Satter that have been seen through the United States and internationally.
Half Straddle has premiered nine full-length shows, and a number of shorter works and video projects that have been seen at festivals and theaters throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. In 2014, Half Straddle’s show House of Dance was nominated for a ZKB Patronage Prize at Zürcher Theater Spektakel.
With a constant internal engine and focus on feminist and queer dynamics that feels more necessary than ever, the company’s work has grown in recent years to include teaching, workshops, and curated lecture series of other artists in addition to their ongoing making of performances, music, and videos.
The company began in 2008 and received their Obie Award grant in 2013. In 2014, artistic director Tina Satter was recognized with a Doris Duke Artist Impact Award; and in 2016, she received a Foundation for Contemporary Art Award, which funded in part the company’s most recent touring work, the feminist art-rock show, Ghost Rings, created by Tina and company members Chris Giarmo and Erin Markey.
All of Half Straddle’s company members and collaborators also work extensively in a range of other performance contexts, often creating their own work, in avant-garde theater to Broadway, to university teaching and as theater artists in NYC public schools.
In New York City, the company’s work has been presented at The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, New Museum, Danspace, Performance Space New York (formerly PS122), Bushwick Starr, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, American Realness at Abrons Arts Center, COIL Festival, Ice Factory Festival, and PRELUDE Festival. Find out more at halfstraddle.com.
Staging Reality Winner: An F.B.I. Transcript Becomes an Offbeat Thriller by Amanda Hess in The New York Times
Last December, the theater director Tina Satter was stuck at a desk, temping as a receptionist, when she fell down an internet rabbit hole. After reading the New York magazine profile of Reality Winner—the 20-something military contractor charged with leaking a single top-secret document about Russian election hacking—Ms. Satter clicked a link to a blog post about Ms. Winner’s pantyhose, and then another link to a grainy PDF of an official F.B.I. transcript.
It recorded the moment in June 2017 when a fleet of federal agents entered Ms. Winner’s Georgia home, interrogated her and extracted a confession. Ms. Satter read the transcript online, but when she recalls it now, she makes the gesture of dramatically flipping pages in the air.
“Immediately I thought, This is a play,” she said. “This is a thriller.”